Are you are thinking of doing volunteer work for Humana People-to-People, Planet Aid, Netup, Hope, The Institute for International Cooperation and Development , Green World Recycling or the Gaia-Movement Trust (or any of the other organisations listed here)? Then these pages are for you.
Or you may be considering enrolling for training at a school or college, called something like Campus California TG, the Necessary Teacher Training College, the Travelling Folk High School or CICD, the College for International Co-operation and Development. Then read on.
If you are in China or the Far East, you may be tempted to enroll as a volunteer in Europe and Africa with a body called International Education Coordination or at the Yunnan Institute for Development in Yunnan province….
You’ll be working for Tvind – also known as The Teachers Group – a very peculiar set-up indeed. Tvind’s been around for 30 years and in that time it’s rarely been off the front pages in Denmark, where it began. It’s controversial. Some people are devoted to it – a lot of people say it is bad news.
Few can say whether it’s foundation, apparently by hippies and left-wing teachers, was truly idealistic – and if so, when it all changed. Perhaps it was always corrupt. Today, whatever its true politics may be, it is often described as a cult; by others it is regarded as a slick money-making machine rather than a charity.
Over the years dozens of ex-participants, mostly from Scandinavia, have come forward with strange and disturbing stories about ‘brainwashing’, psychological manipulation, postcard-selling on the streets and isolation from friends and family, not to mention curious financial transactions. Anti-Tvind groups have appeared in Denmark, Norway and elsewhere.
The Teachers Group has hundreds of secret companies, worth many millions of pounds. Investigative journalists have trawled over networks of offshore bank accounts and secret companies. There have been reports of neglect of teenagers, the deaths in avoidable circumstances of some young volunteers, extreme political ideology, even (unconfirmed) allegations of ‘weapons training’.