July 5

Volunteering for VSO


In the audience, I watched the girl speak. Her voice was low and it remained in the same tone all throughout her presentation. In an ideal world where men cared for each other and shared their wealth, food, and knowledge, none of this would have happened. Instead since humanity found the ways to reap all they can from Earth, they had not stopped. But this is all old news.

What’s new?

The people knew that while some parts of the world are getting richer, other parts are becoming more stark. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) was established with six main development missions. To fight poverty, it had to combat the elements of disability, education, health, HIV and AIDS, participation and governance. And established it sure did. Started in 1958 and 40,000 volunteers later, it continues to thrive and is now one of the best charities which offers the strongest support to its volunteers.

How is VSO different from all the rest?

Ever heard of voluntary placements overseas that literally rob you of your life savings? I have met many people on my travels who time and again introduced me to exciting voluntary deeds in Asia or South America, only to be told these deeds costed them an average of a month’s salary. VSO is not sending you to a tree plantation to grow more trees to sustain the cute orangutans. Instead, VSO places you where your skills are really needed. Doctors, teachers, health workers, business leaders and marketing personnels, even engineers and statisticians. There’s a place for you in the countries served by VSO if you want it. And don’t even worry about cultural differences. You will be provided with trainings to get acquainted to your placement country’s culture and language.

Where can you make a change?

Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Burma, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe. The world is your oyster, but you may not get to pick.

What are the perks?

Your flight is paid for you. Not only that, they take care of your visa. You get a roof over your head on them, and you also get a local salary. For as long as you volunteer. And it could be as short as 6 months or up to 2 years. And here comes the best part. Your partner gets to come with you. So no need for long distance relationship while you are at it. That’s if you both want the same thing!

Who will it suit?

Someone who doesn’t mind taking some time out of the rat race. You will have an amiable personality, be flexible, adaptable, sensitive, patient, committed, a team worker and have great communication skills. You could be as young as 18 and as old as 70 (if both your hips are working). One life, only one chance to get it right. You can find out more about the placements by attending their seminars like I did.

What have you got to lose? Do something.

If one day you reach a point in your career and you thought, “Why? How did I get here? What do I want out of my life?” If your answer becomes that you want to affect change and understanding, then VSO offers you a chance to leave a legacy. To become a VSO volunteer, begin here and now. Maybe this thought is far too utopian, the title of my blog is after all “In an ideal world”. If the world was ideal, you would lend a helping hand to those who fall, just like you would for those you love. Now extend that helping hand.


overseas, placement, skills, volunteer, VSO

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  1. Thanks for this, you’re right that it’s easy to get caught up in the every day routine of work (and i’m always amazed at how many people I know don’t actually like what they do!), and before you know it YEARS have gone by without you knowing what you’ve achieved! Working in a new environment and doing something positive to help other people isn’t just a great “life experience”, it’s what life should be about! Go and VSO!

  2. HannahChan, I agree with you 100%. Some say this thought is not new and many experience it in their 20’s when they are newly out of education. I would like to say while the thought is not new, it does not mean it is incorrect, I urge people to keep believing in their passion and make something of their lives through being in service of others.

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