Tuesday, December 30, 2008

for anyone who's interested

here is a rundown (stolen off the IVHQ website) of what i'll be up to while volunteering over the next 2 weeks (starting jan 1)


Although Vietnam has now been at peace for many years, effects from war continue to haunt not only the adult population of this beautiful country but also its' children. Volunteers have the opportunity to work in institutions caring for children and young people affected by Agent Orange or in schools and community clinics looking after mentally disabled children. Work is somewhat varied dependent on the institution where the volunteer is placed, however typical examples of jobs and tasks can include; assisting local staff in providing rehabilitation exercises and therapist treatments for children, playing with children and entertaining/educating them with games, music, arts and other exercises, helping to develop fundraising initiatives to ensure ongoing funding for these institutions and teaching English to local staff.

IVHQ Placement: Peace Village - A combination of a school, medical clinic and rehabilitation centre, this institution provides for over 120 children and is located in Hanoi. 

Phu My Orphanage - Located in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh), this orphanage looks after 600 children (400 in the orphanage and 200 in day care for street families). Many of the children at this orphanage are disabled. (Please Note - These are just one of many institutions on our program and not necessarily the one you will be working at).


In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, volunteers have the option on staying in the volunteer dorms with other volunteers or in a homestay with a local Vietnamese family. We give that family money from your fee for support, food and board. It is exciting to stay with a family; that way you will learn the Vietnamese way of life, meet local people, eat local food and engage in local customs and traditions. However, the volunteer dorms are also very popular and a very sociable option as you get to live and socialise with other volunteers and Vietnamese staff. Living conditions in Vietnam are not luxurious and will vary depending on where you are placed although all home stays do have electricity and running water. Host families are educated, well respected in society and experienced in hosting in international volunteers. While bedding is provided, it is recommended that volunteers bring their own sleeping bag and mosquito net if they wish to travel away.
Vietnam is renowned for its tasty and diverse food. Although you cannot expect to eat like a king throughout your home stay, rest assured your accommodation hosts will provide you with a variety of Vietnamese treats during your volunteer period. Your host family would also be excited to taste some of your national dishes during your stay as well! Breakfast is taken in the morning, lunch is served at approximately 1pm (you can take a packed lunch if you wish to eat at your project) and then dinner/supper is served at 7 or 8 in the evening. If you have special eating needs, please let us know ahead of time so that we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but also as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible. There are numerous amazing restaurants throughout Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh which you will be directed to by program staff if you wish to eat out occasionally.All meals are provided at the accommodation regardless of which type of accommodation you are in. Living conditions are basic but comfortable and three meals are provided on a daily basis. Meals consist of traditional Vietnamese fare, which volunteers generally find to be very generous and tasty.

Orientation will begin on the morning of the 1st or 15th of the month (dependent on your booking) and you will be picked up from your accommodation and taken to the orientation. Orientation will be conducted by the team in Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi (dependent on your placement) and cover everything you need to know for your volunteering placement in Vietnam – Introduction to Vietnam, Vietnamese Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Vietnam, Survival Vietnamese language lesson, Introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing. Once orientation is complete, volunteers will be taken back to their home stay and introduced to all relevant parties – home stay family members and program placement staff.

First Day: On the first day of the volunteering placement, the volunteers will be escorted to the project by either a member of the local staff and introduced to the staff at the project you will be working with.

Weekdays: While our programs are flexible and can be fitted to your requirements, a typical day is as follows.

* 7.30AM Breakfast with the host family
* 8.00AM Volunteer leaves home and is dropped (or walks) to the project;
The volunteer joins with the local staff. You will be given a duty roster and a plan for your work. There is usually a tea break and a lunch break. Work and hours is dependent on the project and location that the volunteer is participating in.
* 2.00PM-5.00PM Work at the project usually ends. The volunteer at this point is free to visit and see places or do shopping. Usually we will have a guide to take you around. You may also want to hang out with the kids up to around 6.00PM.
* 8.30PM Dinner with the host family.

Weekends: During the weekend, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of their local town, Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield and engage in tourist activities such as trekking, Vietnamese history tours and visits to temples. If volunteers wish to volunteer over the weekends they can join local teams and visit other orphanages (or other children helping organizations) to spend time simply playing with and entertaining the children.

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