Sunday, February 14, 2010

(Marek Blaszczyk is Global Volunteers' long-standing host representative in Poland. See his interview on You Tube here)

We are proud to have had more than 2500 volunteers teach English in our country and each one leaves a small part of their heart in Poland!

Global Volunteers has worked in Poland since 1990. Next year we will celebrate our 20th anniversary in a close, fruitful partnership. Bud Philbrook came in 1989 and went to the Polish Parliament where he met members from our region – the Siedlce District. "Bring your volunteers to Siedlce," our representatives said and help in our small villages. In 1991 I found out about Global Volunteers and invited the volunteers to stay at Reymontowka.

The idea of teaching of conversational English came from Poland. 1989 was the time of changes in our country (we changed from communism to democracy) and Bud Philbrook asked a Parliament member how Global Volunteers could help. They said we have enough hands to work but we need to speak English. We wish to work more closely with the western European countries and the US. We need to speak English.

Bud Philbrook said we can’t promise to send teachers but we can send people who speak English. Since that time the program has grown and been very successful in Poland and in other countries. I know people who now are about 40 who started learning English about 20 years ago through Global Volunteers. The best students got good jobs and they are changing Poland.

Poland is a good country, a part of the European Union and NATO. Global Volunteers stay in a small farming village of about 100 people and now nearly everyone speaks English. The cleaning lady at Reymontowka who learned English now runs a business in London. That’s how the volunteers have changed the people. Many young people – we are an open country now – can work in other countries. The children who learn English get good jobs and they can travel around the world. I think last year the first person from Poland volunteered in India.

When volunteers first came to Poland they taught business and technology to unemployed people. Global Volunteers never told us that you have to do something this way or that way. This is very important to us. That’s why next year we will discuss how we can do more with Global Volunteers. We will introduce the organization to others through the 20th anniversary of Global Volunteers in Poland.

Global Volunteers is very famous around the Siedlce District (in eastern Poland) but Global Volunteers is not known all around Poland. We will use this chance to tell about it at a big conference in October and we will invite people from other countries to attend. In time, Polish people can and will volunteer in all parts of the world.

Remember, we still need volunteers in the Siedlce District because everybody doesn’t yet speak English. But, we are proud to have had more than 2500 volunteers teach English in our country and each one leaves a small part of their heart in Poland.