Don't Assume

Operation Underground Railroad puts a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the children that are rescued from sex trafficking have a good place to live once they are rescued. While we volunteer for Operation Underground Railroad in a foreign country we are trying to build good relationships with potential after care centers and orphanages that are willing to accept and rehabilitate those rescued children. We visit several orphanages and after care homes and volunteer to help with what they need help with.

It has been interesting to see what they ask for help with. Before we came here to volunteer I would have guessed that we would be asked for money, food, and that we would be asked to paint, and do other physical labor. While the orphanages and after care centers do need financial assistance and physical labor, it is our experience that these are not the main things that they focus on when we ask what help is needed.

When we ask them what they need, they say they need people that can give time. They need help with paperwork and finding documentation for the children. They need people that can show love to the children. They need someone to help teach the children life skills and to help educate them. A lot of what they need can't be solved with money or stuff but rather requires time. A lot of what is required can't be checked off a list. If the goal is to give love when can you say that you have reached your love quota? If your goal is to give friendship when can you check it off the list?

One thing we have learned as we volunteer for O.U.R. Aftercare is the importance of finding out what is needed by those we are trying to help. It is easy to assume that we know what others need. We need to remember that we aren't the ones that are living and experiencing what others see and experience every day. Rather than dictate what needs to be fixed, it has been much more effective and rewarding to ask those we serve what they see as a need, and then to help them with their priorities instead of what ours might be.


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