Frequently Asked Questions
How has Covid-19 affected volunteering placements?
As with most organisations, Covid-19 has changed the way that Indigo and our partners operate.
Firstly, in order to maintain responsible volunteering, Indigo continues to only connect volunteers when there is a need. Due to the Covid-19 situation many of our partners have had to pause / alter operations meaning they require fewer volunteers. Therefore, while we continue to welcome applications from committed and skilled volunteers please be mindful that we cannot guarantee a placement during the pandemic.
Secondly, our partners minimum time to volunteer has been extended in order to mitigate the risks that occur with a high turnover of volunteers. It is extremely difficult for people to follow social distancing and hygiene protocols when living in a camp and while on the move. We have worked closely with our partners on risk mitigation and assessments and all the organisations are following the quarantine procedures placed in the countries they are working in. All international volunteers are following procedures set by the organisations they are travelling to. This means that the minimum time to volunteer is now four weeks, and we encourage volunteers to stay for longer if possible. For more information on what to consider before applying to volunteer during Covid019, read here.
Why does Indigo not accept all volunteer applications?
In order to maintain responsible volunteering, Indigo only connects volunteers when their skill set matches our partner's needs. A ‘skill set’ that our partners are looking for is an understanding of the situations in which our partners operate and what being a ‘responsible’ volunteer means in these contexts. We require applications to show this because - whilst we know that volunteers are most often caring individuals driven by the best intentions - our partners' needs and the communities they support, must always be placed first.
Here are some ways you can stay involved and learn more.
Education: Visit our ‘Educate Yourself’ page where you can find resources about the European migration route, responsible volunteering and much more. It is a great place to get started :)
Take action at home: Follow our friends at Europe Must Act and continue to take action in your local community. If you live in the UK, you could also organise a collection - visit the donations drop-off points on our website to find out where you can donate.
Stay connected with us: Follow us on social media and sign up to our newsletter here.
Why are volunteers needed?
Volunteers are at the heart of the grass-roots movement. Our partner organisations fill gaps left by governments - there remain huge gaps in services and support for displaced people that are being met by civil society in a compassionate way. Without individuals willing to dedicate their time to help, our partner organisations would not be able to provide essential services to support the refugee and migrant communities.
How do I apply?
Before you submit an application form, we recommend you do the following steps:
Our training page has useful resources to find out more about the refugee context. Before applying it’s important you do your research and educate yourself.
Read through these FAQs.
Review the current volunteer needs.
If there is a suitable position for you, apply to volunteer. Please only do so if you fit the current requirements. In case your skills are currently not needed, keep checking the website and sign up to our newsletter here.
Once you have applied, you will be asked to confirm your dates over email. One of our field coordinators on the ground will start sending out your application to suitable partner organisations. If partner organisations are interested in your application, we will connect you in an email where the partner organisation will take you through their recruitment process. To ensure Indigo can support you appropriately, we encourage you to keep Indigo updated on your application.
Our partner charities have limited resources, so it is crucial that you only apply if you are committed to volunteering and fit the relevant criteria.
Why should I apply through Indigo instead of reaching out to charities directly?
Indigo has an overview of the volunteer needs of our network across Europe. We can therefore connect you with organisations who are suitable for you based on your skills, previous experience and time frame. This also means you will be connected with an organisation where your skills will be truly needed.
Can I take pictures or film while I’m working as a volunteer?
Most of the organisations that we support do not allow volunteers to take pictures during/of work for various reasons:
It can make the communities we work with more vulnerable through exposure (depending on where a picture might end up).
It can create counterproductive social dynamics based on which parts of a community do end up in a picture and which don't.
We also encourage you to always think about the reasoning behind a picture. For example, is it purely for posting on social media or was the film taken to raise awareness? It is always important to think about the intention behind posting a picture and the impact that posting a picture can have. Some organisations may make exceptions and there might be certain circumstances where, if you're interested, you might be asked to help with photography for advocacy reasons. However, please do note that these opportunities are usually very limited.
What kinds of costs am I looking at?
The volunteer is expected to independently fund their placement, covering costs such as airfares, accommodation and general living costs i.e. that of meals. For a general gauge, please visit our partners page and click on the respective organisation for further information. Our preparation page also contains valuable information in terms of budgeting.
What information will you ask for in the application process?
It is important you provide us with as much information as possible, as this will be shared with the organisations themselves. We will ask you to provide us with various contact details, volunteering dates, any medical information and to agree to obtain a visa independently, as well as any other relevant declarations (i.e. a liability waiver). In addition to this, we will also ask you to give us an insight into what you know about the refugee context, any relevant experience, skills, and knowledge that you think you could bring to our partners.
What kind of work do your partners do?
Our partners all provide integral services to support the needs of the refugee and migrant communities across Europe. Their work ranges from providing non-formal education to children and adults, to food distribution and delivering urgent medical services. For more information, please visit Our Partners page.
Have more questions? Feel free to drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to do our best and answer them
Join our Facebook Group dedicated to volunteering: The Volunteer Hub