VAP News > 2009

VAP’s Autumn News

Hello to all of VAP’s members and friends!

After a wonderful long summer of volunteering, the falling leaves signal the close of the main busy season for Volunteer Action for Peace. However for those winter beavers, there are still many international opportunities out there. Just check our projects database.

VAP enjoyed a very successful year, sending and hosting more volunteers than we had forecast. We would like to thank all those who have participated or supported, especially those who returned evaluations of their projects. This is critical in sustaining successful partnerships, insuring a positive experience for all, and providing more information for future experiences.

As we look forward, a VAP priority is to develop our UK programme to include more volunteer camps next summer. If you are aware of a UK based project, that would benefit from the social interaction and solidarity generated from a group of international volunteers - please let us know! Please check out the website to see our current broad range of home projects.

Oh Politics! New immigration controls, mean that volunteering in the UK is now defined as ’work’. Participants from non-visa countries such as South Korea, Japan and the USA (28% in 2009), will now have to apply for such a visa. This in turn, causes massive cost implications and time delays, and we are already witnessing a decline in applicants from such countries. In the end, the largest impact is on our own communities across the UK, who were the intended beneficiaries of our work. If you have the time, please write to your local MP, to bring awareness and hopefully changes to this legislation.

And finally...VAP’s Camp Co-ordinator training takes place in London on the 27th-28th March next year. Just like our North-South training in the summer, it’s a fun weekend using discussions and games, to develop participants skills and confidence in coordinating a group. It’s real life education, that is invaluable to those looking to the horizon.

So - Don your Jumpers!

All the best from the VAP team

posted on: 29 October 2009

Action promised for refugees

Action promised for refugees

On September 28th Volunteer Action for Peace held its annual general meeting at East Dulwich in London. A total of 17 members and supporters came to the event. The highlight was a presentation by one of our members, Aneta Kurasiak, who described the two short term voluntary work projects she attended working with asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in Belgium near Liège and in France in Calais. She illustrated her talk with two short films which showed the UK media portrayal of the recent destruction of the Calais camps by the French riot police and bulldozers, with French and British ministers justifying their actions.

But through Aneta we also heard the voices of the refugees who had made their way by incredible, dangerous journeys from the horrors of war and persecution in the hope of a new life in Britain. As the state shuns them they are ruled by gangsters, criminals specialising in people trafficking, who maintain a slavish hold over the migrants sometimes for many years after they have settled in a new land.

After the talk and presentation there was a discussion on how VAP could work to cooperate, through international volunteer projects, the NGOs that are supporting the refugees that do make it into the UK. It was agreed that we would investigate a project on these lines in Leeds where there are already good contacts in this field.

posted on: 9 October 2009

Medium Term Volunteering in Kosovo with Roma children

Medium Term Volunteering in Kosovo with Roma children

From June 22nd to August 21st 2009

Balkan Sunflowers has been effectively working with minority groups in Kosovo for the last seven years. In 2008, Balkan Sunflowers launched the Learning Centres Network (LCN). This educational programme is now running in four locations around Pristina and helps 600-700 Roma children each day. The Summer Programme aims to ensure that the children have the opportunity and support needed to stand on an equal footing with their Serbian and Albanian peers in the school system. The Summer Programme is fun, entertaining and interactive.

Volunteers live with a Roma host family in one of the four minority communities we are working in (Fushe Kosova, Plemetina, Shtime and Gracanica). Power cuts and water shortages in these communities are not uncommon! Still, previous volunteers have found their experiences in these communities to be rich, enjoyable and very valuable. Throughout the programme you will have the opportunity to participate in the education of the children and make strong and lasting friendships.

Applications from experienced educators, pedagogues, people with knowledge of local languages or experience in grassroots community education projects are particularly welcome. We would be happy to hear from anyone, however, who feels they would be able to contribute in a practical and useful way - with a proactive and positive attitude.

Applicants must be 18 years or older. To cover the costs of food and accommodation with the host family, volunteers need to pay 200 euro per month (or 400 euros in total). This payment does not include your own personal travel and expenses.

If you are interested to apply, please contact Nuno here.

For more information see:

posted on: 10 June 2009

Volunteering in the Middle East: Solidarity in Action

Volunteering in the Middle East: Solidarity in Action. EVS in Palestine 2009

Peace in the Middle East remains one of the major challenges to be solved for the international community today. After years of Intifada, peace agreements and ongoing occupation, young people are the part of the population most affected by the stalemate. International voluntary service is a way to express solidarity and transmit hope, energy and creativity for young people to construct their citizenship under difficult circumstances through day-by-day co-operation among people of different backgrounds.

