German Volunteer’s Passion for Social Work Leads Her to Malawi

“I have a passion for social work,” said Paulina Kothlow, a volunteer from Germany who spent the month of May working with Tingathe organization. With prior social work experience in Costa Rica, Paulina decided to extend her service to Africa, particularly Malawi, as she prepares to attend university, where she will study Social Work.

Paulina’s involvement with Tingathe has been multifaceted. She played an important role in implementing activities for the organization’s programs: the Children’s Life Skills Program and Tingathe Geni. Her responsibilities span across the programs department, administration, and communications, showcasing her versatility and dedication. She assisted with conducting training sessions, activity planning, data entry, and creating content for the communications department.

In her role as a facilitator under the Children’s Life Skills Program, Paulina led engaging sessions, promoting a positive and supportive environment for our children. Her ability to connect with vulnerable groups, especially children, has been incredible. “Working with Tingathe has been a great experience,” she reflects. “I have learned so much about working with vulnerable people and the importance of building trust and empathy.”

Paulina’s connection with the children at Tingathe was evident in her daily interactions. She often played games with them, creating memories that she will cherish. Her bond with the kids was palpable, and it is one of the aspects she will miss the most upon returning to Germany. A highlight of her cultural exchange was learning to prepare Futali, a traditional Malawian dish made from potatoes and pounded groundnuts, during one of her sessions with the children. “It was very nice to work with the children; they were always excited to see me. But because of the language barrier, it was difficult to engage with them one-on-one. I am going to miss the kids,” she explains.

Paulina and Tingathe kids cooking Futali

Throughout her time with Tingathe, Paulina gained invaluable skills and insights. “My experience here has taught me how to communicate effectively, implement projects, and work with underserved communities, which is my true passion,” she shares. Her willingness to immerse herself in the local culture has left a lasting impression on the Tingathe team.

The mutual exchange of cultural knowledge has been enriching for both Paulina and Tingathe. Our team has gained an understanding of German culture, and Paulina has embraced Malawian customs and traditions. This exchange has reinforced the idea that, despite our diverse backgrounds, we are one people.

As Paulina returns to Germany, the Tingathe team is thankful for her contributions. We are very grateful for Paulina’s time with us. She has shared her experiences and skills, and we have all learned from each other. We will miss her dearly and wish her all the best in her future endeavors. Paulina Kothlow’s time with us has reminded us of the power of volunteerism and the impact it can have on communities worldwide.

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