1. What is volunteering with Voluntary Horizons?
A volunteer is someone who commits their time and energy working alongside people from local community on projects which are beneficial to the community. Examples of Volunteering with Voluntary Horizons include working in education, environmental projects and helping reconstruct community buildings which were damaged by the earthquake in 2010.
A volunteer should be willing to undertake their work freely without any financial gain. It is voluntary but not optional. It is all about being motivated to help and work towards a project or cause that you are interested in.
You should not expect that you will change the world in just a couple of weeks, however volunteering gives you the opportunity to make an impact on people’s lives including your own. You can make small changes that are long lasting.
2. What is the average age of volunteers?
The age of our group programs for students is generally 12 -18 years old.
Our corporate programs are all for adults over the age of 18.
3. Is there a minimum and maximum age for participating on one of your group programs?
4. In which countries is it possible to volunteer?
Our volunteer programs are in Bolivia, Chile and Nicaragua.
We expect to have programs in Ecuador, Peru and Brazil soon. (Please enquire if you have a specific interest in one of these programs).
5. How long are the projects?
Our group programs vary in duration, from a day to a month. All itineraries are programmed according to the participants’ needs, interests and budget.
6. Why should I pay for volunteering?
Volunteering in another country requires a lot of resources and preparation. Volunteers need accommodation, food, transportation, local coordination and orientation to ensure their safety. We also include an administration fee as we spend a lot of time coordinating work plans and developing specific objectives to ensure the project is well organized. A VH staff member will always have been to site to carry out a pre-visit to ensure that everything is set up, a risk assessment has been undertaken, and to ensure that as a volunteer you will use your time most effectively in order to really meet your project objectives. There are also costs associated with materials and tools for the project.
7. Which costs are not included?
The costs and inclusions are different for every program, however you should at least consider the following extras:
- Costs of your flights
- Any visa fees
- Costs of travel insurance
- Costs of any vaccinations
8. Is the airport transfer included?
9. Do I need to speak Spanish or Portuguese to volunteer in Latin America?
No it is not necessary though it will enhance your experience if you can communicate with the local people. You always have the option to take Spanish/Portuguese lesson before volunteering or even include a class or two in the program.
10. Where do you stay during your volunteer work?
You will sleep in basic accommodation, this may be with a local family as you enjoy the benefits of a Homestay experience, sharing the the local food and their way of living, it may be a hostal, or sometimes the floor of a school or community centre.
Hotels and other types of accommodation can be used but have a higher cost.
11. Which vaccinations do I need?
Also this depends on which country you are planning to go to. For the majority of the countries you will need vaccinations. For more information, http://www.cdc.gov/Features/TravelProtection/
12. Do you have any recommendations for insurance?
It is really important that you have insurance when you are going to travel. Insurance protects travelers when unforeseen circumstances occur, after they have booked and paid for their trip. Also, if you need to cancel your flight because of personal or any unforeseen circumstances it will cover medical emergencies, accidents and treatment that may occur on a trip to a foreign country and many more. For any recommendations, please contact us.
13. Can you book my flight?
Yes, we can! If you would like help with booking your flight, or if you would like us to book your flight we can help. We charge USD$30 per flight we book, per person.
14. Is the company available 24hours?
Yes, the company is 24 hours, 7 days per week available for our volunteers. We feel responsible for our volunteers and therefore we are always there.
15. Is it safe to travel and volunteer alone?
We would consider the countries that we offer are safe to travel in; however of course everywhere you will travel or volunteer to have their risks and local situations can change. You can check the foreign office recommendations on travel in different Latin American countries at: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/
One of the benefit of volunteering through Voluntary Horizons is that you have an extra point of local contact who is there to give you support through any problems or difficulties you may have. In the even of any difficult situations arising we are an extra point of contact for you, but also if you family or school should need to get a message to you urgently and are finding difficulties contacting you.
This post is also available in: Spanish