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Don’t let financial barriers keep you from participating in such a meaningful adventure Volunteering abroad is a fantastic way to travel and see the world while using your skills and time to help a community in need. It can also be a source of personal transformation...

The Keys to a Better Life   Can you tell me a bit about your volunteer experience at Faith with Arms Around the Child in India? I went to India to volunteer with Arms Around the Child to volunteer with kids with HIV/AIDS and I stayed with a...

Witnessing Trauma   Volunteering at Bobbi Bear has changed my life. Before this experience, I was just a psychology student at a university, extracting information from books, and I never had any practical experience working with victims of abuse. I had never travelled this far to do...

A Community Empowered   What follows is the testimony of one of our volunteers who've come back to Bobbi Bear after they had truly embraced the organisation's ethos in their first volunteering experience. The strength of Bobbi Bear lies in a true connection with the local community,...

Aim for the Smile Like most people, I decided to do volunteering work abroad out of a very simple desire to help other people. My only metric for success? To be able to put a smile on just one face, although I aimed (and got!) many...

This fantastic testimony was provided by one of our volunteers who has asked to remain anonymous. In her story, you will find the very essence of volunteering work. The desire to give back to the community took this volunteer to the Bobbi Bear centre in...

A Search For Meaning    What made you decide to volunteer with Bobbi Bear? In 2008 I was working as a sales manager when I was caught in the crossfire of an armed robbery, a bullet hit me in the face and I came out alive to tell...

When did you volunteer with Bobbi Bear? I first went in 2006 and then returned in 2010 to research my Anthropology dissertation titled ‘Bearing Witness to Child Rape: negotiating adult perceptions of childhood in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa’.   How long were you with them? The first time...

Whilst travelling around Rajesthan in December 2016 we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to visit Faith Orphanage in Jaipur. This was a fantastic experience, and while neither of us were sure of what to expect, we were both completely bowled over by...

  Bobbi Bear made me a better mother   How long did you volunteer with Bobbi Bear and what did the work consist of? I volunteered with Bobbi Bear for 6 weeks from the end of August until the beginning of October. My work involved playing with the children and...

  Inspired to be a better person   When did you volunteer with Bobbi Bear and how long were you there for?   When I first started looking for a volunteering project as part of my studies in Psychology and Law, I was unsure of what to do but when...

Considering volunteering this summer? With thousands of volunteer abroad opportunities available, how do you choose the right one for you? We are here to help. Volunteer Invest doesn't advertise hundreds of opportunities, in hundreds of countries, as we believe in making your volunteer programme exclusive to you...

Social Enterprise - how to define this concept? In its most basic form, a social enterprise is a business which places its social mission at the core of the operation. Instead of tending to the interests of the shareholder, a social enterprise aims to benefit and...

GHANA    Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana deserves its place in the sun. As one of Africa's success stories, the country is benefiting from its stable democracy in the form of fast-paced development. A trip to Ghana will give you the chance to enjoy a vast...

Castles, Gold and Coups   Much was expected from Ghana when it gained its independence from Britain in 1957, in an event widely celebrated by the African diaspora -  with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr visiting the country - in a time where most African...

Discover Ghana's Cuisine   From fresh out of the ocean grilled fish with a spicy sauce to the classic African jollof rice, there is enough variety in Ghanaian gastronomy to keep your appetite busy regardless of how long you're in the country for. We guarantee you'll never...

As India is known for its cultural melting pot, it’s no surprise to find a high variety of delicious food cooking in several pots all over the country. We’ve taken the liberty of putting together some of the best dishes but feel free to explore...

Beautiful landscapes, a nearly unlimited variety of wildlife and a rich cultural history - you’d think that would be enough to make up all the benefits of visiting South Africa but you’d be wrong to leave out its delicious culinary treats. Luckily for you, we've...

Restoring hope for generations in Ghana   Founded by the dedicated team of teacher Seth Aseidu and his wife Vivian, Becky’s Foundation in Senya-Beraku, a very historic coastal town in Ghana was primarily established to provide love and kindness to abandoned children and orphans in Senya-Beraku....

Paul Broomfield is a taxidermy assemblage artist who seeks out vintage and found objects to create his work. He was honoured to have been invited to work with Arms Around The Child on an art project that has taken him to work with HIV+ orphans in...

