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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does it cost money to volunteer?
    We have two volunteer programmes, one for Indonesia Volunteers and one for International Volunteers. Please see the individual pages under the 'Get Involved' tab for more information. We ask all our international volunteers who come for a full 8 week cycle to raise £1000 before coming out to join us in Sumatra. Alternatively, some people choose to pay this fee if they can afford to and are not able to fundraise. We know it’s a huge amount of money but this is a very part of our funding which allows us to continue our work. You are supporting a wonderful cause and we appreciate it so much 😊 In addition, you will need to pay for the cost of your volunteer visa, which is £180 and lasts 60 days. That brings the total cost to £1180. For most Indonesian Volunteers we have fully funded spaces available, so please get in touch for more information.
  • What additional expenses should I expect?
    There are a lot of things included in your package, but there are some things you will need to pay for and factor in to your budget. International volunteers, you will need to pay for your transport to Medan Airport (we will collect your from there) Travel Insurance (for international volunteers this is essential) You will need to buy food in the evenings and at weekend (other meals are included). A meal in a local cafe, Nasi Goreng (the local dish of fried rice) or a vegetable curry, rice and a side for example costs IDR 10,000 (£0.50). There are many guesthouses in Bukit Lawang catering to tourists and meals there typically cost between IDR 25,000 and IDR 50,000 A local sim card and data for a month costs less than £5.00 Money for transport from the Trust into Bukit Lawang Town (less than a 10 minute drive) cost IDR 20,000. You will often be able to get a lift with a team member though and it's also a walkable distance if you prefer that.
  • Can I choose the dates I want to volunteer?
    Yes you can, we try to be flexible with people's dates. However, if you take a look at one of our volunteer pages, you will see we have fixed dates for our 'Volunteer Cycles'. We'd strongly encourage you to apply for one of these cycles as it will make your experiecne better and makes life easier for us too 😁 But we can be flexible and we'd hate to turn someone down because they couldn't fully committ to the fixed dates, so please still apply! We also offer full flexibility with your bookings. With free cancellation and rescheduling up until we have applied for your visa. At which point you we can fully refund your volunteering fees, but not the cost of your visa. You can also reschedule at any point for free up until we have applied for your visa, after which, depending on when you reschedule for, you may need to pay again for your visa costs.
  • What's the accommodation like?
    During your placement, you will stay in the Trust building along with the majority of our team. We have two volunteer dorms on site at the Trust, one male and one female and there are 3 beds in each room. The accommodation is simple but adequate and we're like one big family all living together 😊 It creates a super social and welcoming atmosphere for new arrivals. The bedrooms have some storage for your belonging, bedding is provided and there are fans also. Our placements are typically full, so you will likely be sharing your room with two other volunteers. There are four bathrooms at the Trust and a big communal kitchen. Our enormous roof terrace or our balcony are great places to chill or we're in walking distance of some great places to hang out if you need some time away from the Trust. There are some beautiful rivers nearby, cafes and a one bakery (a favourite of the Trust!)
  • Do I need a VISA & what's the application process?
    Yes you need a volunteer visa. No one is able to volunteer at the Trust, even for a single day without a volunteer visa. Indonesia have very strict laws regarding this. The process for you is super simple though! After you have applied you'll need to send us some basic documentation and we will apply on your behalf, you don't need worry about thing. The Indonesian Volunteer Visa lasts for 60 days. It is possible to extend this visa for up to 180 days. If you wish to stay in Indonesia after you finish your placement, you have this option. Alternatively you could leave the country and re-enter on a new visa. Get in touch if you have any more questions regarding this.
  • Do I need teaching experience to volunteer with the Trust?
    No, we welcome everyone! No experience is required to volunteer at the Trust, we just need people who have the following characteristics... - A willingness to help - A desire to get stuck in and work hard - People who want to support our team and work within our community - People who care about education - A recognition of education's importance in bringing about social change. What ever programme you are working on, you will be involved in teaching to some extent. So you must want to teach and be happy with the idea of working with kids and adults. We will give you all the support and training you need though and you will always be teaching with the support of our permanent staff. We will encourage you to take an active lead in classes if you want to, but we will not force it upon you or make you do things you are not ready for. Likewise, no specific relevant experience in required for the programme you choose to volunteer on. You just need to be interested in the area it focuses on.
  • How long will it take to get there?
    Naturally, this depends on where you are coming from, however once you arrive at Medan airport there will be a 4 hour drive that we will arrange for you to get to Bukit Lawang. You'll be picked up along with your fellow volunteers.
  • Do you have WIFI?
    Yes! we have WIFI at the Trust. There is also WIFI available at many of the guest houses and restaurants around the village, so you won't have any trouble staying connected. We will also give you information on how to get your phone registered at the airport so that you can buy a local sim card and use data.
  • What are the working hours?
    We all work, volunteers included, from 08:00 - 17:00, Monday to Friday but with some later starts and the very odd late finish. We have standard 2 hour lunch break from 12:00-14:00 but on some days you will need to start at back at 13:00. We do expect you during this time to be ready ana available to work. We do have a very open, communicative and supportive working environment though, so if you are ever feeling run down, in need of a rest or at risk of feeling overworked, you can always speak to us and we will give you the time you need. We know volunteers want to keep busy and get involved with as much as possible, but it's important to look after yourself and not push too hard! Your weekends are free to go out and explore, however we sometimes arrange optional activities like treks, river trips, canyoning, camping. But if you prefer to relax and chill you are welcome 😊
  • Can I pay the fundraising target myself?
    Yes you can. We'd always encourage some fundraising, but we completely understand that people won't always have the time or resources to do so. If you need any support or suggestions for fundraising, please get in touch.
  • Is volunteering with the BLT ethical?
    It's imperative for us that our volunteering experiences are ethical 🌿⚖️ 1. Our volunteers are able to work closely alongside the community we serve, learning from them and experiencing their traditions and customs. Volunteers really have the chance to become integrated in the local way of life. 2. All our work has sustainability at its heart and volunteers will support us in delivering education programmes that are focused on the long term development of our community and the region. 3. We work with local partners, locally founded NGOs, individuals, Eco Tourism companies and education providers to ensure we are as best as possible delivering education that is wanted and supported by our community. We take guidance from our staff, the majority of are from Indonesia, and we lean on their expertise and knowledge to support and guide us in all our endeavours. 4. We will as best as possible match all our volunteers' skills and experience to the most relevant programme that we offer. In addition we will provide as much training and support as necessary, so volunteers feel confident and ready to work on our programmes. 5. Our volunteers add a meaningful contribution to the Trust and our local community and there is no risk of disruption to the community through their presence. To ensure this we run sessions on cultural diversity and sensitivity during the induction week and ensure volunteers understand the impact their presence could have they behaved in the wrong way. 6. We aim to minimize our environmental impact as best as possible. Whilst it's impossible to negate all impact, such as that from international volunteers travelling from other countries, we take every step to reduce where we can. Sustainability and conservation are core goals of the Trust too and we actively promote the protection of the environment, whether this be from teaching about reducing waste and how to recycle in our Youth Ranger classes to spreading knowledge about sustainable and organic farming practices through the Eco Farming programme. For any further questions about ethical volunteering, please get in touch 😁
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