International Volunteers FAQs

Accommodation

Where can I stay?

We offer and recommend comfortable, well located and safe accommodation options: homestays, share/private apartments or our “Volunteer Club &House”

What is the Volunteer Club & House?

Our “Volunteer House” provide comfortable and affordable accommodation and a swap space where volunteers can meet, study or just have fun. Located in the heart of the city four blocks from the National Congress on the historic Av. De Mayo.

It is also a meeting place for the volunteer’s coordination team of Voluntario Global. We always promote exchange and participation.

Which services are included in the Volunteer Club & House?

Comfortable rooms, single and share. Full-equipped kitchen and living room, TV, Internet (including computers and Wi-Fi).

Are meals included?

No, meals are not included in the donations or services provided.

Volunteer Programs

What means “volunteering” for VG?

We consider volunteering solidarity and socially conscious practices opposite to charitable practices lacking of interchange.

Volunteers participate in processes of social transformation making their participation and commitment.

When do programs start and how far in advanced do I need to apply?

Programs start every Monday and you need to apply at least one month before your arrival.

Is there a language assessment test that I will need to take to determine my placement? Depending on the project requirements. If the project requires an advanced level then you will an interview via Skype to check your level.

When volunteers are not working is the “free” time structured with other projects?

No. We do have some activities we suggest and there is a person in charge of the responsible tourism area, but you won't be able to just "visit" other projects.

Can I check testimonies of each project?

We would suggest you check it out Blog. If you're interested in a specific project, I can get you in contact with a former volunteer or you can also post on our Facebook page to see if you get some answers there as well.  

Are accommodation, meals, transportation, and Spanish classes included in the project donation?

No, they are not included. We can offer accommodation and Spanish lessons with extra costs.

Are meals included in the projects?

No, sometimes volunteers are invited to lunch in the community centres but it is not mandatory.

Educational Projects

What do the children and their parents expect to gain from the classes?

They hope to improve their school performance and understand their teacher. Moreover, they hope to learn to be able to express themselves without worrying about what others may think of them.

The best we are able to offer the children is one-on-one care and attention. This is vital as they are unaccustomed to receiving individual treatment: in their family homes, their parents have many other concerns; and in their school, they must compete against 40 other students for their teacher’s attention.

Does our mere presence have a positive impact? Is the role of our volunteers to promote the importance of education?

Those who volunteer should know that our presence in itself is a demonstration of our commitment towards the children and their parents. It also shows that we have faith in them and believe in what they have achieved. This invaluable contribution helps generate self-confidence.

Is the role of the volunteer to teach or to motivate?

It is vital that our volunteers know that their ultimate task is not to teach school topics to the children. Rather, they should work to increase the childrens´self-respect. This will provide them with the self-belief that will enable them to gain the skills that they desire, should they so wish. We need to install in them the idea that they are just as important as any other child in the world.

Do the community centres carry out all their work efficiently?

Unlike schools and training centres, community centres have more than one sole activity. They aim to meet the needs of all the people and the neighbourhood simultaneously. (Be it lucrative projects; workshops for children, young people and adults; distributing food supplies; health and welfare issues; housing problems etc).

Furthermore, they do not have professionals at their disposition to carry out every task. They rely on the knowledge of volunteers and solve their problems using their limited resources.

Although this is an obvious disadvantage, it is not so easy to overcome. The centres take on more work than they can actually handle: consequently, they only complete around half of the tasks or problems that they had wanted to solve.

How can we make a positive contribution to the classes?

Unfortunately, the people we assist live in areas of endemic poverty, where only a select few will be able to study and really progress in their lives.

Nevertheless, if we provide them with hope they will pass this on to their children. Over the course of time, we will gradually be able to leave a trail of hope which will lead to new routes for future generations.

Spanish Lessons

What if I do not have the level required for a Project?

VG can help find the appropriate Spanish course for you. You can take some Spanish lessons before you start the project in order to feel more comfortable with the language.

Why is it important to take Spanish classes?

You will fell integrated faster and in a better way. Check more reasons in the link: “Spanish classes”.

What is the goal of learning another language?

“The limits of my language are the limits of my World”. Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Will I be able to be helpful if I do not speak fluent Spanish?

Volunteers are always helpful and we always need help. However, deeper exchange and cultural awareness can be easier when there is greater understanding.

Can I take private Spanish classes?

Yes, you can choose private or group lessons. According your lessons schedule we will organize your volunteer schedule.

