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Life-changing stories

What is it like to live and work in a developing country as a VSO volunteer? Read about VSO volunteer experiences, what it's like to work with a VSO volunteer from the point of view of our partner organisations and how VSO’s work is changing the lives of people in the poorest communities every day. These are real stories from real people that leave a lasting impact.

To find out firsthand what it's like to be a VSO volunteer read the blogs written by volunteers currently serving overseas

Lydia with her VSO ICS entrepeneur team and Cambodian counterparts
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  • Secure livelihoods

Lydia volunteered in Cambodia with VSO ICS Entrepeneur, working with existing enterprise owners to help develop business skills, as well as finding potential opportunities for new businesses to develop.

Vix Anderton VSO-ICS Team Leader in Bangladesh with her counterpart S
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  • Secure livelihoods

Vix is a Team Leader in Bangladesh with VSO ICS Entrepeneur. Here she gives us an insight into what life is like leading a team of volunteers overseas.

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  • Secure livelihoods

When her father and older brother died in mining accidents Alice Mangane was suddenly left head of her household and took on the burden of looking after her five siblings and mother. Read how with VSO supported help she became a successful businesswoman.

Girl, educated: Yam Kumari’s story
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  • Education icon

In rural Nepal, women and girls can often be excluded from social, educational and political roles that could help them make a lasting difference to their communities. Many are responsible for both the household chores and working to provide for the family, leaving them with little time or no incentive to attend school.

Lessons learned on ICSE Kenya
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  • Secure livelihoods

For the past 3 months Pete has been volunteering in Nairobi, Kenya with VSO ICS Entrepreneur. Since being on the programme he has learnt a lot about himself through working cross-culturally and especially through working with entrepreneurs. Read on forhis six inspiring lessons from working with enterprises overseas.

Hon. Esther Murugi Mathenge greets beneficiaries of the Cash Transfer for the Elderly programme in Nyeri, Kenya
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  • Participation and governance

Kenyan MP and former minister Hon. Esther Murugi Mathenge is a fighting force for the people of Nyeri. Here, she talks candidly about her achievements, and the need to move beyond policy in order to empower women.

VSO ICS youth volunteer Alex Mountain in the Philippines
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  • Secure livelihoods

Alexandra Mountain volunteered with VSO ICS in the Philippines, supporting youth groups to raise awareness about protecting the local water source.

Arnoud Keizer OpenStreetMap technology training Philippines life-changing
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  • Participation and governance

VSO EU AID volunteer Arnoud Keizer spent nine months working with the Filipino government and communities affected by disasters. He is supporting national efforts to use science and technology to prepare for and prevent future devastation. Read how below.

James Croston rain harvesting sanitation Jharkhand India
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  • Health

Drawing on his professional experience as an engineer in the UK, VSO EU Aid volunteer James Croston piloted rainwater harvesting techniques and researched hygiene practices in remote rural areas to advise communities on simple solutions to improve sanitation.
 

Sarah Matthews VSO EUAid volunteer Assam, India
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  • Health

VSO volunteer Sarah Matthews drew on her experience of working with WASH technologies and methodologies in developing countries, to provide technical support for WASH initiatives to our partner OXFAM and its local partners in Assam, India,

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