English classes for the Balinese kids during the pandemic

The mission of Volunteer Programs Forever is to empower and support underprivileged communities around the world. We do this by frameworks that we have created to reach our goals and to increase the impact on the people we support.

Through our Forever Projects we set up targeted projects worldwide that respond to specific challenges for underprivileged communities. With the Forever Label we provide local job employment opportunities and with our Forever Learning Centers we increase access to knowledge and education.

If you have been following us the past year you know that we had to close our educational project in Bali, Indonesia due to the pandemic. We have been very busy the past year to keep supporting our Balinese community. Read more about that here.

Besides immediate support during the crisis, we have been working hard to find solutions on the long term by developing the plans of the Forever Learning Center VP Bali. Read all about that in our blog here.

Now, early 2021, we are focusing hard to find the necessary funds to start building. But in the meantime, we feel the urge and the need from the kids to start learning again. Indonesian schools have been closed since March 2020 and the children are desperate to learn in a creative environment, to be surrounded by friends and to be inspired by educational materials. 

Forever Project - Bali

Since we can’t offer them classes yet in our center, we got together with the local village leaders and we came up with a plan to provide the children with English classes in the local village building.

Starting something like this is not easy, the process is long as we have to deal with local authorities and it is very important to VP Forever to always work in line with the local regulations, local traditions and culture. After some discussions and meetings with several village leaders, we got a YES and we are allowed to use the community building for weekly English classes!

We will run monthly programs where the kids can rotate so we can ensure that everyone gets to join. We can’t take big classes yet as we have to keep the safety and health restrictions in mind in terms of distancing, hygiene etc.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases have spiked enormously in Bali since early January, so at the moment it is not safe nor responsible to start the classes. As soon as the local authorities allow us to start, we will as we already have a full class of confirmed applications. The kids (and parents!) can’t wait!

By running these classes, we are not only providing education to the kids. We also want to create job opportunities for local teachers who have been out of a job since the crisis.

We will soon share more with you about how we will train local teachers to use our curriculum, how we will implement creative learning and how we will support them on a structural basis. 

 


Looking back at the first campaign of the Forever Label

Late 2020 VP Forever launched the Forever Label. The Forever Label is one of the frameworks of our organization that we created to support and empower underprivileged communities. The Forever Label was created to provide immediate long term solutions for underprivileged communities that are heavily affected by the corona crisis.
To read all about how the Forever Label was born, click here.

The first campaign started mid December 2020. The Christmas campaign was developed to bring some happiness and inspiration to people around the world at the end of a challenging year. By giving your loved ones a meaningful gift and to spread that positivity.
Learn more about the Christmas campaign here.

January 2021 - looking back on what we have achieved with the campaign. And wow, we have a lot to say. First and foremost, we have been blown away by the endless support of our Forever Community. This campaign really could not have been such a success without all of you.
How our Forever Community committed their time and effort for this campaign you can read in this blog.

Our intention of the Christmas campaign was not to open a big web shop and to become a big business and sell a million bracelets. Our goal is always to support underprivileged communities around the world and the Forever Label is one of the frameworks that we created to do so.
Every bracelet is handmade by a Balinese silversmith and every bracelet sold means we can give back to those communities that need it the most.

Selling these bracelets through our Forever Community was a way for us to inspire and unite more people. To create a meaningful gift and spread the message through our contributors. But the feedback has been so amazing and the sales went through the roof!
It was not even Christmas yet and we had to put in another order for production

We could only dream of that! Because by ordering more bracelets, more Balinese people got to go to work and earn some money. These talented artisans have been struggling a lot without an income since the pandemic started. And that is where the Forever Label came in to help. By producing everything locally, the impact is immediate and thanks to the amazing efforts of our Forever Community, the impact is even bigger.
Extra orders means extra work for them and that means a lot to us!

The Forever Label keeps on designing and producing. Besides bracelets we will soon have more items available for you. Soon we'll be sharing more about the other items of the Forever Label and where and how to purchase them.

Stay tuned for more on our social media and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter here.


Christmas campaign for the Forever Label made possible by our contributors

Not so long ago we shared the launch of one of our frameworks, the Forever Label. Created to provide immediate long term solutions for underprivileged communities that are heavily affected by the corona crisis. To read all about how the Forever Label was born, click here.

We told you all about how we designed a meaningful gift that was not only great to give to your loved ones for Christmas, but also meant a lot to underprivileged communities affected by the crisis. In case you missed the story about the Christmas campaign, read here.

But most importantly we need to tell you the story about how this campaign became a success, and even more importantly, who made it all possible!

