VSO and partnering charities call on Asian communities to increase their skills during the recession via volunteering abroad

VSO and partnering charities call on Asian communities to increase their skills during the recession via volunteering abroad

The Diaspora Volunteering Programme (DVP), a group of diaspora organisations supported by VSO and the Diaspora Volunteering Alliance, are encouraging people from Asian and other ethnic minority backgrounds to consider volunteering abroad as a way to protect or increase their skills and accelerate their recovery from the economic downtown.

As mixed ethnic groups reportedly suffer the biggest increase in recession-related unemployment, VSO is calling for members of the Diaspora community to consider volunteering as a way to enhance and develop skills.

Evelyn Rodrigues, VSO Team Leader said:

“Slashed training budgets, stalled promotions and limited resources during the recession caused professional development to grind to a halt. Volunteering is a great way to not only re-invigorate your skills and challenge yourself, but your input could make a dent on global poverty and even save lives. “

The Diaspora Volunteering Programme, run by VSO, is designed to capitalise on the unique contribution that the Diaspora community can make in the fight to reach Millennium Development Goals. Twenty three organisations, including the Asian Foundation for Philanthropy, Phillipine Generations and the Myanmar Burma Relief and Welfare Association make up the Diaspora Volunteering Programme.

Evelyn Rodrigues continues:

"The Diaspora Volunteering Programme builds on the huge impact of remittances and encourages people to donate time and skills, as well as money. Mobilising skilled volunteers from the Diaspora, people who can connect and relate quickly to local communities, is one of the most effective ways to have an impact overseas. "

Unanimously, all return volunteers have shared their elated feelings of “finding themselves”, “finding direction” and “career rejuvenation” after trips to various programmes across Asia and Africa.

London based return volunteer Priya Lukka, 34, works for the Financial Services Authority. Priya volunteered via the Asian Foundation for Philanthropy – a member of the DVP – who referred her to Saath organisation in Gujarat, India in July 2009. She is one of many recent return volunteers citing benefits to her career. She said:

“I have learnt so much and I have definitely acquired new skills and built upon old ones. I’ve been asked to come back and work for them and yes I definitely would.”

Priya, who describes her experience as the “biggest challenge of her life”, wants to encourage more people from the Diaspora to volunteer. She adds:

“It’s a really exciting time for India at the moment, everyone I spoke to said that India is undergoing a big change and the future is bright. It’s such a good feeling to know that you can bring in change through a programme you helped to implement.”

DVP volunteer placements run from two weeks to two months and skilled roles include psychiatrists, nurses, and accountants and communications professionals.

To find out how you can volunteer visit www.diasporavolunteeringalliance.org.

For further information visit www.vso.org.uk.

For information on Asian Foundation for Philanthropy visit www.affp.org.uk.

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