Welcome to our volunteer pages. Here we are presenting the introductions and progress reports for volunteers currently working in the field. We hope this will give a good sense of what VSO is actually achieving and what its like to be a volunteer in a developing country. If you are thinking of volunteering for VSO or making a donation, these accounts will help to illustrate how important their work is and how sharing skills can change lives.
VSO works in 17 African countries, including Tanzania, where Dr. Tim Baker is currently working. Tanzania is ranked at 151 out of 180 countries on the HDI (the Human Development Index scale and faces huge challenges in the field of health. Life expectancy is only 45 years (compared to 81 in the UK), £13 is spent on health per person per year (compared to £1030 in the UK) and twenty seven times more children die before their fifth birthday than in the UK, often from easily curable diseases such as diarrhoea, lung infections and measles. Many thanks to Tim for providing the following reports.
Tim Baker - Preparing to Depart for Africa
My name is Tim Baker. Im in the last stages of preparing to leave for Tanzania where I will be a VSO volunteer. I would like to introduce myself to you and explain a little about what I expect to be doing in Tanzania.
I am 29 years old and have worked as a doctor for 5 years. Originally from Brighton, I moved to Sheffield to study medicine and qualified in 1999. During my years in Sheffield I became increasingly interested in International Health issues. At a conference in Greece I met a wonderful Swedish student, Ulrika, who has since become my fiancée and will be working alongside me in Tanzania. more
My name is Freda Ellis. I am currently Headteacher of a village Primary School in the heart of beautiful rural Dorset. On the 7th September 2005 I am flying out to Pnomh Penh in Cambodia to start a two-year stint as a volunteer with VSO. I am now going to try and explain how this came about!
I first applied to do Voluntary Service Overseas many years ago (too many to count!). Then, as now, the selection process was quite long and careful, and, in my case, somewhat complicated by a slight health problem with one eye. During the time it took for my application to be processed, I was offered paid employment within a potentially secure career structure, and in my state of amazed gratitude, I withdrew my application to VSO. This is one of the few things in my life that I have ever regretted. more
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