Overview

Even though it has been nearly 40 years since Vietnam’s independence and reunification, the country is still struggling to recover from centuries of war. One incredibly striking example of Vietnam’s violent past can be seen in children who struggle with the debilitating effects of Agent Orange.

Greenheart Travel’s volunteer program partners with two children’s education centers in Hanoi. Here, children suffering from the Down syndrome and developmental disabilities can receive care and education to help them integrate into society. Volunteers make a difference by bringing care, love, and happiness to young people in need.

How You Will Make a Difference:

  • Assist local staff in playing with children and entertaining/educating them with games, music and arts when required
  • Help with fundraising
  • Collect useful information and documents from different sources
  • Organize charity campaigns for books, clothes and shoes for the children
  • Assist with the edible gardening project

What do our past participants say about this program? Read their blogs!

Working with the children was wonderful. The center took care of kids with mental and physical disabilities and tried to prepare them for independent life by the time they reach 18. At first I didn’t know how I’d react around mentally disabled children, but I went into it with a positive outlook and went with the flow. Almost instantly I fell in love with the kids. They were all so hilarious and just being around them made you feel so happy.” — Codie Fraley, Greenheart Travel Alumnus

Program Dates

Participants can choose the program length between 2-12 weeks. You should indicate this on your application. This is small scale program so summer dates do fill up. If your schedule is not flexible, you should apply early to secure your place on the desired date.

Please note: During certain dates during the year, the schools may be closed or the students are on holiday, at which times, participants can still volunteer with other education initiatives we have in Hanoi.

Program Start Date Deadline to Apply Date
September 6, 2017 August 6, 2017
September 20, 2017 August 20, 2017
October 4, 2017 September 4, 2017
October 18, 2017 September 18, 2017
November 1, 2017 October 1, 2017
November 15, 2017 October 15, 2017
November 29, 2017 October 29, 2017
December 13, 2017 November 13, 2017
December 27, 2017 November 27, 2017
January 10, 2018 December 10, 2017
January 24, 2018 December 24, 2017
February 7, 2018 January 7, 2018
February 21, 2018 January 21, 2018
March 7, 2018 February 7, 2018
March 21, 2018 February 21, 2018
April 4, 2018 March 4, 2018
April 18, 2018 March 18, 2018
May 2, 2018 April 2, 2018
May 16, 2018 April 16, 2018
May 30, 2018 April 30, 2018

The project is closed the following dates in observance of the  2017  Vietnamese  Holidays. Volunteers will not work on these days.

  • January 1st (Solar New Year) 
  • February 4th- Fuesday February 16th (Lunar New Year)
  • April 16- April 18th (Hung King Anniversary)
  • April 30th- May 3rd (Reunification Day)
  • September 2 (Independence Day)

Costs

Program Fees

  • 2 weeks: $1,040
  • 3 weeks: $1,200
  • 4 weeks: $1,360
  • 5 weeks: $1,530
  • 6 weeks: $1,690
  • 7 weeks: $1,860
  • 8 weeks: $2,020
  • 10 weeks: $2,350
  • 12 weeks: $2,670

Please note, all prices are listed in USD

What’s Included:

  • Accommodations in a volunteer guest house
  • 3 meals per day
  • Airport pickup and drop off to/from Hanoi Airport
  • Culture & Etiquette guide book
  • Medical/Accident insurance
  • 24-hour emergency support
  • Pre-departure and arrival orientations
  • Personal assistance from a Greenheart Travel program manager
  • Certificate of Completion upon request for successful completion of the program
  • Greenheart Travel also donates a portion of your fee to offset the carbon footprint of your travels.

What’s Not Included:

  • Round trip airfare to Vietnam
  • Visa to Vietnam
  • Spending money for souvenirs or snacks while in Vietnam

Accommodation

Volunteers stay in a residence on the outskirts of Hanoi along with the staff. Usually there will be 2 to 4 volunteers sharing one room. It is a new construction building with running water, flushing toilets, and electricity; however, keep in mind this is not a 5 star hotel. There is also a living room with television, a kitchen and computer area.

Internet

Internet cafes are everywhere and very cheap. If you have a laptop, you can purchase an internet card. At the volunteer dormitories there is Wi-Fi, however the speeds and connectivity may not be the same as what you are used to at home.

Meals

Meals are traditional Vietnamese cuisine including rice, fruits and vegetables and will be provided by project staff. Three meals per day are provided when you eat at the guest house. You will be responsible for your meals if you go out to eat.

Why Greenheart Travel

Greenheart Travel is a non-profit, mission based organization committed to making a positive, long-lasting impact in the communities where we work. We partner with a local, grassroots non-profit organizations in Vietnam to not only to create the most impactful program, but also to guarantee your volunteer work will make a difference.

