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About Workcamp

International Workcamp refer to the programs created  for participants from different countries to get along with the locals. Participating in workcamps, volunteers would have a chance to get to know, live, work , study and exchange ideas with the locals and other people from all around the world.

Origin of Workcamp

After the First World War…

International workcamps originated after the end of World War I. The first international workcamp was organized in 1920 in Verdun, France, next to the German border. Teenage volunteers from France and Germany, who were former enemies during the war, cooperated to reconstruct the destroyed farms.

The volunteers in the workcamp compelled others to work for peace. Thus, more and more volunteers participated in the movement and their work was supported both by the people and the government.

Early development of workcamps mainly focused on construction work organized in newly independent countries and peace promotion in East and Western Europe. Later on, the education and international exchange became more important. Workcamps were regarded as a tool for creating intercultural understanding and solidarity among people.

The number of environmental projects rapidly increased the needs of the world since 1980s. By the 1990s, the international workcamp movement came to Asia. The development of workcamp projects in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and other South East Asian countries was gaining traction, with the number of volunteers continuously rising. The first international workcamp organization in Hong Kong was established in 2009 to promote the values of international volunteering.

Values

Although each workcamp organization and international workcamp have their own goals, the common goal is to achieve a peaceful, healthy, just and sustainable world by:

  1. Creating and supporting voluntary movements for ecology, human rights, self-sufficiency, etc.
  2. Activating and involving new people in local communities and NGO/NPO.
  3. Promoting global understanding, friendship and solidarity.

Resources Sharing

In general, anyone who wants to join the workcamp has to apply for the vacancy through a workcamp organization in his/her home country. The application fee involved is one of the main sources of income for the workcamp organization.

In the advanced regions, e.g. Europe, Japan and Hong Kong, etc. more people are able to support themselves to go abroad for overseas workcamps. So, the sum of application fees received by the workcamp organization may be sufficient to cover the daily operations expenses and finance their local workcamp projects. Extra workcamp fees are thus usually not required from overseas participants, no matter where they are from.

On the contrary, in economically disadvantaged countries, e.g. Africa, South East Asia and South America,  the number of placement of workcamp participants abroad is very limited, which makes it impossible to operate projects with just the application fee received. In many cases, the extra fee is usually used to cover the hosting workcamp organizations’ expenses on accommodation and meals for workcamp participants when they organize workcamps in their countries. Extra fees are also the only form of financial support for these organizations, where there is little or even no alternative funding source.

*VolTra is a non-profit organization financed by the application fees received from workcamp participants. The income will cover VolTra’s daily operation and administration expenses as well as the costs of organizing international workcamps and voluntary service projects in Hong Kong.

What is workcamp?

An international workcamp is an international voluntary project in which participants from different countries can meet, live, work, learn and exchange with local people.

Work

Concerning issues about environmental conservation, cultural heritage, social justice, rural and human development, etc. In general, 5-day work per week, about 5-6 hours per day

Life

Living together and sharing daily routines, such as meals and cleaning. Volunteers may choose to explore the area during free time

Volunteer

Usually consists of a group of 10-20 overseas and local workcamp participants. In general, anyone who is 18 years old or above can join, but some workcamps have different requirements.

Duration

Workcamps can generally be held anytime during the year, but some are time specific.

The service period ranges from 2 weeks to 1 year, with a normal duration of around two weeks.





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