Hello everyone, my name is Eva Leliveld, I am sixteen years old and I live in Alphen aan den Rijn, in the Netherlands. I volunteered at Kolewa for one month. This past month has impressed me a lot, I have seen that Kolewa is a really special foundation, I have met a lot of new people and I have learned a great deal of new things. I would love to share my impressive experiences with you!
I am a fifth year student at Scala College doing a TVWO education. This means I perform a bilingual education, I get my lessons in English and the subjects are internationally centered. In the fifth year, all the students are asked to perform an international internship of their own choice. The requirements are not strict and the main focus is independence. We get the possibility to fill this internship in how we want to as long as we have to deal with the English language and immerse ourselves in a new and different culture. Once I got this assignment I started to brainstorm. Quickly, I came to the conclusion that I was very much interested in volunteer work. I wanted to something good for other people and this internship seemed to be the perfect chance for this. I was already familiar with Kolewa because my family did a donation for them and this really had my eye. I decided to approach Kolewa because this really was my number one choice. After an amazing introductory meeting I received the opportunity to support the Kolewa team for one month and that’s when my adventure started.
At the end of April I flew off to Bali on my own, I was very excited for everything that was waiting for me and I could not wait to get started. I came at the YPI student house, this is where I stayed during my month abroad. I am very thankful for this place because thanks to this house, my time at Bali was even more enjoyable.
One of my first days on the island I was already introduced to Kolewa, the staff members and the Kolewa house. I immediately got started with my internship the first week. I really felt at home in the Kolewa house, there was a very nice, homely ambiance and the doors were always open for tourists, (possible) sponsors or people who simply wanted to take a look at the beautiful work that Kolewa foundation performances.
My tasks at Kolewa varied from playing games with the kids, to teaching English classes and helping in the kitchen, there was always something to be done. One of the most special things I saw would be the realness and commitment of the staff members of Kolewa. I organised a benefit dinner before I went to Bali to raise money to operate a schisis baby. This surgery took place when I was on the island and I got to actually meet the mother and the little girl. I think this is one of Kolewa’s strongest features, they offer you the chance to experience everything from real close and you actually what happens with your money and how well it is spent. The help that they offer happens really fast and secure and everything they do is for the sake of the patients or their acquaintances. I saw the great changes made in the lives of the patients and this really inspired me. Kolewa offers the help needed, a place that feels like home to the less favored people and next to this also daily activities like hygienic information and English classes. I was part of a great team of Indonesian women who completely devote themselves to the foundation and put a lot of love and power into it.
While I was visiting we performed the Burn Project. Two Australian doctors and an Indonesian one operated twelve patients who were scouted through Kolewa. I met every single one of these patients before and after the surgery and it is very moving and beautiful to see what a difference a foundation like Kolewa makes in the lives of these people. Next to all the help these patients receive, they also build really strong relationships with each other. At Kolewa the patients are not ‘different’ or judged by the ‘disabilities’ they might experience.
After 15 full days of interning at Kolewa I found it very difficult to say goodbye. Every moment I experienced has made a great impact on me and I will carry them with me for a very long time. I hope to be able to do a lot more for Kolewa foundation because I now really saw, with my very own eyes, all the magical things that Kolewa make happen.