The VSO for ESL teachers

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As a trainee or novice ESL teacher, you may decide to work as a volunteer ESL teacher, and it is quite likely that you may end up working for the most well-known voluntary organization – the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) http://www.vsointernational.org/; therefore, it is important that the novice ESL teacher should know a few basic things about this important organization.

The VSO is an international development charity that was founded in 1958 for the purpose of helping poor and disadvantaged people in developing countries: this is achieved by recruiting volunteers with the necessary skills to live and work in those overseas local communities where their skills can be put to use for the benefit of those communities. The VSO is actively involved in the following five areas: education, climate change, health – HIV/AIDS, “Participation and Governance”, and “Secure livelihoods”.

Education

The VSO seeks to ensure that all children have access to good primary school education and that disadvantaged children are not excluded from the right to primary school education; this means ensuring the following are not denied a primary school education: girls, the disabled, HIV and AIDS sufferers, and ethnic minorities. Volunteer teachers from various academic disciplines are actively involved not only in teaching their respective subjects but also in teacher training, teaching methodology, and pastoral care. In fact, the VSO is involved in all aspects of education and works in close cooperation with both local government departments and the Ministries of Education.

Climate change

The VSO is actively involved in helping those people who are adversely affected by climate change so they may be able to cope better in the face of negative environmental impacts caused by manmade/natural climate change.

Health – HIV/AIDS

The VSO provides care and support for people suffering from HIV/AIDS. Additionally, people who live with HIV and AIDS sufferers are also assisted since the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS often affects their basic human rights: they may also experience difficulty in receiving an education or obtaining gainful employment.

Participation and Governance

The VSO is primarily concerned with ensuring disadvantaged people are empowered to participate in the decisions which affect their lives so that they are not abused or ignored by governments’ policies and actions. This means involvement in the following areas: human rights and access to legal representation; government accountability; and the creation of civil society organizations (CSO) so that the disadvantaged, the poor, and the marginalized can be heard.

Secure livelihoods

For the VSO, this means ensuring people have the money and resources that are required to meet their basic requirements and help them overcome unexpected harmful events such as droughts: the main goal here is to provide access to sufficient food and gainful employment.

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