What makes Volunteering in the Philippines with VFV unique?

There are many organizations that offer volunteer-abroad placements in a multitude of countries. Selecting the right program is an important decision for you to make. Here are the reasons why Volunteer for the Visayans may be your best choice for Volunteering Abroad in the Philippines.

We understand that poverty in our community cannot be alleviated just through hand-outs. We also recognize that there are national issues, including a depressed national economy, low wages, large families, and an unequal distribution of income,  that we are unable to address at our level. What we can and are doing at our grass-roots level, is to identify individual and community needs and to establish programs to address these needs. We actively collaborate with other community organizations and local government agencies. We strive to provide comprehensive, multifaceted services that address all aspects of poverty  – programs that feed the hungry, keep children healthy, strengthen parental life skills, educate children, and foster optimism for a better future. Despite the recent affects of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the landscape surrounding our work has changed very little, other than there being a much greater need from the communities we work in than there ever was before. As a result, our grassroots services continue to strive to bring hope and rehabilitation to more than 200 families in Leyte.

Here is an example of the services we provide to the typical family that enters our child sponsorship program: In this family, the father is employed but earns substandard wages, whilst the mother is a homemaker burdened with child-caring and household responsibilities. Too often, there is not enough money for family members to eat three meals a day, to obtain health care, or to purchase school wear for the children. The family is faced with survival challenges each day and social opportunities for the children are limited. To address this family’s global needs, VFV provides the family with a monthly food subsidy; enrolls the mother in our Mothers Club where she can gain self-sufficiency skills and receive peer support; provides health care and nutritional lessons; provides the sponsored child with school wear and supplies, academic monitoring, daily tutoring, health monitoring and a daily lunch or dinner; and involves the sponsored child in enrichment activities. The child also is helped to develop a supportive relationship with his sponsor. Additionally, since 2010 VFV helped sponsorship families who lived in unsafe structures to renovate or rebuild their houses.

VFV offers volunteer abroad placements in a variety of fields and settings. For most placements, work hours are from 8 am to 12 noon; however, we do encourage volunteers to take on additional assignments (this is optional), such as providing after-school tutoring and overseeing recreational activities. Most of these optional assignments involve working with the children, which our volunteers invariably find to be very rewarding.

VFV accepts volunteers in all age groups (though anyone below 18 must have parental consent) and from all over the world (though a working knowledge of English is required). Diversity makes us a stronger program as everyone  has unique life experiences and backgrounds that we can draw on. Some placements require specialized skills, but most do not. Our project descriptions on our Volunteer Page will help you determine which placement would be best for you. Our staff will be happy to help you determine which project works best for you and will guide you through the pre-program stage of your volunteer abroad experience.

Volunteers, of course, should have a strong desire to help others and should be healthy enough to perform the required project tasks. Personal traits that are needed include the following:

Adaptability: Living standards in the Philippines are much lower than what you have been accustomed to. (However, Filipinos are known for their hospitality and will provide a guest with the best of everything they have in their home.) Individuals who wish to Volunteer in the Philippines, must be able to adapt to new living environments.

Sensitivity: Your values and expectations may be markedly different (due to cultural and socioeconomic differences) from those you will work with. A lack of awareness and sensitivity to this will offend those you interact with. Volunteers must be sensitive and open minded to Filipino culture. (There is reference material on the internet that will help you understand Filipino culture and traits.)

Perseverance: The volunteer project you are assigned to may lack basic supplies. Our rural schools are poorly funded and classrooms typically lack basic supplies. (While VFV does its best to solicit donations for these schools, funds are limited.) Some of our orphanages are overcrowded and understaffed. Creativity to find a solution and persistence to carry on are needed.

People volunteer because they have a strong desire to help those in need, and generally seek to volunteer in a foreign country for specific reasons, such a desire for a cultural immersion experience, to gain real life experiences during a “gap year,” or to gain experience in their career field. Whatever your reasons are for volunteering, we believe that we can provide you with a placement that will meet your needs.

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Want to hear what are past volunteers have to say? Check out our Volunteer Testimonials.