Remember to look at the tabs of individual projects, and in particular the blog posts to learn more about past volunteers’ experiences.
What qualifications do you require?
We take people with a variety of academic qualifications and different work experience.
Most volunteers are graduates or undergraduates, but by no means all!
We have placed volunteers with work experience across a broad range of professional and vocational fields from motorbike technicians to teachers and lawyers. (If you are interested in asking more, get in touch.)
All volunteers must be over 18. Our oldest volunteer was in his 50s.
We require full background and criminal checks.
What other qualities are you looking for?
To make a success of their assignments volunteers need to:
be independent and able to cope without the immediate physical support of family and friends;
be able to get along with others, including those from very different cultural and ethnic backgrounds;
be interested in learning about other cultures;
be self disciplined and committed, because these projects are doing serious work for the children and young people they are helping. They need their volunteers to provide support and not to need too much of it;
be flexible and interested in trying new experiences (and able to be flexible about things like food!)
be REALLY interested in helping others;
be willing to try and communicate even when there is a language barrier;
have a wish for adventure;
be able to tolerate basic living conditions at times;
have a good sense of humour!
What sort of work do volunteers do?
Nearly all the projects we work with help disadvantaged, vulnerable or abandoned children.
So we are looking for people who enjoy working with children and who are willing to teach English and other subjects and who would be good mentors.
Some projects need professionals to help with administration or other non child related work.
Where do most volunteers come from?
Most of our applicants come from the UK but we have had volunteers from almost all backgrounds including: American, Australian, British, Caribbean, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Ghanaian, Indian, Malaysian, New Zealand, Nigerian, Pakistani, Singaporean, Somali, Sri Lankan.
However, due to visa constraints not all passports can be accepted.
How much time do I have to commit?
Most projects need commitments of at least 3 months
GETCH and Lotus can take people for shorter periods
SPICE in HK needs people for about 2 months but requires undergraduates or recent graduates of British or HK universities
Mother’s Choice in HK needs people for 6-12 months.
What is the weekly work commitment?
It varies from about 30 hours a week to around 40 at Mother’s Choice in HK.
If I am interested what should I do next?
The first step is to decide which project is most interesting to you
– Look at the ‘Project’ pages on this website, look at their own websites if applicable
Then contact us with questions
Or just send us your CV and apply.
We interview interested applicants on skype
Successful interviewees have a second skype interview with the project
Applicants who are accepted will then receive instructions on what to do next (applying for visas, getting necessary injections, requesting criminal background checks, buying insurance etc.)
How early should I apply?
No more than a year in advance but within that timeframe, the earlier the better.
However, occasionally projects are able to take people at the last minute (or have cancellations) so it always worth asking
Can I volunteer with a friend?
If you wish to volunteer with a friend most projects would encourage this, however, each volunteer is interviewed and accepted based on their own merits
Can I choose the project?
Yes but projects have the final say on who they accept.
Is it safe?
The risks differs slightly from project to project but we do not send volunteers to anywhere generally considered dangerous
All volunteers should do research on the country they are applying to and also ask us for more information if unsure
If still uncertain the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office website gives guidance on travel to all countries. Go to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and type in the relevant country. You can also subscribe to any updates issued for the country you are going to.
All volunteers must ensure that they have the recommended injections and take the recommended health related precautions for the country they are planning to volunteer in (re drinking water etc.)
All volunteers should ensure that they have the information for their Embassy/consulate/High Commission so that they can make contact in case of need
How much does it cost?
Nearly all volunteers must pay their own airfare to the country concerned (occasionally Lotus Children’s Centre will need volunteers for one year and will pay their fare).
Nearly all projects provide free accommodation and food (Lotus charges US$20 per day for food and lodging for those volunteering for short periods in the summer.)
All volunteers must buy their own insurance and pay the cost of the criminal background checks.
Other costs depend on the country. In most places the monthly costs will range from GBP 100 to 250.
Volunteers should also consider how much local travel they wish to do before, after or possibly at weekends during the volunteering period.
Many volunteers go home after their assignment and raise money for the projects – we encourage everyone to consider doing this!