Our intention is not to open a big web shop and to become a big business. Our goal is to support underprivileged communities around the world and the Forever Label is one of the frameworks that we created to do so. Every bracelet is handmade by a Balinese silversmith and every bracelet sold means we can give back to those communities that need it the most.

We sell the bracelets exclusively through our Forever Community. That means our contributors and volunteers are helping us with the distribution, the sales and the promotion. 

To set up the Christmas campaign, we got help from amazing contributors in The Netherlands and Belgium who committed their time and efforts to act as our distribution center. We could send the bracelets from Bali to them, and they took care of the rest.

Our wonderful and vibrant group of contributors in Europe came in immediate action to help sell the Christmas gifts. This was quite challenging indeed, as a lot was closed due to Covid restrictions. Shops were not allowed to open, restaurants and bars were closed, but that did not stop themThe efforts our contributors made was enormous. They drove around the country to deliver bracelets, they went back and forth to the post office to send them and they documented everything for our social media channels.

We can’t be thankful enough for these people. It is really because of our Forever Community that we are able to achieve so much for people who need it.
We strongly believe in the strength of uniting people and in the power of giving back as a long term engagement.

Our worldwide Forever Community is engaged in every fiber of our organization. It is what makes VP Forever different and it enables us to create real solutions to those in need. Our Forever Community consists of individuals, businesses and organizations who are dedicated to commit their time and skills and who are sharing the same mission; changing lives.

 By being part of the Forever Label, these contributors are not a big part of our Forever Community, they also make a big impact on those communities that need it the most.
Also interested to become part of our Forever Community? Read more about it here.

The Christmas campaign has been a great success. A lot of people have been surprised with a meaningful gift from their loved ones and a lot of Balinese silversmiths have been able to generate an income.
And it was all made possible by our Forever Community of contributors and volunteers!


Bracelets for Christmas - a meaningful gift

December 2020: Volunteer Programs Forever officially launched the Forever Label. Created to provide immediate long term solutions for underprivileged communities that are heavily affected by the corona crisis. To read all about how the Forever Label was born, click here.

The first line of the Forever Label is a silver jewelry line. It is produced in Bali, Indonesia. 80% of the Balinese population is depending on tourism to provide for their families and right now, due to the pandemic and with no tourism whatsoever, it has become a real challenge to survive.

Balinese silver craftsmen have been producing their amazingly skilled crafts for centuries. Thanks to the collaboration with the local company The Label we are now able to provide job opportunities for these talented artisans. Every piece of jewelry of the Forever Label is handmade with 925 Sterling silver.

A meaningful gift.
Christmas is coming up! This time of year is all about giving. Especially this year, as it has been a difficult and challenging year for everyone around the world. We wanted to share some positivity with everyone before the year ends and what is a better way than to create a meaningful gift, that is not only wonderful to give (or to get for yourself!) but also means a lot to people in need.

By making someone happy with a small gift, you make a big difference. You give something special to someone you love and at the same time you give something back to the people who need it a lot. And that is what our Forever Community is all about. We want to unite and inspire, and with the silver bracelets of the Forever Label, which are designed to inspire, we hope to spread some sparkles of happiness around the world.

Combined with a Christmas card designed by VP Forever, the package and gift is complete.

Our intention is not to open a big web shop and to become a big business. Our goal is to support underprivileged communities around the world and the Forever Label is one of the frameworks that we created to do so.
Every bracelet is handmade by a Balinese silversmith and every bracelet sold means we can give back to those communities that need it the most.

We sell the bracelets exclusively through our Forever Community. That means our contributors and volunteers are helping us with the distribution, the sales and the promotion. 

We are not sitting still, we keep ourselves busy with new designs and new production.
Soon we'll be sharing more about the other items of the Forever Label and where and how to purchase them.

Stay tuned for more on our social media and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter here.

 


Volunteering from home at VP Forever

Working from home during lockdown - what have we been doing behind the scenes

Working from home has been a concept that has been implemented everywhere in the world the past year. We all started the year 2020 as usual, going to the office, going to school or to your co-working space in town. And suddenly a worldwide pandemic caused everyone to stay at home. It is probably the most popular hashtag of the year; #stayhome.
But what did it mean for us at Volunteer Programs Forever? How did we work from home and what did we do?

Everyone who knows us, knows that we always did quite the opposite from staying at home. At our pilot project in Bali, we went to the school everyday, we visited local families, community members and government officials. We were always on the road, actually never at home.
For VP Forever we traveled around the world. Our founder Kimberley spent a good part of 2019 traveling for the organization. From Belgium where she did fundraising activities to Mexico to explore new program activities. 

And then COVID-19 hit Bali, just like the rest of the world. And we were stuck. International borders closed and the government advice was: STAY HOME! 

After a bit of adjustment in our home office, we actually started to enjoy working from home. The past years a lot of work has been put on the shelves due to full schedules and activities. Long due work on our website, our branding, our fundraising efforts and legal issues; finally there was some time to address this. On our own pace, in our own home office.

So what have we been doing?

For the past seven years, the main focus for us was our pilot project in Bali, Volunteer Programs Bali. So much, that actually not a lot of people realized that VP Bali is part of a bigger, international, organization. VP Forever did not have a very detailed website or social media channels. We haven’t done any professional fundraising and even though we were always legally 100% correct, we still had some details to work out such as annual reports and tax exempt statuses in other countries.
Since we started working from home, we have achieved a lot! 

Our Forever Community

We already had a worldwide community of volunteers for many years. But when we could no longer welcome anyone here in Bali, we thought to create a way for people to be involved and be part of our organization, but on remote, as traveling was not possible. We expanded our Forever Community and we worked with so many amazing individuals who helped us with the development and design of our website and social media channels. We created GIFS, t-shirts, PDF materials and new blog posts with skilled contributors from all over the world. We launched our
Fundraiser Friends platform, where everyone can start a personal fundraiser in a fun and exciting way. We virtually met with so many people and we got inspired by the feeling of being united, especially during challenging times. 

Rebranding

Thanks to our
Forever Community of contributors we got in touch with a Russian branding agency. They offered to help us with a total rebranding project. For both VP Forever, as for VP Bali and for our new projects, we rebranded everything. New logos, new taglines, colors and design. We are so happy with the results, it reflects perfectly on who we are and what we stand for. And the fact that it has been made possible by a business collaboration makes us even more proud!

Legal entities

VP Forever is a private foundation registered in Belgium with international projects. One of these projects is our pilot project Volunteer Programs Bali, which will soon be the first Forever Learning Center of VP Forever. It is also a local registered foundation with a local Balinese boardWe have a partnership with the King Baudouin Foundation in the United States and we are currently in the process of starting our own non profit organization in the USA as well.  We received the ANBI status in The Netherlands, which gives Dutch donors the opportunity to get their tax refunds as well.We started the process of starting an UK charity which will be open and operating early 2021.

We could not have done everything we have done without the support of our Forever Community. Everyone who donated their time, skills, money or passion made such a big impact.
We can’t wait for new projects to start in 2021 and to expand this community even more.

Although we have gotten used to working from home and we actually started to like it, we also can’t wait for travel restrictions to be lifted so we can achieve even more with our projects around the world. 

Do you want to follow us behind the scenes? Make sure to follow our social media channels!


VP Forever works with different frameworks such as the Forever Label to comply to the needs of underprivileged communities worldwide

The launch of the Forever Label

During this year VP Forever has been focusing on many new projects and concepts. Besides immediate community relief for the Balinese affected by the corona crisis through food packages and homeschooling, we developed the concept of a new learning center. We started our first Forever Project in Lebanon and towards the end of the year we proudly launched the Forever Label. 

The Forever Label was born out of a collaboration with a local company in Indonesia called ‘The Label’. Created to provide immediate long term solutions for underprivileged communities that are heavily affected by the corona crisis.

It is the mission of VP Forever to create solutions for communities in need and we do so through our different frameworks. VP Forever strongly believes in the power of uniting people to make a real difference in the lives of these people. By setting up long term collaborations with businesses all over the world, we can provide much needed support through local job employment.

Everything we create and design comes directly from us and supported and inspired by our community. The products that are designed are meant to symbolize everything that VP Forever and the Forever Community is about. We want to bring people together.
Thanks to the collaborations with businesses around the world we are able to provide job opportunities for these talented artisans.
Thanks to our Forever Community our products are making a big impact all around the world.

What are the products?

Accessible products are offered at a fair price and fair wages for the local craftsmen and women are guaranteed. The Label has created the items for The Forever Label in their assortment specifically to support our organization.

Forever Label - Bali

The silver jewelry line of the Forever Label is produced in Bali, Indonesia. 80% of the Balinese population is depending on tourism to provide for their families and right now, due to the pandemic and with no tourism whatsoever, it has become a real challenge to survive.

Balinese silver craftsmen have been producing their amazingly skilled crafts for centuries. Thanks to the collaboration with the local company The Label we are now able to provide job opportunities for these talented artisans. Every piece of jewelry of the Forever Label is handmade with 925 Sterling silver.


WEAR IT

The label wouldn’t exist without the Forever Community. First and foremost, it wouldn’t be what it is today, if it wasn’t for our exclusive business collaborations. Through these collaborations we can create, we can grow and we can inspire. Our business partners produce and design with us. They sell and wear for us. Worldwide.

Everyone who wears our products is part of a vibrant and inspiring Forever Community. By wearing a product from the Forever Label you have a big impact and by sharing the message you inspire and empower others to do the same.

SHARE IT

The more we spread our message, the bigger our community grows and ultimately the more we can help those people who need it the most. It is because of these business collaborations and contributors that we can make it all happen.

Besides just wearing the items, you can make an even bigger impact! Every member of our Forever Community contributes towards our mission and there are many ways for YOU to be part of that too! Whether it is by helping us sell the products or by sharing your story online, it all makes a big difference and is so very meaningful.

Learn more about the Forever Label here.
Want to be part of our Forever Community as well? Whether as an individual or with your business, we welcome you! Send us a message!


Our Forever Learning Centers are supported by our Forever Community. We welcome international volunteers, fundraisers are held and contributors commit their time and skills towards the center.

Our future plans - finding long term solutions for the Balinese community

Bali has been going through a big transformation during 2020. The year that started as any other year, but after only two months in, everything changed. Our pilot project in Bali was operating as usual and Bali was as busy and popular for international tourists as always.
When the international borders closed in late March, Bali has changed drastically. Where the streets are usually filled with tourist busses, we saw empty streets, shops closing down and restaurants and hotels totally empty.

For us as a nonprofit organization our main priority is to support our local communities. We took immediate action by handing out food packages and we provided homeschooling for our students.
Read more about that in our blog post
here.

The past months also made us realize that we had to search for solutions for the community that last longer. The dependence on tourism here in Bali has been challenging many times in the past (Bali bomb, earthquakes, volcanoes etc.) and has never been as catastrophic as it is now. The community in Bali does not have a lot of other opportunities to secure a structural income

A new center

Therefore we have developed a new concept of a Learning Center that we plan to open in 2021.  At the center we will provide many different activities for the community. There will still be English classes and we will still welcome international volunteers. But we will also have an extensive skill training program, workshops and events for the community and a lot of job employment.

It is more important than ever to support the local community to invest in other forms of income and economic activities. Volunteer Programs Forever is actively working on finding solutions, such as the construction of a new Learning Center.

Various activities will take place here. For example workshops and training courses are organized to teach the local community new skills to be able to perform other jobs. In the long term, this should ensure that the Balinese economy also slowly shifts to other sources of income than just tourism. That sector will still remain important in the future, but the 'hospitality' sector can also be used more broadly for domestic tourism, expats, services to wealthy Indonesian or Balinese families.

 The main (first) goal is to inspire the community and provide opportunities to think 'out of the box'. To be open to learning new skills and to be able to think broader (there is more than just tourism). In the longer term, the goal of Volunteer Programs Forever is also to offer them the opportunity to start up their own business, to follow additional training courses in different sectors (including by providing scholarships), and to also create extra jobs themselves. 

Where are we at?

Over the past months we have been working very hard to design the concept, we have been working with a local architect to draw up our plans. We have secured a 25 year lease for the land where the Forever Learning Center will be built. Set in the heart of Lodtunduh, the land offers 2800 square meters for our buildings. The land has a spiritual connection as it is close to a holy spring. We have worked closely with people in the local community, our staff and a local architect to develop a plan for the new Center.
The owner of the land is a very respected village leader and comes from a priest family. With his support comes the support of the people of Lodtunduh.

The environment we create for the Balinese community  is crucial. There is an education center where they can learn English and access a community library, a training center where they can follow vocational training and internships and a community center where they can join workshops and events.

This is not just a wish list. We have been working with people across Bali for over 7 years and understand how the local communities work. The local community has been involved in the planning of the Center from its inception and have guided our thinking to find new ways of working that begin to remove their economic dependency on tourism. We speak the local language, we adapt to local culture and traditions and we have a local board who have an advisory role so we can ensure the needs of the community are answered correctly.

We are very excited about this development and we can not wait to open the center, welcome volunteers again and most importantly make a big impact on the local community here in Bali.

If you are interested to support us, please donate directly by clicking here.
If you like to read our financial reports or fundraising proposal, please contact us here.

