Concordia (Youth Service Volunteers) Ltd
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Concordia (Youth Service Volunteers) is a non-profit, non-political and non-sectarian charity based in the south-east of England. Its work is divided into two areas: a Seasonal Agricultural Work Scheme (SAWS) for foreign students to experience farming in the UK and an International Volunteer Programme which organises short-term international voluntary projects in the UK, as well as sending UK volunteers abroad.
In 1943, during World War II Concordia was founded to encourage young British people to help with the war effort by harvesting fruits and crops from the fields. Participants benefited from a holiday and were able to earn a modest amount of money at the same time. The scheme proved so popular that after the end of the war there was a big demand for it to be continued. In keeping with the atmosphere of international reconciliation prevalent after the war, it was suggested that young people from all nations be invited to take part to increase understanding, and make a contribution to peace among nations. In 1949 the charity's name was changed to Concordia (Youth Service Volunteers) and since that date it has given the opportunity for people from over 50 nations to participate in the agriculture scheme.
International Volunteer Programme
Through the International Volunteer Programme, Concordia organises UK-based short-term international volunteer projects, as well as sending UK volunteers on partner organisation's projects abroad. Going on an international volunteer projects involves living and working together with volunteers from different countries on a community-based project for a short period of time (typically 2–3 weeks).
The work carried out on every project is different. Some examples include environmental/conservation work, renovation of historical buildings, assisting in a disabled people's home, teaching English to school children and much more. See all the different type of projects on their website.
Concordia currently sends UK volunteers to over 60 countries to participate in the volunteer projects of partner organisations through CCIVS and the Alliance. Three separate programmes exist: the EastWest Programme (broadly Europe, the United States, Japan and South Korea) and the NorthSouth Programme (Africa, Asia and Latin America). Volunteers wishing to take part on a NorthSouth project must attend a preparation weekend before departure, to ensure volunteers know what to expect when visiting these less developed countries. Concordia Volunteers also offers Medium term projects going from 1 month onwards.
The main season for international volunteer projects is during the summer (June–September) although some projects do take place in the autumn and springtime.
Typically, a fee of 225-250 GBP provides for food and accommodation while on the project, although volunteers must pay their own travel expenses to and from the project. For projects in the NorthSouth programme, an extra fee might occur to cover extra expenses for the local partner. For medium term projects longer than 1 month (MTV Programme) there is a registration fee of £280.