Volunteering at Christmas

Christmas and New Year in the House on the Hill
Reykjavik, Iceland       December 23, 2017 - January 1, 2018

Volunteer project: We will live together and create a cozy atmosphere in the House on the Hill by putting up lights and Christmas decorations. The main idea of this project is to celebrate Christmas together and to promote peace and friendship among the group through intercultural learning and exchange. We will create a Christmas postcard together. The House on the Hill is isolated from the capital city but in the same time well connected by public bus (about 30 min). It is a small but cozy house, where the group will cook and live together and enjoy a snowy time in Iceland. We have chickens, so volunteers will have to take care of them during the project. We will learn Christmas songs from all over the world from each other and, if weather is good enough, we will sing in the streets of Reykjavik and other public places in town as a sign of peace and multiculturalism.

For New Year’s Eve, we will organize a small party for the volunteers and we will enjoy Reykjavik´s spectacular fireworks in front of the cathedral. We will also arrange a visit to the ‘Imagine Peace Tower’ which was designed by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon. The tower is made up of 15 large searchlights surrounded by a number of prisms that act like mirrors, reflecting the light vertically into the sky, usually reaching an altitude of at least 4000 meters. Over half a million written wishes that people from all over the world have sent to Yoko Ono as part of her ‘Wish Trees’ project are buried underneath the tower.

Language: English

Leisure time: Reasonably-priced weekend excursions can be organised to some of the most popular, beautiful areas and natural wonders that Iceland has to offer. Excursions include unique Icelandic sights such as glacial lagoons, waterfalls, volcanic and geothermal areas, glaciers, geysirs, lava forests, hot-springs, rhyolite mountain ranges, steam-vents, or even icebergs.

Accommodation: The volunteers stay in a house in Sveinsstadir which is located in the outskirts of Reykjavik. This place is like a farm in the city so you can enjoy pure nature and at the same time the city life of the capital. Volunteers need to bring their own sleeping bag, but beds/mattresses and bed linens are provided. Wireless internet access is provided free of charge, and volunteers also have free access to shared desktop computers in communal areas.

Location: Reykjavik is a city full of energy, just waiting for you to experience it. Powered by heat from the earth below, with ever-changing weather sweeping across the landscape, its natural features are matched by the energy of its residents. Think of the qualities of a great city - fun, culture, nature, clean air - and Reykjavik has them in spades. All the advantages of a modern, forward-looking society are complemented by the beautiful natural setting. In a country of only just over 300,000 people, the Reykjavik Capital Area has a population of about 200,000. However, since it’s the only major city in the country, Reykjavik has a lot of the amenities that you would only expect to find in a much larger center elsewhere in the world.

Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city and is centered on the Seltjarnarnes Peninsula. Come at the right time of year, and in favourable conditions you will see the city’s skyline silhouetted against the glowing, shimmering curtain of the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights. Reykjavik is framed by the majestic Mt. Esja and the blue waters of Faxafloi Bay to the north, while rugged lava-fields spread to the southeast. On a clear sunny day, the Snaefellsjokull glacier glitters on the western horizon like a crystal.

In this time of the year, when conditions are favourable, you can see the Northern lights' (Aurora borealis) glowing curtain of greenish yellow lights, dancing in the distance to a spectacular, multicolored fusion stretching across the sky.

Terminal: Reykjavík - Keflavík

Age range: 18 and over

Extra fee: 300 Euro
The extra fee is intended to support the local host of the project and is payable upon arrival.


Sustainable living and chasing the Aurora in the East of Iceland
Stodvarfjordur, Iceland       December 26, 2017 - January 5, 2018

Volunteer project: Scoured by Ice Age glaciers, the dramatic east coast boasts long, narrow fjords with steep sides and jagged peaks which contrast with inland fertile farmlands. Natural harbours, picture perfect fishing villages and seemingly never ending roads provide beautiful sweeping views.
“Fjarðabyggð" is an association of villages in the Eastern fjords of Iceland. It includes 7 towns: Eskifjörður, Fáskrúðsfjörður, Mjóifjörður, Neskaupstaður, Reyðarfjörður and Stöðvarfjörður, all tiny fishing villages with steep mountains towering just behind the houses. In this area, you will see some of the features that make Iceland a unique place in the world: spectacular fjords with a rich sea life, a great variety of birdlife, and countless breathtaking hiking paths. The project will take place in the village of Stodvarfjordur.

