"NPH is a Love Story that Changed My Life"
Rachelle - Art Therapist, the Netherlands
April 12, 2018 - Peru
Every February 14th all over the world, Saint Valentine’s Day is celebrated. It is usually a special day with plenty of red roses, heart-shaped balloons and teddy bears. For Rachelle in 2018, it was more than that, since it marked the beginning of a very special love story that has changed her life and stolen her heart. Here is her testimony:
"Since I used to be a part-time florist, this day was always special. Last year it was even more special than ever, because apart from making a lot of bouquets, it coincided with the deadline to apply to be a volunteer at NPH.
For half a year, I had been looking for a job as an art therapist, until I decided to take a break from the search. That's when I logged into my Facebook and saw a message from Wereldouders (NPH Netherlands): NPH was looking for art therapists! Very intrigued, I navigated through the website. And without any doubt I knew immediately: this is what I was looking for!
While reading through the website, NPH appeared to me as a safe family, a safe home, for children who need it. Now, after 7.5 months here, I can confirm that it really is. At the beginning, it can be a bit sad to know why these children are here, but it is comforting to see the care that each one of us puts in order to make them feel good, safe and loved.
My job here as an art therapist is to try to help children, for example, with problems of self-esteem or similar issues. Through consistent one-hour therapy sessions, they get to know that they are very capable people. I do this daily from 8 am to 5 pm, with a break of one hour, between 1 and 2 in the afternoon. During or after the therapies, I make reports or prepare the next session.
As a volunteer, I also spend many nights with "my girls" from Casa Señor de los Milagros – the home of our university-aged girls. Every weekend in the afternoon, I also share my time with them, to get to know them better, help them with homework or, sometimes, just watch TV.
What I like most about my time at NPH is the contact with children. There is no day that I do not receive a warm hug from them or ask them how they are doing. Also, I look forward to lunch with all of them, because I know it's when an adorable little boy runs to me to say hello. If I walk through the gardens, I listen to their laughter, jokes and chats with caregivers: These moments and details fill my heart with love and pride, which can be hard to express in simple words or hugs returned.
I came here with the hope of contributing to the lives of these wonderful children. Although sometimes it seems the opposite: All of this and all of them changed my life. That's what makes it even more special, because they helped me appreciate everything I have.
It’s easy to take “western” luxuries for granted, but when you see these children having a good time, simply being children, you realize that there are many things to be grateful for. You know they suffered before and now you see them laughing and loving unconditionally, it makes me reflect and ask myself: how cannot we follow that example?
Definitely, I am very grateful they chose me to be a part of this family."