A PORTMARNOCK woman has just embarked on a great adventure, volunteering as an English teacher in Ethiopia.
Portmarnock woman Fiona Brogan has just begun a two-year placement with VSO in Ethiopia where she is teaching English at a teacher training Institute. Fiona is working in the town of Asella, where the famous athlete Haile Gebrselassie grew up.
Just two months ago Fiona swapped her life as an English Language teacher in Dublin for this new and exciting challenge.
Fiona’s placement, which has been organised by International Development Charity, VSO is part of a country-wide government initiative to improve the level of English in schools across Ethiopia.
Fiona's work on this project will have a long lasting beneficial impact on both the student and teaching populations in Ethiopia.
Fiona is involved in teaching and developing clubs to improve the student’s level of English and also to raise awareness of gender inequality and its impact on the spread of HIV and Aids.
These are hugely important issues in Ethiopia and HIV and Aids awareness is a strategic goal, which VSO addresses in all areas of its work.
VSO’s objective in its twenty programmes, which focus on HIV/ Aids in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, is to combat stigma, support prevention, and increase the availability of treatment, care and support for those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
Fiona said of her work: ‘The idea is that when you leave, a local colleague will be able to take over and move things forward without outside help.’
She added: ‘Ethiopia is a wonderful country that is struggling to improve itself. The people are extremely friendly and helpful and I feel perfectly safe and welcome here.’
VSO recruits individuals to volunteer in over 30 developing countries. Volunteers use their skills and experience to help tackle poverty and change lives.
To support VSO’s work donate online at www.mycharity.ie/charity/vso or send donations to VSO, Office 335, The Capel Building, Mary’s Abbey, Dublin 7. For more information visit www.vso.ie or call 8147070.
By John Manning