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volunteer junkie

This article was written for the Leicester press just before our recent social at Leicester University.

SHE’S KNOWN AS GRANDMA ALL ROUND THE WORLD

Do you think volunteering in the developing world is something just for young people?  If so, you should talk to Yvonne Coulson!  Yvonne, who lives in Lutterworth, is 77 years old and has been volunteering since 2007.  In that time she has completed ten volunteer placements, in six different countries – South Africa, Nepal, The Gambia, Kenya, India and Swaziland.   (photo with Lisong Bah  Early education expert The Gambia)

Yvonne has built up good relationships with local people in all the countries where she has volunteered.  She is still in contact with many of them, and many of them still remember her as ‘Grandma’ – she says she now has adopted grandchildren all round the world!  Yvonne says, ‘I would recommend volunteering to anyone – you are giving of your time and talents but gaining a wonderful insight into the cultures and diversity of our world’.

Yvonne plans to volunteer in Kenya with us later this year – take a look at the programme she will be working with here

Before her retirement Yvonne was a teacher and all her volunteering placements have made use of her teaching skills and experience, working in local schools and helping to train local teachers.  Her specialist subjects are Maths and Science, especially in the primary sector, and this has been invaluable to teachers in the developing world where their access to resources is often very limited; Yvonne says ‘The practical Science I have introduced has been to show how the subject can be taught without proper lab equipment.  One of my strengths is the ability to make do and mend and the recycling of everyday objects into useful teaching equipment’.  She has also helped teachers with more interactive methods for the teaching of English, which is often the main language of education even for children who speak other languages at home, and her interest and skills in Music and Drama have been welcomed in all the countries where she has worked and have added a new dimension to children’s experiences as these subjects are rarely a formal part of a school’s curriculum.

Yvonne volunteers with people and places, an award-winning organisation which sends volunteers of all ages on tailor-made placements which match their skills and experience to locally identified needs, in 10 different countries in the developing world.

Watch Yvonne talking about her experiences

exceptional service for disadvantaged young people royal accolade for our partner in Saint Lucia.

We are so proud to work with Delroy and the team at  Sacred Sports Foundation

Recently received this recognition “Delroy Alexander, of St. Lucia as the 16th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of his exceptional service leading sports development programmes for disadvantaged young people across the Caribbean.”

Delroy Alexander is the Chairman of the ‘Sacred Sports Foundation,’ which helps disadvantaged young people aged 6-25 through inclusive sports development programmes. Delroy works in low-income areas to help young people access sport, specifically targeting women and girls, children with additional needs, and youth offenders on probation. Partnering with the ‘St. Lucia Football Association’, Delroy has trained 70 sports coaches in St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada, helping them to mentor local young people and improve their skills and confidence through sports.

Read the whole article here

and PS we just want to say – bravo Nova too – we know that your support is so important for Delroy

read about one of the programmes we work together with SSF here

Visiting speakers – thanks to everyone

It’s hard to find a good speaker, or so I’m told by people faced with the task of booking different speakers for the social groups they belong to.  Well we can help!  A number of people who have volunteered on people and places projects, including myself, regularly give talks to different social groups such as the WI, church and U3A groups – I was once even invited as speaker (to talk about volunteering) to the local gardening club!  This is a wonderful opportunity to tell people about the countries where we volunteer and about the various projects we support and the inspiring work done there.  Those of us who regularly give such talks find people are always very interested in our volunteering experiences and enjoy the different perspective on travelling that we can give them.

We would like to take every opportunity to expand this work, and are looking for opportunities to get onto speakers’ lists in different parts of the country.  I personally have pretty well exhausted opportunities local to me (although several groups invite me back regularly) but am willing to travel more widely in order to talk about volunteering to people who may not have thought of doing this before.  Who knows – maybe some people are sufficiently inspired by hearing someone talk about their volunteering experiences to try it out for themselves!  So if any of you belong to any groups that invite visiting speakers, please give them our contact details – we will be happy to find a good speaker for them.

