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Win a Holiday!

GREAT NEWS!  

VC is delighted to announce that our fantastic Holiday Draw is back again for 2o18!

The monthly draws take place in May, June and July.

By entering, you have 3 chances to win a HOLIDAY – worth €3,000 in May and June and €5,000 in July!

 

Also, lots of cash prizes to be won in 3 monthly draws – May, June and July!

 YOU can help  Viatores Christi to continue its work by

· buying a ticket yourself (€60 to be included in the 3 draws) and /or

· selling a ticket(s) to family and friends. Several people can share in one ticket.

1st Prize May – A holiday worth €3000!!

1st Prize June – A hoiday work €3000!!

1st Prize July – A hoiday worth €5000!!!!

Cash Prizes Each Month!:

2nd Prize – €1000  3rd Prize €500   4th Prize €250  

5th Prize €200       6th Prize €150      7th Prize €100

 

TICKETS COST €20 

 TO ENTER: There are several easy ways to purchase a ticket!

  • Give us a call at 01 8689986 or email info@viatoreschristi.com
  • Pay in cash – call to our office 8 New Cabra Road, Phibsboro, Dublin
  • Post us a cheque (made payable to Viatores Christi)
  • Pay for your tickets by electronic transfer to our bank: Bank of Ireland, College Green, D2,

               BIC: BOFIIE2D, Account No. 38239797, Sort Code 90-00-17

              IBAN: IE34 BOFI 9000 1738 2397 97 – (remember to mention DRAW)

  • Or buy your tickets online!

Buy 1 X €60 ticket to be in with a chance to win in the May, June and July Draws!
Buy 2 X €60 tickets (€120) to be in with a chance to win in the May, June & July Draws!
Buy 3 X €60 tickets (€180) to be in with a chance to win in the May, June & July Draws!

 

 

 

Invitation to Tender – Strategic Plan at VC

Viatores Christi (VC) wishes to engage a consultant to facilitate development of its 2019 – 2024 strategic plan (including a review of the previous plan) 

VC is an Irish-based organisation supporting and working within the faith-based international development sector. Established as a Lay Missionary Association, under the Catholic Church in Ireland in 1960, today, VC works with over 30 partners across a wide range of sectors in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. VC works with its partners to identify and address clearly defined needs ensuring that the root causes of poverty within communities are addressed, and real and sustainable futures sought for the projects’ beneficiaries. VC addresses these needs through clearly defined development interventions and when needed through the recruitment, training and placement of highly-skilled long-term volunteer development workers.

The overall objective of this consultancy is to develop a five year Strategic Plan 2019-24 to guide VC in fulfilling its mission.

The scope and focus of the consultancy are to provide technical, strategic and facilitation support to enable the development of a renewed strategic plan for VC for the 2019 -2024 period.  Under the overall supervision of VC CEO, who in turn reports to VC’s Council (board of directors), the consultant will be tasked to work in a participatory way with all stakeholders.

Please download full terms of reference here

All applications should be submitted to by email to info@viatoreschristi.com indicating the following reference “Consultant for Strategic Planning of VC” by Friday 4th May 2018

 

 

Retreat & Gathering for VC Members & Friends 2018

Viatores Christi would like to invite you to a

Retreat & Gathering
Led by Fr. Brendan Carr CSSp 

from Saturday 19th to Sunday 20th May

In An Tobar, Ardbraccan, Navan, Co Meath

Arrival on Saturday 19th May at 1pm for lunch (attendees may also arrive earlier)
Closing on Sunday 20th May at 4pm approx (after 3pm Eucharie breaks)

The weekend will give time for reflection and prayer but also for tapping into or re-kindling the enthusiasm and spirit of our VC experience as well as re-connecting with our VC family.  There will also be time to make new friends or renew old friendships, tell stories and generally be together!

