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!
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
Volunteering in Burundi
Burundi is special. It is one of the smallest African countries, and one of the most beautiful, with beaches along the shore of Lake Tanganyika and steep slopes covered with banana trees leading up to the cooler plateau country in the interior.
VAP’s partner organisation is ABSV (Alliance Burundaise du Service Volontaire), founded in 2007, bringing together two small voluntary associations founded by young Burundians keen to build a nation based on peace and reconciliation, based on sustainable development. Burundi suffered from a decade of insecurity. ABSV and others are trying to build a more hopeful future.
ABSV is based in Buterere, a suburb of the capital, Bujumbura, where people are generally poor and their homes are liable to flooding. ABSV has run workcamps here, helping to rebuild homes, teaching English, advising on HIV/AIDS and working with the local community. ABSV has been involved in distribution of school materials and food, small income-generating projects in villages, assistance to street children, construction of houses and other help for Batwa (pygmy) families, delivery of seeds and hoes, planting of 12.000 fruit trees in Kinama and Buterere (Bujumbura).
ABSV received few foreign volunteers as the country is not well known and the flight from the UK involves changing at Nairobi, Addis Ababa or Brussels but for those with a pioneering spirit it can provide a great experience. Burundians speak French and the national language, Kirundi, but an increasing number of people know English and many also speak Swahili.
Workcamps are organized most months and some medium term volunteer posts are also available (see the database for details). Burundi waits for you!
Nigel Watt, VAP’s chairperson
posted on: 31 May 2013
Volunteering in Zimbabwe
In 1993 CCIVS, the Co-ordination Committee of International Volunteer Service, ran a special workcamp and training in Namibia. One of the participants was Innocent Katsiga from Zimbabwe. He was so inspired by the idea that he went home and very quickly set up Zimbabwe Workcamps Association - AJUDE in Mozambique grew out of the same training.
I attended one of ZWA’s first camps, building teachers’ homes near Harare and running a stall at the annual agricultural show. ZWA grew strong and made special links with Germany – and each year a group from the Social Democratic youth come to a workcamp in Zimbabwe. I also attended the celebration of ZWA’s ten years in 2003. This was at their own farm where the maize crop raises funds for the association and half the crop is donated to poor villagers. More recently when Zimbabwe’s political crisis deepened it became harder to recruit volunteers, and the government also began to try to restrict foreign funding of local associations, but the farm and workcamps went on.
A worse blow struck ZWA early in 2011 when the dynamic Innocent unexpectedly died. His widow, Beverly, and the committee decided to carry on. Beverly was already working for ZWA and was joined by the former project officer, Ratherford Mwaruta who had just returned from studying in the Netherlands.
So ZWA is back on track - and the situation in the country has also improved a lot. The US dollar has replaced the crazily inflated Zim dollar, the economy is picking up a bit and security was never really a problem. Having previously just run workcamps, Ratherford has just been in Kenya, learning from KVDA’s long experience of Medium Term Volunteers, ZWA therefore now offers an attractive list of workcamps and medium and long term placements in community centres, schools, educational institutions and national parks as well as on ZWA’s farm. They plan to have a workcamp to paint their hostel which is near to the airport and where volunteers will first arrive. Check the database and you will find a project to suit you!
Nigel Watt, VAP’s chairperson
posted on: 29 March 2012
VAP Newsletter Spring 2012
Calling all active civilians!...and no this isn’t an austerity measure..
VAP Newsletter Spring 2012
Feeling apathetic? Too much freedom of choice?? Well get busy, make a decision and relieve your mind!
Fresh Links and Opportunities
Volunteer Action for Peace (VAP) has awoken from its winter slumber and has a database quickly growing with thousands of exciting and affordable projects world wide! Join our active facebook group by following the link on the homepage and meet other budding volunteers. So get clicking at our database to get moving!
Don’t talk to us about Big Society
For those not in the know, VAP works globally towards creating and preserving international peace, justice and human solidarity for our local communities, through the very special medium of volunteering. It actually works! Just ask Nuno, the VAP badger at firstname.lastname@example.org. Plus it’s all done on a shoe string budget....it would make George Osborne proud.
An interesting alternative during a time of growing UK unemployment?
Why not ease your own quantities by surfing the VAP database. Many of the projects accommodate and feed volunteers for free, leaving only travel expenses and our competitive fee of £150-190 to cover organisational costs. In keeping with our grassroots approach, if there are any other charges, they are paid straight into the community that supports the volunteer during their stay. On top of this, some of the long term placements are completely free, offering the participant an invaluable education, food, accommodation and spending money in an exciting new place!
Speaking of which...Say YES to EVS!
That’s European Voluntary Service to those lucky enough to avoid the “shop talk” acronyms... EVS is a wonderful program for those younger then 30 who want to gain experience and skills whilst having a fun and exciting new life in another country for up to a year! However, due to the struggling Euro, there is some speculation as to how long this programme will continue to be funded by the EU. If you want to know more, the EVS Guru is holding an information day on Saturday April 21st in South London, so come along and plug your brain into a stream of inspiring possibilities! Contact Cedric at email@example.com
VAP Training Weekend 15th- 17th June
And after last year’s successful swaray, the VAP Project Co-ordinator training and North-South Training will again be a joint event held at our local partner’s outstanding location – the Clow Beck Eco Centre near Darlington. Check out the video of last years training made by VAPtech Joana, and just see for yourself - learning can be fun! http://www.vap.org.uk/vap-training-...
The VAP Swallow
Nigel the swallow has just returned from a long flight to Africa. Sleeping on the wing, he visited various old and prospective partners in mind for the coming VAP 30 Plus Programme. The volunteering sector can be very youth orientated and VAP has recognised the lack of opportunities for people in later stages of their life, and is committed to developing long term placements for such volunteers. He visited our current partners in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Zambia, and other potential partners in Kenya. Read his Zimbabwe story on our website.
The Buddha likes VAP
This summer, VAP welcomes a further new workcamp with the Buddhist organisation Triratna. After last years successful workcamps, we will now also host a group of volunteers at Buddhafield East Festival in Norfolk. It promises to be a smaller and more itimate affair, but nonetheless briming with activities amongst a warm community. Ohmmmmm... www.buddhafieldeast.com
VAP is excited to welcome the partnership of EuropEducation. This new and dynamic organisation aims to provide UK students with an exciting alternative to our expensive university system. VAP will act as a gateway, placing volunteers on projects to gain language skills before attending equally good but much more affordable degree courses. Check this space for further news about the launch of their website coming soon.
Have you got an idea? VAP is always on the hunt for new partners or ideas, especially on home turf. If you think you have a good suggestion please get in touch!
posted on: 28 March 2012