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Projects Abroad Reminds People of the Value of a Smile this April Fools Day

The organization shares the ways in which 745 volunteers are making an impact around the world this week

A female volunteers spends time with a resident at a home for the elderly in Peru

An elderly Peruvian woman and a Projects Abroad volunteer share a smile at a home in Cusco.

TORONTO – April 1, 2015 – This April Fools Day, Projects Abroad is reminding people of the value of a smile by sharing all the meaningful ways in which volunteers have brought joy to others around the world. A small contribution can go a long way and the 745 volunteers abroad this week are lending a helping hand wherever they can in the communities the organization works in.

“Volunteering is a great way to give back and put a smile on someone’s face all year round,” says Khadija Benchlikha, Program Advisor for Projects Abroad Canada. “Every volunteer contribution, big or small, makes an impact. Whether it’s a child scoring a goal as part of a soccer team for the first time thanks to a community sports project, or a promising entrepreneur receiving a loan to start their own business, the result is always worthwhile. It’s wonderful to know that because of the 745 volunteers abroad today, hundreds of lives are being changed in different ways.”

Here are some of the ways in which Projects Abroad volunteers have recently brought smiles to the faces of the people they work with:

Volunteers based in Fiji banded together to help build a new floor and ramps in the home of a family with children affected by Muscular Dystrophy. The smiles on the boys’ faces when they saw the new wooden floor brought equally bright smiles to the faces of the volunteers. Nutrition interns are also making an impact in Fiji. In the village of Dratabu, they helped conduct health screenings for villagers, including Jone Temo, an elderly resident. Jone is diabetic and has already had a foot amputated because of the complications of the disease, so it is crucial for him to have regular blood sugar checks. For Jone, it means a great deal for interns to visit his home and test his blood sugar levels because he does not enough money to go to the hospital. "Thank you very much for taking the time to come to my house," he said, thanking the volunteers with a big smile.

In Peru, volunteers visited a home for the elderly in Cusco to spend time quality time with residents. Many residents at the home do not have many visitors and they enjoy chatting with volunteers and sharing stories from their lives. The nine volunteers who visited the home did activities such as playing games and helping with their lunch.

Kenneth Frodin, a Swedish volunteer, traveled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and made a hugely significant contribution to the Mwandaliwa Orphanage Centre. In addition to teaching English, math, and the importance of hygiene, Kenneth also got involved in sports and started a soccer team for the orphanage children. The children love soccer and Kenneth appreciated being able to share his skills and passion for the sport with them and bring a smile to their faces on the field.

For more information about volunteering abroad, please visit www.projects-abroad.ca

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 27 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at www.projects-abroad.ca

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