There is two different types of work involved - environmental tasks and different workshops related to art and sustainability. Volunteers will do environmental work for the local community, for example, cleaning the coastline, planting trees, weeding, taking down old fences and fixing hiking paths.

The workshops in the centre include permaculture, aquaponics, growing herbs in an earth sheltered greenhouse (a walipini) and growing vegetables in the big garden of the centre. We will also focus on topics, such as food waste, recycling and renewable energy.

The art workshops are all about creating pieces of art out of natural and/or recycled materials. The area in the east has variety of colourful stones, which we will use in our artwork.

Our work will also depend on weather conditions, which is why we have to be flexible. Working hours are about 6–7 hours a day, 5 days a week.

In addition, winter time in Iceland means Aurora Hunting. If you like photography, the Northern Lights and sharing an amazing time with friends from all over the world, this project is perfect for you. We will be on the lookout for Aurora Borealis at night throughout the whole project, so that you will have the opportunity to take photos of this amazing and unique phenomenon. It is very important to bring your camera with you (only cameras that work in long exposure will catch those lights), so don’t forget your tripod and camera. You can also bring your laptop, as it can come in handy.

We will also concentrate on intercultural learning and exchange. Every evening, volunteers from different countries will be in charge of presenting their country and culture in an informal way. It can be a presentation, a game, theatre – the form of introduction is up to you! Therefore, we encourage you to bring along some food, photos or anything interesting related to your country for a fun and informative evening with the other volunteers.

This project gives you the opportunity to spend an amazing time in Iceland with other international volunteers and to have an incredible experience where participants share their knowledge with each other while exploring creativity, environmental issues and intercultural learning.

Language: English

Leisure time: Reasonably-priced weekend excursions can be organised to some of the most popular, beautiful areas and natural wonders that Iceland has to offer. The area in the East is also good for hiking.

Accommodation: The volunteers will be staying in a fully equipped house in the village. Beds are provided, however, everyone is asked to bring their own warm sleeping bag. Wireless internet access is provided free of charge.

Location: Stodvarfjordur, Eastfjords

Terminal: Intl. Airport: Keflavík (KEF), Reykjavík.
Flights arrive at Keflavik International Airport (KEF), just south of Reykjavik. A minibus trip will be offered from Reykjavik to the Eastern fjords and back. On the way to the project site, we’ll travel through the south to the east of the island. On the way back, we’ll travel through the north and west to Reykjavik, if the road conditions are favorable. The trip includes unique Icelandic sights such as glacial lagoons, waterfalls, volcanic and geothermal areas, glaciers, lava fields, hot-springs, rhyolite mountain ranges, steam-vents, or even icebergs.

Age range: 18 and over

Extra fee: 220 Euro
The extra fee is intended to support the local host of the project and is payable upon arrival.


New Year in the Desert
Zagora, Morocco       December 26, 2017 - January 2, 2018

Volunteer project: The program is an opportunity for the participants to explore Moroccan culture, especially the one from the south of Morocco and the Sahara Desert, which fascinates everyone who comes to visit. The volunteers will have the opportunity not only to visit the Desert, but also to enjoy the local culture and to get immersed into it, participating in different activities. The main aim of the project is to promote interculturality. Cultural visits will be organised to places in South Morocco (excursion to the oasis of Zagora and to the mountain, visiting an old kasbah, a historical library and a museum). An excursion to the Sahara Desert will be also organised in the end of December for the volunteers to celebrate the New Year in the Desert.

The group will take part in some voluntary activities and a pottery course. The volunteer tasks include painting and gardening in a local school.
The participants will learn about the Moroccan artisan techniques of making pottery. They will get knowledge about how to make pottery articles, from working and preparing the earth to decorating the articles. This activity doesn't require individual skills but it demands your motivation to overcome the difficulties. All the materials needed for this activity will be provided.
The volunteers will learn how to cook some delicious Moroccan food. They will also spend time and organize activities for 400 local children in Zagora.

