Christina Reilly a 35 year old primary teacher from Dublin has recently returned from a two year placement with international development charity VSO. Christina worked as Teacher Support Officer for Ghana District of Education in Northern Ghana.
The North of Ghana is the poorest area in the country, 28% of adults are illiterate, whilst less than 9% of school children barely read with understanding. In many of the communities there are no schools and the average daily distance walked by a pupil to attend junior secondary school is 8 kilometres. The problem is exacerbated by lack of teachers with some of the districts teacher: pupil ratio being 1:80. To address these issues, the Ghanaian government introduced the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education policy in 1994 to improve access and quality of education at the basic level. Christina’s role involved improving the teaching of literacy, maths and science while also strengthening the capacity of staff by providing training to local teachers and principals.
VSO work with partner organizations in the 44 countries in works in around the world. In Christina’s case as an experienced education professional she was placed with the Ghana District of Education to share her skills and build capacity within local communities.
VSO recruit experienced professionals from the areas of health, education, and business management to work overseas in some of the world’s poorest communities. Placements are long term usually one to two years with volunteers having their flights and accommodation covered. Christina received a local wage while overseas and also lived among the local community.
Speaking of Christina’s placement Director of VSO Ireland Malcolm Quigley said, “VSO needs motivated people like Christina to work overseas on sustainable volunteer programmes. In developing countries such as Ghana, some people are living on just $2 a day. Things we take for granted, like health and education services, are hard to access for marginalised people.”
To learn more about VSO please visit www.vso.ie - Contact VSO Ireland on 01 6401060