Greenheart Travel has been operating volunteer abroad programs for many years. We are proud of our authentic, hands-on opportunities on 4 different continents, which allow you to provide service hours to communities around the world! There are lots of advantages to traveling with us:

Personalized & Consistent Support

  • Our staff is in Chicago – we are available to answer questions during US business hours
  • Friendly, responsive, and professional support from staff who have actually volunteered abroad themselves
  • Hands on support and personal attention every step of the way
  • An experienced program manager will personally review your application to make sure this is the right program for you

Global Community of Volunteers

Top-Notch Materials & Preparation

  • Extensive orientation handbook to prepare you for life abroad
  • Webinar pre-departure orientation with focus on cultural training
  • “Travel For A Change” T-shirt
  • Vietnam Culture Smart! Guide Book

Don’t just take our word for it! Check out independent reviews from past participants of Greenheart Travel programs here.

FAQs

 

Is Vietnam Safe?

Vietnam is a safe country and politically stable. However, Hanoi does have pickpockets and thieves, and in busy market streets, they can easily take your things without you even realizing. Be cautious and alert of your belongings. Greenheart Travel registers you with your Embassy in Vietnam. In case of a natural disaster or national safety issue, Embassy officials will contact you or the project staff to make sure you’re aware of any warnings or evacuations, and they will inform you of your options to ensure your safety.

Will I need to know Vietnamese?

Knowing a few phrases is always helpful to get along. Many English speakers have a hard time learning the language as it varies greatly from western languages. In Vietnamese, the tone of your voice reflects the meaning of the words. Most airline and hotel staff will speak some English as well as children who take English in school. Directional signs are often written in both Vietnamese and English.

What is the climate like?

Vietnam has a tropical climate in the south an monsoonal climate in the north. Their hot, rainy season is from May to September and their dry, warm season is from October to March. You should always check the local weather for the specific location within Vietnam to make sure you’re packing the appropriate clothes.

 

Is my program fee tax deductible?

Greenheart Travel is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, so a portion of your Volunteer Abroad program fees may be tax deductible. Contact us for more information. We recommend that you also consult with your tax professional to discuss your particular case, as application of tax laws can vary based on individual circumstances.

 

Can I apply with my friend/spouse/significant other?

Absolutely! We are happy to accept friends and couples.

What vaccinations will I need?

When traveling to any destination, make sure your routine vaccines are up to date. Try to schedule an appointment with your doctor 4-6 weeks before your trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that you also get the Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccine. These are diseases in which you contract due to contaminated food and water.

 

How much extra cash should I bring?

We suggest planning a budget that gives your room for souvenirs, sightseeing, exit tax, transportation not included in the fee, and anything your might forget. You can read up more on the currency exchange website to determine how much you will need.

What is the typical volunteer schedule?

Projects normally run 5 days a week, with one or two days free for relaxing and sightseeing. Project hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

 

Is the water safe to drink?

Only drink bottled water or drinks from cans. Avoid tap water, ice cubes, and drinking from fountains. Only drink tap water if it has been boiled for several minutes. Avoid eating food from street sellers. All beverages at the volunteer house are safe to drink.

What happens if I get sick while abroad?

You will be covered by mandatory health insurance for the duration of your program. You will receive your policy brochure and insurance care via email two weeks prior to your departure.

What if I have an allergy/specific dietary requirement?

We can cater to vegetarian needs quite easily. Any other specific diets should be discussed with us to see if we can arrange to have your needs met. In some cases you may need to provide your own food.

Application Process

ELIGIBILITY

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Consent to a criminal background check (Greenheart Travel will process this for you)
  • Be in good mental and physical health
  • Have early childhood education background and/or teaching experience is helpful, but not required
  • Open minded attitude and flexibility

Complete the Online Application

 There are 4 short steps in the application process, which are outlined below. The whole process takes about 30 minutes and can be done in stages.

  1. Select the APPLY NOW button to the left. You will fill out the first portion of the application, which includes general information about you.
  2. Once you complete part 1, you will be emailed a link to fill out Greenheart Travel’s Terms and conditions. Follow the link and you will read through and sign our policies.
  3. In part three, you will pay a $250 deposit to hold your position in the programs. It is very rare that our volunteer applications are declined, but if you are rejected from the program, you will be refunded the $250. Otherwise, it is applied to your overall program fee.
  4. Now, you will complete a second application that includes more detailed information about yourself (such as education background, interests and experience) and why you would like to volunteer abroad. This is also where you will complete your background check if you are a US citizen. If you are not a US citizen and over the age of 18, you are required to submit your own background check, which is usually available at local police offices.

Review your Application

Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 business days to confirm your acceptance. If we find something in your application that we have concerns about, we will let you know immediately. 95% of applicants are accepted on the program they apply for.

You’re Accepted – now what?

Your program manager will be in touch with you directly about your acceptance. You should expect to receive an orientation packet via email, which talks more about your program, as well as supplemental information about dealing with culture shock and our insurance program. We will also schedule a pre-departure orientation to answer any lingering questions you  may have.