Volunteer stories

Volunteer stories

What is it like to live and work in a developing country as a VSO volunteer? Can one person really make a difference? 

VSO volunteers are young and old, male and female and come from all over the world. What they have in common is a desire to give their time freely to work with some of the world's poorest and most marginalised communities to try and improve things. Could you join them?

Find out what it could mean to step forward as a VSO volunteer by reading their stories below, or read firsthand accounts on volunteers' blogs.


"I really wanted to find a meaningful way of sharing my experience before I retired"

Nepal's government schools are under-resourced and populated with overstretched staff and children from marginalised communities. Ludiya Besisira, a headteacher, spent two years in Nepal as an education management adviser. 
Explore Ludiya's placement


"It was really devastating to see an evacuation centre had been placed so close to the sea where a lot of people died...our project could have prevented these type of casualties"

The Philippines is prone to disastrous storms and typhoons. Arnoud Keizer, spent nine months in the country, training community leaders to use simple, free software to map areas at risk of flooding.
Explore Arnoud's placement


"Those who receive the training become trainers themselves so the skills are passed on increasingly widely"

In Malawi, the rate of women who die from complications arising from pregancy and childbirth is high, but the country lacks the training resources to plug the skills gap. Gynaecologist and obstetrician, Kate Darlow, spent six months in the country training frontline health workers workers - with her young family.
Explore Kate's placement


"I thought it’s high time we start with what we have and I started with myself"

In Rwanda, living with a disability still carries a stigma. Fred Kasozi spent just over a year working with a beekeeping cooperative exclusively for people living with disabilities, encouraging them to grow and diversify their income by coaching for business skills.
Explore Fred's placement


"As a VSO volunteer you can find yourself in extreme and new situations that teach you an important lesson about your comfort zone"

Wealth is unequally distributed in Tanzania, with people living on the island of Zanzibar struggling particularly with skills gaps and youth unemployent. Barclays employee Anuradha Banerjee travelled to the country to work on a study to identify how foreign companies investing in the region can ensure the most disadvantaged also benefit.
Explore Anuradha's placement

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