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DAJ Yanneck Kessel

DAJ Yanneck Kessel


My name is Yanneck Keßel. I work at the ASC Göttingen sports club. I started in 2008/9 with voluntary service in South Africa. I was one of the first weltwärts volunteers, a service financed by
the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. One of the voluntary services
in South Africa concerned sport, in particular handball,
my favourite sport. I was excited from the beginning. An interview followed
my written application and from a vague idea a plan
developed relatively quickly. Our idea was that we could do
great things in South Africa: Set up handball teams,
form a league… It quickly became clear that
we were young high school leavers who could play handball well, but had no experience of
how to go about this. Our task was school sport. I could talk about my experiences
in South Africa for hours without getting bored. The effect this year abroad had on me
is unbelievable. Back at home I realised that
I was no longer a young German, but instead an a global citizen. I understood what it means
to live in a globalised world. And that it does make a difference
where you’re born. I also had to learn how to deal with
the poverty in South Africa. The child poverty was particularly
strange to me and I found it really hard. It’s hard, you reflect lots and you find your way to deal with it
without dulling it. We try to personally encourage
the children through our sport projects. While we don’t take kids
off the street, we motivate them to live actively and to make the best of
their opportunities. Many of our prejudices
have turned out to be nonsense, but some were confirmed. The mentality towards life there
is completely different: much louder, happier,
more emotional. People chat, cry, laugh –
everything is more lively. Applying and going abroad was
the best decision I could have made. It has given me a lot and also shaped my professional future. I now know: the field I’d like to
work in, that’s my lifestyle. I’ve found myself,
so to speak. I know what I want to do
and where my road is headed. I advise anyone toying with
the idea to apply. Just apply –
imagine it works.

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