Cost €65  (includes B&B (en suite) Sat night and all meals and tea/coffe

B&B can also be booked directly with An Tobar needed on Friday night at an additional cost of €30

To register:

Click here to download event booking form, complete and return by email to info@viatoreschristi.com or by post with €30 deposit by Monday 30th April 2018

Payment Options:
Cash or cheque made payable to Viatores Christi
Electronic transfer to our bank: Bank of Ireland, College Green, D2,  BIC: BOFIIE2D, Account No. 38239797, Sort Code 90-00-17, IBAN: IE34 BOFI 9000 1738 2397 97 – (remember to mention Retreat)
Make a quick, secure online credit/debit card payment through our website below: 

Pay €30 deposit for VC Retreat
Pay Full Cost (€65) for VC Retreat  

 Getting there:

An Tobar is located near Navan, Co. Meath and may be accessed via R157 and M3 or via M4 and R158
Please click here for more information
Let us know if you would like a lift (we will try to facilitate this as far as possible) or if you can provide a lift to somebody else.

For further information please email Nora Casey noracasey45@gmail.com

Paul Sheridan – Zambia

Paul Sheridan – Media Specialist, SMA Media Centre, Ndola, Zambia

Paul, originally from Co. Donegal, who works as a producer with BBC Northern Ireland, is the first volunteer to be supported by the VC Mission Support Fund which has been established thanks to funding support from the Archdiocese of Dublin.

“I have been assigned here for 12 months in the role of Media Specialist to work with Fr Tom Casey and his colleagues in the SMA Media Centre in Ndola. During the year I am learning about the work of the Media Centre, it’s beneficiaries, the broader development picture in Zambia and the role of media in it. I also hope to help with the further development of Media Centre to make it a more established agent of change and to strengthen its contribution to capacity building not just in Zambia, but beyond.

I arrived here to start my year-long volunteering placement on the 4th of October. That time of the year is the hottest season so the temperature difference was one of most immediate and extreme changes I faced; typically daytime temperatures were in the mid-30’s centigrade. I took some comfort though from local people complaining that it was too hot! Thankfully now though we’re into the rainy season (with its lower temperatures) which lasts until April. But ‘rainy’ here is a very different experience to the Irish version; almost daily, usually around mid to late afternoon, ominous thunder and spectacular sheet lightning herald the most torrential of downpours – a most impressive experience.

Coming from a working environment in which I have been steeped for 16 years to a very different one here has thrown-up plenty of opportunity and challenge. Even in the relatively short space of time I’ve been here we’ve achieved some good results; a Needs Assessment process is well under way, we’ve established a public profile via Facebook, made important contacts – including with the nascent national Catholic TV channel as well as with other agencies in the development sector, initiated an exciting new community-building initiative within the SMA and completed several new video projects.

But it’s sometimes been a personal struggle to adjust my own ambition, expectations and yes, mea cupla – impatience – to the reality of my new working and living environment (despite this being a key point of our Venture training programme!). There have been the basic or immediate hurdles in terms of power-cuts and very inconsistent – and then non-existent – internet access; very frustrating. But so too, at times, with differences in approach and culture both within my immediate working environment and at the wider societal level. Recognising limitations and aligning my aspirations with what is realistic has not been easy but that’s part of why I’m here too – to challenge myself a bit. Mother nature too has ‘put me in my box’ by asserted her authority over my slowly adapting biology (and maybe my carelessness) through three bouts of sickness, one of which led to hospitalisation.

But any problems or disappointments have been far outshone by the positives; first and foremost the people I’ve come to live with. I’ve only recently come to reflect on the peculiarity of my living situation at the SMA provincial house. Living in community with a small cadre of priests is definitely a change from my bachelor life in Belfast. Being immersed in much of their everyday life has been an insight – though it’s not quite Craggy Island parochial house! Together with that of the hard-working local staff, they have matched the warmth of their welcome with a very generous level of hospitality; as well as a room and kitchen in a separate wing of the building I have access to my own car and the freedom to accept or decline involvement in that daily life. I have never felt under pressure to participate in any of the religious activities, routine or otherwise though having the opportunity to do so has meant that attending morning mass on a frequent basis has become another enriching aspect of my life here.

