Vanessa, after a troubled adolescence, was looking for a new perspective on life: she stopped all the bad habits and, following a friend’s suggestion, started doing volunteering.


“My childhood was a tragedy. My dad was disturbed and my mom couldn’t care about me, but she loved us. She was always busy because she worked for two in order to feed and dress us.I was born by caesarean section so I couldn’t drink my mom’s milk and that caused a lot of health problems to me. At the age of 7, the doctor told me that no matter what I do, I will end up being blind and on the wheelchair and, as a child, I totally believed it. I was depressed and insecure. From the age of 11 to 22, I used to hate myself a lot and have a dark view of my future. I felt like I have no future. When I started secondary school, I began to find myself in the wrong way. For whole my adolescence, I was trying to destroy myself by smoking, drinking alcohol and doing drugs. I used to be completely high and unconscious at least 3 times a week. But then I had to take some kind of medicines for my diseases. And it was the bad combination of medicines and alcohol, drugs. When I was about 18, I almost died few times.That was the moment when I realized I needed to stop torturing myself and get a life. Until the age of 22, I completely stopped doing those bad things and I started a new life.

A new point of view

Since my friend told me that doing volunteering is the great way to have a new experience, meet new people and discover lots of different cultures, I came to JAVVA’s office and asked them if I can be a volunteer. They gave me a chance to do volunteering in the South of France and it opened a brand new page of my life. I started to do volunteering, learn English, join EVS projects, travel around the world and so on.It’s like a miracle to me because I never had a chance to travel to anywhere before. From now on, I just want to learn more about nature, become a functional person and live healthy, happily.”

Vanessa Colignon, Camp leader of L’Enfance de l’Art Eco construction

Credits to: An WuPhương Hà Trần

Volunteyes Belgium #2

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