As we wave goodbye to a year that has seen tragedy and terror, it’s worth reminding ourselves that for every awful global event, there have been many acts, on a small and large scale, that remind us of the power and generosity of the human spirit
When Andrew Ashe volunteered as a teacher in Papua New Guinea in the 1980s, personal computing was just in its infancy, expensive and hardly user-friendly.
He can hardly have imagined that more than 30 years later, he’d be helping launch an innovative education project with VSO.
It’s no secret that being a teacher is tough, and nowhere is this truer than in developing countries. There are 26 pupils in the average UK class - while in Malawi teachers regularly have to contend with 110+ children per class. An education project using tablet computers, launched by VSO last week, aims to reduce the strain and has already seen children complete a year’s worth of learning in just eight weeks during a pilot last year.
Just outside Blantyre in Malawi the ground level rapidly drops from 3,000 feet to 200 feet. Hence in January this year the rains flooded the south and spread over the land in what was described as a horizontal tsunami.
Tea, cocoa and sugar are enjoyed every day by millions of people around the world – often with little thought given to their origins and the people working to produce them. Those with a vague understanding of fair trade see the common sense behind giving farmers a fair price for their produce – but what about the hidden impacts that are less obvious?
David Atherton volunteered in Malawi for 18 months training nurses and midwives. He is now back in the UK and continuing to advocate for VSO.
VSO UK Director Angela Salt writes a personal diary of her visit to review VSO's programme of work in Malawi.