VSO ­ Sharing Skills, Changing Lives

Welcome! My name is Dominic, Senior Student Advisor for WorldWideStudy, and I’d like to welcome you to our sponsored charity page.

VSO is an international development charity that works through volunteers to fight poverty and disadvantage in developing countries around the world. I have a particular interest in VSO since serving as a volunteer between 2000 and 2003 in Nepal, where I worked as a teacher trainer. My VSO experience, and the friends I made, genuinely changed my life and I include a small gallery of pictures from my time there to give a taste.

Unlike many charities, VSO is not just about sending aid, but instead places men and women with a diverse range of skills to work as equals alongside local partners, to help develop their potential and reduce their dependence on outside sources. By sharing skills and building partnerships, VSO is working to achieve long-term, sustainable change.

Since 1958 VSO has sent out more than 30,000 volunteers to work all over the developing world and currently has about 1400 people placed in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Eastern Europe. VSO volunteers can be aged between 17 and 75 (the average age is 38) and are, typically, experienced professionals, spanning a wide range of skills ­ from midwives and teacher trainers to accountants and marketing advisors. The skills VSO is looking for changes regularly - you can find out whether VSO is looking for specific skills here http://www.vso.org.uk/volunteering/

VSO works closely with its local partners to develop volunteer placements that will continue to make a difference long after the volunteer has returned home. In order to find people with the right set of skills to fill these placements, VSO has recruitment bases in Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands, the Philippines and India, as well as the UK. This means, for example, that VSO can place an IT specialist from Canada to work in a group of schools in Tanzania, or an HIV/AIDS professional from Uganda to work with street children in Mongolia.

Worldwidestudy is tracking two volunteers, Dr. Tim Baker who is working in a hospital in Tanzania, and Freda Ellis, who is working as an Education Manager in Cambodia. They will be sending us regular updates on the progress of their placements, which you can read on The VSO Volunteers Page.

Supporting VSO

Volunteering with VSO is a major commitment, and one that not everyone is in a position to make. However, there is a lot that you can do to help VSO help people in developing countries, without volunteering abroad yourself.

You can commit to give money regularly to VSO, or make a one-off gift, by clicking here https://www.vso.org.uk/giving/donate.asp and following the instructions on the page.

VSO also organises a range of activities which friends, family and colleagues can sponsor you to do, for example trekking in places such as Peru and Nepal, running in the British 10k Road Race or holding a curry night.

You can find out more details by clicking here

You could also get your company involved, for example by getting your colleagues involved in fundraising activities, asking your employer to match your gift or suggesting VSO for a Charity of the Year scheme. You can find out more information by emailing VSO’s corporate team mailto:corporate.partnerships@vso.org.uk


Germaine Arnold,
VSO Community Nurse -
Uttar Pradesh, India
©VSO/John Spaull.

Sarah Ingleby
VSO Business Advisor -Disacare Wheelchair Centre, Zambia
©VSO/John Spaull.

Tim Healing,
VSO Management Advisor Agribusiness Consulting Centre, Astana, Kazakhstan

©VSO/JLiba Taylor

Sonia Malani, VSO IT Trainer and Augustine Lukoa - Kuleana Street Children's Project, Mwanza, Tanzania
©VSO/Pieternella Pieterse

© 2004 WorldWide Study - finding the right courses for international students to study abroad