What is an international workcamp ?

Posted on 2012-08-16 17:59:08 by Céline




What is an international workcamp?

The term "international work camp" or "youth work camp" is not synonymous with "reconstruction" or "management" or other words implying a purely manual job, as many people think.

The work camps consist of groups of young people from different backgrounds, not knowing each other and who wish to meet the others and live together for several weeks and realize a mission of international solidarity. Work camps typically last from two weeks to several months and intend to implement projects leading to tangible results on the social, educational (NFE), cultural, artistic or environmental framework. These projects are managed in Belgium by the International Voluntary Service or in Vietnam by Vietnamese Youth Solidarity in which the SVI is an independent branch. In the other countries, all our projects are designed by and for local people.

The projects we support are purely non-commercial and implemented by local organizations such as youth centers, cultural centers, environmental organizations, educational centers, youth movements and even by the school. These projects are not discussing about transforming the volunteering into cheap labor force or to make volunteerism a new tourism form for the European in search of adventure and good conscience.

Volunteers are divided into groups of 5 to 15 people working as volunteers for 30 hours per week on average. The groups are supervised by a local facilitator who is also a volunteer, usually a member of the host organization. In return for volunteering, volunteers are housed and fed during their stay (but transportation costs are paid by yourself). During your leisure, you will have the opportunity to visit the region with local volunteers.  The internal organization of the group, both on site and outside, such as stewardship requires the participation, sense of responsibilities of everyone, the desire to live, to work and party together!

 What can I expect from participating in an international workcamp?

To join a group of international volunteers is primarily to socialize with them and collaborate on a project. It is also an opportunity to explore their own culture, language, food and customs. A work camp is a place of learning and sharing a group experience in an international spirit and personal commitment.

During free time, your group of volunteers will have the chance to participate in activities designed to help you discover the region that welcomes you. Contacts with the local population are often very rewarding and  that allows you to be a integrated in the community during a few weeks. A work camp is a different way to travel and to discover a country and its people in a different way far more authentic and human than just a tourist.

 It's also the perfect opportunity to practice foreign languages ...

In short, living in a work camp is a unique experience and is particularly valued by employers, for example if one day you want to work as an international officer for NGOs.

Volunteering for everyone

Although the voluntary service is cheap, it is not accessible to everyone: many young people cannot afford to pay for a plane ticket or for the cost of living without any source of income for several months. That is why IVS try to have the lowest costs as possible : from 80 to 250 Euros per year including food and accommodation but not the transport. The aim is to encourage volunteers to gofor work camps as often as possible and to stay as longer as possible without having to pay additional enrolling fees or having to fill up new application forms. In a close future, we hope to be able to provide volunteer service without any fees.

We also encourage volunteer to join first close workcamp places to reduce their polution impact and to discover local realities.

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