Circle Volunteering - Choose up to Five Projects at Once!
Colombia is a fascinatingly diverse country filled with incredibly welcoming people and stunning landscapes, which is rapidly growing more developed. However, there is still great scope for social improvement in many areas. We at NGO Taxi want to offer you the chance to take part in a NEW and INNOVATIVE volunteering experience, in which you can choose to take part in up to FIVE different projects, giving essential support, help and happiness to a huge number of people, as part of ONE COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM.
So, are you equally passionate about helping in fields such as farming, education, and medicine? Then look no further!
€ 1499,00 – first month
€ 1349,00 – second month
€ 1199,00 – third month, and after
BE ONE OF THE FIRST TO TAKE PART IN THE FUTURE OF VOLUNTEERING!
- Accommodation and food.
- Pickup and transport from the airport.
- Pre-arrival welcome pack.
- Welcome Dinner.
- Complimentary t-shirt.
- 24 hour support.
CIRCLE VOLUNTEERING DETAILS
How the Volunteering Circle Works
The central idea behind our Volunteer Circle is not just to give you, the volunteer, the chance to experience many different ways of life and to meet many different kinds of people, or even to give you the feeling that you have made as big a difference as possible. It is to create a network of help and support within one community, so that the successful results of one project within that community directly feed into the progress of another, thereby forming a truly holistic approach to community change and betterment. We believe that it is only through connecting disparate projects and initiatives that national and international social progress can really happen. Like a line of dominoes, improvements to standards of living, economic prospects or community unity within one region, we believe, will quickly overflow into others, gaining momentum and strength as they go.
The modern world, although bringing many benefits in its wake, can also have some drastic negative effects on society. Because it introduces a plethora of new ideas and social attitudes through different forms of media and the movement of people, it can encourage the dissolution of traditional family and social structures, as well as promote the rise of large conglomerates who on occasion exploit small and unprotected individual farmers and local businesses. In search of ‘The Dream’, many young people leave their rural villages for the city, which over time results in the breakdown of the community and the local infrastructure and economy. Small-scale industries such as local agriculture find that they can no longer compete with large national or international companies, leaving many people unemployed. And as a consequence of all this can come disillusionment and depression, which people sometimes counter with drink or drugs.
We at NGO Taxi travel to remote regions suffering from the negative effects of encroaching modernity, and work to give people the tools and support they need to cope with and adapt to shifting social values and economic systems.
This Volunteer Circle focuses on one department within a mountainous, sub-tropical region of Colombia, home to around 32,000 people, which has been victim to the negative effects of the modern world. We want to help revitalize the region, to encourage ex-residents to return or potential residents to settle, and to help it get back the economic and social autonomy that will allow it to fully stand on its own two feet.
During this program you can work on coffee or sugarcane farms, assist in a hospital or elderly day care center, teach in local schools, or lend a hand in a youth and special needs center. You can choose to participate in as many of these projects as you want, from as little as one to all five of them.
Each circle volunteering project has its own aims, objectives, and focus. Please see each project page for more detailed information:
Volunteer responsibilities for each project will differ; however, you can lend a hand and expand your skills in any or all of the areas listed below, depending on the projects you choose:
- Agricultural work, with a focus on coffee and sugarcane farming and processing.
- Providing basic medical care in a rural and developing area.
- Providing entertainment and companionship to lonely elderly people, often living in poverty.
- Teaching disadvantaged children, anything from languages to sports to music to vocational skills (construction, agriculture, carpentry, etc.).
- Teaching and supporting young people out of school hours.
- Providing support and specialist skills to special needs individuals so that they can be autonomous.
For more detailed information about volunteer responsibilities for each project, please see each relevant project page (listed above).
All of the projects are centered around a small village located 2 hours from Colombia’s capital, Bogotá; this is also where your accommodation is. The village is very close to a larger town, which has shops, internet cafes, restaurants, ATMs and night life. Depending on your project, you may be working in the village itself, or within 30 – 45 minutes of it.
Buses from the village to the main town leave frequently throughout the day and cost around COP $2500 per trip, taking about thirty minutes (not included in the project fee). There are also plenty of taxis (including mototaxis). The project organizer can also offer their own transport, a car for a total of five people, for a small fee. There are also very frequent buses to Bogotá, run by a handful of companies, and to several nearby towns and villages.
Accommodation and Food
You will stay in the house of the project organizer. The area is fairly rural but all basic amenities are available. The house is split into two, with the project organizer and their family living in the main house and the volunteers sharing the bungalow (which includes two bathrooms). There is also a garden and outside sitting/dining area. If there are more than 4 volunteers private rooms will not be available.
The internet can be very slow, although if you need to you can take the short bus ride into town to use the internet cafes there.