How much Spanish classes will costs?

Check the link to found more information: “Spanish classes”.

Donations

Why pay to volunteer?

VG is a NGO. We received no financial assistance from government; our funds come directly from generous donations. Our resources are distributed according the local needs under the strict supervision of our local coordinators.

The income generated from participants in our programs allows maintaining our presence and continuing our work.

In addition, donations allows us to support many necessary supplies to go on and grow, boost working cooperatives and help young people to build capacity.

Who donates to VG?

All our primary financial support comes to the volunteers donations. We also apply to government and private grants for special projects or propose.

How do we take decisions about the use of our budget?

We maintain complete transparency in our finances and encourage all volunteers to view how income is used to participate in the budgetary decision-making process.

How do we use the donations of the volunteers?

The projects are funded by the donation made by the volunteer. The contribution is divided between administration costs, volunteer recruitment, orientation and training, and the development and funding of the projects themselves.

What percentage do the projects receive?

VG donation to each project is 20% of the volunteer’s donation. Another 20% of the donation from each volunteer is also intended for the rest of the projects which need it the most, community emergencies or special projects or supports.

In addition, donations support young people so that they can continue studying and working for a few hours as coordinators.

Do organizations know the destination of the donations?

All the organizations know each other and know how the money from donations received at Voluntario Global isused. But above all, they all know and share the criteria for the allocation of resources.

Does VG help the organizations with extra issues apart from money and volunteers?

Yes, we help them deal with state resources, organize their administrative systems, improve their legal forms, develop programs and assist them with any needs or crisis, for which they know they rely on us.

VG is an NGO

What VG think is the role of NGOs?

Volunteers, foundations and NGOs have the duty to empower people in order they can built capacity and plan and organize their own future.

All of them can provide and share training, organization tools, and knowledge and money resources. This help is essential not only for the tools but also because they are building self confidence.

The biggest goal of any social organization must be to generate participation, equal conditions and build creative alternatives around the necessities and consensual ideas with the community.

Which are the VG objetives?

Voluntario Global and the organizations include a culture of work in which trust and sharing, solidarity, mutual understanding and respect for cultural diversity is our primary objective. 

Which are the challenges must face an NGO?

The great challenge with multiple demonstrations, is to aware, exchange, discuss, promote and leader social, economic, ecological and technological proposals to overcome capitalism.

Is Voluntario Global an intermediary between the volunteers and the projects?

No, because we are part of the projects themselves. We help identify needs, find resources, and generate support and solutions.

Why should you choose VG instead of going directly to the project?

Because VG helps volunteers to choose their programs, to meet other volunteers, to solve accommodation and lodging problems. But above all, because the goal of each project is specific and they have no time to guide and assist the volunteers. Each project gives that responsibility to VG because they know we send them well-informed, confident and committed volunteers.

Why is the exchange of experience and knowledge one of the most essential tools for strengthening the work of social organisations?  

Because it provides a chance for dialogue, thought, listening, and debate, which are all invaluable forms of understanding that cannot be found in books. Not only this, through this exchange we are reminded that we are not alone in our initiative, a realisation that reaffirms our goals.

Volunteer Attitude

Why is it difficult for volunteers to understand the needs and realities of the community?

Because it takes time to understand a culture. Moreover, in poor communities in which there is a lack of education, fear of not having food or being cold, these things provoke the members of these communities to have petty attitudes that seem to be hard to explain or understand.

Can we judge these communities by working with them for a few months?

It takes a long time to learn about the culture of a country, the way it is organized and the way people solve problems. Volunteers need to think how long it takes to know and understand the different cultural traits in their own countries. To understand a different culture and be able to draw conclusions takes longer than 1, 2 or 3 months.

Do we see the "full reality" when we arrive at a community?

No, the reality of each person in marginal communities is much more complex than what is shown or can be seen with the naked eye. These people often lie about or hide their real lives because they feel embarrassed about their own situations.

Why are criticism and evaluation of the volunteers always welcome at Voluntario Global?

Because we work in vulnerable places where planning may require daily adjustments. Changes and crisis are permanent in organizations. The volunteer, through their assessments and actions can help correct and reorder tasks and projects.

Is it normal to feel a little disappointed at not being able “to help more" in the project?

Yes. The task of changing the world takes time and dedication! The important thing is to keep trying.

As people become more confident with the volunteers, they will be more receptive and the volunteers might become more useful as their proposals will be heard.

