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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

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,

Samuel's story
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  • Disability

VSO volunteer disability adviser Christiane Merz has been working in northern Rwanda alongside the district authorities for two years, helping to ensure the needs and rights of people with disabilities are properly met.

Teaching Methodology Advisor Béibhinn in Rwanda
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  • Education icon

Béibhinn Ní Mhuirí, originally from Co. Down, Ireland has spent a year working as a Teaching Methodology Advisor in Rwamagana, Rwanda. Working in 10 schools, across three districts, with over 25 teachers, Béibhinn is sharing her teaching skills to improve the quality of education for Rwandan children.

VSO volunteer Mike Ashby Teaching Methodology Adviser in Rwanda
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  • Education icon

Mike Ashby is sharing primary teaching skills as a Teaching Methodology Adviser in the Karongi district of Rwanda, working with fifteen schools in a region where tens of thousands were killed during the 1994 genocide. Read more about Mike's work below.

Anuradha Banerjee with the managing director of Rans, Nassor Salim Al-Miskiry. Anuradha is working to support the SME in Zamzibar.
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  • Secure livelihoods

Anuradha Banerjee is a Barclays employee and currently a VSO volunteer in Tanzania. In the UK, she is a Vice-President for business development within Wealth and Investment Management. She has spent five months as a corporate volunteer analysing the Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) market in Zanzibar so she can advise an international oil and gas company on opportunities to create shared value from its entry into the market.

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  • Education icon

Michelle Dully, a primary school teacher from Co. Meath, has just come back from a 12 month placement in Muhanga District, Rwanda where she worked as a Teaching Methodology Advisor. 

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  • Education icon

The majority of primary school children in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are unable to read English, a fact that’s exacerbated by limited access to literacy resources in schools across the country. In partnership with the PNG Department of Education, VSO successfully trialled a programme to see if daily mobile phone text message stories could improve English teaching and ultimately, children’s reading. Read about the programme's success below.

Tanzania Health Project Health Volunteer Birgit Konig
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  • Health

VSO volunteer Birgit Konig is a technical advisor for quality and care at St Francis Hospital, a large referral hospital in Tanzania. She is one of a number of international volunteers with healthcare skills working improve the overall management and effectiveness of the hospital. Read more below.

tanzania health volunteer michael o'donovan physician ifakara 446x306
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  • Health

Michael O’Donovan is a consultant physician volunteering with VSO in the department of internal medicine at a busy hospital in the south central region of Tanzania. Watch a short film and read about his work below.

Baba Keita and his son Richard run a successful fish farm thanks to training from VSO partner PAD
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  • Secure livelihoods

In Nigeria, VSO volunteer agro-business advisor Sanne Holtslag is coordinating the activities of Accenture funded partners who deliver technical and business training to farmers. Read the story of Baba Keita who started a fish farming business to secure a future for his children.   

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