At SLV.Global we’re really keen to let you know where your money goes and why our placement fees are a necessary part of you having an enjoyable, safe experience.
Although we’re not a charity, ethicality and affordability have always been incredibly important to us. We pride ourselves on being one of the organisations with the lowest costs, but also with the best feedback from volunteers. Other organisations charge much more and to be honest, we struggle to understand how so many volunteers can afford to go on their programmes.
As much as we value affordability, it can’t be at the expense of volunteers’ comfort or safety, so it’s a balance. Feedback throughout the years has dictated we need to focus on providing enough support to our volunteers but also providing enough support to the community as a whole. More support and a more standardised experience is necessary to ensure that not only volunteers are happy, but that we are having the right impact on the local community too.
We have been running our placements in Sri Lanka since 2010, but our Mental Health placement in Indonesia is still a pilot programme which began in 2016. Since our SLV.Bali placements began we have dedicated our time to recruiting an incredibly strong team of coordinators and supervisors who live with and support our volunteers, as well as our incredible Indonesian team who provide assistance with the day-to-day running of SLV.Bali.
We are very lucky that we have so much support from local communities where our volunteers live and work in Bali. From workshop space to transportation and homestays to the local professionals who contribute to the placement content. None of this is free, and it shouldn’t be. We want to put money into the Indonesian economy just as much as we want to bolster resources at the projects where we work.
As an organisation we feel it's ethical and right all of our Indonesian team members to be fairly compensated for all that they do. Employment opportunities in Indonesia can be limited for students and recent graduates, so we want to pay our teams a fair wage, which I'm sure you agree is a no-brainer. They work extremely hard from sun up to sun down, often doing things that are never seen by the volunteer team, but all their clandestine efforts contribute massively to a smoothly-running placement.
The below is an approximation of the breakdown of how a volunteer’s placement fees are spent for our placements in Indonesia. Our placements in Indonesia currently run through the summer months, but it also fluctuates each month, depending on the amount of volunteers there are in country at one time.
In-Country Support & Training: Our Indonesian team, who are always there to offer support and continue to cultivate the relationships we have with our projects and partners, is comprised of many individuals. From our SLV.Bali Project Coordinator Ketut, to our Project and Partnerships Liaisons, Citra and Endra, our whole team of our assistant project managers, project supervisors and coordinators are there to help you transition smoothly into Indonesian life.
Our Indonesian team organise all the training you receive and the safe transport to and from projects, in addition to liaising with homestays, overseeing the Adventure Break, helping ill volunteers on placement when they are in hospital and everything else behind the scenes that helps make our SLV.Global placements in Indonesia run so well.
In addition to all of our team members there is also our Operations Manager, who is on call 24/7 in Bali, runs orientation, employs logistics, manages risk assessments and trains the whole Indonesian team, as well as ensuring volunteers have the most enjoyable, yet standardised, experience possible. As our project run all across Bali, but also more recently in the neighbouring island of Java too, it's imperative that we have adequate numbers of staff to facilitate this.
As you know, your first week is dedicated to training. All of the facilities, food and facilitators are covered under this cost.
Homestay and Living Costs: In addition to the team of professionals who work with us in Indonesia, we also have a number of homestay families that house and feed volunteers throughout the week and enrich an already culturally diverse experience. Again, contributing to the local economy is important to us, but we’d much rather pay a local family to host our volunteers than to pay a hotel chain where the experience would be very different.
Living local is an important part of the SLV.Global experience. And although we decided to go for an authentic experience and forego the wifi and air con, we are still living in these people’s homes and there are costs involved in running any household, let alone one with up numerous volunteers living in it. It is our aim to support our homestay villages as best we can so volunteers have the most comfortable and safe living experience possible.
Adventure Break, Workshops, Hospital Visiting Fees: Your fees also cover all activities, food and board on the Adventure Break. This break is essential for team bonding and it’s also a lot of fun! However, it’s worth mentioning that this stunning experience is one you would be unlikely to get as a tourist and we think that it's worth every penny.
Your three - four workshops are all jam-packed full of useful and interesting information about various mental health topics in Indonesia. We need to compensate our facilitators, rent a space for them to take place and provide transport.
Finally, in Indonesia anyone wanting to visit the hospital, even friends and family, must pay a visiting fee. We pay this each time a volunteer sets foot in a hospital, which in a four week placement will be approximately three times.
Transport: Unlike most Western countries, there is no public transport system in Bali. Because of this, all transport is all arranged through private transportation and drivers. This is not to be luxurious, but simply out of necessity.
From picking you up at the airport to transporting you to Adventure Break, your daily projects and to Java is a big, but unavoidable, expense.
UK Head Office: We are here to answer any questions you might have pre-departure and to help you set off prepared for your placement. We're also here interviewing all the future volunteers to continue the projects you love, long after you leave. And of course a huge part of what we do is facilitating your visas, which includes paying for each sponsorship letter we request from our agent in Indonesia.
It’s important to note that there are also administration costs involved in processing all our volunteers' info before their placement begins. This includes everything from visas to DBS checks. All of which is essential for our placements to run.
Every penny we spend is for the betterment of the organisation and volunteers’ experience. We hope you understand that your safety and experience is our number one priority, next to the benefit to the local community. If you have further questions please don't hesitate to ask by calling our SLV.Global London HQ, or emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org.