There are many student volunteering organisations working overseas, so what makes OXAB different?
With the exception of the Albanian summer camp which has fixed dates, all our projects are incredibly flexible. Volunteers can go in Easter or Summer at dates which suit you. We usually recommend volunteers go for around 2 weeks to a project. Nonetheless, this is also not fixed and you can go for longer periods. We will, however, always try to pair you up with another individual or a group and never send anyone out to the region on their own.
The Balkans has a low cost of living, with meals typically from around €2. All our projects are accessible from the UK by low cost airlines, and transport around the region by inter-city buses is also cheap.
The Balkans is one of the hottest tourist destinations, with Albania named the best new tourist destination by Lonely Planet in 2011, spectacular scenery in the Croatian coastline and the Bosnian mountains, national parks such as Plitvice Lakes, music festivals and parties such as Novi Sad's famous EXIT and the Sarajevo Film Festival, exciting historic cities, and proximity to Greece (Corfu is off the Albanian coast), Istanbul, Budapest and central Europe. Volunteers can combine an OXAB project with travelling in the spectacular Balkan region and our committee are able to provide advice as far as this is concerned
Some other volunteering overseas charities may ask you to fundraise large amounts before you go. OXAB does not ask for any fundraising amount, instead we ask you to take things that would be useful activities to do on the project, such as blank masks for mask-making activities, colouring pens, paper, card, arts and crafts materials and anything you would like to do with the children - it's up to you! We have a one-off £25 admin fee which pays for our coordinator in Bulgaria (Bulgaria has the most amount of OXAB-related projects which requires us to hire a local social worker) and also helps fund some of OXAB's long term projects such as mentoring older children from the projects our volunteers go to.
We give all volunteers pre-departure child protection training, a short language course, ideas for activities to do with the children and briefings on what to expect, so you can be rest assured that you'll be prepared before your volunteering trip.
The Mostar bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovinia