Emilie Wilhelmsen

Emilie Wilhelmsen | 21 years old | Oslo, Norway

Emilie Wilhelmsen has visited the Ilula Orphan Program on three separate occasions in the past several years. With two of the girls from the Ilula Orphan Center, she participated in a program called Communication for Change, funded by Norwegian Church Aid. While at IOP, she aided in a variety of tasks including: visiting foster families, working at village markets selling items from the seamstress shop, aiding the Ilula YWCA, helping the Girl Guides and activities with the girls at the Center. Wilhelmsen is currently a life sponsor for one of the young girls living at the Center. She plans to join IOP Norway to strengthen the connection between sponsors and sponsored students.

Comments on Her Experience:

Emilie Wilhelmsen stated: “I have learned so much from the IOP. I have grown, especially the first time I was here. When I went home, I wasn’t sure what had changed but many things had changed in a positive way. I have never really found ‘my thing’ but IOP is something that is very close to my heart, something that I burn for. It is something that I want to work for and follow. I will come back again and again.”

 About IOP:

Wilhelmsen described her first connection to the IOP: “The first time I was here, my travel partner and I started eating with the girls. In the beginning, they looked very weirdly at us. They wondered why we weren’t eating in the other hall. We came to be accepted because we wanted to eat with them. I knew it, especially, when one of the girls, Anna, said to us in Swahili, ‘Come and let’s eat!’ Every day they would put food out for us to eat with them.”

About Her Sponsorship:

Wilhelmsen elaborated on her desire to sponsor: “I really wanted to become a sponsor after I was at the IOP. I was thinking a lot about sponsoring someone outside the Center because I have a very close relationship with all of the girls. I didn’t want to have one that outweighed the rest. Last summer, I received an email about the arrival of three girls. I saw the picture of Witness and my heart melted. Two of my best friends are sponsors for the other two girls, Angel and Martha. I am very lucky to be her sponsor. I met her the first time in November 2014. Yes, I am her sponsor but I still have the same connection with other girls.”

Advice for Future Volunteers:

Wilhelmsen explained: “Be yourself. To make your stay the best, it is all about the way you see things and the way you do things. Don’t be shy, tell people what you want but do it in a polite way. They are very cooperative. No one is going to make your stay the best; you have to do it yourself.”


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