Language: English or French

Accommodation: The volunteers will be hosted in a youth center or in a family house, depending on availability.

Location: Zagora is a beautiful town in the south of Morocco, near the Algerian border. Zagora is about 750 km from Rabat and about 250 km in the south of Ouarzazate.

The town of Zagora sits at the foot of Anti-Atlas Mountains and on the shore of the Draa Valley in South Eastern Morocco. Zagora’s allure is mainly attributed to the great Draa Valley, which is still a home for several of Morocco’s tribes. The name Zagora is derived from “Tazagort,” a mountain by the shore of Draa Valley overlooking the city.
Zagora gathers a number of minority groups, including numerous Amazigh tribes from Ait Atta clan, and black African groups who emigrated from Sub-Saharan Africa, along with the Caravans. Arabs have also settled in Zagora, coming from Marrakech since the medieval times.
Zagora’s historical monuments and natural features are what enchants foreign guests the most. The region still preserves numerous Kasbahs and old fortresses that mark bygone era. In addition, the Sahara desert landscapes of sand dunes and “Hamadas” is also worth discovering.
The artistic characteristics of Zagora lay in crafts, as well as folklore. Zagora is home of old pottery factories. Clay dishes are exclusively made in Tamegroute, featuring green colored productions and displayed in local and national exhibitions. Reed is also used to make crafts.
Folklore in Zagora reflects the cultural identity of the joint communities. Both Amazighs and Arabs of the area, perform different artistic shows, varying from Ahidous to Regba and Hassani rhythms.

Terminal: Marrakech, Ouarzazate or Casablanca airport, Zagora Bus Station

Age range: 18 and over

Extra fee: 220 Euro
The extra fee is intended to support the local host of the project who does not have sufficient funds. It is due upon arrival.


Volunteer in a Buddhist monastery
Naung Shwe, Shan, Myanmar       December 26, 2017 – January 8, 2018

Volunteer project: Volunteer help is needed in a youth development centre in a Buddhist monastery in Naung Shwe township. There are over 1000 students of diverse ethnic groups: Paoh, Lesu, Kayan, Kayah, InnThar, Danu, Shan and Taung Yoe who come from different villages. They live in the dormitory of the monastery and attend government high school near the monastery.

The volunteers will participate in the activities of the monastery and help the local community. They will be teaching English and other social classes, working in the farm and helping with construction tasks. The volunteers will be also playing with kids from the kindergarten, and cleaning and cooking for the students together with local volunteers from the monastery.

Language: English

Accommodation: Volunteers will be accommodated in a Buddhist monastery. The monastery also provides locally cooked fresh food for the volunteers.

Location: The project takes place in Phaya Taung village in Naung Shwe township in Shan State near to Kayah State. The area is 2000 feet above sea level, surrounded by mountains and lakes. This is a predominantly agricultural region, very peaceful and calm. The mode of transportation between villages is mainly by boat.

Terminal: Yangon

Age range: 18 and over

Extra fee: 200 USD
The extra fee is intended to support the local host of the project who does not have sufficient funds. It is due upon arrival.


Forestry and gardening in the Rehabilitation and Health Clinic in Hveragerdi
Hveragerði, Iceland       December 27, 2017 - January 8, 2018

Volunteer project: Hveragerði is a small town of about 1,700 inhabitants that lies 45 km east of Reykjavík. This friendly little community sits on top of a highly active geothermal field which provides heat for hundreds of greenhouses where fruit, flowers and vegetables are produced throughout the year. Even bananas grow in these greenhouses! The name Hveragerði means "hot springs garden". Geothermal energy is Hveragerði’s lifeblood and you probably won’t find such a natural wonder in the middle of a populated area anywhere else in the world. Nearby you will find an even more geothermally active site: Gufudalur, the lovely "Steam Valley" behind the town. This whole valley is full of hot springs, geysers, mud pots, fumaroles and steaming vents.

