So – a date for your diaries: Saturday 7th November 1 to 5pm–
at home with people and places at ‘head office’ Faversham, Kent. meet_up

“I cannot overstate the importance of thorough preparation for a volunteer experience….I was able to attend a P & P social event where I was able to talk directly to the staff and to people who had been  before.  These conversations were very helpful.  I also met another volunteer who would be in the school at the same time as my wife and myself, so a potential ‘team’ identity was established. “ volunteer Bob

We all LOVE these occasions and can promise you a thoroughly informative and sociable afternoon: find out more about our volunteer programmes; meet some of our local partners who will be in the UK for the annual World Travel Market in London; meet other volunteers – some who have already returned from their placements and have lots of news to share; enjoy the stimulating company of like-minded people – of all ages and from all walks of life; share in some sustaining drinks and nibbles … oh yes, and meet me (Kate) Sallie, Dianne and Nigel …

This is an informal occasion – at about 1.45pm, we will give a short presentation and then there will be plenty of time to ask questions and socialise.
Our get togethers in Faversham are always popular, so please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to come in November and before  29th May would be really helpful!

Please let us know if you plan to come along, and if you will be alone or with friends and family!

R.S.V.P. by 29th May

We’ll then send out further info and directions.

We so look forward to meeting you – again, or for the first time !

people & places talk at King’s College London – a report from volunteer and KCL alumna Anke

Anke on a radio show in The Gambia

Anke on a radio show in The Gambia


In early March, Sallie, Dianne and I were invited to give a talk to tourism and development students at King’s College London. The idea for this shared event developed through a couple of meetings with the Tourism, Environment and Development course Leader Dr. Ruth Craggs, who is very interested and supportive in building bridges between students and practitioners, and creating opportunities for sharing  knowledge and experience from King’s alumni, such as myself.

What I liked most about the session is that everyone made us feel very welcome and that the students seemed really engaged and asked lots of interesting questions, creating an open and vibrant atmosphere.

The afternoon started with Sallie setting the scene by providing some background on responsible volunteering, which ultimately seeks to ‘maximise positive impacts and to minimise negative ones’ (Cape Town Declaration 2002).

She then gave practical tips about how to easily distinguish responsible volunteer organisations from the black sheep in the industry, for example checking if there is full transparency where volunteer and project money is spent or how quick booking functions without requesting background checks or any professional or personal information are a sign of an irresponsible volunteer company.

I know from my own volunteer experience that the thorough skill matching process people and places undertake before they confirm any placement is vital for the success of any volunteer project, for both, local partners and for the volunteer. Read the remainder of this entry »

Volunteers Maggie and Bob tell their story of their time volunteering in Port Elizabeth South Africa-


So, did you have a good holiday?  You were away for quite a time weren’t you? 

 - Yes about five weeks, but it wasn’t……

 - South Africa.  You went to South Africa, didn’t you?  Garden route?  My wife and I did that a couple of years ago.  Very beautiful.  Did you start at Cape Town or Port Elizabeth?

 - We were in Port Elizabeth.

 - Yes, worth a brief stopover before you take to the road, I suppose.

 - Well, we didn’t really leave Port Elizabeth…

 - How come?  What do you mean?  You stayed there for five weeks?  What was the problem? 

 - No problem at all.  On the contrary, PE is a fantastic place to stay.  I was trying to tell you.  We weren’t exactly on holiday…. We were working.

 - Working?  I thought you had retired a long time ago.

 - Yes, but we decided to come out of retirement for a special project.

 - A special project?  Sounds intriguing, tell me more. 

-   Well, we were teaching in a township school….

-   Oh……

This dialogue, partly imagined, partly real, is the kind of normal post-holiday chit-chat that we have engaged in frequently since our return from South Africa a few weeks ago.  It is a conversation that suddenly takes an unusual turn.  It is at about this point in the exchange – reference to the township school – that there is a slight pause while our interlocutor takes a few moments to adjust to this unfamiliar situation, where the superficial aspects of everyday conversation give way to more thoughtful questioning and genuine analysis of this incredible ‘holiday’ experience.

Read the remainder of this entry »

Share your education and training skills to help local people build better livelihoods and business opportunities for volunteer Bill with ITTOG studentsthemselves.

Volunteer with an internationally recognised tourism college in a project to help create local wealth, through trade not aid.

Check out the volunteer project here

We had to share this lovely piece from previous volunteer Peter.

Peter and co volunteer Mel

Peter and co volunteer Mel

LITTLE did I realise what the outcome would be when I responded to an advertisement in the Daily Telegraph inviting would-be volunteers to take the plunge.

I had never heard of people and places let alone the dynamic duo, Kate and Sallie.

It seemed a good way to visit a part of the world I had dreamed about since childhood.

How can I best describe my initial conversation with Kate? It was warm, welcoming and – most important – enthusiastic. I was not made to feel like a 67-year-old retiree looking for something to do with my spare time. She made me feel that I was already a vital cog in the people and places engine. Age did not matter; what I had to give was the important part.

I have always believed that without enthusiasm any plans are dead in the water. Unless the person displays this, there is no chance of it turning into inspiration. There was no danger of this happening. My every idea was listened to and encouraged and in some ways improved upon thanks to Kate’s past experiences. Every step of my way to becoming a ‘bona fide’ volunteer was eased by her. My inane questions were always treated with respect and care. Any annoyances of officialdom were sorted out calmly and with confidence.