Cheerful, gregarious and caring as the fathers are though, there have been times when I’ve craved some other company. Establishing a social network outside the community has been a frustratingly slow process but in recent weeks I’ve made significant advances in that regard too. Part of this has been the very unanticipated opportunity of appearing as a guest judge in the pilot episode of a new Zambian Reality TV series about a group of aspiring young models!

For now the project work continues, and while things happen differently here, at least I can remind myself that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day!”

Victor Okonga – Kenya

Victor Okonga – Programme Development Officer

Victor took up the position of Programme Development Officer at the Franciscan Missionary Sisters Of St. Joseph (FMSJ) in Nairobi on 1st November 2017.  Victor, who is Kenyan, came to Ireland in October to undertake training.

“Greeting from Kenya! I am almost two months working with the Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph (FMSJ) in Kenya as an in-country development worker. Unlike many of VC volunteers/workers, I am Kenyan and therefore would have prided myself for having a good grasp of the places the sisters work, the challenges they encounter and the hopes they carry for the people they serve. Little did I know that my understanding was not as adequate and comprehensive! It has, therefore, been a steep learning curve for me as I undertake to know the FMSJ in order to establish a new coordination office – the development office – for the sisters.

So far, my general tasks revolve around setting processes and procedure for a functional development office. In order to be more practical in doing this, I thought it wise to have some immersion visits to each of the projects. As fate would have it, my first experience was with the Marigat mobile clinic in the semi-arid areas of one of our most underdeveloped counties, Baringo County. I had never visited this part of the country before.

My short immersion with the mobile clinic started off at around half past nine o’clock driving through the scorching sun, on very rough roads that meandered to “nowhere” that I could imagine. Often, the roads seemed to hit a dead end. But the driver, who’s knowledge of the terrain was admirable, would divert to another feeder road, quite often rougher than the previous one disappearing beneath the thorny bushes of the prosopis scrubs. I kept on inquiring whether there were families living in this expansive area despite assurances from the mobile outreach team.

We had lunch – of course it had to be nyama choma and ugali – halfway through the journey at noon at a small shopping centre that had not more than three small shops and a small makeshift hotel behind a butchery. I kept on wondering what time we would be at the outreach site, who we would find there and how the whole operation would go. Then we hit the road again for a little more than an hour pulling over under a huge mugumo tree where a group of women and children were seated; there were no men among them. The driver pulled over right beside the crowd and the setting up of the makeshift clinic began. Plastic tables and chairs were offloaded and arranged under the tree, one for registration and the other small one for an improvised laboratory testing. One of the workers tied a weighing machine on one of the branches of the tree to weigh the children; a wooden stadiometer was places on the ground ready to measure children’s heights. And voila, the work started. Two queues emerged – one of mothers with babies, the other of expectant women. The expectant women lined behind the land cruiser boarding on the cruiser one by one for antenatal checkup. The Landcruiser was their antenatal clinic! The babies and the young children were attended to – some getting jabs and others oral vaccines. It was a beehive of activities for about four hours. At the end, about forty people, including twenty-two children had been attended to. Two newly born babies were brought at the tail end of our work for their first BCG vaccines; they were two days old, born at home.

“We are lucky today there weren’t many people to attend to,” the lab technician commented as the queue disappeared. He had been so lively and bubbly to the women and children that he made their faces light up. The team’s conspicuous motivation and love for their work was something to be envied.

There was a lady selling some food under a nearby tree. There the ladies and children sat to grab something and chat with each other after being attended to just before they started off the journey back to there homes hidden behind the hills. We packed and left, thanking God for the health of the women and the children. It was already getting dark by the time we arrived home, tired but with a sense of satisfaction. It was a day well spent.

There are nine such clinics to different places around the vast county every month. The experiences on each of these outreaches are similar, I was told, save for differences in distance. This one was about 40km away from the stationary clinic. The area is volatile due to cattle rustling and violence between neighbouring communities. Many people have been killed and there has never been an adequate response from the government. Communities migrate to safer areas each time an attack occurs. Often these safe areas are interior, undeveloped and lack essential amenities. The mobile clinic outreaches are, therefore, their only hope in terms of health care.

