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Overcoming Challenges

Cyril Eicher is a 23 year old student at Coventry University studying Disaster Management. He joined IDV in Port au Prince in July 2011. Cyril faced many challenges in Haiti, including a car accident and a serious illness.

We asked him to reflect on the time he spent in Haiti and how it's affected him in the long-term.

Why did you want to volunteer in the first place?

I have just completed a degree in Disaster Management and I needed to gain experience in the field. The only way to do so was to volunteer.

Did volunteering surprise you, or was it what you expected?

I was astonished by the strength, passion and devotion people have to help the most vulnerable. I found it brilliant as there aren't many people who would do that. Each and one of the volunteers I met had their own goals and reasons to volunteer. It was really interesting to meet people from different background and coming all together for the same reason: helping others.

What is your clearest memory from Haiti?

Everything that has happened in Haiti will remain in me for the rest of my life. It was a great pleasure to work with IDV. For me, the most important part was studying the impact of the earthquake on the community. I was really interested in knowing more about the cascading effects of multiple hazards and socio-eco-political factors onto the populace.

How did volunteering with IDV change you? What kind of long-term impact has the experience had on your life?

From a career point of view IDV made me realized few things that will change my life for sure. Since I was little I had the idea of going and work in the field and help the most vulnerable. Through my experience in Haiti I realized that my good intentions alone are not enough – you need knowledge and experience. Therefore my long-term plans are more focused on gaining experience in Europe for now before to work overseas.

IDV also helped me to figure out what I really wanted to do after my degree. Before I used to be confused as my degree opens so many doors but at the same time. My experience with IDV helped me decide that the best route for me will be to a master's degree next September in adaptation and development at King's College in order to gain a better understanding of the current trends in developed and developing countries.

Cyril reminds us that the most important lessons can be learned from challenges. We continue to be inspired by his positive attitude, and wish him all the best on his next degree!