|Carla Mira reflects on her past and current volunteering experiences with TFA.
“I still remember my first volunteering role with Trinh like it was last week. But in fact, it was nearly 6 years ago. The slight nerves I felt whilst waiting at my hotel for my taxi to arrive and take me to a foreign hospital to go and meet a bunch of unknown Vietnamese speech therapy students instantly turned into excitement as I immediately feel in love with Vietnam and its people.
During that placement, I ended up developing lifelong international friends, travelled with some to the picturesque terrace rice fields of Sapa and spent most of my evenings post supervision singing karaoke and eating some of the best Vietnamese food of my life.
Since that placement, I have returned another two times to Vietnam to volunteer and each experience is unlike the other. Not only do I leave with a strong sense of achievement, knowing that through supervision I am contributing to the speech and language therapy discipline within Vietnam, but I also return to Australia with my batteries recharged to dive back into my own busy therapy caseload.
Last year I was pregnant and living in Paris and unfortunately physically going to Vietnam and participating in clinical supervision was not an option. Thankfully Trinh Foundation had just rolled out their Beyond Border’s Online Mentoring Program and it meant I could participate as a volunteer from the comfort of a Parisian boulangerie (croissant & café allonge in hand). Mentoring Diem, a newly graduated speech and language therapist, was such a pleasure. She was matched to me through her professional interest and experience and the monthly mentoring sessions were also a nice way for me to engage in some professional development through my role as a mentor.
I was so happy I could continue my involvement with Trinh when I was approached to be this year’s coordinator for the ‘Beyond Border’s’ online mentoring program. Having participated in the program already, I hope my experience will help support both the mentees and mentors along the way so that they are able to enjoy the program and the mentoring relationship as much as I did last year.”
If you are interested in volunteering see further information about volunteering available on our website.