Volunteer for the Visayans (VFV) provides a wide range of program choices for people wanting to Volunteer Abroad in the Philippines. In particular these volunteer projects are divided into categories summarized in the content below:
Volunteer with Children in the Philippines
Many former volunteers say that volunteering with the children in our program was an “awesome” experience. For them, encountering the harsh life faced by impoverished children in a developing country was a humbling experience, but they were gratified that they were able to make a difference in the lives of these children.
As in other developing countries, children in our impoverished communities face the bleak prospect of being the next generation in the cycle of poverty. The services that VFV and volunteers provide to the children and their parents are directed to break that cycle.
VFV offers a variety of volunteer placements in children’s projects so volunteers should find it easy to find one that matches their interests and abilities. Over the past six years, VFV has established many volunteer programs for disadvantaged and at-risk children and youth. At present we are continuing to improve and expand our services. We also work closely with our community partners (those who are providing specialized services) to ensure that the volunteers we place in their programs do well.
Our volunteer placements include teaching in rural schools, teaching students with special needs, assisting in orphanages, providing health and nutritional services, serving on medical missions, teaching dance and crafts, coaching sports, working in a community center, and mentoring at-risk children and incarcerated youth. You will find more information on these placements on our individual project profiles.
Volunteers in our adult and construction projects who wish to work with children can sign up (optional) for extra duties in our children’s projects; these duties include tutoring children enrolled in our sponsorship program, escorting children on field trips, and distributing subsidies and supplies to families.
Children in the Philippines are extremely friendly and curious. They will greet new volunteers with great interest, wanting to know more about the volunteer. Many are eager to practice their English speaking skills. Volunteers who have worked with our incarcerated law violators have found that even these youths are approachable. They, like the younger children, appreciate that someone is taking an interest in them and welcome the individual attention that volunteers provide.
- Volunteer in an Orphanage
- Volunteer with Street Children
- Volunteer with Abused Girls
- Volunteer with the Dumpsite Children
Volunteer with Adults & Youth
The challenges facing youths and adults living in destitute communities in the Philippines are enormous. The adolescent and young adult clients that volunteers will work with have grown up in impoverished, and in most cases, dysfunctional households. Most have dropped out of school. If employed, they are earning sub-poverty wages as unskilled laborers. The likelihood that they will ever get a decent paying job in the future, without further education or vocational training, is poor.
Children in the Philippines by and large are among the friendliest children in the world. Many foreigners marvel at the sight of downtrodden Filipino children in carefree play, enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
The innocent days of childhood are a distant memory for the clients you will work with. The years of deprivation and maltreatment have taken a physical, social, and emotional toil. Many children who sought security on the streets attempted to work gainfully at first, doing odd jobs such as peddling flowers and trinkets or watching over parked cars. But, because the public shunned them, they were unable to earn enough to survive, either through these jobs or by panhandling. Out of desperation or because of intimidation, many of the children joined gangs and were drawn into a life of petty crime. Some gravitated towards more serious criminal behavior.
Early childhood intervention services have the most potential for bringing about positive, long-term change. However, because family intervention services in the Philippines are limited, most of the clients you will work with have not received such services. But rehabilitation is still possible. Many intervention programs that work with adolescents and young adults have had good results.
The clients’ motivation to address personal issues will vary, and it will take time even for a motivated client to work through serious, personal issues – issues which may include depression, social isolation, abusive relationships, prostitution, addiction, or criminal offenses. Working with these clients will be challenging and at times frustrating and draining. You will need to be patient, caring, genuine, non-judgmental, and personally grounded.
Very few of the clients you will encounter will be hard-core offenders. Most of the clients will have the potential to regain a good measure of the trust and enthusiasm for life they had as children. The motivation to change will emerge as clients begin to feel positive about themselves and optimistic about their future. Volunteers can help bring about these changes. When the volunteer relates to a client with genuine interest and optimism, the message heard by the client is, “I am important and worthy!”
Here’s your opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of young people in the Philippines, who got off to a rough start in life. By the end of your placement, you may feel that you have gotten back more than you offered your clients.
