ARE YOU WORKING IN THE FIELD OF HEALTH OR EDUCATION?
DO YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR SOLIDARITY?
FIND AND USE OUR #Passion4Solidarity HASHTAG ON SOCIAL MEDIA!
Here in Comhlámh we recognise the crucial role of health and education workers in shaping more equitable and caring societies. Health and education workers have a long track record of volunteering in the Global South, playing a role in the continuing struggles for more just and equitable communities, society and globe, at home and abroad. We are proud of the role we have played, and continue to play, in supporting this work.
Are you a health or education worker who, like many others before you, has wondered about overseas volunteering? Well you’ve landed in the right place. We want the #Passion4Solidarity page to be a one-stop-shop for all education and health workers thinking about travelling overseas to volunteer.
Over the coming couple of weeks we will be rolling out videos of workers just like you reflecting on their experiences volunteering overseas. We have tools to help answer any queries you might have about international volunteering as well as information on pension and other contributions whilst working overseas. There are links to sending agencies there too – sending agencies who have signed up to Comhlámhs Code of Good Practice which is all about ensuring positive, sustainable impacts for host communities as well as for you as the volunteer.
Alex works with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). He speaks about the role that volunteers play in providing practical solidarity with local children in the West Bank as well as being able to provide eyewitness testimony when they return home.
Brigid-Rose volunteered with VSO Ireland, carrying out a two-year placement as a teacher. She advises that teachers thinking about volunteering overseas should be prepared to integrate with the local community, and plan to be adaptable and patient. Perhaps most importantly, from Brigid-Rose’s perspective, is being willing and able to walk in the shoes of the people you work and engage with in host communities. This will help you as a volunteer to better understand the struggles communities face.
Breda worked as a volunteer with Concern. Here she speaks about role of health volunteers in humanitarian contexts. How preparation in advance of heading overseas is key. Research your options – not just about where you can go to volunteer – and find out about the values and work of the various volunteer sending agencies. All this helps you find out what it is you want to do and to be able to better apply yourself with passion and solidarity.
Patrick has worked as a school principal in Rwanda. Patrick speaks about the role of international volunteers in his school. They have brought their own resourcefulness and expertise whilst simultaneously being able to live and learn within the local community and working with local teachers as colleagues. Volunteers work and contribution to social change continues after they return home by educating within their own communities about their host community in Rwanda, challenging stereotypes and encouraging critical thinking amongst potential overseas volunteers
Jessica works with City of Dublin Education and Training Board Seperated Childrens Service. Jessica works with both child migrant and refugees, often from the countries where health and education workers from Ireland volunteer in. Her experience of teaching in this context tells us its important for teachers to think in advance about different class room cultures. And to critically approach expectations of what teaching and learning practices should be not just from their own perspective, but also from the point of view of students, local teachers and institutions.
Richard volunteered with Nurture Africa. As he began the application process, Richard asked some key fundamental questions around international volunteering. Do I have the experience and skills to bring to the role? He had the chance to teach new subjects and work with local teachers creating a common space of co-learning around teaching practice. He also spoke to the value of integrating development education into his education practice on return to Ireland.
Niall is a medical doctor with the Centre for Emergency Sciences in UCD Medical School. He advises that health care volunteers need to be flexible and be aware that the situation on the ground will change. Make sure that you are doing something that you love and are passionate about, take some time in advance to prepare yourself. The circumstances can be challenging. Feel empowered to wait for a placement that is in the field you are passionate about, as this will make a great impact on your ability to work in quite often challenging circumstances.
We advise you to only volunteer with organisations that are signatories of the Code of Good Practice. Check out our up to date list of these sending agencies here https://www.comhlamh.org/code-signatories-and-supporter-network/
Comhlámh also provides a variety of diverse supports and services for volunteers and development workers. https://www.comhlamh.org/what-we-do-2
We can help you find an appropriate volunteering placement through the Volunteering Options section of our website https://www.comhlamh.org/volunteeringoptions-volunteering-ireland/
You can also follow #VolOps on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, where you can see daily updates from a wide variety of volunteering sending agencies
Want to find out more about the Code of Good Practice?https://www.comhlamh.org/code-of-good-practice-2-2/