Happy to report that it’s been a busy summer for the Vincentian Lay Missionaries (VLM) in Ireland. The past two years saw the overseas volunteering programme suspended due to the covid pandemic, and the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia meant VLM had to develop partnerships with the Vincentian Fathers and Daughters of Charity in other countries. Our commitment to fundraising for projects in Ethiopia remains, but volunteering opportunities there are extremely limited for now.
We are delighted to have recently formed a partnership with Tanzania, however, and in June, Grainne and Luke became our first volunteers to travel to Songea in the south of the country. They volunteered for two weeks in the De Paul School run by the Vincentian Fathers and two weeks in the Songea Deaf School, which is a Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul project. Grainne and Luke taught English, games, songs, first aid, basketball and moved well outside their comfort zone to teach through Tanzanian sign language.
Hot on their heels, Siobhan, Rico, and Conor travelled to Masanga in the north of Tanzania, volunteering at the St Catherine Laboure School and Women’s Empowerment Project run by the Daughters of Charity. They ran sports camps, taught IT, delivered capacity development workshops to teachers and supported the women’s empowerment project.
Finally, Jane has also travelled to Masanga this month and is working with the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) project. This is a unique programme that aims to develop awareness of the harmful consequences of FGM among community leaders and offers refuge and an alternative Right-of-Passage camp for up to 600 young girls who do not wish to participate in the cutting ceremony. For more information about VLM volunteer programme in Africa please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Madeleine Frissung, Director of MISEVI Ireland