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Expert volunteers urged to call back

An international development charity is appealing for volunteer teachers to travel to areas of southern Asia devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami.

Voluntary Service Overseas has launched a campaign to recruit volunteers to work in the disaster areas of Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Indonesia and India. Mark Goldring, chief executive, said: "Now the immediate chaos and confusion has passed there is a pressing need for vital professional expertise."

The charity received an unprecedented number of calls from potential volunteers after the wave struck, but at the time, the need for money was greater.

VSO is helping the stricken countries rebuild and is calling for people interested in helping to get back in touch.

The demand for teachers is particularly strong in the Maldives, where the charity is planning to extend its work in trauma counselling for young people and child protection.

Volunteers already working in the region have produced teaching resources to help children understand what caused the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

VSO volunteers live and work with local colleagues, sharing their skills to ensure that poor communities around the world have access to services such as education and health care.

They are usually aged between 20 and 70, with professional qualifications and experience, and typically work abroad for two years. Volunteers would need to be available in six to 12 months' time.

The charity offers a living allowance, accommodation, insurance and flights, training before departure and grants to help volunteers get settled.

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