Mission in the 21st Century
Vincentian Lay Missionaries (VLM) is a not-for-profit volunteer sending organisation. We work in partnership with the Vincentian Fathers and the Daughters of Charity to support their work with disadvantaged people in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Burkina Faso. Since 2006 our volunteers have been making valuable contributions in education and community projects. We recruit volunteers of all ages for a variety of placements all year round.
Our motto is “do one thing, do something” and our mission statement is:
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.
VLM also facilitates schools immersion programmes to Ethiopia for 5th year students at St. Vincent’s Castleknock Collegeand St. Paul’s College Raheny. Another aspect of VLM’s work is the Ethiopia Deaf Project, providing suppport to the Ambo Lazarist School for the Deaf in Ambo, central Ethiopia.
We are accredited to Comprehensive Standard with the Comhlámh Code of Good Practice since 2013. This ensures that both our partners and volunteers receive the highest international standards of service and support.
Vincentian Lay Missionaries is a member of the Vincentian family network, or FAMVIN, a group of organisations inspired by the life and ethos of St Vincent de Paul, a French saint born in 1581, remembered and respected for his care and compassion towards the poor and needy of his time.
St. Vincent embraced humble and grateful service to others, especially to those who are poor. Concern for the whole person – body, mind and spirit. This holistic approach to caring translates to all of the activities that our volunteers participate in through our partner projects overseas.
Other members of the Vincentian Family in Ireland include the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Depaul Ireland, The Daughters of Charity, the Vincentian Fathers, the Holy Faith Sisters and the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice.
Who Can Volunteer With Us?
We welcome volunteers from various backgrounds bringing a diverse array of transferrable skills – we believe that many people don’t even realise how much they have to offer until they are there!
We only ask three key qualities from our volunteers after that:
The flexibility to ‘go with the flow’ is essential for VLM volunteers. While on your placement there are often notable cultural differences or changes in plan or limited resources to work with. It helps to go overseas with an open mind and to be prepared for many eventualities. Sometimes it is the things that are not planned for that arere the most rewarding.Taking initiative is an expectation in any role, and this also applies to volunteers too, without exception. Finally, as anyone who has worked in the developing world knows, patience is an essential addition to your personal tool kit.
Placements range between 4-12 weeks and most are available all year around. Our partners have asked that volunteers commit to a minimum of four weeks as it gives them time to get an understanding of their context and engage in a meaningful way in their work.
We are flexible and aim to work with our volunteers to arrange placements at times that suit them, while taking into account the needs of the projects they will be working in.
Many volunteers like to travel during the winter while others prefer to participate in a summer programme, usually for four weeks in June, July or August. Get in touch with us to learn more.
Where Can I Volunteer?
Ethiopia – VLM has been working in Ethiopia since 2006. Our flagship project, The Ambo Lazarist Deaf Centre has been supported by numerous volunteers over the years. More volunteers have worked in Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital and there are various other placements across Ethiopia in smaller towns and in remote countryside.
Ghana – VLM volunteers with skills in the area of education, childcare and youth work can make a valuable contribution to the work of the Daughters of Charity in Ghana. Options include working in the rural community of Kongo-Logre, providing teacher training in Bolgatanga and assisting in a street girls’ hostel in the city of Kumasi.
Kenya – Working across five different centres – Nairobi, Thigio, Kiio, Kitale and Chepenyal – volunteers have the option to work in both urban and rural settings in schools, facilities for those with additional needs, community centres and income generating projects.
Burkina Faso – A recent addition to VLM’s work, Burkina Faso is just north of Ghana. We support the work of the Daughters of Charity in the town of Nouna near the country’s western border. Volunteers can work with the community development organisation OCADES (Caritas) or in education. A reasonable standard of French is required for placements in Burkina Faso.
VLM Office, St Peter’s Parish Offices, Phibsborough, Dublin 7.