I went back to Nairobi to prepare for my next trip to the coastal strip of the country. So far, I have done six project visits, spoken to project coordinators and workers about their work and where they would like to receive assistance from me, evaluated some projects, prepared guiding documents for the office among other things. I now understand the projects I have visited well enough to be able to assist them work better and be impactful.

 

FMSJ Baby weighing clinic

 

Emma Edgeworth – Zambia (Update)

Emma Edgeworth – Early Childhood Development Specialist, Mongu Cheshire Home 
 
“Hello everybody, greetings again from Mongu, Zambia.  As I sit here, reflecting on the last seven months of my placement, I am struggling to put into words the experiences I have had. I suppose, sometimes words are not big enough to contain all the images and feelings you are trying to pour into them. I’m going to share with you some positive experiences that have happened in the past few weeks which may give you some insight into life here in Zambia.
 
In the last few weeks I have been receiving lots of news from home regarding Christmas celebrations! Here in Mongu, we have been having some celebrations of our own. On the 3rd of December we celebrated ‘International Day of Person’s with Disabilities’.  Together with the community we celebrated all the amazing things that people with disabilities have to offer. The Cheshire Home children performed the Twelve Day’s of Christmas which was the performance of the day – perhaps I’m being a little bit biased! As a group of over two hundred people, we chanted “Disability is not Inability” and we truly believed it. This experience for the children was invaluable, to be surrounded by the local community who believe in their strengths and capabilities and who are fighting to promote their rights as human beings and protect their well-being.
On the 6th of December, Cheshire Home had their annual Christmas play. All of the children’s parents who had travelled from their villages for end of term, were treated to a performace of the Nativity. From the role of Joseph to the role of the donkey, each child had a part to play. I realised during the performance that I did not even notice the children’s disabilities – the inkeeper was a wheelchair user, one of the shepards sheep was blind, what I saw was a group of resilient and unique children performing for their parents and all the Cheshire Home Staff. 
 
It’s experiences such as these one’s that have coloured my life here for the past seven months.  What I have learned from life here in Zambia, is that all hands are not dealt equally. I believe that this statement is true for all humans. But what I have also learned is that when there is hope, change is possible, and change is happening all over the world, every day. What is hope? Well for me, right now -
Hope is when a child arrives to Cheshire Home and they get to attend school for the first time.
Hope is a child feeding their friend because that friend cannot feed themselves.
Hope is the dedication of the Presentation Sisters and all the Cheshire Home staff.
Hope is the children teaching me new things every day.
Hope is the changing attitudes and behaviours of the community towards people with disabilities. These changes may be small and at times, painstakingly slow but they are real and in the end, when they all add up together they will lead to a better future for people with disabilities.
 
If you are on placement abroad or at home while you read this, I wish you a very happy and peaceful Christmas.
Emma”

Rita Formolo – Uganda

 

 

Project Manager – Caritas

Rita has been on assignment as a Project Manager at  Caritas Kampala in Uganda since 2015 – here she shares her thoughts on the past two years work:

“As Christmas approaches and the year ends, I look back and see what we have achieved so far. I see that this year has given me much more than I expected. I am able to see how much our efforts have started to enrich the lives of our beneficiaries.

In 2017, we engaged in a financial education training package delivering workshops to our cooperatives and their members. The exchanges and the feedback from the communities and beneficiaries during the activities was well received and became a huge source of motivation for the Caritas team to continue pursuing our agenda on financial literacy to encourage cooperative members to become better managers of their limited finances.

The response and incremental benefits I am beginning to see within the communities as a result of these Caritas driven activities has been tremendously satisfying for me and the Caritas team which I work closely pictured below. To see, hear and know what we have achieved together is what has made me the most proud. It shows that the work is appreciated and that encourages my expectations of what the next phase of the project will bring.

The work we are conducting is not only to give support but to put in place structures and resources that will carry on our legacy and be built upon after our departure from this project. It is above all about the potential for transformation and social change, the ability to support people to take personal responsibility for their own learning journey, both individually and collectively. We are here only to give a push and encouraging them to make things happen.

