Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas is a time to celebrate: Vietnam volunteers bring parties to orphanages!

Our Vietnam Orphanage volunteers have been planning the Christmas party of the year! Across Da Nang, Tam Ky and Tuy Hoa in central Vietnam, Christmas festivities will bring together volunteers, staff members and children living in orphanages for a day to remember.

Jen Flynn comments on Christmas in Vietnam last year "Although the Vietnamese culture celebrates their 'true' holiday and New Year around the Chinese Lunar calendar, they definitely enjoy decorations, Santa and parties for the Western Christmas holiday. We were all surprised by the number of Santa's on the street, holiday decorations, loud music and festive atmosphere!"

Volunteers in all three cities will plan and participate in festivities at schools and orphanages with special hot nutritious dinners, exchanging presents and treats and lots of well wishes. Jen says "Volunteers are treated like one of the family here in Vietnam - warmly and with kind respect. The Vietnamese people truly appreciate the time volunteers donate to the children, especially over the holidays."
This year there are just as many events planned, although there will only be a couple of volunteers there this year to pitch in. As well as providing healthy feasts and special gifts for the orphans, the volunteers will dress up as Santa's helpers to spread the Christmas cheer. There's bound to be lots of singing, dancing and games - and even Santa himself might make an appreance!

2010 is going to be a big year for GVN-Vietnam, but they need help in the way of volunteers to work at our placements, as well as donations to support important projects.
If you would like to volunteer in Vietnam please visit our website and apply online:

If you would like to contribute to a fundraising project please visit the GVN Foundation website:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Volunteering for Teens: Vietnam Youth Tour

Designed with 15-17 year olds in mind, the Vietnam Youth Tour has been created to allow teens the chance to take part in one of our rewarding volunteer programs. This gives them the opportunity to immerse themselves in a developing country, experience another culture, and foster their personal growth, whilst helping communities in need.

GVN and our partner GVN-Vietnam really want this program to be a great success for both the teen volunteers and the Vietnamese community! Please help by recommending this program to your family and friends.

Do you know any families with teenagers, are you involved in a church or sports group, know any teachers or youth workers? Tell them about this fantastic program!

Essentially the Youth Tour is a shorter more intense version of our standard program with the benefits of additional safety measures such as 24 hour supervision, GVN staff guidance, a local translator, as well as village and cultural tours.

As well as taking part in the volunteer program participants will be involved in a small amount of community fundraising prior to their trip, so that they can contribute to one of the current projects of our partner in Vietnam.

The aim of this program is to give our youth volunteers a taste for volunteering and fundraising so that they can continue to take part in these types of programs in the future.

For a program description and application form please visit our website:

Thanks everyone for your help and support!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ripples of Difference - GVN's first book!

In recognition of International Volunteer Day, December 5th 2009, Global Volunteer Network has launched the Ripples of Difference e-book to celebrate the thousands of volunteers who have given their love, energy, and time to help communities in need around the world.

The Ripples of Difference book is a collection of unique and powerful stories written by volunteers from around the world. From refugee camps in Africa to orphanages in Asia, you can read about how volunteers are touching the lives of others and making a difference - a ripple of difference.

Please take the time to visit the website and download your free copy of the e-book:

We know you’re going to really enjoy reading this collection of inspiring and heart-warming stories!

The book is not just a collection of stories; it is a call to action. Mahatma Gandhi said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. So we challenge all of you to stand up and create your own ripple and join the sea of change that brings hope to those in need around the world.

Stay tuned for details of how to get your hard copy of the book in early 2010. Here are a few teasers from the book! Enjoy!

Rocky Turner - Undies for Africa

Rocky Turner never imagined she would board a plane armed with over 1,300 pairs of underwear. But she always knew her heart would one day lead her to Africa.

Maggie McCombs – Las Madres (The Mothers)

Maggie McCombs is the first person to admit her intentions were not saintly when she sought out the GVN orphanage program. In fact she didn’t really even want to go to El Salvador, her first choice was Kenya. But at the time it was the furthest that her money would take her from a crumbling life in the United States. This twist of fate changed Maggie’s life forever.

Michelle Gourley - Pocket Money and Pens

She blinks. Humidity surrounds her, seeping into her pores, causing her clothes to stick to her damp skin. The smells and sounds of Africa heighten her senses, alerting her to the unfamiliar that is everywhere. There’s a lot to take in. She takes a deep breath of hot air and steps into the orange dust that coats everyone and everything. Bebu is a tiny village in Ghana and it is where Michelle Gourley is posted for the next two months.

David Heinz – Namaste

It was Christmas day, 2003 when David Heinz boarded a plane at New York’s JFK airport. Little did he know that the trip he was about to make would dramatically change his life. David was on his way to volunteer his services to a small village school in need of repair somewhere in the mountainous hills of Nepal.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Building the Shining Stars Children's Home in Nepal

We'd love to share with you the following update from our partner in Nepal. In 2007 they purchased the land, and began fundraising to build a new home for 30 beautiful shining stars. Currently housed in rented accommodation it is their wish to provide a home for the children where they can take refuge from the world, feel safe, feel loved, be happy and grow healthily in order that they may become successful, compassionate adults and contribute positively to their community and country.

"Now that the festival season is well and truly over, the build has taken on a new lease of life and is coming along in leaps and bounds, with the site now beginning to look like the rendering images created by our architect at the outset of the project.

The second floor of the hostel block is all but built, with the workmen now preparing for the roof. The first floor is currently being plastered and made ready for windows etc. The office/kitchen/dining block is being finished off, windows fitted, plumbing and electrics installed and internal fixtures and fittings planned for.

Externally, landscaping elements are being started with the clearing and levelling of ground, boundaries marked out and walls built.
We have a strong crew of volunteers on site, helping daily with non skilled jobs, such as clearing areas of debris to give the workmen better access, levelling ground ready for landscaping, laying bricks prior to concreting and generally digging, humping and dumping where required.

Upon talking to Biren, our architect and project manager he is threatening to have the project all but finished by the end of January, subject to power and water supplies remaining sufficient.

Given this, we need all the help we can get to raise the final amount required not only to meet our bills upon completion of the project, but also to raise sufficient funds to set-up the home prior to the children moving in. All in all we are currently short of about US$55,000.00, a large but not insurmountable amount. Please help us in any way you can to realise our dream of giving our Shining Stars children a home of their own. Please don’t let us fall at this final hurdle."

If you can help by making a donation and 'buying a brick' please visit the GVN Foundation website:

Or if you would like to contribute to a brighter future for these children through volunteering please visit our website: