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FAQ for ESC volunteering

We are very happy, you are interested in volunteering in the Czech Republic.. Please before you apply to one of our ESC Volunteering Teams, read the following questions and rules carefully. 

What is an ESC Volunteering Team?

An ESC Volunteering Team is an activity carried out within the programme European Solidarity Corps (ESC).

Volunteering Teams are usually similar to traditional workcamps. They have a minimum duration of 2 weeks and involve a group of at least 5 volunteers. There are two basic conditions to participate:

  • age limit of 18 to 30 years 
  • legal residence in a programme country or in a neighbouring partner country (see here)

For your commitment through the ESC, your travel expenses will be reimbursed and you will receive some pocket money.

How many times can I participate?

  • You can participate in a European Solidarity Corps – Volunteering Teams project multiple times as long as you are an eligible participant based on your age (18-30) and legal address of residence.

A volunteer can take part in:

  • a single individual cross-border volunteering activity longer than 2 months. A second individual cross-border volunteering activity longer than 2 months is allowed only for young people with fewer opportunities or in duly justified cases determined by the National Agency.
  • multiple individual cross-border volunteering activities lasting up to 2 months;
  • multiple volunteering teams activities;
  • multiple in-country volunteering activities.

The total amount of time spent by a young person in European Solidarity Corps volunteering activities must not exceed 12 months and the activities carried out must not overlap. Activities carried out under Erasmus+ volunteering/European Voluntary Service will count towards the total of 12 months allowed.

Note: It is not possible to be at two ESC projects at the same time!!! If you are currently on your ESC long-term project, you cannot apply to an ESC Volunteering Team at the same time.

How will I get my travel reimbursement?

You are responsible for arranging and buying your own travel tickets. Your travel costs will be reimbursed through your sending organisation after the activity. Your travel reimbursement will be done only between your home country and the Czech Republic, where the project takes place.

You must keep and provide all your travel documents: tickets, invoices, receipts, boarding passes. The travel tickets must be eligible for reimbursement:

  • Dates: The eligible dates are dates of the Volunteering Team. In justified cases, you can use one travel day before the activity and one travel day after the activity. (Example: The Volunteering Team takes place 10.8.-24.8.2024. Eligible tickets are from 9.8., 10.8., 24.8. and 25.8.). (In case you use only green travel such as train or bus, you might use two more additional travel days before/after the activity).
  • Place: Travel reimbursement will be done only between your home country and location of the activity. (Example: You live in France and you want to apply for a Volunteering Team in the Czech Republic. It is not possible to visit your friend in Spain and then come to the Czech Republic. Only journey France-CZ and back can be reimbursed).
  • Mean of transport: It is not possible to reimburse first-class tickets, Uber, taxi or similar services. Please use public transport instead.

You will be reimbursed for your travel costs up to the given limit after you have completed the project and administrative duties. If you exceed the maximum limit, you pay the rest. The maximum limit – based on one way distance from your home to the location of workcamp. The distance is calculated by official distance calculator:

  • between 0 and 99 km: 23 EUR 
  • between 100 and 499 km: 180 EUR (210 EUR in case of green travel)
  • between 500 and 1 999 km: 275 EUR (320 EUR in case of green travel)
  • between 2 000 and 2 999 km: 360 EUR (410 EUR in case of green travel)

What if I arrive earlier to the project?

If you want to arrive in the Czech Republic a few days earlier (or come back home a few days later), it is possible, but in that case you won’t receive your travel reimbursement. Outside of the Volunteering Team dates you will have to arrange and pay for your food and accommodation. 
Note: It is required to stay for the whole duration of the Volunteering Team! You cannot come later or leave earlier.

What if I travel from/to a different country

Your travel reimbursement will be done only between your home country to the country where the project takes place. In a justified situation it is possible to travel from another country. In this case always check with your sending organisation if your travel will be eligible to reimburse. You will have to provide official documents explaining your reasons. Please, bear in mind that ESC does not pay for your holidays!

How and when do I get the pocket money?

Volunteers get pocket money after arrival on the Volunteering Team. The pocket money is paid in cash in CZK (equivalent to 5-6 EUR/day). If you must leave the activity earlier (for example you get sick), you will have to return the corresponding amount back. You can use this pocket money to cover expenses during your free time (for example trips or excursions).

What is a sending/supporting organisation and how do I get one?

A sending (or supporting) organisation is based in your home country and will be responsible for your preparation before the activity. They will provide all the necessary support you need. When you are accepted to our ESC Volunteering Team, we will recommend you a sending organisation, which you should contact. 
In case you have any health issues or you are facing any type of obstacles (economic, educational etc.), please inform your sending organisation as soon as possible. You should also mention in it the application, so we are informed about your special needs in advance.

Which documents do I need?

  • Volunteering Agreement: After your acceptance you will be asked to sign the Volunteering Agreement. It´s a basic document, which explains rights and responsibilities of all parties involved.
  • Certificate of Good Conduct and Medical Form:  For some projects (for example work with children) you will be asked to send Certificate of Good Conduct and Medical Form. Those are required by law, so without them it is not possible to join the workcamp! 
  • ID/passport
  • EHIC – European Health Insurance Card
  • Cover letter – please let us know your motivation for the specific project

Will I get travel insurance?

Yes, Henner is an additional insurance you receive when you participate in a European Solidarity Corps project. You will be enrolled for the insurance by your hosting organisation INEX-SDA once you are accepted to the workcamp. It complements your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). 

In case an insurance event happens which is not covered by your EHIC, first you have to pay for the services on-spot and then you can claim your costs from Henner providing the necessary documents.

If you don´t have EHIC card, please check here how to apply for it: https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=563&langId=en

If you are not eligible to hold EHIC, please inform your sending organisation!

What's next? Join us at After-arrival meeting, 27.-29.9.

Are you going to a workcamp this year or will you even lead one? Don't forget to sign up for a weekend meeting and have a great weekend that will put a beautiful finishing touch on your volunteer experience this year.