VSO volunteers work to fight poverty in the developing world and change the lives of thousands of people for the better, every day. The impact of your work will be far reaching, leaving a positive legacy that remains long after you have returned home. But that is not the whole story. Volunteers also often tell us that their time with us has been one of the most powerful and rewarding experiences of their lives.
People bring about change
Each year, VSO improves healthcare for around two million people. We help around two million children get a better education and improve HIV and AIDS prevention, care and support for over three million people. That’s not to mention our livelihoods and governance programmes.
All of this is accomplished by volunteers: national volunteers, who work within their own communities; youth volunteers, who come together across cultures to work on community projects, and international volunteers, who work in their area of professional expertise.
As ever, the statistics don’t tell the whole story.
For example, across five countries (Ghana, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Namibia and Thailand) we’ve improved the quality of education for almost half a million girls.
That’s a wonderful thing in itself, but it also has some important knock-on effects: research shows that the longer a girl stays in school, the higher her income will be, the less likely she is to contract HIV, the fewer children she’ll have and the healthier those children will be.
How you'll benefit
Volunteering can be enormously rewarding on many different levels; from the positive feeling when you have made a difference to someone's life, to the development of a CV that stands you out from the crowd.
But don’t take our word for it. Here are some of the personal benefits volunteers have told us they have experienced. You can watch and read more about these volunteers in life-changing stories.
"I’ve gained new skills including chairing meetings and engaging in formal dialogue with senior leaders." (midwife)
"Volunteering has given me a completely different breadth of experience and will help me change my career path into teacher training. (teacher)
"It’s been invaluable for my training; I’ve seen complications I wouldn’t often see in the UK which counts for so much more than I would learn from a year at home." (obstetrician)
"I came back to my primary school in Scotland and took on a greater leadership and management role." (teacher)
"The thrill of teaching student midwives who will go on to play a direct role in saving lives makes it all worthwhile." (midwife)
"Working together with a team of nurses, we managed to resuscitate a young child - when you see such strong teamwork, and the child comes out OK, it really is hugely rewarding." (paediatrician)