As a childcare volunteer in Vietnam with PMGY, you will work to brighten up the lives of young children, making an important contribution to their daily lives. Our local team and volunteers work with a range of organisations in and around Hanoi. Our international volunteers provide vital support and care for children and young adults in NGO care centres, kindergartens and hospitals.
CHILDCARE VOLUNTEER PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE UN’S SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL NO.4 – EDUCATION
COORDINATE & ENGAGE IN FUN ACTIVITIES ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS
MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO THE LIVES OF CHILDREN & YOUNG ADULTS IN VIETNAM
SPEND TIME WITH ONE OF PMGY’S MOST ORGANISED TEAMS
TASTE SOME OF SOUTHEAST ASIA’S MOST DELICIOUS DISHES
BACKGROUND TO THE CHILDCARE PROGRAM
As a participant on the childcare volunteer abroad project in Vietnam, you will be involved in one of two project types during your time. Our volunteers support a range of facilities in and around Hanoi. Not only do participants work with childcare centres, but also facilities caring for young adults and children with disabilities.
As in most developing countries, disabled people in Vietnam do not receive the level of support they need. It is estimated that nearly seven million people in Vietnam are disabled (8% of the population). We support NGOs in Hanoi that provides vital assistance to these vulnerable groups. Volunteers on one of these programs work with local staff to complement their work and enhance the opportunities of both children and young adults that they help care for.
Volunteering with disabled people is a challenging but highly rewarding experience. These projects require you to use your creativity, emotional strength and resourcefulness to make a difference. Through your hard work, you will not only change their lives but yours as well. Although challenging, the project offers volunteers the opportunity to showcase their skills in supporting others.
In the childcare centres we also support, the aim of a volunteer in Vietnam is to provide daily support in caring for children. In addition, Vietnam childcare volunteers will work to nurture their English, confidence and communication skills. Roles may vary from teaching basic English to leading fun activities, and assisting with tasks such as mealtimes.
CHILDCARE VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES
Friendship Village – This is a living, health, and educational centre for children and adults living with the effects of Agent Orange. The centre also provides healthcare to war veterans. Friendship Village was founded in 1992 by George Mizo. The American veteran wanted to help repair the damage caused by Agent Orange in the America-Vietnam War. The Friendship Village complex is primarily composed of: two living quarters, two classroom buildings and a health centre. There is also a vegetable garden, as much of the food is grown on-site.
The centre provides a home to 120 residents, aged from 4-26 years of age. The residents come from all over Vietnam and suffer from a range of disabilities. This can include Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, physical deformity, and severe mental disability.
Volunteers help out in a number of different ways. This can include collaborating with the teaching staff as to new ideas and techniques to help the residents. You can share ideas on how to structure lessons, provide an independent evaluation of the students, and work on updating profiles. If appropriately qualified, volunteer in Vietnam participants can also help in giving individual assistance to the students. Sometimes volunteers will also teach English to the staff, teachers and residents.
Please note that the minimum time commitment to join Friendship Village is 4 weeks. Volunteers on this project are advised to have experience working with people with physical and/or mental disabilities. This experience can be professional or obtained through education.
Khanh Tam Day Care Centre – This is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation. The project was established in 2006 for early detection and care of mentally impaired children. The centre cares for approximately 80-90 children, aged 1-12. Here, there are a total of 4 classes:
• Early Intervention – The target group is aged between 2-5 years. The program provides children with basic skills to develop (communication skills, playing with others and etc). Namely, this aims to help children integrate into society at an early age (kindergarten age).
• Primary/Elementary Program – The target group is aged between 6-12 years. The children in this class will learn how to read, write and calculate.
• School Function Program – The target group is aged between 6-12 years, with no ability to study standard primary school program.
• Living Skills Program – The target group is individuals between 10-16 years. These students have no ability to integrate into society or study a standard primary school program. Children will focus on learning living skills to help them prepare for when they grow up.
Volunteers will initially begin the project with an observational role. This will become more hands-on after generating a better understanding of the project and the individual abilities of the students. Vietnam childcare volunteers will start to provide a helping hand to run the class activities and lessons. In time, volunteers are encouraged to come up with and run their own ideas, bringing in new perspectives to the centre.
Please note that the minimum time commitment to join Khanh Tam Day Centre is 4 weeks.
Little Seeds Project – The Little Seeds Project is based at the National Hospital of Paediatrics in Hanoi. Aside from the medical treatment provided at the hospital, the children have very little social interaction. Quite a few of the children come from rural communities. Therefore, a family member, usually the child’s mother, will stay with their child 24/7 in the hospital. You can, therefore, imagine how stressful the whole experience is for not only the child but their family as well.
The time children spend at the hospital varies from a week to several months. We have therefore identified a placement where we can create regular activities and engagement for the children. The aim of this is to improve their psychological well-being. When hospitalised, the children face huge changes in their life and daily routine, which has numerous psychological effects. Infants, toddlers, school-aged children and teenagers all respond differently to illness in regards to their individual development.
Without the right stimulation and routine, long-term hospitalisation will result in a higher susceptibility to long-term psychological damage. The program aims to bring entertainment to the children and pay attention to specific needs that develop during long-term hospitalisation. Responsive activities will be strategically developed to support the various needs of the children. We aim to introduce a concept called ‘play therapy’.
From childhood to adulthood, play is fundamental in our lives. At a young age, we have not developed the abstract reasoning abilities and verbal skills to articulate our feelings. Kids, therefore, use toys as adults use words, playing to communicate in the same way we would have conversations.
Vietnam childcare volunteers will play and work with the children. The scheme provides them with the space to develop strategies, helping to cope with the difficulties they experience. During playtime, the children’s defences are reduced and it becomes natural for them to express their feelings. Play releases stress connects people to one another in a positive way, stimulates creativity and curiosity, and helps to regulate emotions.
Volunteers with children in Vietnam create an environment where the children can grow, play and learn with adults who are respectful and understanding of their needs. Furthermore, the sessions give family members a much-needed break. A mother may use this time to take a shower, buy groceries, or just take some time for herself. The mothers and families take great joy in seeing their child being happy and interacting with other kids. This opportunity for the families also helps relieve pressures, assisting them to cope with the situation as a whole.
The project generally takes place across mornings and afternoons. Three days a week, the project runs only in the morning. This means that volunteers will get two afternoons off a week as well. PMGY volunteers will work alongside local volunteers who will help with translation and general support. We expect volunteers to spend an additional 1-2 hours each day preparing activities for their sessions at the hospital. The number of children who turn up each day varies. This can depend on how the children are feeling and if they have any treatments scheduled for the afternoon.
The average group size is 5-10. The children can also vary on a daily basis given the nature of volunteering at a hospital. The children differ in age, so volunteers will need to prepare a range of activities. At the hospital, there is a small classroom where the sessions take place. Within the room, there are some limited resources available for you to use, such as board games and play-doh. Our Volunteer House also has resources you can take to the hospital. There are also plenty of places you can purchase additional materials should you require them.
Morning Star Centre (Sao Mai) – Founded in 1995, Morning Star centre is a subsidiary of the Vietnam Relief Association for Children with Disabilities. The centre has nearly 70 staff members caring for approximately 150 children ranging in age from 1-25 years. Morning Star’s mission is to provide opportunities for children and young adults with special needs. Local staff and volunteers work to ensure that individuals receive education and training. This aims to help them successfully play their part in the local community. The centre strives to provide assistance for those children suffering from developmental disabilities including Down’s Syndrome, Autism and Cerebral Palsy.
The children are grouped in smaller classes of around 12-13 children. On average, there are 2-3 teachers per class. The classes are tailored to the needs of the children. Volunteers can get involved in a range of activities from basic education, motor skill development, play therapy and physical education sessions.
Where possible, Morning Star strives to prepare the children to enter mainstream education. However, it is quite common for former pupils who have entered mainstream education to return to Morning Star. This is unfortunate because government schools are by no means equipped to welcome special needs students.
In addition to their traditional classes, each pupil will also participate in one-on-one occupational and/or speech therapy classes. Volunteers with relevant experience may have the opportunity to sit on in these sessions to provide further guidance to staff members. However, participants with the appropriate experience will not be able to run these sessions independently.
Morning Star offers some vocational and pre-vocational courses for teenagers before sending them to outside vocational schools. The courses help increase the student’s independence and confidence, and their abilities to get enrolled in professional training centres outside. Having recently set up a coffee shop within the centre, some of the students help out here. Through this scheme, the students receive valuable experience in working and interacting with the public. Many students have also been participating in cooking lessons, with the eventual to sell these masterpieces within the shop.
Phuc Tue Centre – Phuc Tue Centre was established in June 2001 and provides support to around 75 children and young adults. The students range from 2-30 years of age and suffer from a variety of physical and mental disabilities. These include the effects of Agent Orange, Autism, Down Syndrome and Japanese Encephalitis. The centre aims to provide the children with the support needed to facilitate them to become as independent as possible. Therefore, it is hoped that in this way, the students will be able to integrate into mainstream society.
There are 4 classes at Phuc Tue and 12 teachers work at the centre. All of the teachers graduated from the Hanoi National University of Education. Volunteers assist the staff in their daily activities and sessions. These include early grade academic learning, life skills training and physical education/therapy. During the lessons, volunteers assist the teaching staff, often working one-on-one with individuals. The students really enjoy dancing and singing, so any type of musical activity is always popular. A few of the children can speak a little English which volunteers can work to enhance. As well as providing assistance in the classroom, Vietnam childcare volunteers can help to feed the children requiring special assistance during mealtimes.
Ruby Kindergarten – The centre was founded in 2013 and currently hosts up to 90 children. Spread over two floors, there are a total of 5 classes, split according to age group. Within each of these classes are between 10-15 children. There are three older classes and two younger classes.
Each day starts with stimulating exercises, helping to wake up the children (and volunteers!) in preparation for the day ahead. Volunteers then start with their designated older class for 1.5 hours. As a volunteer with children in Vietnam, you are encouraged to help lead activities that promote very basic English. After feeding time and a nap, class time starts up again. Volunteers spend the afternoon with one of the younger classes.
Volunteers with children in Vietnam are always accompanied by a Vietnamese teacher during their time at the project. However, it is important for volunteers to prepare activities for the classes in advance. This ensures that the time is used most productively. A member of the local team will be available to make suggestions and steer you in the right direction. The kindergarten has a whole host of resources you may wish to use. Additional items may be found in the Volunteer House.
Smile Kindergarten – This centre is home to children aged from 12 months to 6 years old. The kindergarten’s mission is to explore and develop children’s abilities. This is done through teaching art subjects, languages and various methods of communication. It also has different clubs in the school where the kids can nurture their talents and cater to their hobbies.
Generally, one class will hold 15-20 kids. The volunteers are expected to help the children improve their English through songs, dance and informal education. They should be creative in generating fun basic educational materials. Doing this allows the children to become more confident in their communication and mannerisms. This may include arranging drawing, painting and handicraft activities. There will also be a local teacher in the class to help the volunteers if needed.
The Centre for the Future of Autistic Kids – Known locally as ‘Lac Long Quan’, the centre was established in 2005. The founder of the centre was initially a psychiatrist working with parents of autistic children. The founder believed that there was a lack of support within the community. With this in mind, she decided to set up her own centre to care for these children. This would also help provide respite for the parents. Since the initial opening of the centre, the doors have been opened to a bigger cohort of children. This means that the centre can now provide care for those with Downs Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy too.
There are three floors to the centre, divided depending on the severity of each pupils’ disorder and age. The centre aims to provide support and education, enabling the pupils to eventually enter mainstream primary and/or high school. For those who may find this difficult, the centre continues to provide the support that instead promotes the development of vocational skills.
