VOLUNTEER WITH REFUGEES
We rely on people who can spend time working closely with refugees to help them rebuild their lives with dignity.
We currently work in Cyprus, where our Dignity Centre in Nicosia city centre is offering an ever expanding range of services that really help. There are about 25,000 refugees in Cyprus – the highest number per capita in Europe – and with very little support. They need you to help.
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE (23 May 2020)
Impact on our service:
In March, the Cypriot government announced increasingly stringent controls on movement both across borders and within the country. The borders are closed to all non-Cypriots. Within Cyprus, all non-essential businesses, shops and services had to close including our Dignity Centre at the end of March.
While closed, we began providing food to people who have no means of supporting themselves and will be continuing that service as long as is needed. We are very concerned about vulnerable members who treat the Centre as a lifeline and the many refugees who have no means of supporting themselves and no support network within the local community.
The restrictions on movement have now begun to be eased and on 21 May we re-opened the Dignity Centre offering limited services. Fortunately, we have our two Managers and a very strong team of Centre Member volunteers who have ensured that we can continue supporting the other Members.
Implications for volunteers
We rely on volunteers from many countries to deliver our service. The safety and well being of our volunteers and the people we serve is our top priority.
There is currently a near complete ban on flights to and from Cyprus until 9 June. Even after then there are likely to be restrictions on who is arriving and their activities after that.
As a result we will not be interviewing any new volunteers at least until the beginning of June when there will be more clarity on who can enter the country.
This is a fast moving situation so we will be monitoring it closely and continuing to update this page with the latest information.
When the entry restrictions change we will be booking in people for 2-4 weeks and only book volunteers in about 3-4 months in advance so we remain flexible. You will be able to apply here.
After nearly 4 years, over 750 people, from 40 nations, aged up to 78 years old have worked with us as volunteers in Greece, Bangladesh, Mexico and now Cyprus. They have worked in some of the most challenging circumstances, so we know how you can be effective and how to look after your welfare.
WHAT’S IT LIKE VOLUNTEERING FOR REFUGEE SUPPORT?
Volunteering is about doing what is best for the members of the Centre, but you will find it extremely rewarding. To find out more about what it’s like, read our volunteer stories.
It is an unforgettable experience, you will be doing good from the moment you arrive and all you need is two things: a ready smile and a willingness to work as part of a team. Please apply – you will not regret it.
Video by Bob Maddams of Brighton Copy & Content
Things on the ground can change quite quickly, as we try to do what is needed while offering consistency and reliability.
DO I NEED ANY SPECIAL SKILLS TO VOLUNTEER?
No! All you need is a ready smile and a willingness to get involved with whatever is needed. We do ask you to volunteer for a minimum of two and a maximum of four weeks.
The Dignity Centre has a lot of activities that all need volunteers to prepare: checking people in, helping with their enquiries, preparing the resources, playing with the kids and spending time with the members. If you are any good with a sewing machine or a bicycle that is great but you do not need to have any specific knowledge.
Our fantastic Co-ordinator Paula and her brilliant team will show you what to do!
We aim to improve the livelihoods and outcomes for refugees by prioritising dignity and cooperation. Our job is simply to make the resources of the centre available and ensure they are getting what they need.
ARE THERE ANY COSTS INVOLVED?
There are many accommodation options and we have some safe and comfortable volunteer apartments that will cost just €10 per night. There are many cheap flights to Larnaca and Pathos on Cyprus.
We have even more love for volunteers who can raise money for supplies! You will need to set up a fundraising page before you come but we do not ask for any minimum amount. Any funds you raise will make a difference.
HOW DO I APPLY TO VOLUNTEER WITH REFUGEE SUPPORT?
After completing the application, you will get an email reply (check your spam folder) asking you to fix a time to talk to one of our Volunteer Interviewers. Reply to the email to let the Interviewers know when you can have a video chat with one of them and they will be able to let you know more.