India is the seventh largest country in the world and the second most-populous with 1.2 billion people. It's traditionally known for its cultural diversity and almost unlimited natural beauty so there are only a few things to keep in mind when visiting it. So much to...

A look at the History of India India's exceptional history is intimately tied to its place in the globe as a meeting point between the East and the West, which brought about the unwanted attention of conquerors.  With a remarkable ability to absorb the new cultures...

The Golden Triangle is the most famous tour of India, a route between Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, named for the nearly perfect triangle formed by the three cities. Starting in the capital, Delhi, and taking in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, it'll give...

There's a good chance you may have heard a thing or two regarding India's recent financial turmoil on the back of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement in early November that 500 (£6) and 1,000 rupee notes would be taken out of circulation and would...

Volunteer Invest, in association with Arms Around the Child has launched an appeal for Operation Bobbi Bear and the work they do in the Amanzimtoti community.  We are aiming to raise £5000 by March 31st You can donate here In an emergency rescue home for victims of abuse...

I first came across South Africa in school, when I was studying the Discoveries - a period in which Portuguese and Spanish ships ventured to discover the new world. In Portugal's case, it meant finding a maritime route to India that could offer a clear...

The kids at Faith take dress rehearsal to another level! When we were youngsters our nativity plays would involve 20 children, dressed in bed sheets to look like the ancient people of Jerusalem. A couple of boxes painted grey to look like boulders, and a...

“You could fry an egg on Phil’s head!” it’s day two of vegas2jaipur, and after reaching 40 degrees earlier, we’re starting to fry. We set off from Delhi at 8.30am and arrived in Jaipur (The Pink city) at about 2 pm. It is a stunning place,...

Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, women have remained at a much higher risk of infection than men. Young women and teenage girls in particular account for a startling majority of new HIV infections among young people living with the virus. This is more...

As the largest city in South Africa and the vibrant heart of the country, Johannesburg boasts a vast range of attractions, which are sure to keep you busy, interested and always on the go. Apartheid Museum For anyone wanting to understand and experience the full extent of...

Travelling to South Africa? With more beautiful landscapes than one can count alongside one of the highest violent crime rates in the world, the main concern when travelling to South Africa is how to stay safe.   Before you dismiss this country due to its bad rap, please...

If you're planning to visit South Africa in the future you're very likely to be overwhelmed by the immense possibilities this beautiful country has to offer. With that in mind, we've put together this list so all you need to do is have fun! Kruger National...

If the awe-inspiring aerial photos of this port city weren't enough to lure you to visit this stunning postcard land, we're happy to put in writing all the wonderful things you can do in Cape Town. Table Mountain National Park Table Mountain is the most iconic landmark...

When I was about 8 years old I left my home to stay with my mother’s relatives. My mother could not take care of me because she was sick. I could not stay with my father because he was injured during work. Both my parents...

  I was born in South Africa and soon came face to face with the loss of a loved one after my father died in 1976 in a car accident. My mother joined him in 1987 after losing the battle against cancer. I have three brothers...

I’m 29 years-old, I was born in South Africa, I am the youngest of the three children and lost my son when he was only 7 in 2008, only a year after my father had passed away. My parents’ divorce took its toll on the rest...

I was born in 1952 in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. My mother and father were born in Yorkshire and were part of the “colonize the colonies campaign” by the British Government after the Second World War. They were extremely proud of having paid for their own...

The aptly named Faith was founded in 2005 by Smriti Singh, in the capital of Rajasthan, the pink city of Jaipur, with the ultimate objective of assuring equality for children living with HIV and ensuring the provision of education, food, shelter, security, growth and development...

In recent research conducted by multiple Volunteering services, they have seen a dramatic increase in students volunteering abroad between the ages of 16-25. But what’s shocking is the fact that university millennial are thinking about other people rather than themselves for the first time in...

SPORTS ACADEMY  Volunteers with a love of sport and real enthusiasm for working with children are well suited to our Sports Teaching project in Ghana. Volunteers on this project work with young children and older Ghanaians to help develop their interest in a range of sports...

A Child Welfare and Development Project   Content in her job Kim became inspired to do all she could for vulnerable children of the world after seeing the film ‘Machine Gun Preacher’. She discovered the Operation Bobbi Bear project when a relative encouraged her to visit a...

