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Favourite moments of 2016

Despite the negative events that have sometimes dominated the news this year, there is still much to celebrate. In fact, this year we have seen once again the progress that can be made by working together.

It is impossible to list everything our incredible volunteers, partners and supporters have achieved in 2016, but here are some of our favourite moments. This year...

 We held our first ever Volunteer Awards to celebrate the work of our amazing volunteers.

Judith and Simon Hill won the International Volunteer Award, for their work in Nepal.

Judith and Simon Hill won the International Volunteer Award, for their work in Nepal.

 

Volunteers and staff celebrated volunteering all around the world

celebrating volunteer day in Ethiopia

Staff and volunteers in Ethiopia celebrated International Volunteer Day at Mesekerem Primary School.

 

We heard from volunteers returning to their placements - and seeing the lasting effect of their work. 

Stephanie Greenr interviewing Safia Alhassan Andani a womens group at Sagnarigu, Ghana Andrew Aitchison

Volunteer Stephanie Green spent two years in Ghana working to help Shea nut processors become financially independent businesswomen. She returned earlier this year- and was delighted to see that the women are thriving, independent of VSO support

 

We saw volunteers setting up their own charities

Kevin Morley and daughter Elsa outside the Saltergate Children’s Home with two local children

Volunteer teacher Kevin Morley set up a charity supporting Ethiopia’s homeless children

 

And we saw fantastic reunions

Ken Longden with his class in nigeria 40 years ago

Volunteer Ken Longden met up with pupils he taught in Nigeria 40 years ago. 

 

We loved seeing your baby photos as part of our First Breath campaign

This lovely picture was shared by @father_of_daughters in support of our campaign

This lovely picture was shared by @father_of_daughters in support of our campaign

 

...By sharing your pictures you helped raise awareness of our work supporting babies in those first vital minutes of life. In fact, over 980,000 people benefited from improved health services thanks to VSO volunteers and partners (2015/16). 

Rahel Beyan is one of the nurses in Tigray, Ethiopia helping to improve conditions for mothers and newborns at Suhul Hospital.jpg Paul James Driscoll

Rahel Beyan (centre) is one of the nurses in Tigray, Ethiopia helping to improve conditions for mothers and newborns at Suhul Hospital.

 

This year we were the charity partner to Shakespeare Lives. With support from the British Council and the GREAT Campaign we raised money to support our education programmes around the world.

VSO staff and volunteers at the Lord Mayor's Show

Staff and volunteers at Lord Mayor's Show with our Shakespeare themed float

 

...Over 920,000 children and adults around the world benefited from our work improving education (2015/16). 

7-year-old Blessing Asokiyine (centre) is helped out by VSO volunteer Mary Carnable during a lesson at Goriko kindergarten in Talensi District

7-year-old Blessing Asokiyine (centre) is helped out by volunteer Mary Carnable during a lesson at Goriko Kindergarten in Talensi District, Ghana.

 

We spoke out against a number of important issues, including the issue of irresponsible 'voluntourism' projects - and their effect on vulnerable children. Lending weight to the work of JK Rowling and her charity, Lumos.

"VSO strongly backs JK Rowling’s views on this issue and we are ready to work with all organisations to ensure that orphanage trips are consigned to history.” said VSO CEO Philip Goodwin

 

This year we were also reminded...

When you work together - you can make change happen

VSO volunteers Gregory from Nigeria and Tangina from Bangladesh at the conference of International Volunteer Cooperation Organisations.

VSO volunteers Gregory from Nigeria and Tangina from Bangladesh at the conference of International Volunteer Cooperation Organisations.

 

We're always stronger as part of a team

Noah, Sunday, Sapak Elijah and Tobbi - all 10 years old, from Gaare Gbani School, Talensi District Ghana.

Noah, Sunday, Sapak Elijah and Tobbi - all 10 years old, from Gaare Gbani School, Talensi District Ghana.

 

You should practice what you preach

Dr Nanda, a VSO volunteer in Ethiopia, donates blood in the hospital where she works.

Dr Nanda, a VSO volunteer in Ethiopia, donates blood in the hospital where she works.

 

If in doubt - get stuck in

Education volunteer Judith taking part in Holi celebrations in Nepal.

Education volunteer Judith taking part in Holi celebrations in Nepal.

 

And give it everything you have

Abdul, an ICS host in Tanzania

Abdul, an ICS host in Tanzania 

 

Even if you’re nervous, keep going. Because the memories will last a lifetime

Fundraiser Jo skydives for VSO

Fundraiser Jo skydives for VSO

 

Thanks to everyone who has been a part of VSO this year. Season's greetings and a happy new year to you all. 

 

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