Mar 26, 2009 – Youth Union Day – Make No Sense To Me

I am thinking about WWOOF in S.E.A.

Are you willing to spend a couple of months or a year for volunteer job? That means you work without salary. In return, you will have a free accommodation and food given by local farmers.

I am wondering that question myself many times, esp recently. I am a city girl. I have a good job with good pay. I have not ever stayed outside my town for a long time, but vacations. I have not ever been a real volunteer in the farms, but a volunteer for students in my town. Am I ready to quit my job and leave all I have behind and start a new life – a volunteer life. Well, shortly, am I ready for a long trip to explore S.E.A – travel and work? Will I be able to find and apply for a job when I get back my country? Do people care about this volunteer job when I write it down on my resume? What do my parents think about this? So many question and I am still looking for the answers.

A bit info about WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (aka Willing Workers on Organic Farms) – a loose network of national organisations which facilitate the placement of volunteers on organic farms

WWOOF Logo

WWOOF Logo

Source: wikipedia.org

WWOOF originally stood for “Working Weekends on Organic Farms” and began in England in 1971. Sue Coppard, a woman working as a secretary in London, wanted to provide city folks with access to the countryside, while supporting the organic movement.

Her idea started with trial working weekends for four people at the bio-dynamic farm at Emerson College in Sussex.

People soon started volunteering for longer periods than just weekends, so the name was changed to Willing Workers on Organic Farms. However, the word “work” caused problems with some countries’ labour and immigration authorities, who confused WWOOF volunteers with migrant workers. Because of this, and in recognition of the worldwide nature of the organization, the name was changed again in 2000 to World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, though some WWOOF groups chose to retain the older name.

WWOOF’s stated goals are to provide volunteers with first-hand experience with organic and ecologically sound growing methods, to help the organic movement, and to let volunteers experience life in a rural setting or a different country.

WWOOF volunteers (‘WWOOFers’) do not receive any financial payment. The host provides food, accommodation and opportunities to learn, in exchange for assistance with farming or gardening activities.

A large variety of people volunteer through WWOOF, from vacationing students to those who are interested in starting organic farming or organic gardening for themselves. WWOOFers range in age from teenagers (or children with their parents) through to pensioners. Likewise the farms can range from a private garden through smallholdings, allotments, to commercial farms.

The role of the WWOOF organisations is to make the contact between travellers and hosts. They respond to complaints if there are any problems. If an issue should arise between a host and WWOOFer then the local organiser will be able to mediate to find a resolution. Hosts are expected to offer a friendly and welcoming environment and experience in organic growing methods. The WWOOFers should be willing to learn by pitching in with the daily chores.

My friends say good things about WWOOF. Some of them are working with WWOOF. None of them works in S.E.A. It’d be easier for me to do this volunteer job in S.E.A since I am a Vietnamese, and I do not need any visa for traveling in all countries in S.E.A in a month.

I think a month is good for me. 4 months for 4 different countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia or some others like Malaysia, or Indonesia. 4 months outside VN. 4 months to be a farmer on the organic farms. 4 months for no salary but friendship, culture exchange, new experience, local food and accommodation.

Also, I want to learn more about eco-tourism. I like national parks. I wanna get a master about this stuff. Then now, I am looking into WWOOF. Check it out: http://www.juliacampbellampark.org/ . This national park is good.

JCampbell Memorial Park

JCampbell Memorial Park

JULIA CAMPBELL AGRO-FOREST MEMORIAL PARK

LOCATION : Large organic farmland and virgin forest park, with native houses and native house style dorm rooms for park visitor (native dor
40 hectare mountain park, covered with organic coffee forests, vegetable crops, fruit trees, and rices terraces. Much of the park is virgin forest also. The park is ran completely by the Non-profit local organization, The Indigenous Farmers for Sustainable Agriculture. This gigantic park promotes organic farming, wildlife protection, eco-friendly camping, and indigenous culture promotion.

The Julia Campbell Agroforest Memorial Eco-Park, or JCAMPBELL Park, is a 40-hectare facility dedicated to the memory of US Peace Corps volunteer to the Philippines, Julia Campbell (b. 1967 (VA., USA)-d. 2007 (Batad, Ifugao, PHI). Its maintenance is by the members of IFSAA led by the Puguon family.

Park amenities include camping grounds and hiking and trekking trails for adventurists, eco-tourists, agritourists and volunteers.

The main feature of the JCAMPBELL Park is an agroforestry area where everyone can show support for the values Julia believed in by donating fruit-bearing trees that the farmers of IFSAA will care for. A marker will be placed next to each tree with the donor’s name on it. Or, groups looking for environmental or ecological activities may take part in tree-planting activities around the agroforestry areas. For a list of plant varieties you can choose from, visit our Products page.

For extended visits, agritourists and volunteers can help with the farming and conservation efforts implemented by the members of IFSAA, specifically the area around the Park managed by the Puguon family.

Visits to historical spots in neighboring municipalities and near the camp areas may also be arrange

There are some other places in the Philippines. I still have time to find out about the procedures how to apply and work.

Pocket guide to WWOOFing

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