The path to my volunteering could not have been smoother.

On my return both Kate and Sallie were eager to learn of my experiences, their enthusiasm being as great as ever. When we met for what might be described as a de-brief, I knew I had made the right decision after reading that notice in the Telegraph.

Now, seven years down the line after my initial volunteering expedition, I am still in touch with Kate who is always ready to help and advise when I prepare to return for another dose of this most wonderful life-lengthening tonic. For example when I decided to turn my English lessons into a newspaper, with the children becoming reporters both Kate and Sallie encouraged me. The children write the stories and I correct the copy – in their presence – and when we have enough we publish a newspaper. Their suggestions were always sound and helped to improve the exercise.

Kate and Sallie have become my friends – inspirational friends. Who could ask for more?

Yes, it may sound like a cliché, but when volunteers are well-prepared and their placements are well-planned, volunteering can indeed be a life-changing experience … as volunteer Nicki writes below, following her third placement:

volunteering can be life changing

volunteering can be life changing


Volunteering  in Cambodia  was the most amazing experience and SO different to being at the foot of the the Himalayan mountains.  I want to return to both AND see more of the world, so what on earth do I do next!   I would love to see  Marcus, Hari and Amar Jyoti staff again,  and yesterday had an email from Siem Reap  asking when I was coming home!  It was so touching and a lovely email to wake up to.

Read the remainder of this entry »

This time we have news updates from our projects in Kenya, Swaziland, India, South Africa, Cambodia and Saint Lucia. (these updates comes from Dianne, Volunteer Programme Advisor)

Remember – if you have news from the projects abroad where you’ve worked, please share your news with us – we would love to share it with other volunteers.


Our project in Kenya is at Gede Special School The head-teacher of the school has sent us the following report:


Government report on education

One of the good news that has been received of late is the recent release of education report that hopes to reduce the cost of taking a child with disability to school. The report contains a clause that aims to tremendously reduce the cost of educating children with disability.  Currently the cost of educating a child with special need is over 76,000 a year. This price could not be met by the large number of poor families with needy children. Once adopted, the fee charged in schools taking care of disabled children could come down to Kes 38,000, half of what is currently paid.

Campaign against discriminating children with disability

Good media coverage has of late fallen on the people living with disability. Of interest to most journalists is how the children with such conditions are looked after. Different conditions have been highlighted with parents to such children encouraged to look after them like any other child.  Such actions have encouraged most parents to take their children to school, a complete reverse as most of them used to hide them from public. The result of this has been noted with Gede Special School receiving a number of pupils at the beginning of the year.

Better Performance posting from last year’s exams

This time round, good performance was posted by the school in regard to the students that were admitted into secondary school. Nearly 50% of the students who sat their Kenya certificate for Primary education exams were admitted into high school with three hearing impaired students from the school joining national school.

This performance was a reflection of improvements noted from March of last year. Attribution was given to new teaching technical and adoption of storytelling as a way of reaching to the students. This method was introduced by people and places volunteer  Mrs. Coulson .  Read the remainder of this entry »

Win a childcare experience


All too often we are horrified by the “opportunities “offered to well meaning people – we publish few but this one is so irresponsible we had to share it.

Well, actually, we are sharing Dave Coles  recent blog post (he does wonderful work heping LSE students find responsible volunteering opportunities.)

Bravo Dave – wish we’d written this piece.

“since when did it become acceptable to offer time with children as a prize? Would you be happy if your son, sister, nephew or grandchild was being offered up as a competition win for people from thousands of miles away? Have the families of these children given consent for their youngest to be sold in this way? There is a reverse lottery at play here. The children in Nepal, Mexico or Thailand don’t know if they are getting a “good” volunteer of a “bad” one. The difference being is that they didn’t enter that competition.”

read the whole blog here

and if you would like to see the original offer of the prize

put GVI childcare prize into a search – we ain’t goona promote it! :)

Have you sent a volunteering enquiry and (seem to have) heard nothing us? Please believe us – we’ve DEFINITELY sent you an email or two!

If your email address is one of these: @gmail … @hotmail … @yahoo … you are more than likely to find our emails in the ‘spam’ ‘trash’ or ‘junk’ folder !

NOT spam

NOT spam

While we’re delighted to know that your service provider is avoiding your being spammed, this has recently presented recurrent problems … but the projects need you and don’t want to lose you!

We’ve posted the following message on our own website – both the contact us & register pages …

Important: In order to ensure you receive emails from people & places please add

to your safe sender or contact list on mail providers such as GMail, Yahoo and Hotmail/Live”

So – please check your ’spam’ or ‘junk’ folder.


And if you send an email to directly , she will definitely reply to you and the link will be made :)




Sometimes, and rightly so volunteers question whether they have made a meaningful contribution. IMG_1649

This extract from a report from Gede School in Kenya says it all!

“ Better Performance posting from last year’s exams

This time round, good performance was posted by the school in regard to the students that were admitted into secondary school. Nearly 50% of the students who sat their Kenya certificate for Primary education exams were admitted into high school with three hearing impaired students from the school joining national school.

This performance was a reflection of improvements noted from March of last year. Attribution was given to new teaching technical and adoption of storytelling as a way of reaching to the students. This method was introduced by Mrs. Coulson on her visit in February of 2014.”

Respect and thankyou Yvonne Coulson.

Learn more abour Gede School and the volunteer programme here.