Coach Sports and Teach Fine Arts
Men, women and especially children here in the Philippines enjoy keeping active, whether it’s participating in dance contests or competing in basketball leagues. Here in the Philippines peopleenjoy staying active and especially enjoy dancing and playing basketball. Sports is not just a way for people to stay healthier, it can also bring communities together, provide a fun distraction from harsh realities and teach individuals the value of teamwork, leadership and discipline.
Students in the Philippines are on summer break from April to the end of June. This year, we want to offer our participants more enrichment activities during the summer break. The two planned activities are basketball and dancing. We hope to enlist some volunteers who can commit to the entire three month period; however, volunteers will be able to accomplish a lot even during a two-week stay. Volunteers will be responsible for developing their own activity/lesson plans, based on their knowledge and experience, or for coordinating with other volunteers who have been assigned to the same project.
You will be working with children, 7 to 17 years-old, who are currently enrolled in VFV programs. They get along well with each other and will be enthused participants. The children come from indigent families and have had limited opportunities to participate in organized, extracurricular activities.You don’t have to be a superstar sportsperson or an award winning dancer but some experience, a little bit of talent and a spurge of enthusiasm really do go a long way.
Public Health Volunteers
Whether you’re a pre-medical or medical student, an active or retired medical professional or an individual with expertise in a particular area of Public Health, there is no shortage of ways you can help the local residents.
One of our ongoing commitments is to create and support sustainable healthcare projects that address the needs of the community. We collaborate with community stakeholders and work in unison. As a result, we now have two health care projects to offer volunteers – one at a Rural Health Clinic and the other in our Nutrition Public Health Program.
In addition to this, each year at the end of May, we conduct our Annual Medical Mission, providing free medical procedures for a selected rural community, offering particular attention to children and people suffering from socioeconomic stress who cannot afford to pay the necessary fees to receive most medical procedures. Each year we openly invite our international volunteers to assist us with this day-long activity so that hand-in-hand we can continue to ‘make a difference’.
Since 2010, we here at Volunteer for the Visayans have shown a great interest in Public Health and as a result have devised a Nutrition Project that aims to alter Filipino communities attitudes towards food, whilst at the same time addressing issues of undernourishment amongst pre-school children.
Education is one of the most proven ways of breaking the poverty cycle in developing countries; for this reason Volunteer for the Visayans emphasizes the importance of education in all of its programs.
As a volunteer you can also get involved with education to help enhance and develop students’skills, particularly in reading, writing and speaking in English, as well as Mathematics and Science.
Native English speaking volunteers are needed to work alongside local teachers to teach English or other subjects. In the Philippines, English is taught from grade one and most classes are conducted in English. Since students are also required to also learn Filipino, the national language, learning English is an arduous task for them. Most rural classes are overcrowded and lack sufficient textbooks and teaching material. The poverty rate is especially high in rural areas of Leyte, resulting in a number of parents not sending their children to school for financial reasons. Many of the children who attend school do not have adequate school supplies. But the children are eager students who especially welcome the opportunity to be taught by a foreign teacher.
Volunteers are also needed to work with youths who have dropped out of school and are participating in non-formal educational programs. The resources in this sector are limited and teachers, especially native English speakers, are in short supply. Also needed are volunteers proficient in International Sign Language who can serve as interpreters for deaf and mute students. In all of these placements, the volunteer will be called on to also serve as role models and mentors.
Whilst a TEFL Qualification is not required for the Teaching in Rural Schools and Out-Of-School Youth projects, it has been proven to be helpful training for volunteers in the past.
Community Development & Construction
Improving the lives of communities is an area that we here at Volunteer for the Visayans diligently commit ourselves to year in year out.
Whether it’s Building Homes and Schools or developing micro-financing programs for a mothers empowerment group, there are a number of ways in which our International Volunteers can assist our organization and ‘make a difference’ to communities here in the Philippines.
At the heart of it all is our Community Center, a small two-storey building that not only serves as our base of operations but also as the staging area for our various different projects. It is here that we attempt to deliver various ongoing projects to different demographics in our local community, along with further outreach projects to towns outside of Tacloban City.
Whether it’s constructing homes for families suffering from socioeconomic stress or renovating and building classrooms for remote rural schools, participating in these projects will have immediate and long lasting results for grateful communities.