Welcome to Volunteer Action for Peace!
Volunteer Action for Peace (VAP) is a UK based charity organisation which works towards creating and preserving international peace, justice and human solidarity for people and their communities. Through a range of working projects both in the United Kingdom and around the world, VAP provides volunteers with opportunities to work together with people from around the globe and in partnership with local groups to enhance and empower communities.
VAP currently operates through a network of partner organisations in more than 80 countries worldwide, meaning that you can combine taking part in a rewarding voluntary project and an exciting cultural exchange with your travel experience of a lifetime!
You can select a project from our range of short term Workcamp opportunities (2-4 weeks), Medium Term Volunteering (2-6 months) and Long Term Volunteering (6+ months) or as an EVS volunteer on a fully funded scheme.
So, if you’re looking for a life-changing experience; are interested in volunteering; are taking a gap year or would like to learn new skills then look no further!
Photo : Helen Bull / KVDA Kenya
VAP in Seoul with CCIVS
Volunteer Action for Peace is currently represented at the 33rd General Assembly and General Conference of CCIVS, the Coordination Committee for International Voluntary Service, which is taking place in South Korea. Paul Winter, our former chairman and current member of VAP’s International Working Group is our man in Seoul!
posted on: 16 October 2014
A move in the right direction
At September’s executive committee meeting, an important decision about VAP’s volunteer exchanges was made: we will no longer be treating “standard” volunteer programmes (in Europe, North America and other so-called “developed” areas) differently from what we used to call “North-South” programmes (in “developing” countries). All projects will now be presented in the same category.
This is a significant step for a whole host of reasons. For one thing, it addresses a long-standing inaccuracy in terminology that can simply cause confusion – it clearly isn’t even the case that all developed countries are in the “North” while all developing countries, still recovering from centuries of colonisation and exploitation, are in the “South”. But more importantly, the change shows that we at VAP want to move away from the idea that our projects should be divided in such a binary way between “poor” and “rich” locations at all. Of course, we are well aware that it is a fact that the situation in terms of poverty, health, education and oppression is better in some parts of the world than others. However, the committee’s discussion on this topic concluded that, as there is progress to be made all over the planet, it is better to consider these issues as being on an equal footing, rather than to perpetuate the assumption that the “North” and “South” are fundamentally different.
The other exciting effect of this decision is that volunteers placed on all projects will now be able to take part in the training that VAP offers. This opportunity was initially only available to North-South volunteers and those placed on longer-term projects. Extending training to all volunteers is another demonstration of the fact that it is just as important to prepare for a volunteer project in Iceland or Spain as it is to prepare for one in Kenya or Peru.
So there you have it: VAP has made a crucial, progressive change in its attitude towards categorising its global volunteer work. Let us know what you think about this decision on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Volu...
In any case, this certainly shows that committee meetings don’t have to just be about boring facts and figures!
posted on: 9 October 2014
The social side of VAP
This year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) was a great success – it combined an official update on what VAP has been up to in the last year, and was also a fun social occasion for volunteers, committee members and staff to get together and share experiences and ideas. And there’s more to come because we are about to increase our social events programme for members!
One part of the AGM that was particularly popular this year was the screening of part of a film by Chloe Ruthven, along with a chance to discuss its themes with the director herself. The film, “The Do-Gooders”, is a documentary that questions the role of aid workers and volunteers in Palestine, and as a result it provided food for an interesting debate on precisely the kind of international development work that VAP is involved in. We found that this was an exciting way to keep things varied at the AGM – along with presentations on past projects abroad and an overview of how the year has been for VAP in terms of international volunteering, UK workcamps, finances and plans for the future.
It was also a super opportunity to meet up with other volunteers and hear about each other’s experiences, and it made us realise that this is a side of VAP that we want to expand further. The thing about VAP is that it can often work out that you are placed on a project abroad, have a great time, come home and then don’t get to speak to any other members about your experiences and get new ideas from theirs. This event showed how much fun and how useful it can be to get together and report back in an informal, social setting – we had returning volunteers from places as varied as Palestine, Sweden, and Italy this time.
So if you missed out this time, do not despair! We will be holding two more social events in the near future, timed to coincide with our committee meetings just in case you decided you want to get involved in those as well. Save the dates now: Friday 23 January 2015 and Friday 8 May 2015. The events will be held in the cool new setting of The Gallery in central London (http://alanbaxter.co.uk/about/galle...) – everyone who came this year agreed it was a very impressive venue! Again, we will have a film or presentation for discussion, followed by informal chat and whatever else people want to do!
See you there : )
posted on: 6 October 2014
Volunteer in Romania this Summer
Giving something back...
Having loved my volunteering experience with children from care homes in Romania last year, I decided that this year I would do go again but do my own project to be able to expand the local charity’s work. On 26th July I will be sitting on a plane to Romania, approaching one of the biggest challenges of this year. For two weeks I will be working with children from care homes.
Together with two other volunteers (one from Norwich and one from Cambridge) we will be organising a summer camp for children in care homes in Romania. These kids, aged six to sixteen, are either orphans or have been abandoned by their parents (e.g. because they could not cope or because they could not afford them) or have been taken away from them by social services (e.g. because of child abuse). Given their background and the trauma some of them have experienced, it will be a massive challenge to work with them.
However, I really look forward to organising a week of fun for them in which they can hopefully forget that their parents did not want them or could not care for them. I want to give them a wonderful time that they will be happy to remember.
There are two aims to the activities I am planning for the kids: first, the most obvious one is to teach them some English; the second is more therapeutic, to give them hope and self-esteem. I want them to leave the summer camp taking self-made souvenirs with them and feeling good about themselves. I know that especially the second aim will be very challenging but if I can make even the slightest difference to the lives of these children then all my efforts will have been worth it. I have seen what a difference even the smallest thing can make to them.
If you want to get involved and help us set up the camp, if you want to get to know people from different countries and learn about yourself, about your limits but also about your strengths, then join us for our workcamp in Romania.
posted on: 6 May 2014