Development is seen as a process of change through time. In the next three years we will be expanding our capacity building agenda combining training; education; technical assistance; and follow-ups creating professional leaders, staff and more participative members for our 38 grass-roots cooperatives based within the parishes under the Archdiocese of Kampala, Uganda. Our challenge is to contribute to expand the value of cooperative models plays within and outside the Church structures to promote socio-economic development and inclusive growth through cooperation and solidarity among individuals and groups to come and work together so that more rights can be realized.

Although there have been some ups and downs in this journey throughout, my passion, commitment and determination that have worked in my favour, and following the calling from my heart I knew that I could turn things around and make the most of this assignment.

The biggest factor that leads any of us to work in developing areas, which is our unifying trait is compassion. Though we are sometimes shaken by experiences we must always have the passion to keep focusing our work to enrich the lives of those around us. Whether that is in Africa or in Ireland.

I will be always grateful for Viatores Christi for this opportunity that was given to me to engage meaningfully with people here and hopefully share the best of what I have to offer whilst also learning from them. I am certain that Africa will never leave me.”

 

 

 

Venture – Training for Development (Spring 2018)

 

Introduction

Venture Spring 2018 is an excellent, comprehensive programme delivered over four weekends between February and May 2018.

The course also has online modules (using Moodle) in

Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection

Research Methodologies

*New* Technical Writing

Course / Module  
Global Awareness, Health 10-11 February 2018
Community Development and Leadership 10-11 March 2018
Project Cycle Management, Monitoring & Evaluation 7-8 April 2018 Date change
Cultural Adaptation, Challenge & Conflict, Research Methodologies (New module) Please note some modules including Research Methodologies have an online component using Moodle. 12-13 May 2018
 

Who is this for?
Prospective development workers, missionaries or volunteers who intend to work and live in a developing country.

What will you learn?

While providing a some keys skills and knowledge in practical overseas development it will also help participants to discern if a long term volunteer commitment is for them.  It is crucial that development workers, missionaries or volunteers are well prepared; this helps ensure that they can remain committed to the challenges of living and working overseas.

Programme

Module 1 Introduction and Logistics sessions.
Module 2 Global Awareness.
Module 3 Mission and Development –This is aimed at those working in the faith-based sector and is held after the returned volunteer speaker each Sunday morning.
Module 4 Returned Volunteer Speakers. Four speakers will input, one on each weekend
Module 5 Health
Module 6 Community Development and Leadership
Module 7 Cultural Adaptation
Module 8 Challenge and Conflict
Module 9 Research Methodologies
Module 10 Project Cycle Management and Monitoring & Evaluation
Module 11 Online Security Course mandatory for all trainees (UNDSS)
Module 12 Comhlámh Volunteer Charter
Online The course also has online modules (using Moodle) in Child & Vulnerable Adult ProtectionResearch Methodologies*New* Technical Writing

 

The programme is delivered by facilitators who are experts in the sector.

Course fee €400 (less 20% for unwaged)

Register and pay online here.

Emma Edgeworth – Zambia

“To start things off, greetings from Mongu, Zambia, my home for the last four months!

I embarked on my Journey in May 2017 and cannot believe how quickly my time here has passed. Cliched but true! From the training provided by Viatores Christi, I was prepared for the initial challenges that my new role would bring and ready for a difficult ‘settling in’ period — but to be honest I feel I hit the ground running because of all the support I was given before I left.

The Cheshire Home is where I was placed, and I am often asked – What is like? What do they do there?  

Believe it or not, these are difficult questions to answer. Unless you experience it for yourself, it is hard to comprehend or fully appreciate the work that takes place in Cheshire Home. When I first arrived one of my Zambian colleagues described it as ‘a special place’, this is a description that continues to ring true in in my mind. I’ve never known anywhere as special, or as important, to so many people as The Cheshire Home. 

When summarising all the work in my head, I see that The Cheshire Home offers the community so many things. It is a rehabilitation home for children with disabilities, a special needs education service, an advocacy centre for people with disabilities, an early intervention hub, an outreach service working with people in the community who have disabilities. Cheshire Home’s community boundary stretches across the whole western province of Zambia. Children and families travel for days to reach it to access its services. The scope of service provision is mind boggling. Coming from a social care background in Ireland, I cannot believe what the Presentation Sisters have achieved in their fight to support children with disabilities in Zambia.  

