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Volunteers' Stories

From IVS, the International Voluntary Service

Founded in 1931, IVS is a non-profit organisation that promotes peace and social justice through volunteering.

This article series will bring you stories from their volunteers about their inspirational experiences helping local communities in the UK and around the world.

It's never too late to make a difference around the world.

man in Greece giving water to young children

The International Voluntary Service (IVS), the British branch of Service Civil International, has been sending British volunteers on international volunteering projects for almost 90 years. Every year, thousands of volunteers, of all ages and backgrounds, come together on projects in over 80 countries to promote the values of peace and solidarity.

Our projects are wide-ranging in topic and duration. From teaching English at a children's summer camp in Russia for one week, to planting mangrove trees on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. There's a project to suit everyone!

Here are two IVS projects that are taking place this summer.

"Recapturing the History" - Greece – 10 Days

This project is part of our Building Bridges programme that was set up in response to the current refugee crisis. Our Building Bridges projects aim to raise awareness on the topic of forced migration and promote peace, understanding and integration between locals and asylum seekers/refugees.

Spend 10 days in the Greek city of Thessaloniki researching the history of refugees in the area in relation to the current situation in the city. The project will involve volunteers collecting the stories of refugees and war victims from the first wave of refugees in 1922, right through WW2, to the current day.
The project fee of £160 includes accommodation and food costs. Volunteers must cover travel costs to and from the country. However, as this project has EU funding, it is possible for volunteers to be reimbursed up to €120 to cover travel expenses.

You can find out more about this project here.

"Ecological Gardening" - Togo – 3 Weeks

ecological gardening - Togo

Located in Western Africa, this project was developed to preserve a local educational garden through sustainable gardening activities. The garden helps to raise awareness to the community of responsible consumption through local and organic produce. Volunteers on this project will be involved in preparing the soil (weeding and hoeing), protecting, bedding and watering the plants and strengthening the garden fence.

The project fee of £160 includes accommodation and food costs. Volunteers must cover travel costs to and from the country.

You can find out more about this project here.

If these don't take your fancy, you can browse through all of our projects on our website. Our office is based in Edinburgh, you can give us a call on 0131 243 2745.

Visit the Laterlife Interest Index for more Volunteer Stories

If you are over 50 and want to volunteer with IVS please contact
Our projects in 60 countries worldwide are open to volunteers of all ages and can be accessed here.


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Recent Articles:

A chance conversation led Karen to volunteering in India

At school

Karen Laister from Oxfordshire visited Fort Kochi in Kerala, India in November 2016. She had visited India previously on a work trip, fallen in love with the country and was keen to return.

A field report from Russia

Hello! My name is Emily a volunteer for Interra.

I arrived in Krasnoyarsk on Sunday and I will live, work and study here for the next six months.

This is my first time in Siberia! While I’m here, I will run English and German language clubs, events and presentations relating to British culture, as well as generally helping with the everyday work of Interra and the various projects it runs.
Apart from that, I’m looking forward to meeting lots of local people, improving my Russian, visiting other Russian cities and going hiking in the Stolby nature reserve!


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