  Invest in YOUR career working with children and gain valuable experience on the ground    Founded by the dedicated team of teacher, Seth Aseidu and his wife Vivian, Becky’s foundation in Senya-Beraku, a very historic coastal town in Ghana was primarily established to provide love and kindness...

This is an exciting opportunity for students and career breakers interested in the areas of child therapy, health and development to gain experience working with vulnerable young people in India   The project is based at Faith. A Jaipur based charity providing top-notch care for children from 6 -18...

Mental Illness in Children - Kai Raine   In a world of sophisticated medicine, mental health is one of the slowest areas to catch up. In many cases, there are no tests to prove the presence or absence of an illness. Instead, doctors must look at symptoms...

Higher Education… Things can only get better -Tim Phillips    Learners need to be inspired to achieve more. Teachers need to be trained to enable higher quality learning.   South Africa, as far as the developing world goes, has a well-structured and very comprehensive higher education sector. There are around...

A small but significant proportion of Indians are HIV positive, including a number of children. Rebecca Jones visits Faith, an NGO in Jaipur that cares for children living with the disease.   I visited Faith Sansthan Aalingan Care Home in Jaipur, India on 11 November 2016 under...

Complimentary Child Therapy & HIV/AIDS The Case for Mixing Eastern & Western Traditions   By Pedro Jacob Orphans infected and affected by HIV/AIDS experience emotional turmoil and cease receiving parental support even prior to the death of their parents or caregivers. These children are profoundly scarred by watching their...

The Role of Child Therapy in Trauma Recovery By Ally Macleod Hope. It is a feeling of forward momentum, one expectant of what the future might hold. Built upon the foundation of hope, the Volunteer Invest Programme was founded in 2015 by Arms Around The Child to...

Children in Ghana - What You Need to Know   By Rebecca Lawes   Facts in brief    Population - around 20 million, 20% live in Accra the capital Capital - Accra Official language - English but other dialects are widely spoken too Religion - 75% Christian, 15% Muslim and the rest hold other traditional beliefs. History - Formerly known...

By Ally MacLeod Happy children, are children who are loved. Here at Volunteer Invest, we speak about the unspeakable things that happen to children, and find the people prepared to act first, and intervene before the child’s experience has time to manifest itself for the future. A recent...

Psychology Programme, South Africa   Working or interested in Psychology and looking to gain in-field experience? Join human rights organisation Bobbi Bear as a Psychology Volunteer, working with vulnerable children affected by sexual abuse and HIV/AIDS. Operation Bobbi Bear is dedicated to supporting young victims of sexual abuse and empowering...

Invest in YOUR career working with children and gain valuable experience on the ground    Do you long to give back to those most in need? Do you also wish to gain hands on experience in an area that you have studied or been working in but want to...

  I stayed with Smriti, the founder and manager of ‘Faith’ for over three months. I lived in her home with her family, it became my home, they became my family.   It can be hard to describe the experience in India as a western person. Such a huge...

By Ally MacLeod Happy children, are children who are loved. Here at Volunteer Invest, we speak about the unspeakable things that happen to children, and find the people prepared to act first, and intervene before the child’s experience has time to manifest itself for the future. A recent...

Week 2  Monday 17 October 2016 My second week volunteering at Operation Bobbi Bear began with a visit to Bekethemba Police Station with child safety officer (CSO) Sarah*, who was scheduled to meet a client for counselling. She introduced me to Captain Thomas*, a long serving police...

 Tuesday 11 October 2016 My first morning of volunteering at Operation Bobbi Bear was spent with centre founder Jackie Branfield who introduced me to organisation manager Eureka as well as a number of the staff including Queenie* – an inspirational woman who was helped by Jackie...

Building a Career in Medicine   Nursing, midwifery, paediatrics, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, psychiatric, dentistry, neurological or genetics. Whatever the area of interest, a placement abroad is often the best opportunity for aspiring medics to 'test-drive' their potential occupation and gain valuable skills, experience and friends in the process. At a...

Using Storytelling in Child Therapy Gina   Stories can be told by writing, drawing, photography, music, dance – or simply by word of mouth. The ability to tell stories is deeply ingrained in each and every one of us, for this was how knowledge was communicated from...

