FAQs Returned Volunteers


VSA Friendship Bracelets

Each August people across New Zealand buy colourful hand-woven friendship bracelets to support the work of VSA volunteers in developing countries.

VSA volunteers build friendships across the wider Pacific to make a difference in the communities they work in. By buying a friendship bracelet for just $3 you are helping Volunteer Service Abroad build a better future for people across the wider Pacific.

VSA volunteers build friendships across the wider Pacific to create new opportunities for people that will continue to ripple across communities and generations to come. Every year VSA sends over 200 skilled Kiwis overseas to share their experience and knowledge directly with local people and communities, from disaster recovery in Vanuatu and Fiji to safe drinking water for people in Kiribati.

Vasti Dancing Bougainville Crop

Volunteer Vasti Venter joins in with a group of dancers performing in Chabai, Bougainville.


Volunteers like Vasti Venter, a kindy teacher from Wellington, who is building friendships in Bougainville to help make a difference to some of the youngest members of the community. Vasti is part of a team at Callan Services for People with Disabilities, a school that provides mainstream and special needs education for pre- and primary school children. Bougainville’s violent civil conflict ended in 1997, and with the memory of war less than a decade old, many of its citizens still live in hardship. Yet Vasti has found that despite the differences between Kiwi kids and the children at Callan, some things are universal.

“I made playdough for the first time a month ago and they loved it. They had never seen playdough before, but the discoveries they made, from not knowing what to do with it, to coming up with their own ideas, were just amazing.”

VSA’s Bougainville Programme Manager Paul Bedggood says Vasti demonstrates what is best about volunteering for international development: “Vasti’s inspiring. She never stops looking for ways to make positive change for the kids and staff at Callan, and in the rest of the community.”

Your $3 will be used to support projects like Vasti’s in Bougainville. You can purchase a VSA Friendship Bracelet from The Body Shop online or in-store between 1 August and 11 September.