Megan Schiebe is an avid global volunteer, and has a blog about how anyone can become a volunteer that helps change the world without altering their lifestyle. In short, she’s unbelievably inspiring!! In addition to her blog, http://www.travelvolunteersearch.blogspot.com/, Megan also holds radio programs with organizations on Blog Talk Radio. Love and Water got to talk to Megan about how the idea for her amazing work came about.
Love and Water- Your blog is just the thing people need to find a way to help and still maintain a busy lifestyle. How did it come to be?
Megan Schiebe- I work for a publishing company, and I’ve always been involved in some charity development stuff, but usually just one event every couple of months. It wasn’t until I made a trip to South Africa just under two years ago that I made a change. There was a huge issue over what was going on in Zimbabwe, and I happened to be in Cape Town when a lot of Zimbabwean refugees were just flowing into the country because of the horrific events taking place in their land and hardly any resources were in place for them. In fact, when I was there they were not even considered refugees. I was amongst hundreds of people with no place to sleep, no food, nothing. I spoke with a lot of them and found most of them just want the rest of the world to know and understand what they’ve been involved with. I learned how they managed to cross the border, and what they had to leave behind. It wasn’t unitl one man grabbed me and said, “do you have any idea the capacity you have, living in the United States, to make changes? You have so much more than you may realize. You have access to the global community- we don’t.” And this light bulb went off and I thought about how I was contributing to the global world and what more I could do. On my flight back I was flying above Africa and I realized I was above all these horrific events that were taking place. How incredibly moved I felt to help more after talking to these people and really hearing what they were saying. It was very symbolic.
L&W- What did you do when you got back to the US?
MS- I spoke to the United Nations, flew to London, got into contact with other people working on the same issues. I opened my mind to empathy, and it changed me. I started having more discussions about how we could organize more help for the people of Zimbabwe. I started to blog about international processes around the issue, which lead to other ways of helping. And I loved finding so many people who are still in the corporate world but finding ways to volunteer, if even just a little bit of their time. That was something worth sharing, because it made others feel they could do it too. I also feel that people aren’t as involved with these issues because they aren’t aware of how they can help. So I try, through my blog, to make it accessible and relevant to see as many ways as possible to get involved.
L&W- And you’re doing radio as well?
MS- Well, I’ve been mostly blogging, but I booked a radio show and I noticed that as soon as I said I was doing the show I was booked up for the next two months! We’re interviewing so many people now for the radio, and it just tells me that people feel comfortable talking on the radio and are excited about it. We just interviewed Ballet Rwanda, which is an incredible group helping the people of Rwanda, as well as African Well Fund, which builds wells in places where people don’t have clean drinking water. I think also that when people here the enthusiasm in the interviews and get to know what others are doing they begin to believe that they could do it too. And that’s absolutely true.
L&W- How has social networking helped you so far?
MS- I love it! I think we have to completely take advantage of what we have right now with social networking. I can’t think of another time in history where people have had so much access to each other and to information. It’s incredible, and more people could take advantage of it because it helps everyone when used the right way.
L&W- What do you think of the concept of Love and Water?
MS- I love the concept, being so creative, and it touches into a new market and it’s a fun way to engage people toward a beneficial goal. I feel, as I said before, that we have the capacity to do so much good. And because we have that capacity why not put it to good use and really figure out how we can make a difference.
L&W- I want everyone to read your blog, because I know they’ll find a way of vlounteering that suits them and it’s such a fantastic concept.
MS- Yes, it’s true- there really is something for everyone.