  Creative & Performing Arts Volunteer Programme   Calling all drama students, music buffs and arts enthusiasts! This is an exciting opportunity for a music student on a gap year keen to work abroad, or a career breaker with a passion for the arts to share your talents with...

  The devastating link between HIV/AIDs, child sexual abuse and women’s rights in South Africa   My first day as a volunteer at Operation Bobbi Bear in Amanzimtoti, a coastal town south of Durban, South Africa, began with an introduction to Bobbi Bear’s Edu-Toy programme, created by organisation...

  The Changing Face of HIV/AIDS   By Pedro Jacob As the HIV and AIDS epidemic has crossed generations, the face of the disease has got younger. The most common causes of HIV in children are mother to child transmission and sexual abuse, each with its own complications but...

  Volunteer in Ghana   Volunteers with a love of sport and real enthusiasm for working with children are well suited to our Sports Teaching project in Ghana. Volunteers on this project work with young children and older Ghanaians to help develop their interest in a range of sports...

Child Welfare and Development    My first impression of Faith was of all-enveloping warmth. From the moment I set foot in the centre, the affection of the staff and children enveloped me like a warm blanket. The kids cajoled and laughed with one another as I walked around...

In the land of the religious sanctuary of Fatima in Portugal, there's a centre for people with varying degrees of brain paralysis where, led by conflicting cynicism and the will to actually do something with my time, I found myself at the age of 16....

  1994 was a landmark year for South Africa. Under the leadership of Nelson Mandela the African National Congress (ANC) secured an historic election victory ending 46 years of apartheid under the National Party. Mandela was, to people around the world, a beacon of hope -...

I spent three weeks at Bobbi Bear in Summer 2016 and it was a very valuable experience. The aim of Bobbi Bear is to assist young victims of sexual assault and mistreatment, although they offer their helping hand to all those in need no matter their...

We set our alarms for 6:30am to attend the local Zulu church and visit a traditional Zulu family. An early start considering the time difference with London. My body definitely felt like it was a 4:30am start to the day. All the volunteers had breakfast...

We have breakfast with the other volunteers and there is a calm atmosphere before we head out to Victoria Street Market. We talk about our thoughts since arriving. We sit in the morning sun and share more of our life stories. We talk more about...

I woke after another deep sleep. The Bobbi Bear house was alive when we came down to the kitchen for breakfast, everyone busy packing bags for The Tree. Eureka brings the whole team together and introduces them all to the volunteers. There is over 20 Bobbi...

We are collected by a local police officer to go on the Durban Night Tour. The sun was setting as we drove towards the ‘hostel’ area made up of government housing, a mass relocation of people. It looked like a ghetto and it was evident...

Faith was founded in 2005 in the heart of Rajasthan in the pink city of Jaipur. Faith brings hope to the lives of children living in extreme adversity, orphaned and affected by HIV/AIDS under the loving care of Smriti Singh who has made caring for...

I made my way downstairs after a shower and a slightly restless night. My mind was full of ideas and thoughts; a new country, a new venture, new opportunity, new sights, sounds and emotions. Today we attended the Illovo tree, an outreach project that Bobbi...

Abuse of children in South Africa is still growing. HIV/AIDS is one of the main causes of this because there is a persistent superstition that sexual acts with minors can cure this disease. Operation Bobbi Bear fight tirelessly for the rights of young victims, to rescue and...

VOLUNTEER DIARY | Wendy's Memories   Could you tell volunteerinvest.org a bit about your volunteer abroad experience in South Africa?   I'm honoured to tell you something about my experience at Bobbi Bear because it's an amazing project and I had the time of my life there.   These are the memories I took...

Monday morning was safari day and a flurry of activity at the Bobbi Bear house when we came down form our rooms. I sat in the sunshine and talk to one of the Bobbi Bear staff, one of the longest serving. We talk about the...

  Wow.. where to begin…   I was studying Psychology in Vancouver and I was aware my experience was going to be over soon. My time in Vancouver had ignited the travel spark within me and I really wanted to go somewhere once I returned from Canada.   Doing volunteer...

