Seán Fitzmaurice is a retired secondary school teacher from Dublin who recently commenced his volunteer placement training teachers on the Unlocking Talent through Technology programme in Lilongwe, Malawi. He discusses the positive impact he's seen on his placement to date and what it's been like setting into Malawian life.
Retired primary school principal Padraic McKeon has volunteered with VSO Ireland three times, in South Sudan, Myanmar and most recently on an Irish Aid funded project in Uganda. Here, he outlines his motivations for initially taking the plunge and why he has no regrets.
‘Sudan? That’s a trouble-spot, isn’t it?
‘Is it very hot out there?’
‘You’re a brave man.’
‘I’d love to do it – sometime.’
Primary school teacher Claire Nic Gabhann from Monaghan spent 12 months volunteering on an education programme in Tanzania. While on placement, Claire worked with teachers to improve the style and method of their teaching. Here, she discusses what her placement entailed and how she benefited from it.
A year into his placement in Papua New Guinea, Eoin O’Maoileoin discusses his volunteer journey so far – why it has been so rewarding and what he misses most about Ireland.
Culture shock can affect anyone, whether you're a first-time volunteer or have been away many times before. There are lots of new factors to consider on each volunteering placement. Not only do you have to adjust to a completely foreign culture, there are new colleagues, tasks, languages and climates to come to terms with too. You're not just visiting a different country – you actually have to create a life for yourself there and face up to extreme poverty that you aren't used to back home. Even veteran volunteers can find this challenging at the beginning of a placement.
In an extract from his blog, Tom Collins, who is currently volunteering with VSO Ireland as a Financial Management Advisor in Zambia, discusses his first three years on placement. Tom previously volunteered in Cameroon from 2008 until 2011, where he worked as Institutional Development Advisor to the Maga local council in the Far North region of the country.
Siobhán Neville (Dublin) and Peter O'Reilly (Co. Kerry), both paediatricians, have just returned from volunteering for six months in Lindi, Tanzania. Based across several local hospitals and health centres, they helped to improve neonatal mortality rates by assessing practices and recommending changes to support both mothers and newborns. In this blog post, Siobhán discusses the challenges and successes encountered on her placement.
In an extract from her blog, Marie Moreau, who has just returned from volunteering with VSO Ireland as an Inspection Advisor in Uganda, talks about her experience helping to improve the country's education system.
Tom O'Donoghue from Co. Wexford is currently voluteering with head-teachers and school communities in Tanzania.
Why did you volunteer?
I’ve always enjoyed volunteering. Not only does it make you feel good for contributing and getting involved but you know you can genuinely make a difference. A lot of people are in a unique position where they can contribute through volunteering. You can educate others who can then pass that on. You can help others who are in need of your help. You can make a difference in countries that aren’t as privileged as our countries. That is a wonderful feeling, but you have to make it happen. I did and I enjoyed every minute of it.