WITH the jobs market still in the doldrums, international development agency VSO is seeking volunteers to apply their skills in some of the world’s most underdeveloped countries.
Since 2004, over 250 Irish people have participated in VSO programmes, including Raheen teacher Mary Sugrue, who is currently working in Rwanda as an advisor in a teacher training centre.
Rwanda’s recent history is blighted by the genocide in the mid-90s which left as many as one million people dead. As the country rebuilds, access to education is relatively good by African standards but, according to VSO, the quality of learning leaves much to be desired.
“Almost 40% of children in primary education are not reading at the level expected but volunteers like Mary are working to change this by ensuring teachers are equipped to teach basic literacy and numeracy in the classroom,” said Deirdre Finlay, head of programmes at VSO Ireland.
“Volunteers like Mary help us achieve our ultimate aim of ending poverty. They share their skills and transform lives and communities across Africa and Asia,” Ms Finlay said.
While playing their part in fighting poverty, the experience is also fulfilling for the volunteers themselves, she added.
“Volunteering abroad is a journey of personal and professional discovery. On a personal basis, it challenges our preconceptions of the world and our own, unique place in it and on a professional basis; it gives our volunteers new skills in management and leadership that makes them more valuable on their return to Ireland.”
VSO Ireland are seeking qualified professionals in education, health, management and IT for placements of one to two years.
Flights, visas, accommodation and medical insurance are covered by the agency, which also pays a daily living allowance.
Contact 01 6401060 or visit www.vso.ie for more information