There are over seventy children on-site with a wide range of physical and intellectual disabilities. The Early Intervention Programme, which allows young children to access services with their parents, has up to 20 families on site. 

A physio therapy programme runs five days per week alongside the education programme, which allows children to access quality education while staying at the Cheshire Home. Unfortunately, the reality in Zambia is that children with disabilities don’t normally get the chance to attend school. Distance, physical and/or intellectual disabilities, poverty and discrimination are all factors that act as barriers to these children getting a proper education.  

There is a core team of Children’s support staff at Cheshire Home, who work with the children throughout the day and each night. Part of my role here has been to devise and provide training that meets the needs of the service. My main priority regarding the training is that it must be accessible for staff and meaningful to the work they carry out. By taking a need based approach and working in active partnership with the staff, we have completed a six-week programme on Child Development and Play as well as a Child Protection Workshop. Because of low educational attainment and their own previous experiences of education, it was important that the training supported staff to be active participants in their own learning. Access to translation was also key. From one-to-one meetings with the staff in my first number of weeks in my role, staff informed me that they had been taught as children to be seen and not heard, don’t challenge your teacher, the teacher is always right etc – reminding me of Paulo Freire’s concept of ‘Educational Banking’. I wanted them to experience a new way of learning. My goal was for the staff to build confidence around the topics and begin to challenge me as a facilitator – ask questions, offer different examples, problem solve and to realise that EVERYBODY has something to contribute. 

The Presentation Sisters, are constantly striving to up-skill staff and encourage learning and further education. Being able to contribute to this process has meant a great deal to me and I hope that this term’s scheduled training will continue to provide learning opportunities for the staff. 

 Working hands on with staff and parents is a big part of my day. The approach I have taken is to work in partnership with both groups. Each task and intervention are as important as the next. From general cleaning to workshops. 

Finally, most of my day revolves around the main stakeholders of the organisation – the children! Each one an individual and special in their own unique way. Although they face many challenges because of their disabilities, Cheshire Home is allowing them to experience childhood and always striving to acknowledge their rights to safety, protection, education and non- discrimination under the UNCRC.  

I find it difficult to write from a personal perspective, and I hope I have provided you with some insight into my time here so far. If I had any advice for fellow volunteers? Do not be taken in by a romanticised idea of volunteering. I took on this role and contract with the same level of commitment and dedication as I would have a professional position at home. I can see how roles like mine, filled by professional volunteers are helping to meet the ongoing and demanding needs of projects overseas. The minimum cost of placing a child in residential care in Ireland is over one thousand two hundred per week. The Cheshire Home is running on the generosity of funders and the unwavering commitment of both Sister Cathy and Sister Stella.”

IT Specialist (with French) Required for Education Project in NW Haiti

 

Viatores Christi (VC) works in the area of development cooperation in the faith based development sector. We specialise in the recruitment, training and placement of skilled development workers on projects overseas which have a skills gap identified by a local partner.

VC is now seeking a suitably IT professional for an IT Project Manager role in Haiti.  He or she should have a good level of French with experience in all aspects IT systems (management, implementation, training).

Our partner, based in a women’s empowerment and education project in North Western Haiti, seeks a volunteer development worker IT Specialist with good all round skills and experience in managing and supporting basic IT systems (hardware and software) within an education/training setting.
The ideal candidate will need to possess strong project management skills in developing and overseeing the refurb of an IT training centre and development of programmes, identification and training of local counterparts, delivery of training to staff and local school teachers.

The duration of the role is for 12 months and accommodation is provided by the local partner.

The area is in quiet, beautiful and colourful region in Haiti and this role in a grassroots project will offer the volunteer the opportunity to live and work with the local people and become part of their community.

The role is funded from the Irish Aid Overseas Aid Budget and the development worker will receive an allowance.  Flights, insurances, vaccinations and other costs will also be covered.

For further details, including a detailed role description, please email us!