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Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Romania

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Free or Cheap Volunteer Work in Romania


Despite former dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu's best efforts to gut the place, visitors to Bucharest are surprised at how stylish Romania's capital is - forgetful that the city was once known as the 'Paris of the East'. As foreign media tends only to turn its cameras on Romania for negative stories, less surprising are the nonetheless very real social problems afflicting the country, particularly orphanges and mental health care, both of which may be avenues for longer term volunteers to explore.


Grassroots Volunteering in Romania

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:

Volunteers for Mental Health

Volunteers for Mental Health (VfMH) is a small charity based in the UK, sending volunteers to work in the psychiatric section of Tarnaveni Hospital in Transylvania, Romania, to provide a programme of therapeutic activities for long-term patients. They are looking for outstanding health or social care professionals keen to use their skills and experience to help some of the most vulnerable people in Europe.

Your work will typically consist of the following: Work with detained patients in the club room. This constitutes the bulk of a volunteers work. Volunteers escort groups of patients from the locked wards to and from the hospital 'club-room' and encourage them to engage in enjoyable and meaningful activities. Wards are large (around 80 patients) and contain patients with a variety of problems, from learning difficulties and autism, to dementia and a variety of mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia.

VHH recruit continuously for 2-6 month placements throughout the year. Placements usually start in January, April, July & October. Essential qualifications include at least two years experience working with people with mental health problems and/or learning difficulties (a professional qualification in this area is desirable), be over 18; have the right to work in Europe; good health and stamina; able to work with others as part of a team; able and willing to support others; able to adapt to different conditions and cultures; able to build good relationships with professional staff; able to work independently and show initiative; able to cope with stress; able to facilitate group and 1:1 activities with patients; be able to empathise with patients and staff; advocacy skills; awareness of health, safety and infection issues; and able to assess risk and take appropriate action.

Desirable qualifications include a willingness to learn a new language; some knowledge of Romania; experience in working and/or volunteering in a developing country; fundraising skills.

Where: Tarnaveni psychiatric hospital.
ccommodation & Costs: There is no fee to become a volunteer in Romania for Volunteers for Mental Health.  However, they ask that volunteers fundraise £500 for their trip. In return, the charity will pay for accommodation in a flat near to the hospital, bills, flights and insurance.

Volunteering in Romania


Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Romania

Angloville's popular English immersion programme has crossed over from Poland to venues in Romania where native English language speakers can earn themselves a week in a hotel in exchange for helping Romanians learn our language.


Help Exchange Networks in Romania

Workaway -
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HelpX -


Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Romania

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). You can also get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.


Volunteer Experiences*

Volunteering in Eastern Europe at a Bear Sanctuary in Romania - Natasha wins a competition to become a volunteer at a home for over 50 brown bears.
When Love is Louder than Language – A Day at Casa Mea - Kurt and Dayna are honest with themselves that volunteering for a day won’t change much but they still made a small difference in the lives of seven children at a home in Romania.


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

Image courtesy Volunteer for Mental Health