StudentNews_Honduras_090320

Physiotherapy student looking to inspire others through volunteering work

Mon, 25 Nov 2019 16:19:00 GMT
Matthieu spent two years in Honduras with Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos
Matthieu spent two years in Honduras with Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos

A GCU student is hoping his work helping vulnerable children across the world will inspire other students at the University.

Msc Physiotherapy student Matthieu Haentjens left home in 2017 to spend two years in Honduras volunteering with Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos - an international organisation that provides homes for orphaned and disabled children across nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

After returning to his native France in 2019, Matthieu decided to head to Glasgow to study at GCU and also help raise awareness of the work of NPH. Matthieu explained his journey and why the organisation holds a special place in his heart.

He said: “I was raised in a lovely, wealthy family so I was conscious of my privileges as a white male in the world.

After completing my degree in Paris, I spent two years working in physiotherapy with my speciality being paediatrics. It is very expensive to hire a physiotherapist in Honduras so it worked perfectly for me to go across there and help the children.”

He added: “I volunteered at the hospital during the day and at night I was essentially looking after twelve boys aged between nine and seventeen. I created really strong relationships with them and we still talk every day - it’s great to hear how they are getting on.”

Matthieu also believes his time in South America has helped him develop professionally and would encourage other students to consider volunteering with NPH in the future.

He said: “It was incredible for me and definitely set me on my path to the post registration programme here at GCU.

It is an amazing opportunity, especially for health practitioners and nurses as you’re working in tough conditions and learn so much. The people there are extremely grateful and it’s a really different relationship to what we have here in the UK - where some people take the amazing work the NHS do for granted.”

Find out more about NPH here

By Ross Clark
Got an SHLS or GSBS story? Email Ross.Clark@gcu.ac.uk or contact me on Twitter