Our host is the Rehabilitation and Health Clinic, which is a part of the Natural Health Association of Iceland. Every year, approximately 2,000 patients and other guests enjoy their diverse rehabilitation programs, which are focused on an approach that builds self-confidence and personal responsibility for the patients’ own health. The Clinic has earned a solid reputation, both in Iceland and internationally, since its foundation in 1955 for personal and effective care for patients. It is one of the two most important rehabilitation clinics in Iceland.

The Natural Health Association has a horticultural and environmental department, including forestry, gardening, and greenhouses, which is where the international volunteers work most of the time. The volunteers will help with growing tomatoes, cucumbers and making tea from Icelandic herbs. They will also do some environmental work around the property. The nature of the work depends largely on weather conditions, which can change quickly. The working hours are usually from 9am to 3pm with one hour lunch break.

Language: English

Leisure time: The volunteers have free access to the local geothermally-heated swimming pool. Traditionally, natural pools have played an important social role in Icelandic culture. Most Icelandic pools offer indoor and outdoor swimming, as well as hot tubs and saunas or steam rooms. Hveragerði is known for having great areas for hiking, including the hot river in Reykjadalur.
Reasonably-priced weekend excursions can be organised to some of the most popular, beautiful areas and natural wonders that Iceland has to offer. Excursions include unique Icelandic sights such as glacial lagoons, waterfalls, volcanic and geothermal areas, glaciers, geysers, lava forests, hot-springs, rhyolite mountain ranges, steam-vents, or even icebergs.

Accommodation: The volunteers stay in a fully equipped bungalow consisting of several double bedrooms and a living room. Beds are provided, however volunteers need to bring their own sleeping bags. Wireless internet access is provided free of charge.
All meals are provided and cooked by our hosts, the Rehabilitation and Health Clinic. The menu for the project is primarily vegetarian, but two times a week it includes locally caught fish. The food at the Rehabilitation and Health Clinic is known throughout Iceland for its high quality.

Location: Hveragerði, 45 km east of Reykjavík

Terminal: Flights arrive at Keflavik International Airport (KEF), just south of Reykjavik, Iceland.

Age range: 18 and over

Extra fee: 250 Euro


New Year's Photo marathon in Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland       December 27, 2017 - January 5, 2018

Volunteer project: Celebrate the New Year in a vibrant city with new friends from around the world! Watch the large firework display illuminate the sky, celebrate around a bonfire and party into the night!

This is the tenth year that series of International Photo marathons are organized. Throughout the year, volunteers from all over the world come to Iceland for an intensive Photo marathon project. The coordinators work with the participants to develop their unique photographic voice through workshops and feedback sessions on technical settings, compositional considerations as well as developing conceptual frameworks which progress the participants' individual style.

When the workshop ends, we select some of our best pictures from the stay and prepare those images for an informal group exhibition in a local independent cinema.

Participants should bring with them their own digital cameras, lenses and laptops if possible. Volunteers should be prepared for walking and visually exploring the city streets and working within a flexible time schedule. Participants will be photographing in their free time outside of workshop hours with images to be discussed at group feedback sessions.

Please note that this project is more of a learning/sharing camp and not a regular workcamp. We may be able to organize some voluntary service activities. Apart from working on the photography tasks, participants may join the festive atmosphere during Christmas and New Years time.

The project combines learning, sharing, exploring Reykjavík and having fun. Participants should also use this opportunity to share something about their own culture with the group of international participants.

Language: English

Leisure time: Excursions (Golden Circle, South Shore, Aurora Borealis/Northern lights or Reykjanes) can be arranged at discount fares.
With the Christmas and New Years’ season well under way it is the perfect opportunity to see the festive decorations and lights of Reykjavik. There are loads of events to get involved like ice skating and locating The Christmas Creatures.

Accommodation: The participants will stay in a house in Reykjavík. The facilities are basic with a shower, washing machine, kitchen and everyone is expected to show consideration for their companions. We will sleep in shared rooms in a sleeping bag accommodation. Please bring your own sleeping bag.

