Could you help give back with Indigo Volunteers?

Medical volunteer Thessaloniki, Indigo Volunteers

Indigo Volunteers is a small UK registered charity, run by an excitable and passionate group of volunteers from several different countries and a handful of full-time field staff.

The world is our office: we coordinate our day-to-day operations from behind our laptops, enabling us to work alongside our partners both in and outside of the field.

Indigo Volunteers was founded in 2012 by Holly Penalver in response to the steep fees, dubious marketing practices, and questionable projects she had encountered whilst volunteering abroad. Holly had been keen to get involved and find a more ethical way to organise volunteering since first coming across these malpractices back in 2009. As a paediatric nurse, she identified a small health clinic in Malawi and organised a volunteering placement for her and her colleagues. The trip confirmed two things: local grassroots projects had great interest in the assistance of independently placed volunteers, and Holly’s colleagues and friends were inspired to come out and help. Back home, she started her own non-profit volunteer matchmaking organisation; Indigo was born.

With the support of Holly’s dedicated friends and family, Indigo got to work identifying projects across East Africa that required volunteer support and started organising placements for a handful of brave applicants. Gradually, more countries and projects were added to the website, and more aspiring volunteers signed up. The 2015 refugee crisis proved a catalyst for a sudden growth spurt, yielding an unprecedented demand for immediate independent emergency aid on European soil.


The refugee crisis changed our priorities: suddenly there was an unprecedented demand for immediate independent emergency aid on European soil, and an immense number of volunteers was needed to support the grassroots charities that came to the rescue. Indigo got involved on the ground in 2016 and rapidly grew to become one of the leading coordination charities on the refugee route, partnering with Help Refugees to place volunteers, support projects with setting up adequate volunteer-management structures and create connections across Greece, the Balkans, Calais/Dunkirk, Turkey, and Lebanon.

Indigo was established to inspire more people to volunteer, and to volunteer responsibly.. We believe humanitarian work should be taken seriously, with considerable thought to the communities and people that we serve, and we reiterate this message through the volunteer journey.

Indigo Volunteers team working in Greece


We are working with over 45 partner organisations. Small grassroots organisations often do not have the time or resources to find volunteers that keep their projects running. Conversely, people who want to volunteer often don’t know where to start, and find it difficult to identify a legitimate project where their talents are really needed. Our aim is to remove these hurdles and create the connections that enable charities to keep going and focus on their objectives.

We recruit volunteers and connect them with refugee and migrant projects mainly in Greece, but also in Bosnia, Serbia, France, Turkey  and Lebanon. From female focused community centers to mother and baby support organisations, to search and rescue charities we are working to connect volunteers with the relevant skill sets and backgrounds to our partner organisations. We also help partnering projects by sharing knowledge and resources and actively encouraging collaboration within our network. Drawing on a growing pool of experienced partners from across the globe, we help improve standards by organising info-sessions, facilitating workshops and sharing training opportunities on a wide range of humanitarian topics.


Our partner charities are continuously seeking volunteers for a variety of both skilled and general positions. Minimum time commitments range from 10 days to 3 months.

Take a look at our website to read about the charities we support and their needs and requirements. There is something for everyone!

If work and/or home commitments make it unworkable to volunteer abroad, consider doing a fundraiser for Indigo, or volunteering your skills from home.

We are always happy to answer any queries, so contact us and we are happy to chat about the possibilities and opportunities.

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