60 over 60

There’s a new initiative from HelpAge International, 60 over 60, calling for nominations of outstanding older people to showcase inspiring people over 60. It got me thinking about volunteers that I have met and how inspirational some of the over 60s were. Whilst working at VSO many of the health volunteers that I posted overseas were in their 60s, and some in their 70s too. These were extremely experienced people with so much to offer in terms of sharing their skills, with a lifetime of professional experience and years spent informally (and sometimes formally) teaching and training others. They also had the maturity to cope with some of the challenging situations and life-change involved in leaving the UK to live in a developing country for 1-2 years. Often, these would be professionals who had reached retirement but were fit and healthy and not ready to spend their days at home. Usually, VSO had been on their mind as a possibility for many years and they were finally in the right position financially and with no family-ties.

I can instantly call to mind a Paediatrician who volunteered in Uganda, Ethiopia and then Lesotho, a Health Visitor who volunteered in Indonesia and a Midwife in Sierra Leone, all in their 60s /70s who could all be nominated for their amazing achievements as volunteers. They didn’t just go and share their skills, they made a real difference to work places, communities and individual people and gained long term friendships. They will return to the countries where they volunteered many times, fundraise for local causes and raise awareness of the issues faced by people amongst their friends, family and networks back home. Their impact will be felt by future generations.

On a related note, I also saw this advert from people and places. It shows that volunteer sending organisations can really capitalise on volunteers who are in the third age and it is a great idea to market themselves this way!




About natashastein

I'm interested in travel, learning about other countries and cultures, responsible tourism, environmental issues and wildlife. I like being outdoors and beautiful scenery can really move me and reinvigorate me. I enjoy walking and am planning to get a rescue dog to keep me company on my strolls. I also love to write stuff. I've set up my own website (www.responsiblevolunteering.co.uk), written blogs on topics I'm interested in and written various articles about volunteering overseas. I've always enjoyed writing in my previous jobs. I'm a bit of a creative all rounder - I can draw and make things. It's something I'd like to do more of! I love art and photography and go to exhibitions when I can. I am currently teaching English as a second language in Worcestershire, where I live. I have an eclectic career story. My professional background is in travel and tourism and the charity sector. I have worked for a major holiday company, specialist tour operator and coordinated a University alumni travel programme. Most recently I've worked for a Destination Management Organisation and local government tourism department focusing on promoting the Cotswolds primarily via social media. I also worked for VSO, the international development volunteering charity for 6 years as a Volunteer and Placement Adviser and have done bits and bobs of volunteering with different charities.
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