Location: Reykjavik is a dynamic, modern city which lives in harmony with beautiful nature, using renewable energy sources - geothermal power and glacial rivers.
The world’s northernmost capital bridges the Atlantic, between Europe and North America. Reykjavík is spread across a peninsula with a panoramic view of the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean on almost all sides.
Reykjavik is often called “the nightlife capital of the north”. But there is more to Reykjavík than pubs and clubs. Reykjavík also gathers the most interesting of Icelandic culture. It is an incubator of new ideas and styles which often indicate new global trends. It is an international city with a lively cosmopolitan cultural scene surrounded with beautiful nature.
In the area within 100 km of Reykjavík, there are several spectacular waterfalls, geysers, impressive coastline and the well-known geothermal Blue Lagoon spa to visit.

Terminal: Closest international Airport: Keflavík/Reykjavík (KEF). Bus station: Central Reykjavík (BSÍ).

Age range: 18 and over

Extra fee: 350 Euros
The fee includes transportation from the meeting point to the project site and back (on the first and last day of the project).
The extra fee is intended to support the local host of the project and is payable upon arrival.


New Year's Environmental awareness workshop
Reykjavik, Iceland       December 27, 2017 - January 4, 2018

Volunteer project: Celebrate the New Year in a vibrant city with new friends from around the world! Watch the large firework display illuminate the sky, celebrate around a bonfire and party into the night!

This project will allow you to learn about both global and local environmental issues through theory and practice as well. If you are concerned, for example, about climate change, waste management, animal protection, sustainable solutions and other environmental topics, then this project is the one for you. Local Icelandic environmental issues as well as issues from the participants’ countries will be addressed. The over 2 million visitors coming to Iceland every year leave a mark on the country. This project will help you to be an environmentally aware traveller and consumer.

The main focus of this project is to learn about different aspects of environmental issues through a selection of workshops whereby a deeper understanding of issues can be studied and discussed. Topics can include issues like animal farming, food waste, and sustainable practices such as collaborative consumption and veganism.

Volunteers also get the chance to visit local projects focused on the environment, such as a visit to a local recycling centre where a tour of the plant is given and the activities are explained.

The participants may also get a chance to improve the local environment through hands-on activities. In most cases, the project includes a day or two of voluntary service but in some cases it will not be possible, as the weather does not always allow activities to take place outdoors.

Apart from working on the photography tasks, participants may join the festive atmosphere during Christmas and New Years time.

This is a project that combines learning, sharing, exploring Reykjavik and having fun. Participants should also use this opportunity to share something about environmental issues in their home country with the group.

Language: English

Leisure time: Excursions (Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, South Shore, Northern Lights, Reykjanes Peninsula) can be arranged for the volunteers at discount fares. Typical local leisure activities will also be offered (cinema and the flea market).

Accommodation: The participants will stay in a house in Reykjavík. The facilities are basic with a shower, washing machine, kitchen and everyone is expected to show consideration for their companions. We will sleep in shared rooms in a sleeping bag accommodation. Please bring your own sleeping bag.

Location: Reykjavik is a dynamic, modern city which lives in harmony with beautiful nature, using renewable energy sources - geothermal and hydro power.
The world’s northernmost capital bridges the Atlantic, between Europe and North America. Reykjavík is spread across a peninsula with a panoramic view of the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean on almost all sides. Reykjavik is often called “the nightlife capital of the north”, but there is so much more than pubs and clubs, it also gathers the most interesting aspects of Icelandic culture.

In the area within 100 km of Reykjavík, there are several spectacular waterfalls, geysers, impressive coastline, geothermal park, lakes, mountains and much more.
The Reykjanes peninsula features the Blue Lagoon spa, the treasure of Icelandic hot pots. The geothermal water has a unique composition, featuring three active ingredients –Silica, Algae & Minerals. It is one of the most visited places on the island.

Terminal: Closest international Airport: Keflavík/Reykjavík (KEF). Bus station: Central Reykjavík (BSÍ).

Age range: 18 and over

Extra fee: 350 Euro
The fee includes transportation from the meeting point to the project site and back (on the first and last day of the project).
The extra fee is intended to support the local host of the project and is payable upon arrival.


Volunteer programs in other countries