Deepak, a well-disciplined child at FAITH – AALINGAN admitted with a history of continuous health problems (prominently skin infections) and limited access to treatment facilities, which resulted in deteriorated health condition. Proper care could not be ensured after the demise of his parents; responsibility fell...

Mrs. Prem Devi with her daughters Annu and Madhu came to Jaipur after being evicted by her own family after the demise of her husband. Her husband was in the Indian Army and passed away due to AIDS followed by prolonged illness. When he was...

Aman originally comes from Bhilwara district of Rajasthan, he was left alone in this world at the little age of 8 when he lost his parents because of AIDS. It was like everything spoiled when Aman tested reactive for HIV which resulted in total refusal...

‘It’s a funny thing about a mother and father, even if their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful’ Roald Dahl, Matilda   I loved Matilda when I was a small girl. When...

It seems incredible that public trust in charities has fallen to such a point that the above question is currently being discussed so openly throughout the UK. At a time when villainy within big business and governments has never been clearer - from the laundering...

I was with Bobbi Bear for almost six months and my experience was so wonderful. I even tried to extend my stay but the Dutch embassy wouldn’t allow it. What made my experience so great were the people I worked with.   Every employee at Bobbi Bear...

  Those weeks at Bobbi Bear have been the most memorable and fantastic I have ever experienced in my life. I am so happy and grateful that I was able to volunteer for them. Thinking of Bobbi Bear gives me this feeling which is really hard...

Last year’s general election campaign saw a last minute addition to the Conservative party manifesto that took the volunteering sector by complete surprise. With its volunteering pledge, the Tories promised – if elected – to pass a new law that would entitle the staff of...

The Faith Volunteer Abroad Programme in Jaipur, India is aiming for equality for children living with HIV and ensuring the provision of education, food, shelter, security, growth and development through Faith’s intervention with quality care.   Faith’s Equality Objectives   To provide services that promote the health, growth and...

Tax avoidance has dominated the headlines this week following a leak of around 11,000 documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that details the offshore tax arrangements of some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people. These include political heavyweights such as Russian President...

I had recently retired when my daughter asked if I would like to go to South Africa with her and volunteer. We had enjoyed a number of weekend breaks together; time for informal chats, pampering and re-charging of our batteries. I had no idea what...

Concepts such as social investment, community-led social services and volunteering are, for many, thought to be fairly modern ideas. For some, they are also seen as a symptom of neglected and crumbing states that are failing to care for their people.   As many governments withdraw funding...

Volunteerinvest.org was created as part of the amazing Arms Around the Child charity, which has spent over 15 years supporting incredible child protection initiatives around the world, particularly in South Africa and India. The Volunteer Investment Programme in Jaipur India will see volunteers contributing to the...

Volunteering is often seen as an individual, personal activity, undertaken by altruistic people who might occasionally help out at their local homeless shelter, care home or school. However like much in the voluntary and not for profit sector, this perception is beginning to shift as...

Happiness, and the pursuit of it, is perhaps one of the most important drivers for many of us. From our work, to our marriages, to what we eat, see and do every day – we want it to make us happy.   Perhaps unsurprisingly, a number of...

The problem with education in South Africa… how long you got? Tim Phillips   In 2015 the World Economic Forum published a study ranking South African 140th out of 140 surveyed countries for mathematics and science education. This made for pretty damning reading, particularly as the nation...

We recently returned from a trip to South Africa, to visit the child protection charity Bobbi Bear. For the past decade, the Bobbi Bear Child Safety Officers have been keeping children smiling, following traumatic abuse. We at VolunteerInvest.org will be launching a campaign to encourage...

'The day you stop crying for these children, is the day you've lost your heart' Rough Aunties, an award winning documentary by Kim Loninotto, takes you on the Bobbi Bear journey, through child-abuse cases, murder and loss. It will make you cry and laugh, and cry...

The first time I heard this TED talk I was sitting in a corporate office, working in the financial sector, putting on huge conferences for lawyers in Asia. If that sounds boring, then you are RIGHT (apart from the living in Asia part, which was...

What is the Volunteer Investment Programme? We recognised that charities needed volunteers, and we also recognised that charities were struggling to pay their running costs. The traditional idea behind 'volunteering' has confused individuals for years. Why do I have to pay to volunteer? is a very...