Volunteers who choose to be part of this amazing program will be based in a Children’s Community Centre on the periphery of Albania’s capital city Tirana. The centre welcomes children from different areas of Tirana outskirts, mainly belonging to Roma and Egyptian minorities, street children and children that are at risk of exploitation. Many families have migrated from different locations of Albania, mostly from the north of the country, to Tirana in search of a better life and employment opportunities. The program offers these vulnerable children the chance to gain an education, learn life skills, partake in sports and fun activities such as arts and games and eat nutritious meals – things that are hard to access for these marginalized and impoverished children. Volunteers will find they play an essential role in teaching, caring for and inspiring these wonderful children.
Goals of this Project:
- Provide essential teaching and companionship to vulnerable children in Albania
- Improve the future prospects of marginalized children in Albania
- Give vulnerable children quality care, compassion and a sense of hope
- Enable inter-cultural exchange which benefits both locals and international volunteers alike.
This crucial program provides a safe and happy place for vulnerable children to learn and to thrive. Within the walls of the community centre, the children are in a positive environment where they can be themselves, free from the discrimination they face in mainstream society. Currently around 40-50 children attend the centre, where they are divided into two groups according to their age. There is a morning and afternoon session running from 8.30am until 4.00pm with a lunch break around midday. The children visit the centre to do their homework, take part in education and recreational activities and to have a meal. Enthusiastic volunteers who are creative, compassionate and enjoy working with children are desperately sought to provide additional assistance to staff to ensure the children are receiving the best support possible. Volunteers will also assist the children with their English language homework, organize fun games and activities as well as helping out in the kitchen with meal preparations.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways on this program and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Organize games and activities for the children – sports, music, songs, dance, games etc
- Create activities and entertain the children
- Educate children and help with homework
- Assist with meals
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A volunteer’s work day on this project will generally last between 4 and 6 hours and while we ask all volunteers to be flexible in this regard, a typical daily schedule is likely to go something like this:
7:00am Breakfast at the volunteer house
7:30am Van, walk or bus to project site
8:00am Pre-start meeting with project supervisor
9:00am VOLUNTEERING DUTIES START
A tea break and lunch break will be fitted in during the day, but often the timing of breaks will change based on the needs of the local staff and number of volunteers on hand.
4:00pm VOLUNTEERING DUTIES END
4:15pm Debrief with project supervisor
4:30pm Van, walk or bus back to accommodation
Evenings Volunteers are welcome to explore the local area or simply relax with the other volunteers.
Volunteers are met on arrival into Tirana and taken to the Volunteer House to meet with the hosts and settle in to the new environment. An orientation session will take place, normally on the Monday, which covers the local area, public transport, amenities, customs, rules and recommendations and, of course, what to expect from your volunteering experience. This provides a great opportunity to get to know your hosts and ask any last questions you may have.
- Program Arrival Day: SUNDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Tirana International Airport Nene Tereza, Tirana, Albania (Code: TIA)
Volunteers on this program are accommodated in a comfortable Volunteer House in central Tirana. Each room accommodates up to 4 with shared bathroom and communal facilities. The house is equipped with a tidy kitchen and dining area where volunteers can prepare meals and snacks in a homely environment.
All standard amenities are available in the Volunteer House, including hot showers, Western style bathrooms, bed linen, a functional kitchen and Wi-Fi. An Albanian expression sums up the hospitality you can expect during your stay in Tirana – “Buke, kripe dhe zemer” (Bread, Salt and a warm heart).
Accommodation in Tirana is self-catered and food is not included in the program fees. Volunteers can opt to make use of the kitchen facilities to prepare meals or dine out at one of the many restaurants, bars and cafes within easy reach of the Volunteer House. Lunch options are varied and affordable at cafes and markets situated close to the program site.
Registration Fee: The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the Trip Planner.
Requirements: We welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to help create a brighter future for people living in marginalized communities of Albania. While this project is best suited to those pursuing a career in the fields of anthropology, social work, social entrepreneurship and/or economics, volunteers who simply wish to be involved in a more ‘varied’ project are also welcomed as there are many ways you can assist and individual projects can often be tailored to suit the particular skills and interests or each participant. Ideally, volunteers on this project will have at least a basic understanding of Albanian in order to communicate effectively with staff and students. Importantly, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive ‘can-do’ attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
Project Location: Tirana is a fast-developing city, shaking off its communist past and acquiring a western feel. It is small and manageable for traversing on foot. There are several new shopping malls, cinemas, concert halls and theatres with programs of a high standard and many bars, some providing live music. Tirana is a growing tourist destination.
Start Dates & Duration: This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks.