The World Around Us

Cuso and VSO

Voluntary Service Overseas and Cuso International made two special experiences we had possible. The first experience took place in India through VSO in 2006-2008. There we met and were separated by 1800 plus kilometers. The second experience was working in Mozambique in 2012-2013 through Cuso; of course we were together this time.

Both organizations belong to the largest international development organizations that work through volunteers. Their work is to send professionals like us to their partners overseas in place of aid money to support long-term, sustainable solutions for development issues at the grassroots level.

The time we’ve spent in India and Mozambique allowed us to work with local non-governmental organization, make amazing friends and broadened our understanding of the world. We gave our colleagues and friends tools to increase the capacity of their organization and we’ve been touched in ways we may never completely know or understand. This blog gives you a taste of these experiences.

Here is more information on VSO and Cuso International . We worked with the following Cuso and VSO partners:

AMIMO, Associação de Mineiros Moçambicanos

AMIMO is a miner’s rights association founded by ex-Mozambican miners to support their colleagues and families. The non-profit organization focuses on advocacy and lobbying the government to improve working conditions for Mozambican miners and better support for families when miners are killed on the job.

Marlowe created their website, provided branding for their affiliate organization SAMA (South African Miner’s Association) and built capacity through IT training.

ARISO, Association for Rehabilitation and Social Integration

Lisette worked as Organizational Development Adviser and supported the organization gaining strategic focus. She did this with a participatory approach to reviewing the strategic plan, creating an innovative program and building a realistic fundraising plan.

ARISO’s mission is to promote actions to avoid the exclusion and stigmatization of people from their familiar environment and facilitate their rehabilitation and social integration. Their main target clientele are prisoners.


Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD) , is changing lives through cooperative initiatives at the community level. For three decades, CYSD worked with and for deprived and marginalized remote communities in Orissa, India. CYSD’s community-centric strategy involves gender mainstreaming, action research, networking and advocacy. The organization’s main focus lies on enhancing access to schools in tribal areas, increasing food security with actionable agricultural plans for small farmers, and empowering communities with decentralized self-governance. CYSD further participates in important campaigns for access to information and women related issues.

At CYSD, Lisette focused on transitioning the IT department to software development with a clear vision. As Information Manager she was responsible for department strategy, operational plan and processes to create a central filing system, databases and improved management reporting. Her coaching management style has been described as positive, well-grounded and forward thinking.

The Deaf Way Foundation

Marlowe created their original website in 2007 and taught colleagues how to maintain it. This has proven successful with the website updated constantly. In his capacity as Graphic Designer he also created leaflets, event collateral and enormous banners for advocacy purposes.

The Deaf Way Foundation is committed to educate, empower and advocate for the deaf community of India by providing quality services in an inclusive and enabling environment. It is estimated that there are between 6 and 15 million deaf people living in India. The organization serves them through leadership camps, conferences, awareness workshops and cultural programs in schools.

Closely affiliated with Deaf Way are the Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) and NAD . ASLI aims to provide quality interpreting services and quality training and opportunities. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is a grassroots organization that lobbies and advocates the government in the rights of deaf Indians.