Volunteer for the Visayans
The community center in BLISS Sagkahan in Tacloban City, Philippines, is the heart of all Volunteer for the Visayans activities, serving as a staging area for various welfare...
If you have a flare for the fine arts, then Volunteer for the Visayans' teaching fine arts to disadvantaged children project might be just the volunteer project you are looking...
Volunteer for the Visayans offers a volunteer coaching position in the Philippine city of Tacloban. Basketball by far is the most popular sport in the Philippines, especially...
Volunteer with youths in conflict with the law in the Philippines and help coach and mentor young male adolescents who are desperate to alter the course of their lives. Volunteers...
French cooking class at the community center!
Submitted by Sophie Maucort - Paris | September 30, 2015
My time at the community center allowed me to lead a French Cuisine cooking class with teenage girls, tutor one student and participate in the child sponsorship program. I also helped organize basketball tournaments. So much in just one program!
A unique experience!
Submitted by Sophie Maucort - Paris | September 29, 2015
I first volunteered with Volunteer for the Visayans in 2005 in an orphanage for six months. As a side-project, I found myself teaching English and Mathematics in a rural primary school for a couple of months. Teaching in the Philippines is a unique experience and teaching in the countryside opens you up to the daily life, struggles and dreams of most kids in South-East Asia.
My school was located in a village named Cangumbang, about 40 minutes away from Tacloban. The teacher was handling two grades at the same time, with about twenty pupils per class, so volunteers were of great help to her and we were usually given an entire class to teach.
After taking a jeepney out of the city, every morning began for me with a 15 minute motorcycle ride in the middle of rice fields, which obviously was one of the many reasons why I liked this program so much. I could sometimes pick up some of my pupils on their way to school and have a chat with them. They came mostly by foot, sometimes walking for more than half an hour to go to class. To be honest, some of them ended up becoming regulars on my motorcycle (did you know that filipino motorcycles can carry up to two people and 4 kids all at once?)
Working with 6th-grade kids in a rural school is absolutely amazing. If you love kids, come volunteer as a teacher. What will you get? A full class of adorable little ones in uniform standing up to greet you and together repeating each word you say. An awesome classroom with real tiny kids benches and wood tables. You can even get yourself one of those sticks to point at the blackboard as you spell the words. During the day, the windows were open so I had the rice field landscape as a background at all times. Absolutely lovely.
I have to add, I had a very cool American volunteer with me the whole time. Every once in a while, he would bring boxes of pencils, rulers and notebooks along with us AND chocolates, and guess what, there would be enough to share. Just imagine how happy I was with all this.
If I shall be completely realistic, I would say that you cannot do a proper work if you are handling a class of twenty on your own. Having two volunteers allowed us to split the class into two groups, with one of us tutoring the kids with difficulties while the other one would go ahead with the lesson with the others.
I also learned that, unlike in our countries, most kids in the rural areas of the Philippines don’t get any homework support or time with their families after school. So it might be more effective for them if you can take some time before the end of the day to do it with them. You can always give extra exercises for the most motivated ones.
In rural areas, school can also be nothing more than an option for the parents, after their kids have helped out with a number of tasks at home. You may indeed have a number of your pupils regularly missing school. The best thing you can do is help them make up for the lost periods. You will probably realize that there is a difference in educational level between them. The most challenging part for me was essentially to design a teaching program that would benefit each of them, without leaving some behind or stopping others from learning more and making progress.
Teaching English in the Philippines can be a different adventure if you are volunteering in the city, with street kids or in a community center. However, no matter what you first came to do in the Philippines, there is always an opportunity to find candidates for school tutorials if the idea appeals to you. Filipino kids love learning, and they are not all given the same chances in terms of educational support. Volunteering with a local NGO can help you reach the most needy ones and give them the chance (and motivation) to get to the next level.
My tip for teaching in the Philippines:
- Teach something you like! And take time to talk with your pupils and put them first. Every kid needs self-confidence and you can be of great help with that. Take pictures, and keep their drawings.
Program: Teach English in the Philippines
Volunteering in the Philippines
Submitted by Sophie Maucort - Paris | September 16, 2015
The first time I set foot on Philippine soil, I was dragging my 18 years along with me and this visceral desire to be as far from home as I could possibly be (indeed, my final choice of destination had been mainly motivated by a meticulous study of the globe distances between Paris and the other side of the planet). I had no real expectation other than showing the world I had become a strong-minded and independent grown-up, and imply heart and soul for the cause I had chosen (I would be volunteering in an orphanage for six months). As I arrived in Tacloban, I was soon overwhelmed with smiling faces, new friends, kids, food, kindness, more kids, and a sense of community and hospitality that would never leave my side. Within a very short time, I inherited dozens of new little siblings as every child that would cross my path would call me « big sister » (« Ate »). This was the beginning of a lifetime journey in this country that I would soon consider as my second home.