Volunteers on this project work with the younger pupils in two of the three classes. The role of a participant on the childcare volunteer program in Vietnam is largely dependent on project needs at the time and any relevant experience/qualifications. Roles may vary, from performing one-on-one or group activities that promote motor and sensory skills, to supporting the advanced students as they attend basic English and maths classes.
Volunteers with a background in physio- or occupational therapies may have an opportunity to work with the staff in this field. The staff really appreciate any guidance and feedback, so knowledge in these fields, although not essential, is invaluable.
Volunteers on this program are strongly advised to join the project for a minimum duration of 3-4 weeks.
YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL CHILDCARE DAY
Each of our Vietnam volunteer programs mentioned will have different expectations and roles for their international volunteers. In general, you can expect to provide daily hands-on care, interaction and attention for those who need it most. We try our best to outline expected roles under the specific ‘Project Placement Placements’ above. However, it must be noted that these roles can still vary.
Whilst each project location is different, as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam you will typically volunteer for around 4-6 hours per day. Volunteers are usually only expected to volunteer 4 days per week, however, Monday-Friday is possible. Project hours each day will vary depending on the location. Typically, participants will volunteer abroad from 9am-12pm and then 2-5pm, although this can vary.
Volunteers will usually travel by public bus to and from the project each day. This fee is included in the Program Fee. Volunteers will either be provided with a bus pass in-country or reimbursed their travel fares on a weekly basis. The bus station is around a 10 minute walk from the Volunteer House.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER TEACHING IN VIETNAM
Resources – On the childcare project in Vietnam, resources can be very limited. Volunteers are recommended to bring materials to the project each day to maximise their productivity and day to day involvement. It is therefore important for volunteers to prepare well in advance to get the most out of their childcare volunteering experience in Vietnam.
Project Availability – A childcare volunteer in Vietnam is advised to note that we support a range of childcare projects in and around Hanoi. This is in addition to the examples provided across this overview. Thus volunteers may be located at such placements not listed in the overview. This can be particularly true for our volunteer projects across the summertime, where we have higher numbers of volunteers. With great volunteer numbers, we are able to further our contribution to the community and also prevent overcrowding at current establishments. This is also in line with school holiday periods in Vietnam. During this period, there is more need and availability for community programs and summer classes through the day.
Please note that although we do our best to place volunteers at their chosen project, this is not always possible. This can be requested under the ‘Special Requirements’ section of your application. Vietnam childcare volunteers should expect to be placed at either a childcare centre or facility for individuals with special needs. Participants must note that it is possible that participants may work with young adults and/or children.
Weekends – Your project work in Vietnam runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Vietnam Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend. We also run two separate weekend trips which you can sign-up to before you depart for Vietnam. We offer the Ha Long Bay Trip along with the Sapa Trekking Trip with opportunities running every month.
Can people from outside of the UK or USA volunteer with PMGY?
Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of volunteers from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries volunteers have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.
Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other travel organisations?
The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.
Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. Therefore, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time volunteering. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our volunteers really appreciate.
Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.
What are the requirements to volunteer in Vietnam?
PMGY welcomes childcare volunteers in Vietnam of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 17 and there is no upper age limit. Furthermore, all volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. Of course, you do not need to speak Vietnamese. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us in Vietnam will go a long way.
As a childcare volunteer in Vietnam, you must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, NGO and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.
Volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.
What date should I arrive and leave the Vietnam volunteer program?
For your childcare volunteer in Vietnam trip, you should book your flights to Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on the Wednesday start date. The airport code is HAN. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The program ends on the Wednesday of your final week. Therefore, you must depart the accommodation on this day.
When is the best time of year to volunteer in Vietnam?
Feedback from childcare volunteers in Vietnam often suggests that it is best to join a PMGY project outside the European summer months. This is since June-August tends to be when we have peak numbers at each of our projects and volunteer accommodations. Conversely, outside of these months, there is typically the greatest opportunity to become fully immersed in the project and within the local community.
