BOLIVIA VOLUNTEERS aids flood victims
In response to the severe flooding in the city, caused by the highest levels of torrential rainfall recorded for many years, BOLIVIA VOLUNTEERS has sent four of its volunteers currently in COCHABAMBA to help individuals, displaced families and the community.
Liaising with community leaders, the volunteers are providing immediate emergency assistance in a variety of ways, to try to help ease the devastating impact the recent floods have had. Recent flash-floods and continuous rainfall have totally changed the landscape. Rivers have burst their banks, and in many locations have changed their course completely – now passing through townships and agricultural land.
It is widely acknowledged that the recent inclement weather is the worst recorded for many years, and the local forecasters predict that there will be several more weeks of rainfall, before Bolivia´s ´Rainy Season´ draws to a close. Traditionally, the rains arrive in the central South American country during November and December, but this year – following severe droughts in many areas – the excessive amounts of rainfall have caused chaos throughout the country.
Bolivia Volunteers, who organize volunteer placements in the city of Cochabamba have answered calls from the community to assist where possible, by assigning additional volunteer tasks to some of its volunteers.
´Just take a look around you – the place is devastated,´ says Tony Lee – in Cochabamba with Bolivia Volunteers on a three month Building Trades project – ´Nothing I´ve ever seen before has been anything like this.´ Tony, along with construction project volunteer Marston Adabaye, will be helping in the massive clean-up operation, and helping local community leaders co-ordinate the construction of make-shift temporary accommodation blocks for homeless families.
Other volunteers, Abigail Harman-Scott and Brigitte Le Croix, are in the region with a focus on health and social care. ´It´s not just the houses that have been destroyed – Community centers, schools and medical facilities have not been spared. We are doing all we can to keep things running as smoothly as possible at this difficult time for everybody here´ says Brigitte.
Bolivia Volunteers continues to monitor the situation, and has several other volunteers on stand-by to be deployed in the area if needed.
Volunteer Abroad Travel Money
Volunteers who are planning to go abroad have a lot to plan for. In their planning they will also plan for how they will be using their money. There are various ways of using money while the international volunteers are abroad. The various methods are through cash, travelers cheque, credit card, prepaid cards and local debit cards. Deciding on which form of money to use depends on a number of factors. These factors are length of stay, security, exchange rate and replacement in case they are lost or stolen. They should inform their banks that they are going abroad and that they shouldnt cancel their credit cards while they are gone unless told otherwise. As a volunteer abroad, s/he should carry the different forms of money for safety. Here are the various forms of money that are available to volunteers:
The volunteers will need the local currency when they arrive in the country. They will need money to pay for small things as taxi fare, buses fare, trolley fares and many others. As the volunteer will be in the local country for a period of time, s/he will need to have local currency. The advantages of carry local currency are: it is easy to exchange; easy to use; available everywhere; and fluctuations in the exchange rate wont make it more expensive. The major disadvantages of carry cash are: the volunteers cant carry large sums of money; during conversion they can lose money due to the exchange rate; and its not replaceable when its lost. When dealing with cash, the volunteer should have money bag or an inside pocket where to hide their money. To be safe they should also not carry all their money at the same place and should have large and small denominations.
These are the most commonly used by travelers worldwide. Credit cards are available and are used in most countries. Cards that have Visa, MasterCard, American express and Access are accepted everywhere. There are many advantages of using Credit Cards for example: they are easy to carry; easily replaceable when stolen; accepted in most parts of the world; the volunteer can get cash advances from ATMs at a fee. The main disadvantages are: credit card fraud; sometimes they are not accepted in some hotels and institutions; there are added service fees by banks when they are used; there are interest fees included and you have notify banks when traveling abroad. The volunteer has to be careful when using credit cards, in that they should be used as few times as possible. Credit cards have hidden costs attached to them and when the volunteer goes back home, s/he will be surprised by the huge fees.
These cards are new to the market and are gaining popularity. Prepaid cards are specifically targeted for travelers. They work the same way as travelers cheques and debit cards. Prepaid cards are preloaded with money from the volunteers home country. They use the standard Visa system, and can be used anywhere there is a Visa symbol. They are much safer to use than Credit cards and Debit cards. With a fixed amount in them, there is no risk in overspending and if the funds run out you can re load the funds through other credit cards. The disadvantages of these cards are: once they are lost they are hard to replace; the commissions are higher than travelers cheques and credit cards; topping up is expensive.
Travelers cheques used to be very common but nowadays they are becoming less and less common. They are still one of the safest ways to carry money as they are not stolen and are easily replaceable. To use a travelers cheque, the volunteers signature is needed. Most of them are issued by American express and can be used in most banks and post banks. They can be replaced anywhere if they are stolen or lost as long as the serial number is produced. They only take 24 hours to replace them. The main disadvantages are: most foreign retailers are not accepting them anymore, in some places they can only be used for changing local currency; and the range of currencies is limited.
Local debit cards and bank accounts
If the volunteer will be staying for a lengthy period of time, they could open a bank account and deposit money there. Using local debit cards is good especially if the volunteer doesnt want to be charged by their home banks when transacting. This method saves money as transactions are only done once and there is no worry of foreign exchange rates.
Family volunteering abroad tips
Families who take vacations together are added meaning to their holidays by adding volunteering to the vacation. The family volunteering abroad could be made up of children, teens, young adults and grandparents. Family volunteer abroad work includes: construction projects, orphanage programs, conservation projects and mentorship programs. The advantages of family volunteering overseas are great rewarding experience; forming the children’s’ world view; empower the kids to see they can change the world; expands the children’s insight; gives families time to bond; and exciting travel opportunities. Volunteers who want to go abroad with their families should look for organizations that can accommodate everyone’s needs and wants. Family volunteers should look into the following when planning their volunteer abroad trip: Precautions If the volunteer family has young children between the ages of 6 to 14 years extra precautions should be taken. Before leaving home, the parents should explain to the children what they are going to do abroad and inform them of safety precautions. With older kids, they should inform their parents where they are going and what time they are coming back. As parents, they should: get bright colored clothes for their kids for them to be noticeable in a crowd; stitch the names of the children on the inside of the clothes; keep a recent photo of the kids; one parent should always keep an eye on the kids while the other parent is doing something else; know what to do in case of an emergency; and keep medicines and other harmful objects away from kids. Attitude Attitude is like expectations, explain to the children what they are going to do and what to expect. The volunteer parents should not give the kids false expectations and hopes; they should be honest with their kids. Also parents should find ways to change the attitude of their children. When the parent sees the child is developing a negative attitude they should try and improve it as quickly as possible. When the child gets a negative attitude, it will affect everyone else’s mood and make the work twice as hard. The parents should find way to make the volunteer work more engaging or stop working when they see the child has become too uncomfortable. During long flights parents should buy extra toys that would distract their kids. If there is something that is stressing the parents they should find ways of hiding their frustration from the kids. One way to change the children’s attitude is by engaging them in the planning process making them feel more important in the vacation. Volunteer work The volunteer family should choose a volunteer program that suits the needs of ever member of the family. There are various programs available to choose from for example: conservation, orphanage, mentorship programs, sports, building and construction and agricultural programs. Depending on the age and desires of the family members they should choose programs that will work for everyone. For example grandparents may enjoy orphanage work more to sports activities, while the children could prefer the opposite. The family members’ capabilities should be put into consideration when choosing a program. Take note that overly physical jobs will be hard for the younger and older family members. Parents should involve their children when picking volunteer work in which everyone can enjoy them. Another option will be to different family members involved in different programs but in the same location. Accommodation Lastly, when planning for family volunteering abroad the volunteers should look into where they are going to stay. The options available to volunteers are hostels, hotels, dorms, homestay and couch surfing. The different accommodations are suitable for different type of travelers. Younger children will require more private accommodation while older kids would be better placed in less private accommodation like hostels. When volunteering as a family the accommodation options are homestays, hotels and hostels. If the volunteers have very young kids they should pick a place which has few potential hazards. When the parents arrive at the hotel or hostel, they should try to make the place child proof. They should teach the kids of emergency procedures just in case something happens and the children should be supervised throughout the stay.
Volunteer Services ? Tasks & Activities
It is said that one of the best ways to use your skills, knowledge and interests is to opt for volunteer services. This is the reason why business enthusiasts have been choosing the services to get more contacts and practical knowledge that can help in running business later.
Meeting with people, understanding them & their culture, spending time with them, understanding their daily life needs and helping them is something that explains volunteer services. Different volunteering projects are available till date that can be chosen by individuals as per their need and desire.
Certain tasks and activities are there which are required to be performed by volunteers for volunteer services. Tasks are as follows:
The first task is to establish and develop relationships with people living in a region.
Volunteers are required to understand the people, the way they are living, their lifestyle, their livelihood and culture as well.
Another major task is to encourage young people involved in the project. This will help new comers to enhance their confidence and self-esteem.
Support activity & co-coordinator
Next task is to support the activity as well as coordinator in supervision of people at group activities. Using skills, be friendly and calm nature, care and smartness for volunteer programs is something that helps in building healthy relationships with groups.
Now, let’s come to know about the major activities of the firm. Activities are as follows:
Improving local communities
The first activity is to develop and follow the project plan which is meant to improve local communities. The activity of improving communities include considering aspects like employment opportunities in the region, basic needs of food and shelter, education and much more.
Sharing skills and experiences
Volunteer services are directed to help any community against any environmental or social challenges. Volunteers are knowledgeable and experienced enough to deal different complexities of life and thus they act to share their quality sets of skills and experie3nce to help community coming out of any trouble.
Management & environment
In terms of projects, volunteers are also required to focus on home management and environment. So, here, they act as managing or making the contacts for repair, housekeeping and maintenance services. Preparation of meals, grocery needs, accompanying social or recreational event, etc, is some other activities which are considered under volunteer programs and volunteer services.
Hence, it can be said that volunteers are required to perform several useful activities and tasks to emerge as a talented and skillful volunteer.
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