Volunteering in the Philippines is an experience of a lifetime. You’re immersed in one of the friendliest nations in the world, which makes your journey unforgettable. You encounter tons of wonderful people, eat awesome food (lots of it), participate in rewarding projects, experience great jeepney rides and get to enjoy the incredible beauty of its islands. Volunteer For the Visayans has multiple projects in the city of Tacloban and in the areas around, so you usually end up getting involved in several of them even if you initially registered for just one. You can even give a helping hand right next to your homestay’s door by joining their community center activities, and do a bunch of fun things with the people you come across everyday. More than being just an opportunity for you to live in a foreign country and challenge yourself, the sharing of your skills, ideas and experience will also help improve the life of many around you.
As a volunteer in an orphanage, my role was to help take care of the children and plan activities for them. I would usually spend the morning looking after the youngest ones, bathing them, changing their bedsheets, feeding them, and taking them around as the small number of staff would not allow them to spend a lot of time with each child everyday. In the afternoon I would play games with the eldest ones and assist in some Mathematics or Geography classes presented by the sisters running the orphanage while the young ones would be sleeping.
Over the months, I was amazed to see how much impact the presence of volunteers had amongst the kids and how some of them had flourished and become playful and energetic (very much sometimes :-) when gloomy and solitary at the beginning. I was captivated everyday by the maturity of the eldest ones (I am talking about 6 year-old kids here) who would patiently take care of their youngest siblings, come to them when they would be crying or feed them from their own plate.
I cherish very deep memories of my time with them and encourage everyone to find their own treasured project and come make a difference.
My tip for volunteering in the Philippines:
- Be creative, and live life to the fullest! You are given the incredible opportunity to be living in a place that is not your own and to make something valuable out of it, so give it your best, for you and for the people around you!
Program: Volunteer in the Philippines!
Sprucing up baranguy BLISS after Yolanda and teaching english to young learners
Submitted by JT | August 14, 2015
This was a vulnerable time for the residents of Leyte as many of them had just suffered through typhoon Yolanda. However, with the guidance of administration and other volunteers, we were able to undertake many tasks to help the community recover from the long-lasting effects. There was a neighborhood clean up, cooking at a local community center, clothing and book drives and teaching at a local primary school. This experience was the second time in Tacloban, and I would gladly go back and help wherever needed.
Program: Teach English in the Philippines
Flexible, a wonderful experience for self-directed volunteers!
Submitted by Kirsten Roche - Kamloops | August 12, 2015
Well, what on earth do I say about VFV? I spent two months volunteering with them, and I have to say that it was one of the most important experiences of my life. My original project was a rural health clinic (I am a nurse), however, due to an overwhelming number of healthcare staff available to work in the Philippines, my clinic was constantly well-staffed. This left me feeling every day that I was not really needed, and that it was an experience that was benefiting only me, and not the community I worked in. On the flip side of that, I was able to get experience learning the language (WarayWaray), doing prenatal exams, and giving immunizations- all things that I could not do in Canada due to my status as a 4th-year nursing student.
The truly rewarding experience- outside of dealing with and learning so much from the wonderful staff at my clinic- came from my side projects. A few evenings a week, I helped tutor the Grade 8 students who are also sponsor children through VFV. I tutored English, math, and a few other subjects, whatever the kids needed help with that day. It was absolutely a blast! I had so much fun spending time with them, refreshed my math skills with the help of Google, and felt like, at times, I was actually helping. I also joined a co-volunteer at her placement for a couple of days at the girls' shelter, where I designed two workshops- one on self esteem and healthy relationships, and one on womens' health. That was by far the most rewarding, and one that I will probably travel back to the Philippines to do more of. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and it really felt like I did something worthwhile.
On top of it all, the volunteers all become quite close and spend a lot of time together, so I met a couple of lifelong friends in the process. My homestay was so wonderful, and helped me to understand so much about Filipino life and culture. I miss being "Ate Kirsten" (sister Kirsten) in the community, and I miss the friendly neighbourhood kids and adults every day. I even miss my hour-and-a-half jeepney/tricycle ride every day to my project! I will absolutely be back again, and can not wait to see what the next volunteer trip brings. Thank you, VFV, for the amazing experience!!!
2 tips for future volunteers:
1) Come with an open mind. Each project is different from your expectations in ways you couldn't begin to imagine, so come with the mindset that you will find and create value in whatever your project is.
2) Take initiative. You are given so much freedom with VFV to participate in other projects, so take advantage! If you question the value of what you are doing, be creative and spend time experimenting and figuring out where the need is. Share that with people, initiate change- VFV does not gently take you by the hand and tell you what to do every step of the way, that is the best part of the organization's volunteer program! You have leeway to decide what you think is important, and to explore it. Enjoy the freedom and the opportunity to create change!
Program: Volunteer in the Philippines!