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Promoting over seas volunteering among retirees | ww.volunteeringoptions.org

Responsible Responsible, responsive volunteering respects the interests of volunteers, sending agencies and host communities. Find out what resources are available to help you find the right placement..

#VolOps You can use #volops on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to seek your ideal placement and to connect with sending agencies from around Ireland.

Education. Sara McMurray set out to volunteer in a primary school in rural India after retiring from life as a Physics lecturer. Read her story inside.

Volunteer Voices.

“Living and working first in East Jerusalem and later in Bethlehem, as a human rights monitor with the World Council of Churches, was an extraordinary experience .” - Jenny Derbyshire, volunteer in Israel and occupied Palestine

The Volunteer Charter. Promoting Good Practice. Comhlámh’s Volunteer Charter is designed to guide volunteers in responsible and responsive overseas volunteering. All volunteers who go overseas from Ireland are asked to sign up to the principles of the charter.

1. Reflect: Think about my motivations and expectations 2. Prepare: Learn about my role and host organisation 3. Respect: Be open to local culture and customs 4. Adapt: Be professional and flexible in my placement 5. Stay Aware: Take due care of my safety, health and finances 6. Share: Channel my experience and knowledge gained overseas at home 7. Commit: Be responsible and responsive through the volunteering cycle

Key Sign Up Steps

#VolOps & Finding A Placement. Comhlámh wants to harness social media as a tool to match volunteers with sending agencies. We are encouraging sending agencies to append #VolOps to any posting on Twitter or Facebook about placements or events where volunteers can find out more. People interested in volunteering can then look up placements overseas by following #VolOps on Facebook and Twitter. This will give yuou up to the minute information about the latest volunteering opportunities that agencies


Give @VolOpsRobot a follow or check in on the #VolOps Hashtag.

are recruiting for. If you are a member of LinkedIn, you are welcome to join the dedicated #VolOps : Sharing Volunteering Options group we have created there. You can join in the conversation about best practices in volunteering and ask others about their experiences. You can also connect with volunteering agencies and seek out an opportunity that matches your skills and interests.



Like our #VolOps page to stay up to date on opportunities.


We’re building a group to offer friendly advice to volunteers.

Comhlámh also has a directory of sending agencies you can check out on our website. Don’t worry if you don’t use social media – there are still plenty of Comhlámh resources available to help you and we list them on the back page.

Volunteer Questions. Is there an age limit for volunteering? Age is not an important factor in deciding to volunteer. What is important is your skills and enthusiasm for the role and the community you are going to overseas.

Do I have to pay to volunteer? Some placements offer to cover your costs of travelling overseas, others require you to fundraise or pay a fee. This often depends on the length of the placement and the professionalism of the skills required.

How long do I need to commit myself? You can volunteer overseas for anything from 1 week to several years. The time you choose to spend overseas will depend on what you want to achieve through volunteering and on your own personal circumstances.

– Noel Brennan , retired school principal and repeat overseas volunteer. pictured with Sr Medhin of the Daughters of Charity in Nortern Sara McMurray pictured above and below taking a maths class in a school in Himachai Pradesh.

A Great Adventure. Sara McMurray decided to volunteer shortly after retiring from her career as a Physics lecturer in TCD. She travelled to Rajastan in India with Cork based agency EIL to teach children in rural schools. She described her experience as follows: “Volunteering was an extremely rewarding and enriching experience. I loved teaching the children in rural schools in India. They were so affectionate and keen to learn, and education is really important, especially for the girls. I had always loved to travel,

Drawing On Experience. “Like many, I retired in my mid-50s, yet I feel that I have something to contribute; I have credibility when I draw on my experience: my maturity and flexibility empower me to risk involvement in new areas of work.” – Noel Brennan, retired school principal and repeat overseas volunteer, pictured with Sr Medhin of the Daughters of Charity in Northern Ethiopia.

but had not expected, after retirement, to be able to set out on such a great adventure as volunteering offered. I felt that, as a retired person, my experience of life was important and useful in the work I did. The Indian organisation I worked for had very many young volunteers, and was appreciative of more mature volunteers. From my own point of view it made me feel that I was still useful, and gave me the chance to travel and experience life in a different culture.”

Sherry Schoon speaks at a mural unveilling celebrating Comhámh’s contribution to anti-apartheid work.


Comhlámh is here for you.

Before volunteering

Comhlámh’s vision is of volunteers and development workers working in solidarity for a just, equitable and sustainable world. Our mission is to foster good practice and critical engagement in volunteering and action for development. We are the Irish Association of Volunteers and Development Workers. Our work is driven by the experiences and passions of our members and supporters, whether they are returned volunteers/development workers or those with an interest in working for global justice from Ireland. Our membership is open to anyone. We have developed the Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Agencies in Ireland setting out 11 principles of best practice in overseas volunteering. Ask any organisation you are thinking of volunteering with if they are a signatory to the Code of Good Practice and how they are implementing these principles We have a Volunteer Charter which

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Sign up for our Volunteering Overseas: Where Do I Start? courses Read the Volunteer Charter and the Code of Good Practice Read up on the responsible, responsive volunteering at www.volunteeringoptions. org

On Return from volunteering • • •

Attend our Coming Home Weekend or our What Next? Course Sign up for membership of Comhlámh and get involved in one of our active groups. Find out more about debriefing, counselling and other support services for returned volunteers.



we invite all overseas volunteers to sign up to and adhere to. We offer a variety of courses to volunteers and development workers before and after their assignments, preparing them for overseas placements and promoting ways to stay engaged in global justice issues on return. Comhlámh supports returning volunteers and development workers to access necessary support services such as counselling, debriefing, career guidance and social welfare benefits. We facilitate a series of groups and initiatives led by members and supporters including a Trade Justice group and Focus magazine which aim to tackle global inequality and promote development from Ireland. To become a member of Comhlámh go to our website. To get involved and keep up to date on our various groups, services, events and courses sign on for our E-link newsletter and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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#VolOp's Retiree Leaflett  

#VolOp's Retiree Leaflett  

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