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This project aims to bring volunteers to some of the most underfunded communities in Ho Chi Minh City. Working with disadvantaged populations, the project offers hope and education to many people that are in great need. From working with special needs children and orphans to helping out a public hospital, there is always work to be done. Through cultural exchanges, the project gives opportunities to people who can benefit most.

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Location of the Project:  Ho Chi Minh City
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Project length:  Min 1 week - Max 8 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)
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Volunteer Work:  Community assistance
Age:  18-70. Age Exceptions: this project accepts volunteers who are 17 years old and younger with a letter of consent from a parent or guardian.
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Important Note:  Family Option: this project accepts volunteers with children as young as 5 years old. Most projects are located within walking distance of the accommodations. However, if you volunteer at the orphanage, you will need to take public transportation (the cost is about USD$0.50 per day).

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared rooms at student accommodation
Food:  Three meals a day
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Airport Transfers:  Airport pick included on arrival day
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Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
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Support:  Local in-country team and 24-hour emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, personal expenses, visa (if required)

Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam, and it attracts a large number of tourists annually. When you walk around the city you find various beautiful buildings representing the city's past through Vietnamese, Chinese and European designs and styles. Modern structures stand next to pagodas and street-food stands create a sizzling energy.

Volunteers will be assigned to a specific project that firstly depends on needs and availability and then on personal preferences. These projects include:

Working with Special Needs Children: There are about 12 children with special needs living at this home because their families cannot afford to properly care for them. Your main role will be to comfort and care for children while engaging them in fun activities, arts and crafts, singing, dancing and games, all with the aim of improving their quality of life. You will also help them improve their speech and muscular capacity with the assistance of the staff. 

Children's Orphanage: All of the children living at the orphanage, aged 0 – 5, have been taken off the streets and placed in this home. Many of them have been through traumatic situations so, in addition to giving them food, shelter and clothing, the orphanage tries to give the kids confidence, attention and love in order for the children to reach their potential. Tasks here can include teaching basic English, light construction and renovations, painting and decorating the inside and outside of the home and helping make jewelry, which is sold in local markets to help fund the orphanage. 

Campus Life: At this project you will be working with college students studying tourism and will be paired with a “buddy,” although you will have the opportunity to work with a group of students in the classroom as well. Through cultural exchanges and role playing of real life scenes, you will help these Vietnamese students practice their English and prepare for their careers. 

Food Shop: This NGO-run food shop provides good-quality lunches at affordable prices for only 10 cents. The food shop's customers include the elderly, students, people with disabilities, workers and struggling families. You'll help out by preparing lunches and serving meals to the community.

A typical day: You will have breakfast at 7:30am and then head to your project around 8am so that you can begin working by 9am. You will work until 11:30am, at which point you will head back to the residence for lunch. From 2pm - 4:30pm you will work at the project again and dinner will be available at 6pm.

Please note: This schedule is only a guide and things at the project can change at any time. If you are working with children, your schedule will follow the typical school day.  

Internet
Internet:  There is WiFi in the rooms as well as internet cafes nearby.
Laundry
Laundry:  Cheap laundry service is available close by.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  You will stay in the dormitories of a college campus. There is an air- conditioner in every room. Rooms are single-gender, basic but comfortable, with bunk beds. There are 8 shared showers - 4 hot and 4 cold - and a western-style toilet in each room. There are several common areas, including a terrace overlooking the city, a cafe and a creative corner with paint and guitars. Volunteers are required to follow campus regulations, including a 23:30 curfew. Room size: 6-10 people per room.
Food:  Three meals a day are included and served at a restaurant on campus. Meals are typically Vietnamese, but also include some Western dishes (sandwiches, spaghetti, etc.).

Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:

  • Good level of English
  • Motivation to work with children and meet new cultures
  • Able to work in hot and humid climate
  • Immunizations (please consult your doctor)
  • Police Clearance form
  • CV/Resume required for all placements except Food Shop

Culture Week (Highly Recommended, Not Included):
For an additional fee you can extend your stay for a week, with a program designed to introduce you to Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese culture, as well as give you time to get to know the other volunteers. During the week you will visit some of Vietnam's iconic landmarks, market places and even go to a traditional water puppet show. You’ll take cooking and language lessons, learn about traditional jewelry techniques and get an understanding of Vietnam’s past, present and future.

Volunteer Experiences
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