VE Global

Why choose VE Global?

VE Global (VE) recruits, trains and organizes international volunteers to achieve our mission of fostering the positive development of children at social risk in Chile. VE has successfully integrated over 450 full-time volunteers from more than 35 countries into our network of 6 local children's homes, community centers, schools and preschools in some of the most vulnerable areas of Santiago. VE volunteers help implement our four educational programs: ¡Vamos a Leer!, Festival de Arte, Liga de Deportes and English in Motion. Each volunteer is placed in one of our partner social service organizations where they mentor children in a variety of ways, from assisting with homework to playing games to creating and running their own workshops and activities. Volunteers build strong relationships with the children for whom they provide support, friendship and the chance to just have fun and be a kid.


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Yes, I recommend this program

My Time In Chile

I have been volunteering with VE Global for the past 5 months, as a volunteer in a residencia, and will be continuing my work with VE in the office for the next month and a half. My work over these past few months have been so fulfilling for me through my work in the residencia. My first reasoning for travelling to Chile was to gain independence and to gain experience in a foreign country. However, within my first few weeks of working in the residencia I realised that to make sure that the girls get something out of our time together is the most important thing and if I do too then that is just a bonus.
My experience in Chile and working with VE has been one of the best in my life to this point. My work in the residencia, whilst during my time I couldn’t see the differences I made, it all accumulated to a fantastic moment at the end of my time working with the girls. The last day in the residencia made it all worthwhile. The cards and gifts showed me how much they appreciated what I had being doing with them over the past few months and made me feel like I had achieved something very special during my time with them. The connection between myself and the girls there had been growing throughout my time with them, I felt like I had become the older, funny, and a little bit crazy brother to all of them.
It has been great for me as a volunteer to have some responsibilities in the residencia and as I start my new work in the office it will be great to see the other side of VE. However, what I appreciate the most about VE is the support that they have provided me over these 5 months or so, you can talk to any at the organisation about any problems you may be having, whether that be as part of your work or just about life in general. Someone will have experienced the same or similar things and will help you work through whatever problem you may encounter.

What would you improve about this program?
Changes in programs delivered to children and more effective communication and collaboration with residencias and other organisations
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Experience

I came to volunteer abroad with VE Global in 2010 for 6 months. The best way to describe my experience would be life changing. I chose VE Global because I would be working with children and not just teaching English which was the case with many other programs. VE work with various institutions including orphanages, homes and schools. I came to Chile to make a difference to a child's life and I felt like I did that but it was also a life changing experience for me too.

All children no matter what language they speak just want to be loved. I worked in a school, a squatters camp and a girls home. All these experiences were different. The school had structure and I knew what I had to do. I helped children with their school work and I supervised them during their break and lunch time. I was also able to do an English class once a week and the children loved it. Teaching was hard work, and only now do I truly understand how much preparation goes into making one 45 min class. The reward you get when a child understands and remembers the words they had learnt are amazing. I used to stay up late the night before to make sure I completed my lesson plan and it was worth it esp when I had a good class. And when it was a bad class, it taught me things which were not done well, activities which may have been too complex or long.

At the squatters camp and the girls home it was a lot harder, children didn't have any real routine and I had to think of ways to entertain them. Whether it was playing with them, reading with them, drawing was not easy to engage the children and sometimes I was just sitting with them whilst they watched TV. I found it was not so much making them do things but just being there with them that was important. So I found I had days when I was in the girls home and the children didn't want to go out, it was too hot, or they didn't want to play/read it was school holidays and they just wanted to watch TV. But for the children it was just about you being there. Every day they came to expect you. I turned up and went with the flow, I would take various bits from VE; books, pens and colours, jigsaw puzzles etc. and depending on what took their interest, we adapted the day accordingly. With the elder girls I did some jewellery making workshops, we made earrings and bracelets and it was a great way to engage the teenage girls.

Being a volunteer is rewarding but hard work aswell, I felt like I was working harder than I did in my 9-5 job back in the UK. I found my time was filled with volunteering and preparation for the next day, VE meetings and work and then there was also a great social network amongst the volunteers.