You will be provided with three meals a day from Monday to Friday. On a Saturday you will be given two meals (these will be shared with the family), although none will be provided on a Sunday. These meals are shared with the family and include bread, grains, meat, fruit and vegetables, and dairy products. However, the project organizer is very happy to provide for any special dietary requirements (vegetarians and vegans, celiacs, any allergies or intolerances, etc.) if advised before you arrive. You are welcome to use the kitchen to prepare your own meals, as long as you keep it clean and tidy, or to eat in the restaurants in the village or town. If you choose to eat any meals not provided by the project organizer these will be at your own cost.
In general, all that is required of you is to be enthusiastic, willing, and prepared to learn new skills, displaying a hardworking attitude and respect towards the local community and those you will be living and working with. However, there are of course specific talents and personal characteristics that would be extremely useful for each separate project. Please refer to the relevant project pages listed above for more information.
Generally, you should be ready to respond to changes and be able to deal with the unexpected for any work or travel in South America. For this program in particular, you should be willing to live and work in areas where the standard of living is much lower than that in the EU or US.
You must have at least a conversational level of Spanish for these projects, as few local people speak any more than basic English, if any English at all. However, the project organizer has a very good level of English, having lived in England for several years, and can help you if you have any problems. Having said that, there would be little point in volunteering in another country if you could not communicate with the people you live and work with. After all, the better the Spanish you speak or learn before you arrive the more you can bring of yourself to the project, the more you can communicate and understand, and the more you will get out of your volunteering experience. In any case, you will be amazed how much Spanish you will learn by simply living and working in another country. We can help you with this! We offer a wide array of Spanish courses suited to your level, including more specialized courses, for as many weeks as you require. Please see http://ngotaxi.org/language-course/ for more information.
Additional Information and Specials
Length of Stay:
At least one week (per project).
Please contact your doctor about necessary vaccinations prior to your stay in Colombia. Concerning immunization requirements you can also find up-to-date information by consulting medical authorities in your country of origin, e.g. in the US, check with the Centers for Disease Control and Protection: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/colombia.
- Accommodation including bedding.
- Three meals a day.
- Pickup and transport from airport.
- Pre-arrival welcome pack.
- Welcome Dinner.
- FREE NGO Taxi t-shirt.
- 24 hour support.
- Certificate of successful volunteer participation on your project.
- Daily travel to and from the project sites.
- Weekend or non-organized activities.
- Snacks and non-mealtime drinks.
- Personal spending.
- Any additional items not listed in the ‘Included Services’ list.
In general, you must bear in mind that you will be representing NGO Taxi to communities and partners and are therefore required to demonstrate a professional attitude. Lightweight long sleeves and trousers are recommended for the area, as it can get very hot and there are mosquitoes. There are also some project-specific clothing requirements; please refer to the relevant project pages (see links above).
You will need to provide a criminal background check, medical records, proof of travel and medical insurance, and any professional certificates or vocational certificates you may have.
These projects would all be hugely grateful for any educational, medical or entertainment materials you can bring with you. These include:
For the hospital: stethoscopes, sphygmomanometers, thermometers, syringes, gauze bandages, gloves, swabs, compresses, duck urinals, mobility belts, hoists, and any other medical supplies that you can think of.
For the elderly day care center: board games, books, jigsaws, puzzles, arts and crafts materials, and ludic games for over 60s. Any of the medical supplies listed above.
For the schools and youth and special needs center: board games, books, musical instruments, arts and crafts materials, sports equipment, ludic games for ages 6-14, CD’s, DVD’s, X-box games, and any kind of stationary.
During this program, you will be in contact with a lot of people. However, you might also be the only volunteer working with local staff at times, so be prepared for variety in the people you will meet and work with.
Free Time Activities
NGO Taxi also provides tours in other areas of Colombia, such as the Lost City trek or a trip to Punta Gallinas. Sounds like the thing for you? Then take a look at our page http://ngotaxi.org/tours/ for more information!
And if you want to explore this fascinating and diverse country on your own, may we suggest…
- Joining a graffiti tour in Bogotá, one of South America’s graffiti hotspots, and learning some fascinating facts about this hugely diverse and socially expressive art form.
- Visiting the underground salt cathedral of Zipaquirá.
- Taking a trip to the beautiful colonial town of Villa de Leyva.
- Experiencing the famous nightlife of Medellín and Bogotá.
- Testing your moves on the dance floor in the Colombian, possibly even South American, capital of salsa: the city of Cali.
- Staying on a coffee finca in La Zona Cafetería.
- Seeing some of the amazing archaeological remains of San Agustin and Tierradentro.
- Hiking in the glorious Tayrona national park.
- Watching the famous Barranquilla carnival.
- Exploring the Caribbean coast, including a day trip to Las Islas Rosarios off the coast of Cartagena.
- Meeting indigenous communities or taking a survival training course in the Amazon.