Are there any age restrictions to be a volunteer in Vietnam?
In order to join as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam, you need to be at least 17 on the program start date. Generally, the average age range of volunteers is 17-25.
There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome volunteers of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 17-25 age range.
When should I apply to be a childcare volunteer in Vietnam?
For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.
Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will not incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 60 days prior to your start date.
What duration would you recommend to volunteering for?
Based on feedback from previous childcare volunteers in Vietnam, we believe that 4-6 weeks is the ideal amount of time to volunteer in Vietnam. Consequently, this means you have enough time to integrate into the local community and really get involved in a project. For one thing, you will be able to make a positive impact on community development. Additionally, you will have a greater opportunity to explore during your weekends. Childcare volunteers in Vietnam who join us for 2 weeks frequently tell us that this was long enough and wish they had stayed for longer!
For those looking to potentially join us for a longer period, we recommend checking out our Encounter Programs that offer a 2-4 week stay across 3-10 destinations.
Can I volunteer abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?
You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer for the same project. However, please note the majority of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis. Consequently, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to be placed in the same room.
Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, volunteer safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our volunteer programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.
The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international volunteers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist volunteers 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.
When you join the childcare volunteer in Vietnam program, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international volunteers to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.
When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general volunteer program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
Although we cannot guarantee your experience as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.
When do I pay for my volunteer program? Can I pay in instalments?
In order to confirm your place on the childcare volunteer in Vietnam program, you need to pay a deposit of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge. If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Payments made in advance of the 60 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.
Can I use program as part of a university or college placement?
It is certainly possible to be a childcare volunteer in Vietnam as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that your time as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements.
First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after you have confirmed your place as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam. Additionally, project staff in Vietnam can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. PMGY regularly receives childcare, nursing, medical and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.
BEFORE YOU DEPART
Can I fundraise for my volunteer trip?
With PMGY, the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive on the Vietnam volunteer program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.
We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam, you set up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.
PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for volunteers to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.
Can I raise money for the projects?
The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an on-going basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore together, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.
If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. If you are a childcare volunteer in Vietnam looking for further information on how to raise money for your trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.
How do I register for your online webinars?
Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide volunteers in Vietnam with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.
For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.
If you are a childcare volunteer in Vietnam who has already confirmed their volunteering role on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.
Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.
Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.
Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.
Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my volunteer work?
It is possible that as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam, you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your volunteer work in Vietnam. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your volunteer destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights to volunteer in Vietnam?
When you apply to be a childcare volunteer in Vietnam, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.
After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.
We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.
How do I obtain a background check?
To become a childcare volunteer in Vietnam, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check that must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.
If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.
If you don’t have a valid DBS check , then you will need to apply for one. UK volunteers need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a DBS check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam.
If you are a childcare volunteer in Vietnam from the US, you can apply for a background check through US Criminal Checks. It costs 17.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.
For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.
When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?
As a childcare volunteer in Vietnam, you will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once you have paid your deposit and confirmed your place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.
This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Skype, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!
ON YOUR TRIP
Can I arrange a private room?
All of our accommodation options on the Vietnam volunteer program involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for you as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
Our teams will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam. Consequently, there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?
We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide volunteers in Vietnam with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.
What is the dress code at the projects?
Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival in Vietnam.
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.
How much spending money will I need?
The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 100-150 USD per week a suitable amount.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time! Most of our programs have been designed so that you have weekends off. Therefore, this gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the weekend opportunities and travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures. During your time as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam, you are sure to make some travel buddies along the way!
Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates on either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. However, if you plan to travel extensively, please factor this into your flight itinerary. This is since we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re volunteering, as you have made a commitment as a childcare volunteer in Vietnam.
On the Vietnam volunteer program, you will live in our Volunteer House. Our accommodation is based within a quiet and friendly neighbourhood of Hanoi, approximately a 45 minute bus journey from the Old Quarter of Hanoi (the main tourist area). There are a number of restaurants, convenience stores and ATMs only a walk from the Volunteer House. Our Vietnam volunteer programs are also located in various locations around the city.
