UK TV star praises work of VSO in PNG

Normal, Weekender

Marcel Pool, (far left) with Charley Boorman and his crew. Charley is between two students from the Mt Sion Community-based Rehabilitation Centre.

A BRITISH television star has praised Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO) for its work in Papua New Guinea.
Charley Boorman, host of the BBC2 travel show Charley Boorman Sydney to Tokyo: By Any Means, said he was surprised by the enthusiasm and work of Eastern Highlands province-based VSO volunteer Marcel Pool.
Mr Pool is a volunteer physiotherapist working in Goroka and recently took Mr Boorman and his camera crew to the Mt Sion community-based rehabilitation centre, where he runs a training programme for local volunteers.
“When I met Marcel in the middle of Papua New Guinea, I wasnít sure what to expect from VSO and I was taken aback by the enthusiasm of Marcel and the work he is doing out there.
“I think itís wonderful that people give up their time to selflessly help others improve their lives. I am a huge supporter of the organisation and would encourage anyone to give it a go,” said Mr Boorman.
Acting British High Commissioner to PNG, Colin Glass, said the VSO continues to bring and inspire positive change in rural communities through the work of volunteers such as Mr Pool.
“Throughout Papua New Guinea you will find VSO volunteers such as Mr Pool introducing and influencing positive change in rural communities. The added bonus is his work will star in the BBC2 travel programme and hopefully woo more volunteers to come to PNG through the VSO network,” he said.
Besides his work at Mt Sion, Mr Pool also does training for local health professionals at the Goroka Base Hospital and is helping to improve the hospitalís physiotherapy unit.
“It was a great experience, they (camera crew) were nice and interesting people and for my colleagues it was very special to have a film crew over to see what they do.
“They could really show off what they have learned and what kind of work they do with physically-challenged people. I could see they felt proud and at the same time the visit gave them a sense of appreciation for what they do, it motivated them,” said Mr Pool.
VSO (PNG) country manager, Karen Simmons, praised Mr Pool and said he was one of about 60 volunteers in different parts of the country.
“Currently there are over 1,600 international volunteers working in 42 countries around the world including PNG,” she added.
Mr Boormanís travel show is scheduled to be broadcast on BBC2 (only in the UK) in autumn 2009 with a book and a DVD to follow.