 


Homeschooling VP Forever

Bali community support during 2020 - the year of the pandemic

The year 2020 has been a year we will remember. When we started in January we had no idea that everything would change. We first heard about the coronavirus coming from China and we did not realize that it would affect us in the way it did. Our program operated as usual, until we received more warnings that COVID-19 has arrived in Indonesia as well. On Monday 16th March we received a letter from the government that all schools in Indonesia had to close, and not long after that, the international borders closed down too.

Since our school closed in March we have been working very hard to find solutions on how to support our local community. All the kids that joined our program on a daily basis have been home and their families have been struggling as well as most of the Balinese are out of a job due the fact there has been no tourism whatsoever since late March.

Our priority is always to support communities and to find solutions that work on a long term, and not only quick fixes. However, due to the crisis we have experienced here in Bali, we also realized that the community really needed that ‘quick fix’ at that time.
For many Balinese, no job means no income and that literally means no food. Unfortunately most Balinese have no back up plan or savings and there is no financial government support.

Food packages

We saw a lot of families struggling and panicking about how to feed themselves and their children. Volunteer Programs Forever stepped in and over the past months we have been handing out food packages to the families of our students and community members.
These packages included rice, eggs, noodles and oil, which are the main necessities for an average Balinese family.
With each package a family could eat for about a week.

Homeschooling

Besides daily needs we have also been handing out homeschooling and hygiene packages. We created homeschooling packages for our students so they can keep learning in a fun and creative way and in a safe and healthy environment. 

The homeschooling packages included some educational materials such as crayons, colored pencils etc. as well as educational worksheets about the coronavirus. Through these worksheets the students could also learn about the coronavirus and the importance of hygiene to stop the spread of the virus. 

When we handed out these packages, we were not only focusing on the kids but also on their families. It is our vision and mission to support a community as a whole. The hygiene packages were distributed to the families of our students and also included hand soap, hand sanitizer, face masks, drinking bottles and towels.
Hygiene is very important, especially now, so with these packages we also wanted to support them with hygiene supplies.

All of this has only been possible thanks to the donations we have received and we are so very grateful for that!
If you are also interested in donating towards one of our programs, click here.

The past months we have also been focusing on finding long term solutions for the Balinese community.
Read our blog post about our future plans
here.

 


Forever Projects are one of the solutions we offer to help communities in need at VP Forever

Disaster relief for Beirut - Our first Forever Project in Lebanon.

Beirut, Lebanon got hit by an devastating explosion that has made an enormous impact on its citizen. The mission of VP Forever is to support and empower underprivileged communities around the world and to empower them to build their own future, through a worldwide Forever Community.

Now our community needs us. The members of our Forever Community in Lebanon have been going through a lot since the past year. A revolution, economic crisis, a deadly pandemic and on Tuesday 4th August 2020 the city of Beirut has been hit by an enormous explosion that has caused more than 150 deaths so far, 5000+ injured and 300.000 families homeless. Houses are destroyed and people are still missing.

The aftermath of the explosion that happened in Beirut is enormous. Many lives have been lost, families torn apart and buildings destroyed. It will take a long time to process, to recover and to rebuild.

But, united we stand, and together we can make a difference to those affected. We are supporting many families who have lost absolutely everything. Their homes, their family members, their pets. But most importantly, they lost their safety and their freedom.

The mission of VP Forever is to support communities around the world through our Forever Community. Maria Noujaim is part of this in Beirut, Lebanon. Together we are raising funds so we can help families in the affected areas, to rebuild their homes. Transparency and honesty is key for VP Forever. Therefore we work together with members from our Forever Community who are on the ground in Beirut and who will ensure that YOUR donation goes straight to those people who need it.

With the funds raised VP Forever will support families whose houses are destroyed, whose loved ones are still missing and who need medical care. Every dollar raised will go straight to the people.

We aim to provide long term solutions and to help communities as a whole. Therefore we will be working with Marwan Khoury, a very talented woodworker who has been suffering a lot due to the situation in Lebanon. Since the crisis in the country started last September he hardly had any jobs. He is struggling a lot and really needs a job to survive and provide for his family.

Through this fundraiser we will not only help him with job employment, we will be able to support a lot of families by rebuilding their homes. They have lost everything and through the woodwork that Marwan and his team will do, we can support these families and create a safe environment for them.

Our Forever Community member Maria on the ground in Beirut shares her personal story here
She will make sure that every donation will go where it needs to go.

United we stand. Let’s give a hand and make a difference for the people in Beirut!

If you are interested to learn more about the fundraiser or make a donation, please have a look here