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NABUUR Neighbour Heather Wilkey from the U.S. discusses the rewards of volunteering

A native of Rutherford, New Jersey, Heather Wilkey is 37 years old. She studied Biology at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and returned to school to learn about ecotourism with the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She enjoys hiking with friends, travel and occasionally sings for New York City events.

Heather joined NABUUR in April 2007 and has been helping the Chibolya school project in Zambia.

How would a good friend describe you?

A friend would say I am supportive and caring, because I believe finding a good friend is like finding a treasure. Never take them for granted, and always make them laugh no matter what.

How did you find NABUUR?

I came across NABUUR on the internet, and I thought it was a wonderful organization to join.

As a Neighbour, you become instrumental in making the difference. You have the opportunity to share experiences, talents and at the same time, learn from others with similar interests. That’s what makes it so special.

Have you volunteered before?

In the past, I have volunteered with children. It is rewarding, like so many would agree.

With NABUUR, I feel like a different person. It has brought me to a realization that this is something I want to do my entire life. NABUUR gave me something back you can not put a price on.

How did you decide which NABUUR village to join?

I came across the Chibolya school project in Zambia, and felt I had to be part of the link to make it grow. And, of course, Chibolya’s facilitator Innocent had an enormous smile.

It’s great to visit other villages and read about a success story or the next plan of action. It helps you figure out what your next step needs to be. It’s all about working together as a team.

So far, I have helped raise money for the school, creating awareness to those interested in helping these specific needs. I have helped establish relationships and shared new ideas to potentially raise funds in the future.

The other Neighbors, Innocent, the facilitator, and the children’s faces give me hope that we can help the people of Chibolya.

What skills do you add to the project?

Establishing relationships with the right foundations so they can begin to understand what we are trying to achieve. But, more importantly, building a stronger future for the children and the villages.

The Archbishop in the U.S. loved the school project for the Chibolya children and gave a donation. That was a success. Currently, there are church choirs interested in helping us raise money with their voices.

There are many possibilities and opportunities you can find just by reaching out and taking the first step.

What has this experience meant to you?

It has been a special experience from the beginning. I’m very happy to be part of it, and look forward to many years ahead.

I believe people living in poverty just need a chance to shine.

What is the biggest advantage of volunteering online?

The ability to help these communities and tribes without having to travel and physically be there. Information can be researched on your computer and through the people you know and communities you live in.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering online?

“Just do it!”

To learn more, visit Chibolya.