18 young volunteers from 11 countries and 13 organisations will have a chance to spend six months in four different locations in the West Bank in Palestine. The 13 projects will all be related to inter-cultural dialogue through daily interaction with the local people in their projects. As a group and with the help of CCIVS, the volunteers will be encouraged to put their daily experiences into perspective through reflections about the concepts of cultural identity and cultural heritage. This reflection will deepen their understanding of and interaction with the people they work with and will develop their sense of their own European identity and cultural heritage.

Thanks to the support of our long-standing partner organisation, IPYL, which is well established and recognised in Palestine and has a strong network of partners and institutional contacts in the region, we are able to work with various partners on the ground and ensure cohesion among the different projects at the same time.

The volunteers will return to their countries with a more thorough and deep understanding of the Muslim-Arab world and the socio-political situation of the Middle East in general. The project will also be an occasion for the volunteers to develop their individual capacities on different levels and to gain a better understanding about themselves and possible personal and professional paths to follow afterwards. The project will combine action with moments of reflection, and this will allow them to experience a new reality and to see things from a clearer perspective. It will also suggest ways in which they can use their new capacities and knowledge after their return.

VAP is the only UK based organisation participating in this European Voluntary Service project. We have 2 places available for our members so if you are aged between 18-30 and consider yourself mature enough to spend 6 months (13 May to 14 November 2009) in a worthwhile project in Palestine, do not hesitate in contacting us by clicking here.

The DEADLINE to receive applications is Wednesday, April 8th

posted on: 27 March 2009

Pack your bags and go!

That’s it! The big bulk of projects for 2009 arrived and it’s time to go through our database, pick the nicest one, pack your bags and go!

You’ll find here about 1500 short term workcamps and almost 350 medium/long term projects from Argentina to Zambia, from Iceland to Indonesia, so it’s really very hard to miss that one that you’ve been always looking for.

Please have in mind that VAP works on a first come first served basis so the sooner you apply the more chances you will have of getting a place in your favourite project.

If you need more information or if you have any doubts on how to apply, please contact us by clicking here.

posted on: 23 March 2009

Join us at the One Life Live exhibition in London from 13-15 March

One Life Live exhibition: 13-15 March 2009 at the Kensington Olympia, London

Join VAP and the VINE UK network at the 2009 One Life Live exhibition at London’s Kensington Olympia. We will be there from 13-15 March 2009 on stand C28.

If you want to volunteer at our stall please contact Nuno here
You will get free entry and get to see the rest of the show too.

If you just want to come to see the show then you can get discounted tickets. Just quote our stand number C28 and you can get 2 tickets for £22, a saving of £6 on the advance price when booking online.

posted on: 1 March 2009

A new season coming up

VAP starts 2009 full of energy, new ideas and a brand new website!! We think it was well worth waiting for it but in the end, you’ll be the judge.

We’ve been receiving already plenty of projects mostly from our partners in Africa and Asia but the big bulk of projects will come to us during the month of March, so stay tuned and keep checking the projects database because the early bird...

In case of any doubts or if you fancy a chat, just drop a line, give a bell or type away on skype to Nuno. You can find his details by clicking here .

posted on: 31 January 2009

Euro-Latin American project on Discrimination

If you are interested in the issues of Discrimination and young people’s participation in the construction of peace and democracy, please contact us.

We are looking for two persons interested in joining a 7 months long project that will include a 10 day training seminar in Argentina in the second half of May 2009, the creation and application of a workshop on those issues to be presented during our Summer Programme in the UK and the participation on an evaluation seminar in the Netherlands in November 2009.

If this appeals to you, please contact Nuno here, for more details and an application form.

Deadline to apply: Monday, 16 February 2009

posted on: 23 January 2009

member of:
Volunteer Action for Peace, member of the Co-ordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service Volunteer Action for Peace, member of the Volunteer International Network Exchange UK
with the support of:
Volunteer Action for Peace, member of the European «Youth in Action» Programme

Quote of the day

« The organisation of the camp community was fantastic! The group was great and we bonded quickly, language was always going to be a tricky one, but everyone attempted English and Indonesian so it made the whole experience fun and educational. »

Kirstin D. from Thirsk

Read more quotes