12 photos that give us hope for the future
We share 12 incredible photos that tell the story of the impact VSO has made over the past year.
Looking back at our year in photos shows the scale of achievements of thousands of VSO volunteers making a difference to millions of people’s lives over the past year.
From making childbirth safer in Sierra Leone, to tackling violence against women in Nepal, to bringing education to Rohingya refugee children, we’re proud of what we’ve achieved together.
Eililoy Kamwendo stands in her patch of farmland at dusk. The darkness is no longer an obstacle for 100 households in rural Malawi, since solar lighting systems were installed by women like Eililoy, trained as engineers on VSO’s Solar Mamas project.
In a country where only 1 in every 10 people is plugged into the national grid, sundown used to dictate an end to the day. Now, children can do homework, farming and businesses can continue into the evening, and families feel more safe and secure by electric light.
Mina* and her husband laugh together outside their home in Baglung, Nepal – but things weren’t always like this. The two have reconciled since becoming involved in a VSO project to tackle gender-based violence and family conflict.
Alcoholism and violence, fuelled by poverty, were a taint on this family, but since a programme of training on gender rights provided by community volunteers, and support with starting an income-generating activity, life has much improved.
A boy blows bubbles against the backdrop of the Rohingya refugee camps at Jamtoli, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
In 2018, our amazing supporters rallied round to raise over £130,000 to support refugee children like this little boy to access quality, safe education while they’ve been displaced from homes, schools and everything they knew.
Children from a primary school in Battambang, Cambodia proudly hold their saplings for a photo before taking part in a tree-planting workshop organised by VSO’s ICS youth volunteering programme.
Schools across the region have been working with youth volunteers from Cambodia and the UK to encourage youngsters to get passionate about protecting the environment. In 2018, we reached another milestone when the 35,000th youth volunteer took part in the programme.
Do you know a young person aged 18-25 who could volunteer? The ICS programme is recruiting now.
Asquale Atsbaha radiates the joy of an expectant mother, as the moment she will meet her baby draws closer with each day that passes. It’s happiness uncomplicated by the fear and uncertainty faced by many mums in Ethiopia, who live far from health facilities.
Asquale is staying at a maternity waiting home established by VSO in Tigray, where pregnant women facing complications or risky delivery can rest easy knowing expert medical care is only ever moments away.
VSO volunteers can come from anywhere in the world, including from the communities we work in. In Zimbabwe, a VSO project is engaging people serving time in prison as volunteers.
Amid HIV rates twice that found in the general populations, these ‘peer educators’ are forming support groups inside prisons to break down stigma and encourage people to take and stay on medication. When they leave prison, many are transformed and committed to continue volunteering in their home community of their own accord.
Sento Timbo holds her one-year-old, Shaku, whom she very nearly lost in terrible flooding following a catastrophic mudslide in Freetown, Sierra Leone, last year.
In the aftermath, VSO provided clean water, basic hygiene supplies and a place to sleep for families like this. More than a year on from the disaster, community volunteers are working with local people to reduce the risk of future disasters causing such terrible loss of life.
This fishing net means survival. Families living on the shores of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake have for generations depended on its waters for food and income.
Today many are struggling to get by as fish stocks have been decimated by illegal fishing, as well as by environmental problems. VSO is supporting a project to tackle unsustainable practices, and help families find alternative sources of income such as tourism, while fish stocks recover.
A girl carries a handful of stars woven from ribbon by young people in workshops led by ICS youth volunteers Gladys Muthara and Susan Waruingi. These were designed to get young people to open up about violence and discrimination in their communities in a slum area of Nairobi, Kenya.
Earlier in the year, they sent over 7,500 of the hand-woven stars to be displayed at the Commonwealth Games in Sydney, Australia.
Macklynne Katsuiime shows off her tailoring skills to VSO work readiness volunteer Karen Gartner. Karen’s placement is helping vocational training colleges prepare their students to survive and thrive in a challenging context for youth employment.
The special needs unit at Township Muslim Primary School, in Machakos, 60 miles south of Nairobi is a valuable resource to children with learning disabilities like Nambia (right).
Her mother Agnes - in denial about her daughter's disability due to local stigma - insisted on her being educated in a mainstream school, where she made little progress and fell six years behind her classmates. But thanks to VSO work in the region tackling disability stigma and the work of ICS youth volunteers supporting the school, Nambia is now learning basic skills and helping out with chores around the home for the first time - and connecting with her mum.
Susan Sesay holds her beautiful four-month-old son Joseph. After losing four of her children to disease, Susan prayed her unborn baby would be delivered safely.
Thanks to a VSO project that has trained midwives in Sierra Leone’s Bombali district and equipped them with portable ultrasound scanners, Susan received a scan that showed she faced a high chance of a dangerous birth. The scanner allowed midwife Elizabeth to make a confident decision to refer Susan to hospital, where she delivered Joseph safely via caesarean.
Sierra Leone has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, but we're hoping to change that. You can help provide the training to a midwife and the equipment they need to safely deliver babies.