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Testimonial from Jane Skadhede (August 2008 – April 2009) Denmark

It took only a few days before it became meaningful – the job. Maybe “the job” is a wrong word to use since it is not an ordinary job – it is more like a lifestyle working as a Volunteer at the Father Ray Foundation.
Being in my forties I had decided to quit my job as Management Advisor at CfL Danish Centre for Leadership and I had said “see you” to friends and family back home because I wanted to try a different kind of job – a job that was meaningful in another way. And I found a lot of “new” meaning in a city that is very tough to disabled and to street kids – a city that is known for its heavy prostitution.Jane Skadhede - Volunteer from Denmark

I have worked at all the projects at the Father Ray Foundation which include the Redemptorist Vocational School for the Disabled, the Fr. Ray Children’s Village, the Drop-In Center, the Fr. Ray Children’s Home, the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind and the Fr. Ray Day Care Center. But why did the job become more like a lifestyle to me and not only a job?

I have felt that my work at the Father Ray Foundation really made a positive difference to people’s lives both in the present but also for their future (including my own life) – that has been one of the greatest joys to me.
I have been teaching English a lot during my stay and it became a goal to me to make English fun and through that it motivated the children to learn as much English as possible. If the children speak English well their opportunities to get a good job are a lot better – a lovely and meaningful thought to me! I have also played a lot of games with the children together with the other Volunteers. Playing games or just playing like children in the Western world hasn’t been a common thing in many of the children’s lives. But they love it! They have so much fun – they laugh and smile a lot and seem free and without any worries when the Volunteers spend their time playing with them.

Jane Skadhede - Volunteer from Denmark

Before coming to Pattaya I wondered if it would be mentally too hard for me to experience the life of Pattaya and to work with all the young street kids. But is has not been sorrow and despair that has filled my life – it has more been enthusiasm and hope! The Drop-In Center is the place where the street kids can come directly from the street and get a free bed to sleep in, a free shower and a free meal as well as help and support from the staff to make a plan for their future – away from prostitution. It is the dearest children and I have loved spending my free time with them, for example teaching English to the children that had shown special interest in that. And I have been so proud to see them leave the Drop-In Center because they have chosen to get on with their lives for example at the Fr. Ray Children’s Home where they will get a lot of new friends (a new family) and an education that can provide them with a good foundation for their future!

Apart from the “work” with all the lovely children I have also experienced being part of the “Volunteer family”. We have been Volunteers from a lot of different cultures, for example England, Ireland, Hawaii, Singapore, Denmark, Germany and Holland. It has been very educating and fun to be in such a mix of cultures and it makes you more tolerant as a person and provides you with a better understanding of diversity.

My work for the last 8 month at the Father Ray Foundation has been a great experience and personal development for me. My stay is coming to an end now and my sister asked me the other day if I have changed a lot and if I am coming home as a new person. I am sure that I have changed and I am sure that I am a new person – a lot of my values have been tested and some has been changed. I can’t put a lot of words to the personal changes yet but I am looking forward to going home now and discover all the changes and the “new me”. Work wise I have gotten a lot of teaching experience – I never taught in my life before and it was scary in the beginning but I came to love it. I have experienced so much love and I have been giving and receiving thousands and thousands of hugs during my stay – and I know for sure that you can never get enough of that!

I will miss every one of the lovely children and staff that I have been blessed to meet during my rewarding and fulfilling stay. I will treasure my time at the Father Ray Foundation in my heart for the rest of my life.
Lots of love Jane

Jane Skadhede – Denmark

Volunteered from August 2008 – April 2009

Categories: Volunteer's Stories