Co. Clare locals volunteer with SERVE

I am eager to immerse myself in a new culture…. gain a fresh perspective on the world.” 

2023 SERVE volunteers at Training Day in Scala, Cork

Co. Clare locals Maire Donohue and Jane O’Loughlin are volunteering overseas this summer with SERVE.

Both originally from Co Clare, Maire will travel to Mazabuka, Zambia while Jane will travel to Bengaluru, India for three weeks 

Maire currently works as a primary school teacher in the Gaelscoil Donncha Rua in Shannon, teaching children in 4th , 5th and 6th class. Maire explains, “I had a huge learning experience when I previously volunteered as a teacher in Uganda. I want to learn more from different cultures and so started my research again to volunteer. I looked at charities who were working with Comhlamh and came across SERVE.”  

SERVE is an Irish development and volunteering organisation, committed to providing equal opportunities for poor communities in the Global South. SERVE started work in 2003. This year marks 20 years of working in partnership with organisations in 11 countries over the years to tackle poverty through sustainable solutions. 

Maire elaborates, “After visiting the SERVE website and realising that they focus on youth work especially in Zambia I was determined to go volunteer there. I hope to exchange ideas with teachers and youth workers in Zambia that I can bring back to Ireland and implement in my classroom here and I hope I will have some ideas that I can share with the Zambian teachers that they may be able to use in their schools.”  

Jane O’Loughlin grew up in Kilshanny and is currently studying at UCC, Cork to become a speech and language therapist. Jane said, “I became aware of SERVE’s volunteer recruitment programme through an email that UCC sent out. Since my time in secondary school volunteering abroad has always been something I wanted to get involved with, so I saw this as a perfect opportunity. 

SERVE’s work with their partners to contribute to the Global Goals. There are 17 Global Goals that offer a roadmap for peace and prosperity for all people and the planet.  

Jane adds, “As part of my college course, I’ve had several placements working with children, and adults with intellectual disabilities, which has been very rewarding and motivating for me. Hence, when I learned about the different volunteer placements offered by SERVE, I was particularly drawn to the India placement with the Association of People with Disabilities (APD) in Bengaluru. This opportunity to work with children and adults with a range of disabilities, provide my clinical knowledge to help improve their lives, and gain new skills and confidence from the partners in India was a strong motivation for me to sign up.”

The SERVE volunteer programme aims to build bridges between communities and evokes the spirit of solidarity in Irish people with the communities they’ll work in. 

Maire adds, “I hope to embrace and experience a new culture, pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Also, I hope on my return to Ireland I can further promote the work SERVE does with all their partner countries and maybe encourage one other person to volunteer with SERVE in the future.” 

Jane said, “I am eager to immerse myself in a new culture, learn about their way of life, and gain a fresh perspective on the world. The opportunity to understand the experiences of people with disabilities living in India and work towards making an impact in their lives motivated me to sign up to the SERVE Volunteer Programme.

The SERVE Volunteer Programme was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this summer, SERVE will be sending almost thirty volunteers to Mozambique, Zambia and India. 

SERVE’s Volunteer Programme and Global Citizenship Education Coordinator, Laura Canning says: “It’s great to be able to send volunteers overseas to our partners for the first time in 3 years… We are really looking forward to seeing the impact that the GCE Programme has on our volunteers when they return and how they put their learning into practice through active global citizenship.”

Join our newsletter to follow Maire and Jane’s active global citizenship journey. 

About the SERVE Volunteering Programme:

SERVE’s work contributes to the 17 Global Goals. As a part of our commitment to becoming Global Citizens, all our volunteers engage in an extensive training programme in the months leading up to their volunteer placement.  Click here to apply to the latest Volunteer Programme!


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