And finally – a huge basketful of thanks to all of our volunteers who get out there and spread the news – there is no better way for us to promote our work than by volunteers telling their stories.

Dianne Ashman

Dianne’s travels in southern Africa continued . . . on to Port Elizabeth

My recent trip to South Africa culminated in two thoroughly enjoyable weeks spent in Port Elizabeth, working with Calabash, our wonderful local partners.  As always, they could not have been more friendly and welcoming – I immediately felt part of the team and we had a really great time working together.  Port Elizabeth is a fantastic place to volunteer – really worthwhile projects where you will spend your working day, a very supportive team to take an interest in what you are doing, look after you and make sure you have a good time, and lots to do in your free time.

Read the rest of this entry »

so proud of our partners -Tiger Mountain, Nepal

We are thrilled to announce that our partners at Tiger Mountain Nepal have just won a prestigious award that recognises their commitment to the environment and the communities they work with and in.

Well done and well deserved all at Tiger Mountain

To learn more about the volunteer programme we work on in partnership with Tiger Mountain – take a look here 

Fatima’s journey to school in Morocco

When you watch this short video about one girl’s journey from school to her village, you will understand why we support this life changing initiative. The boarding houses are so important. (**switch on subtitles**).

 

no more words … we will let Fatima explain

but if you want to learn more about how you can support girls like Fatima take a look here.

time to get together again – Saturday 24th March – Leicester

… we’re delighted that we’ll be holding our next volunteers’ social meeting in central Leicester … more accessible for more people, whether travelling by road or rail !

volunteers’ social meeting

Saturday 24th March – 1.00 to 5.00 p.m. 

Come and meet previous, present and co-volunteers, as well as the people and places team, of course !

This is a great opportunity to learn more about the projects if you’re planning to volunteer, and to meet old friends if you’ve volunteered with us before.

We haven’t confirmed our exact Leicester location yet – and we appreciate that this is important – but we wanted you to get the date in your diaries as soon as possible. (we know you are busy people!)

Please email Kate if you would like to come and join us for the afternoon – and don’t be shy: the more, the merrier !

Full details to follow early in the New Year.

“passing the baton” – volunteers and projects working together

When any new volunteer placement is accepted and agreed, we send previous volunteers’ reports and encourage our new volunteers to get in touch with those who have been to the same project before. This is a vital in enabling continuity of project support and placement roles – and also avoids volunteers “re-inventing the wheel”.
Individual placement roles differ according to volunteers’ individual skills and experience – whether in education, training, practical skills, social care, nutrition, health care, social work – but the fundamental skills-share approach applies with each and every placement.

The following extracts, from several volunteers as well as from the projects in Cambodia, demonstrate the interconnected nature of placements and “passing the baton” … 

 

so, Cambodia projects … teaching, training & education, practical skills, horticulture, health & social care (click on the link to find out more)  Read the rest of this entry »

orphanages-why are we asking you to rethink volunteering or donating?

We want to start this post by saying very clearly that we know that some of you support orphanages – and we are not, for a moment, suggesting that you should immediately stop supporting those orphanages. We want to encourage people to look at alternatives and encourage the organisations they support to seek alternatives.We want to encourage people who are thinking about supporting an orphanage for the first time to consider the alternatives – we want to warn people that many orphanages – not all- are commercial enterprises where children are trafficked.

We are asking everyone to rethink the way we support children in poverty – children who are very often separated from their families because of poverty.

We at people and places made the decision nearly 10 years ago to work with programmes that work to keep children in their families not in orphanages – why?

Read the rest of this entry »

how exciting – a volunteer has written a book about her experiences !

volunteer Jenny has written a book about her experiences – which anyone can buy – and all proceeds will help to support the work of our local partners, Calabash in Port Elizabeth!

Hello Mrs Jenny

check it out here … Mrs Jenny Welcome

A great read – the realities of a volunteering experience !