Skip to main content

Volunteer stories of the women who inspire them

All over the world women are achieving incredible things for themselves, their families, communities and countries.

Our volunteers share stories of the women they've met working with VSO who've inspired them with their humour, intelligence, courage and resilience.

An open door to all: Sudha Dangol, Nepal

Nominated by Daphne De Souza, who volunteered supporting the Ministry of Education in Kathmandu:

Daphne and Sudha in Nepalese traditional costume VSO/Daphne de Souza

VSO volunteer Daphne De Souza, left, with Sudha Sangol, right, a Nepalese woman she met whilst living in Kathmandu

“Sudha is a real inspiration and hub of support in the local community. With her beauty parlour she provides employment and refuge to young vulnerable mothers, and welcomes them into her busy home.

Sudha working on her food stall | VSO Nepal VSO/Daphne de Souza

Sudha has provided support and respite to local women going through difficulties

"helped several young mothers who have sought employment, support for a disabled child and a home. Her compassion and generosity knows no limits."

...and Diya Dangol, Nepal 

Sudha and her daughter Diya VSO/Daphne de Souza

Sudha (right) with her 17-year-old daughter Diya (left)

"Sudha has brought up two strong, determined daughters. Diya, 17, pictured here, was one of the first to lead the local children in repair and re-building activities after the earthquake. I call her PM, because I have no doubt she can become Nepal's Prime Minister one day."

Breaking new ground: Moza Said Salum, Mozambique

Nominated by Helen Paul, who volunteered as an education adviser in Pemba:

Helen and Moza ride the school bus in Pemba, Mozambique VSO/Helen Paul

VSO volunteer Helen Paul (centre) and teacher Moza Said Salum (right) ride the school bus together

“Moza established, and was the head teacher of a nursery school on Pemba Island in Mozambique in the 1990s. The school has been successfully running and the children have obtained very high standards of education and learning.

"Retired now, Moza continues to inspire other teaching professionals by organising in-service courses for pre-primary English teachers”

Determined to overcome: Halimat Titilope, Nigeria

Nominated by Heather Alcock, who volunteered with VSO in Nigeria:

Halimat with two of her children VSO/Heather Alcock

Halimat with two of her children, Dayo and Chukurat

“Halimat and her husband lost all of their possessions and their house in a fire and had to start again. Halimat’s husband then died leaving her with five children, the youngest of which was 18 months old. 

"Halimat runs a small business selling stationery at the local secondary school. She is part of a savings and loan cooperation which brings together widows to collectively share a little each week and learn about business skills. She took out a loan of £20 to help her expand her business and increase her profits."

"She even runs a kids club for vulnerable children on Sundays. She is one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met”

Entrepreneurial dairy queen: Binuka Joshi, Nepal

Nominated by Simon Hill, who volunteered as an agricultural adviser in Nepal:

Binuka in her shop, Theki Dairy, in Nepal VSO/Simon Hill

Binuka Joshi (left), serving customers at her self-made business, Theki Dairy

"Binuka is a farmer and mother of two. She owns a few cows which produce 30 litres of milk a day. 

"Binuka used her natural entrepreneurial skills and a small amount of capital she managed to borrow from family members to set up a micro milk processing and selling shop in the suburbs.

"She started to expand her range of products from milk to yogurt, cheese and ghee in her shop, which she named Theki Dairy. Binuka learnt new marketing skills and organised local food fairs and farmers markets to sell her products."

Volunteer Simon Hill advises on cheese-making VSO/Simon Hill

Volunteer Simon Hill (right) worked with Binuka over two years developing new cheeses and plans for marketing

"But as a result of the devastating effects of the Nepali earthquake in April 2015, people fled the city and supplies of milk dried up. Despite this, Binuka managed to maintain her business and even move to a better positioned, more cost-effective premises.

"She became involved with training the government's milk processing factory, the Dairy Development Cooperation (DDC) in the skills of making cheddar cheese and was seen as an expert. Her small business continues to thrive as she is able to maintain steady supply and income and provide for her family”

March 8 is International Women's Day

This International Women’s Day, please read and share these inspiring stories of change from empowered women around the world.

Why not tell us about the women who inspire you on our Facebook page?