Visit Volunteers For Peace's website to learn more about their programs abroad
Volunteers For Peace is a non-profit organization, founded in 1982, that offers volunteer placements in over 3,000 voluntary service projects worldwide. Each year we are able to provide our volunteers with invaluable opportunities to build cultural understanding and friendship around the world, strengthen their ability to communicate in diverse groups and learn grassroots leadership skills.
Our projects range from 2-3 weeks to 2-3 months and allow volunteers to choose the theme of their service whether it is discovering something new or growing within a field where an interest already lies. Volunteers have the opportunity to form lifelong friendships, connect with grassroots organizations worldwide and network internationally.
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I paid $500 to this organization for registration on a Water Research Project in Nepal, which was supposed to include: "the placement process, accommodation, food, leadership and work materials for the duration of the project" (I copied this from their original email). Upon my arrival to Nepal, the local organization ended up charging me for the same things that were supposed to be included with the VFP registration fee. I contacted VFP to clarify and I was provided with different information regarding the $500 registration fee different to what was originally provided to me. Both VFP and the local organization did nothing to resolve this issue and I was forced to cut my trip short because I wasn't able to afford the rest of my stay.
- VFP illegally mislead information on what was included with the $500 registration fee.
- Housing and food were not provided by VFP, although it was clearly stated in the emails when the registration fee was paid.
-VFP needs to clearly state in their emails and website what is included with the registration fee and make sure their partner organizations are involved in the disclosure of this information to prevent any confusions. Some of the volunteers that apply for these organizations do not have a few hundred dollars to spare when mistakes like this happen!
I have given VFP the opportunity to clarify this issue and refund me my money, since I believed maybe my experience was an isolated case but unfortunately they have not reached out to me and own up to their fraud. It really is a shame that organizations like this take advantage of people that really want to help marginalized communities!
VFP Gives people the awesome opportunity to go abroad and really experience the culture of other countries across the world from Taiwan to Germany
My only (so far) volunteer project was this past Nov. 2013, in Nicaragua/Finca Esperanza Verde. This was such an amazing experience. We stayed a week long in one of the most elevated mountains reaching 4,000 feet high. From the initial beautiful welcoming by Vivann and staff, followed by a candlelight dinner for all. Our three times a day meals consisted of mostly organic foods from the Finca. We even learned about the different plants/tress and picked out our fresh vegetables to be consumed. Including mint leaves for fresh mojitos!
Our missionary tasks consisted of putting up a fence, digging holes, reforestation of coffee, oaks, and cedar plants. We became educated on the entire coffee process from picking out the coffee beans up to the required standards of the organic farm guidelines.
One of my most highlighted experiences was having the opportunity to interact and play with the kids of a school of six different grades located in the Finca. The kids were so well disciplined, receptive, and full of life. Even with such a high demand of need from clothing to essential nutrition they posses a strong drive and determination in both academics and even sports. I wish I had more time dedicated to the children.
Although our stay in the finca was pretty booked all day with a full itinerary of things to do, we also had our breaks to enjoy learning about one another and soak all the beauty of this amazing paradise. There are five awesome trails that we explored along with the wild birds/animals.
I’m very grateful for this humbling experience and described in one word for me would be purity of simple life;-)
Just the other day, I stepped out of my little hut, walked through the recently drenched rice patties, and found myself falling through space. The sky above was immensely dark and thick with stars, denser in some regions, almost making parts seem wholly lit, while others seemed more scattered. Behind them all was the great river of light we find our home in—the Milky Way. Yet, all of this, Milky Way included, was beneath me as well. The rice patties around me, in their 10’ by 10’ squares, acted as a seamless mirror when crouched down just so, letting the horizon disappear. The surface of the pools, in the day, reflected the blue sky, a reflection quilted by thin, bright green tips of newly budding rice. But by night stars filled the patties’ surface, allowing that river of light to flow underfoot as well as above; ground ceased to exist, only the star-strewn space stretched onto forever.
I was no longer just beneath this night sky, but also above it—there was a sensation of floating. There could have been potential for reorientation, to regain gravity and stability, were it not for that something which totally confounded my senses: between the constellations above and below floated countless paper lanterns, their lights pulsing just like the stars’. Some moved up to join clusters above, others seemingly moving down when seen through the patties’ reflection. At times I found myself thinking if this is what vertigo feels like, and others I thought I’d found some magical realm—both held me in a trance. Even an hour after I’d found my way back to the hut, I couldn’t entirely convince myself this room wasn’t floating detached from earth…ah, Thailand.
I volunteered through VFP with their partner association "Solidarite Jeunesse " at L'association du Centre de Beaumotte, located in a remonte region of France. Centre de Beaumotte is a center that works with people stemming from difficult social backgrounds and creates a non-judgmental collective atmosphere, our work ranged from local community construction to daily house maintenance and always living and maintaining a collective atmosphere. I grew and learned soooo much during this experience, it has been truly life changing. VFP was very helpful through the entire process and they have tons of projects to choose from depending on your likes and goals. The staff is very helpful and were periodically checking in with how I was doing with the project. I also love that they have projects to fit anyone's budget, you pay $500 for the registration fee and depending on the project you either have to pay out of pocket for your expenses or can make money while volunteering
I traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti during July in 2013 with Volunteers For Peace. My project entailed assisting local Haitians in running a summer day camp for kids in the city. The support I received in preparing for my project was exceptional and I couldn't be happier with the success of the project. Immersed in the culture, I lived with a Haitian family that I have continued to stayed connected to. Running the summer camp certainly wasn't easy. I was challenged by the language barrier, a huge difference in the kids' ages, and limited resources and space. I overcame these challenges and taught games and activities that exposed the kids to another culture. My experience in the most impoverished country in the world felt extremely rewarding.
I highly recommend volunteering with this organization to anyone looking for a cultural experience that will push the limits of your comfort zone, allow you to make lifelong global friendships, and impact you for the rest of your life! I can't wait to do another VFP project!