Trust is not something that can be earned in a set time.

If volunteering is of a short period, is the assistance still helpful?

Volunteers always help and generate a beneficial interchange for the community.

Communities know that volunteers travel long distances to meet them and to exchange life experiences.

Let us remember, that for many, the poor are invisible and are not treated as equals.

Should a volunteer expect help to get integrated in a community?

The proactive and determined attitude of the volunteer is extremely important.

It is always very helpful when volunteers find their own way to help in the communities, so that coordinators instead of “training them” can use that time to accomplish pending tasks they might have.

Are volunteers’ tasks always clear and precise?

There is always a general plan. But volunteers will have to discover how to accomplish tasks alone. That is to say: take the initiative because in the community centers there is always more to do than what the coordinators can cope with; and that is why volunteers should not expect indications. You can’t go wrong by trying to help! It is by trial and error that we all learn.

The volunteers have expectations about the different projects, will those expectations be met?

Never under an individualistic concept. Following a Community and solidarity objective, they will turn into new expectations. These expectations should be more about the volunteers and not so much about the projects.

Maybe you will not change anything visible, because the bottom line is sometimes invisible to the eye. Volunteers can influence people’s hearts and their self esteem.

VG & Resposible Tourism

Does the International volunteering a tourist activity?

Yes, International volunteering is itself a form of non conventional tourism. The volunteer experience is generated by a real desire to know, to help and be part of other culture preserving and looking up the diversity. 

Dos International volunteering a responsible tourism activity?

Yes, in most cases. Essentially, It is a interchange and discovering activity opposite to a consumer and predator tourism who takes only a "shell" rather artificial.  

What is Responsible tourism and the Responsible Tourism network from Argentina VG belongs to?

Responsible Tourism is a concept of approaching tourism with your eyes and ears open to the reality of the country you are visiting, open-minded and ready for intercultural exchange.

The Network of Responsible Tourism involves tourist companies, organizations of the civil society and government areas, media, chambers, administrations of protected areas and universities with the aim to develop common indicators for a tourist responsible management.

Why tourism is an activity that enhances understanding?
Tourism is in itself a social experience and direct exchange. It allows knowing and understanding different cultures in their environment.

Why is international volunteering exchange a goodly tourist activity?
The first volunteer’s objective (as any tourist) is to know, learn and gain new experiences.
But who is thinking about volunteering goes beyond that.

Seeking for cultural exchange and trying a positively and responsible impact.Volunteers looks for a journey full of meaning and solidarity.


Volunteer programs of commercial tour operators

 

 

Voluntario Global is a cooperative and supportive social organization. What is the difference with a travel agency that offers a volunteer program?

When you pay to volunteer with Voluntario Global you are not paying for a service, but you are supporting a cause.

Is it good to have contacted and hired Voluntario Global through a travel agency that acted as an intermediary?

Yes. Not using intermediaries can be risky, especially when living abroad and ignoring our Argentinean reality.

In each country, VG is promoted through respected agencies which recommend our programs and agree with the way we work; and that is why they keep choosing us.

What is the “voluntourism” offer by tour operators?

VolunTourism.org defines the term “VolunTourism” as “The conscious, seamlessly integrated combination of voluntary service to a destination and the best, traditional elements of travel -- arts, culture, geography, history and recreation -- in that destination.” 

VG – Supporting Cooperatives

What is it a cooperative economy?

Cooperative is a voluntary autonomous organization where people can meet their common economic and social needs through a company with combined ownership and democratic control. Cooperative is the result of people's thinking about and exploring ideal social modes and the result of the developments and progresses of a series of cultures and concepts of the human society.

Cooperativism goes further than purely economic activity, and is based on productive relations who are collective, in solidarity, and above all else inclusive.

Why do we say that at Voluntario Global we promote, undertake and practice cooperative work?

Organizations like VG should try to go further and help generate sustainable development and empower people to be able to forge a better life and a better future.

Volunteers, Foundations and NGOs have the necessary role to empower people from grass roots communities to become organized. They can provide training, organizing tolls and know-how development steps. Their help is not only a technical and financial essential need but also means to encourage people to achieve self-confidence and in many cases lead the process.

What is the laundry youth cooperative?

The laundry Project is and initiative VG started in 2006, with the aim of providing teenagers from unprivileged layers of our society with the possibility of their creating a healthy and sustainable means of supporting themselves economically through their years of graduate Studies.

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