Meet Our Volunteers

In the last couple of years we had amazing personalities from more than 19 countries volunteering with FUNPROBO. Altogether we had more than 100 volunteers from all over the world who supported us with their various abilities. We would like to introduce some of them and tell their stories.

John - Software Engineer from England

volunteer-john

What did you do on a usual day at FUNPROBO?

I spent most of my time working at the clinic and developing a database and program to store the patient data. Previously it was all stored in paper records, this data is now being used to help secure grants from the academic community.

What was the highlight during your volunteer experience?

I found the clinic staff and atmosphere friendly and easy to get on with. I got to see the real side of Bolivia living and working alongside people at the clinic. The work at FUNPROBO was the most rewarding I have done. I spent my time working on the patient database. It was a great opportunity to visit Bolivia improve my skills and do something to help others.

How did you spend your free time in La Paz and Bolivia?

As well as working in the clinic being in La Paz gave me the chance to backpack around South America. Bolivia is right in the middle of the continent which made a great base to explore from. I visited most of the surround countries but always found myself happy to return back to Bolivia.

Amy - Physiotherapist from England

volunteer-amy

How did you come to FUNPROBO?

I was looking for a place to be able to volunteer as a physiotherapist for a 9 month period of time where I could be hands on with patients, immersed into the project, teach and learn and make a difference in some small way. I contacted Funprobo and they immediately accepted the offer and were welcoming and amazing from the offset.

What did you do on a usual day at FUNPROBO?

A usual day at Funprobo started with opening up in the morning and having a coca tea and salteña. If there were patients who we’d already seen then I’d start setting them up with exercises or to walk in the ppam aid. Then I would fully assess any new patients who had arrived for a prosthesis assessment. Then I would see any patients who were part of the prosthetic process for gait training or prosthetic checks with the prosthetist. If there was more than one patient in the gym we’d do some rehab games such as throwing and catching for balance, volleyball, circuits. This would get the patients used to their new prosthesis or improve their balance in the ppam aid in preparation for their prosthesis. If there was time we’d all go to lunch, sometimes with the patients as well during the day. Then I’d complete my notes at the end of the day ready for the following day. On quieter days I would work on the physio induction pack, fundraising or social media posts and any jobs needing doing in the office.

What advice would you give future volunteers?

For future volunteers I’d say find as much time as you can to invest in this small charity. The differences they make to each individual are huge and you’ll leave each day with a smile on your face.

Emiliano - Mechanical Engineer from Italy

volunteer-emiliano

What did you learn during your stay?

Thanks to my tasks at FUNPROBO, I learned how to work with cement in addition to many interesting things about physiology and prosthetics. I also studied and learned Spanish, which my knowledge was enhanced by the fact I was fully immersed in a Spanish speaking context. I also had the opportunity to travel in Bolivia and learn many things about its people and its traditions.

What advice would you give future volunteers?

Immerse yourself in the Bolivian culture and experience the customs of the country. For instance, I lived with a Bolivian family during my entire stay in La Paz. Besides being an interesting experience, it gave a strong boost to my Spanish language skills.

Did your expectations meet reality?

To be honest, in my first days in La Paz I was a bit lost and disorientated because everything was so different from my home country. It took me a while to feel comfortable but in the end I was feeling really at home and my expectations totally met the reality.

Grace - Prosthetics Student from the United States

volunteer-grace

How did you come to FUNPROBO?

I always loved to travel, and made the most of every opportunity to go on an adventure. Still, it was tempting, after graduation to begin full-time work immediately. With a strong interest in prosthetics grad school someday, I simply Google-searched “prosthetics volunteer abroad” and was delighted to find out about FUNPROBO. In a whirlwind of quick decisions, I reached out to FUNPROBO and set up travel dates for 7 weeks volunteering full-time as a Workshop Assistant.

What did you do on a usual day at FUNPROBO?

My time in La Paz went by in a blur, working mostly with the patient prosthetics expert, Florencio. Besides physical prosthetic leg building, I also helped to translate patient stories, set up and attempt 3D-printing of upper limb prostheses, and assist fellow volunteer Amy with physical therapy.

What was the highlight during your volunteer experience?

I forged a friendship with Florencio, who is himself an amputee, and had the chance to spend a weekend with his family out in Cochabamba. With his help I succeeded in creating a prosthesis from start to finish.

What did you learn during your stay?

Before traveling to Bolivia, I had done several prosthetic and orthotic projects in college, but there was much to learn for the entire process of casting, manufacturing, and adjusting a full leg prosthesis. I recommend volunteering with FUNPROBO to anyone who is interested in Spanish, mobility, or medicine.

Nina & Fabian - Marketing Manager & Electrical Engineer from Germany

volunteer-experience-nina-fabi

What did you do on a usual day at FUNPROBO?

Our main work was to ensure that all computers were set up properly and all programs worked. We spent most of our time restructuring and updating the website content. We really enjoyed the friendly atmosphere at the office and having time to chat to our coworkers about their lives and Bolivia.

What advice would you give future volunteers?

Never give up! Don’t get discouraged if things don’t work out the way you have planned or expect them to be. Take some time, think it through and you will find a solution.

If you have any further questions please consult our FAQ section or feel free to contact us via Email or Facebook. If our volunteer stories have already convinced you and sparked your interested in volunteering with us at FUNPROBO apply now!

If you have volunteered with FUNPROBO in the past and would like to tell your story please let us know and we will be very happy to add it!