Feedback from past volunteers

During the years, Tools have hosted countless volunteers from around the world. Many of them still keep in touch and come back to visit and give a hand, others have even started a Tools group in their countries when they returned from Belfast.

Some sent us their feedback on their experience with TFS, let’s read them!

Emilie, France
I volunteered for TFS from October 2009 to October 2010. I had two main responsibilities: checking, refurbishing tools like hammers, braces, planes… and organising the supported volunteer’s group. This experience gave me more than I expected! My perception of solidarity has been transcended! Many thanks to John, Stephen and all my mates on this adventure.

Tim, France
I have done an internship at TFS from February to June 2008. I chose Tools because I had had a previous experience during my EVS with Tools For Self Reliance in England (Southampton).
My project in Belfast was to develop the idea of setting up a “Tool Centre” for refurbishing tools in a developing country. My expectations were totally met at the end of my time there, TFS was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
I strongly recommend to anyone to volunteer for TFS.
1. To live a rich experience with other volunteers who believe in the same values of solidarity and empowerment.
2. To question development: what is development in the north? In the south? What does “developed country” mean? Don’t we need to change our behaviour in western countries?
3. To practise some manual work (refurbishing tools and sewing machines)
4. To share time with local and international volunteer and build together a better world.
ONE ADVICE: GO AND VOLUNTEER WITH TOOLS!!

Germain, Belgium
I volunteered with Tools twice: 7 months in 2009 and another 7 months in 2010.
I was an EVS volunteer in 2009, then I came back for the work done in the workshop, the volunteers there, the atmosphere with other EVS in Belfast and lot of others things…
I was fixing sewing machines most of the time. I loved it there, that’s why I came back.
I would strongly recommend volunteering with Tools because it will open the eyes on the real life to new volunteers. And by the way, change their life. As I happened to me.

Lorette, France
I started volunteering with TFS in September 2008, after an year as an EVS volunteer, I applied as a core volunteer and ended up staying 2 years and a half! I just fell in love with this organisation, I think the project is achieving a lot in Northern Ireland and overseas. Also I like a lot the spirit of the work at TFS – theirs is a strong ethic, it is a very inspiring place.
My roles and responsibilities there evolved with time. It is one thing that I liked very much of TFS: the possibility to do so many different things in the same week, so in two years I had the chance to try a little bit of everything, but my speciality was sewing machines.
Let me list just a few of the positive aspects of volunteering with TFS: you can learn a lot of new skill and knowledge, you do something which has a concrete positive action for the life of some other people, you can meet interesting people…

Maike, Germany
I was an EIRENE volunteer and I started on the 23th of July 2010.
I chose TFS because it isn’t a normal project: it isn’t only there for local people but also for areas in Africa. The other thing was that I wanted to do something different and something where I could learn useful skills for life. So for me it was a kind of an exotic image… Me in a workshop 😉
I took care of different things: repairing sewing machine, quality checks, shipment, newsletter, coordination of the sewing machine section… something else???
A very positive aspect of my experience in TFS is that there I learned to question things!!!  Normally in schools you learn everything by heart but there I learnt to ask =)
Honestly everything was fine for me…  yes it was sometimes cold, but nothing that we could change =)

Selim, Turkey
I did my EVS at TFS between July 2010 and July 2011. I chose this organisation because the idea of doing something for people in need in Africa sounded really great. I have really enjoyed helping African people and also learning new skills in the workshop at the same time.
During my EVS period in Tools for Solidarity I have been involved in a variety of activities: collecting sewing machines, fixing and store them, supporting fund raising and publicity sub-groups, working with people with disabilities, refurbishing hand tools, supporting the shipment process, supporting publicity activities (exhibition etc.), working in the volunteer house when it was needed and being involved in the meetings of the organisation.
I have found much more than my expectations in Tools for Solidarity.
Would I recommend volunteering for TFS? Aye! If someone wants to experience the art of refurbishing sewing machines and tools, TFS would be the best place to volunteer. But more important, if you also would like to warm the workshop up with your vibration in cold winter days, then you shouldn’t waste your time and come up!
Youse are always in my heart, dear Tools people. All the best and greetings from Turkey!

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