Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Greece

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Free or Cheap Volunteer Work in Greece

 

Surely one of Europe's loveliest places, Greece has traditionally offered plenty of opportunities volunteering with wildlife and on expat or local run projects arranged through help exchange websites. The recent debt and refugee crises (a word derived from Greek incidently) bring with them increased demands for volunteer assistance.

 

Grassroots Volunteering in Greece

The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:

Hellenic Ornithological Society

www.ornithologiki.gr

Offers both field and office work. Field projects include bird monitoring in national parks, important bird areas caretakers and a raptors migration monitoring observer. The projects can last for a couple of week in the spring and autumn or all year round. The commitment required from volunteers varies from a couple of weeks in the summer to more regularly donating one or two days a month. Some specialist ornithological skills, such as good recognition of the birds of prey of Europe, may be required.

Where: Projects are spread across all of Greece.
Accommodation & Costs: Accommodation and food are provided on some projects in exchange for a participation fee but otherwise pay their own expenses and, for field work, are required to bring items such as a sleeping bag, binoculars, and head flashlight. Participation fees vary for field projects but as an example, two weeks as a raptors migration monitoring observer costs €100, with discounts for HOS members and students, and for staying longer.

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Starfish Foundation

www.asterias-starfish.org

Starfish began in 2014 as a collection of local individuals and international volunteers working together to support refugees arriving in Molyvos, Lesvos Island. They support refugees arriving on the island with a warm welcome, food, water, dry clothes, shelter, information and access to medical support and transport to Mytilene where they can access papers for onward travel. Services run 24 hours a day, over three daily shifts, and volunteers are asked to commit to one shift a day, including a fair share of night-shifts. A minimum of one month is required.

Where: Molyvos, Lesvos Island.
Accommodation & Costs: Volunteers pay for and find their own or are assisted in finding their own accommodation, though from time to time Starfish receive donations that enable them to support some volunteers who are facing financial hardship with shared accommodation.

Volunteering in Greece

 

Humanitarian Support Agency

www.humanitarian-support-agency.org

An international non governmental, non profit and non affiliated organisation, HSA primarily serve at Kara Tepe, a transit camp for refugees in Lesvos, providing vital support through the provision and distribution of food and hot drinks, clothing and other items, education and general camp support. They need operational volunteers for two weeks or more. This work can be physically and, at times, emotionally strenuous, working long hours, rain or shine, but you will get to work alongside a great team of committed, professional, and profoundly engaged individuals.

HSA also recruit TEFL qualified teachers to provide beginner, intermediate and advanced English classes to adults. TEFL volunteers should be educated to degree level or equivalent experience, hold a 120 hour TEFL certificate and be able to commit for at least a month.

Where: Lesvos Island.
Accommodation & Costs: Volunteers should be financially independent. For English teachers able to commit to 12 weeks or more, HSA is able to offer free accommodation. Depending on availability, they may also be also able to offer housing for shorter term volunteers at a rate of €8 per day.

 

Hostel Work Exchanges

Many hostels use help exchange networks (see below) to find volunteer staff but the following either advertise on their websites or are particularly noted for taking on volunteers:

Sunrock Backpackers Hostel

www.sunrockhostel.com

We were once enticed over to Pelekas from our Corfu Town residence with the offer of a free lunch by one of Sunrock Backpackers Hostel’s former volunteers and are glad to see this backpacker resort are still welcoming volunteer staff. We only enjoyed one meal from the terrace overlooking the bay but participants in their ‘Pay Your Way’ volunteer programme can benefit from free meals and accommodation for a month or two. Work is available on their organic farm or in the hostel itself.

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AthenStyle

www.athenstyle.com

EU nationals can find paid work for €25 a shift at AthenStyle, part of the Famous Hostels association, but travellers on non-EU passports can earn themselves a bed and breakfast, plus half price on other meals and two for one beers in exchange for 24 hours’ work a week. Previous housekeeping or hostel work experience needed with reference.

 

Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Greece

There no longer seems to be any English language information on the website of the Hellenic Wildlife Hospital but the information we had before we updated this page said volunteers had to pay a life long introductory subscription of €100 plus €40 per week for the first month of their volunteering period to cover accommodation and food. The HWH treats from 3,000 to 4,500 wild animals every year from all over Greece in order to release them back to nature. Cleaning, feeding and maintenance tasks are waiting for volunteers who take the hour and a half ferry ride from Piraeus to Aigina Island, where the hospital is based. Volunteers work six days per week from 8am to 2pm and sometimes for two to three hours in the afternoon. Long term volunteers are preferable but the minimum commitment is seven days.

We do not have full details yet, or even if they meet the criteria for this site, but Digital Nomads Lesvos reached out to us with early details of their initiative on the island of Lesvos, where they are offering co-working spaces to socially engaged digital nomads. We understand they already need a couple of volunteers and the likelihood is that they will need more in the future for the projects they hope to grow to benefit the island as a whole.

 

Help Exchange Networks in Greece

Workaway - https://www.workaway.info/hostlist-GR.html
HelpX - http://www.helpx.net/hostlist.asp?host_region=329&network=3
WWOOF - http://wwoofgreece.org

 

More Volunteering in Greece Resources

Lesvos Volunteers - Information for helping refugees landing on Lesvos.

 

Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Greece

Stay for free in return for caring for local residents' homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). Greece usually has house sits available but, if not, you can get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.

 

Volunteer Experiences*

WOOFING in Greece – Pros & Cons - Gary explores what’s good and what’s bad about volunteering on a Greek organic farm.

 

* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations

Image courtesy Fotomovimiento