Living in another country was also something I had to adjust to. Where to buy groceries and the best place for this. We had older volunteers assigned to help us with this and they were invaluable in helping to get us settled into Chile. Before I went a friend who did a lot of missionary work had said to me it would take 3-4 months to really feel settled in and she was spot on. Once you are past that point everything is so much easier. buying medicine, getting around in the city and feeling like the children trust you and respond to you.

What I found was its not about making a difference on a big level, but its the tiny things and it can just be to one child. Spending one-to-one time is so important to that one child. When a child in the girls home who was 3-4 said she couldn't write her name and I said yes she could and dotted it for her and she followed the lines. When she completed it she jumped up and down. The smile and joy on her face was priceless.

There are so many experiences I got from volunteering; sad as well as joyful when you hear some of the questions the children asked. But what it made me realise is that any child any country could use a role model and for me that's what you are to a child. After volunteering I have never seen life in quite the same way again. I see many opportunities to help others and look at what I can do. I started working with some charities when I got home to the UK. Just going to another country where you don't know the language very well or the customs and adjusting to these and the friends you make along the way change your perspective and outlook.

looking back the things I miss are the mountains, my flatmates and most of all the smile on a child's face and the big hug you get from them for just being there. I recommend volunteering to anyone, it will change your life in the most unexpected way and only once you go through it will you truly understand how.

Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing volunteer community in Chile

I have been volunteering with VE for almost 8 months now, both in a children's home and as Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator in the office.
It has been an all-round amazing experience. I have formed such strong bonds with the children I work with, and it's great to be able to plan and carry out my own activities with them. Working in the office has also given me a lot of great experience and allowed me to help more on the organisational side of VE.
What impresses me most about VE though is the support provided to each volunteer, VE is all about community and whenever I've had a problem it's been easy to talk to the right person about it and sort it out. There are lots of community events throughout the year which really bring everyone together and help us focus on what we are achieving here in Chile and the difference we are making.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Changed my world

I volunteered in Chile for 6 months with VE Global, it was the best 6 months of my life, from the work with the children, the support from the staff and the organization and commitment from the fellow volunteers, I couldn't have asked for more. I stayed one more year working for VE Global in a volunteer stipend role as director of programs, and then one year later I am still involved in the lives on the kids I worked with and over 20 other ex-volunteers. It is a experience I will carry with me forever and has changed me.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Making a real difference every day

VE Global attracts some of the most unique and caring volunteers to work in one of the toughest situations in Santiago - in homes with abused, neglected, or abandoned children. The crop of volunteers is exceptionally well-rounded, international, and just all around fun. The work opens doors for children who otherwise have very narrow access to the world. I have already since the work of VE volunteers break into some of the cycle of abuse and poverty, an incredible impact for such a small organization!

PS - It also happens to have a great staff that runs the org. thoughtfully and is constantly making improvements on itself. Bravo!


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Bushra Akram

Bushra Akram is from Essex, England and currently works in Marketing in London. She enjoys traveling, weight training and reading. She likes to help out on voluntary work when she is able to.

Morning: Wake up and leave to get the subway at 8 to get to work for 9.00, grabbing a quick Nescafe from the local shops and then my colleague and I would walk to school. In class I helped the kids settle and then we spent the morning saying hello to all the children and them practicing the days of the week and numbers then helping them with their morning lesson especially with the children who struggled.

Afternoon: Supervising the children at lunch time and playing along with them. Getting them back settled into class after lunch we had another lesson where I helped them with their work where needed. Once a week I also taught them English and then it was time to get them ready to go home. Then back home where sometimes had committee with with VE or caught up with family back home or went to the gym for a spinning class.

Evening: Lots of social gatherings, spending time with flatmates or out in the evening as we lived so close to centre of town we could go out and walk back especially when in large groups. We also had weekly committee meetings with VE and when needed preparing for the next day.

Highlights: Watching how the English classes got kids excited, particularly when teaching them numbers; I used the song Once I caught a fish alive and the kids picked it up so quickly I was amazed and how they were so keen to learn English and picked up new words so quickly was amazing to see.

Overall coming back from a week away with fellow volunteers and on the boat back from South Chile, just watching the mountains in the distance was the most amazing sight and just made me realize how gorgeous Chile really is.