As a volunteer in Vietnam, you will be living with other international volunteers. The Volunteer House is large, basic but comfortable. Bedrooms conform to a single-sex dorm-style setup, with up to 8 people per room. Air-conditioning is available in each room and individuals will be provided with the bed linen. During the winter months, participants are recommended to bring additional bedding, such as a sleeping bag. Each bedroom in the Volunteer House has its own shared bathroom, with a western-style toilet and shower. Hot water at the accommodation is provided in the winter months only. There is some, but limited hanging space in each room.
There is free Wi-Fi within certain areas of the house, including the main communal area. This can be intermittent, therefore volunteers in Vietnam are also recommended to purchase a local SIM card in-country to use with an unlocked mobile phone. There is a large designated communal area within the Volunteer House where volunteers can relax and socialise. Within the accommodation, there are two washing machines that can be used free of charge, and participants can purchase detergent cheaply from shops nearby. Alternatively, there are laundry services around the neighbourhood, available for a reasonable price.
Each volunteer will be provided with a locker to keep valuable items. Volunteers are asked to pay a deposit of 50,000 VND or 5 USD for the locker key which can be reclaimed at the end of your program. However, volunteers are encouraged to only bring essential items during their volunteer work in Vietnam. There is fridge space within the accommodation for volunteers to cool items they need to keep chilled. Please note that power cuts are fairly commonplace in India although they tend not to last more than a couple of hours.
In our main Volunteer House, our local team have an office on the ground floor. This makes for a great atmosphere and ensures that volunteers are well supported throughout their stay. Each volunteer is provided with a house key (subject to a deposit of 5 USD) so the house is accessible at all time and to ensure general volunteer safety. We also have a member of staff (usually a nanny or an intern from the local team) present in the house overnight. Please note if you arrive late in the evening on the arrival day at our Volunteer House, it is likely our local team will not be present and you will meet them the following day.
Most of our volunteer projects in Vietnam are not within walking distance of the Volunteer House. In these cases, you will need to travel to and from the volunteer placement each day. The local team will introduce you to different options during your orientation. Most participants will reach their project via public bus. The cost of a bus pass for the volunteer project is covered in your Program Fee.
During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.
During your volunteer trip to Vietnam, you will be provided with three meals per day. Meals will be traditional Vietnamese dishes – this means a lot of rice! All food will be nutritious and freshly cooked. Free drinking water is available 24/7.
For breakfast, you can expect fruit toast and tea/coffee. Some of the volunteer opportunities will provide you with lunch. In other cases, participants will either eat at the Volunteer House or take lunch at a nearby cafe. In the latter circumstance, the local team will reimburse you up to 40,000 VND. When lunch is taken at the Volunteer house, the dish is usually always a Vietnamese dish, which will include soup, rice, vegetables and sometimes meat or fish.
Dinner is served at the Volunteer House. Generally speaking, meals are served in the early evenings and usually divided into equal portions by the nannies to ensure everyone gets an equal amount. You can expect a variety of dishes, so there will be always something to suit even the fussiest eaters! A typical meal will have pork, fish, beef or chicken and tofu or egg and at least two different kinds of vegetable dishes, along with rice and soup. On an ad-hoc basis, our team also serve a western meal – our volunteers always appreciate this.
If you fancy eating out there are plenty of cafes and local amenities in the surrounding area or you can take a bus or taxi into the main tourist area, the Old Quarter, in the city of Hanoi.
* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed. This means that there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
* These fees apply to each individual application.
In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your Registration Fee will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.
If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.
OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME – 45 USD
PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers in Vietnam works as follows –
🇰🇪 Kenya – 55 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to Vietnam and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.
🇮🇳 India – 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don’t have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.
🇺🇸 USA – 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.
This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date. The offset platform is provided by our charity, the PMGY Foundation and ensures that 100% of contributions are put towards high impact projects around the world.