VLM Mission Statement
“To form and facilitate our members to immerse themselves in the experience and culture of the Vincentian mission overseas, so that reflecting on the learned experience, they will, on their return, effect change and transformation both locally and globally.”
The Vincentian Lay Missionaries (VLM) is a not-for-profit volunteer sending organisation. Partnering with the Vincentian Fathers and the Daughters of Charity, we work with disadvantaged adults and children in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Burkina Faso.
Since 2002, VLM volunteer, of all ages and backgrounds have been making valuable contributions in the sectors of education, health, administration and community development through sharing skills and knowledge, often times in challenging environments.
VLM aims to match the skills of volunteers with the needs or our partners. Volunteer placements generally require a commitment of at least 4 weeks and can be arranged throughout the year. However, with the exception of summer programmes, placements in educational settings need to be organised within the school calendar of our partners.
Volunteers can come from many different backgrounds, with skills and experience in education, community work, administration, trades, healthcare and many others.
VLM was founded in 2002 by Fr. Michael McCullagh CM. While working with the Daughters of Charity in Ethiopia, the Sisters expressed a desire for volunteers from Ireland to assist them in their schools. On returning to Ireland, Fr. Michael reached out to some young people he knew in Cork and invited them to take up the challenge of volunteering with the poorest of the poor in Ethiopia. They were delighted to receive such an invite and later that summer travelled to work at Atse school in Addis Ababa . They set the ball rolling and since 2002 over 300 volunteers have travelled to projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana and Burkina Faso and have benefited from what all of them describe as a ‘life enhancing experience’.
The motto of VLM is ‘Do One Thing Do Something’. VLM understands that a short term volunteering placement is not going to change the world, but it might just change the course of one person’s life, even the life of the volunteer. Often the impact a volunteer makes on a project is not always obvious at time they are working there, but weeks or months afterwards our partners will report on a change that happened thanks to their commitment.
Schools Immersion Program
VLM also offers students from three schools affiliated to the Vincentian Family with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the life and culture of people in a developing country. Over 100 students have travelled to Ethiopia and Ghana to help run summer camps which provide the local children with the chance to be in a safe environment for several weeks and benefit from lessons in English and maths, music and to participate in sporting and fun activities. Without such an opportunity, some of the children migrate from their villages to the city in order to seek work as street traders, selling tissues and chewing gum, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Unfortunately some of these children never return to education again. The students return home with some very special memories and a greater understanding of the issue of poverty and injustice.