Osaka Voluntary Action Center (OVAC) is a non-profit organization (NPO) founded in 1965, which was set up under the mission of promoting volunteerism in Osaka and Kansai area. (Our history)
OVAC has been striving to encourage, support, and motivate citizens to tackle various social issues. In the process we have constructed our comprehensive functions to energize civil activities. We provide networking opportunities for volunteers and NPOs, investigate current topics of volunteer activities and conduct research on how to strengthen NPOs.
**If you would like to know and explore OVAC’s activities or its history, there are a few steps to take. Visit this page to learn more about a formal visit request.
*We provide this service for person living and currently staying in Kansai Area.
Are you struggling to find what volunteer to participate?
What kind of volunteer activities
would you want to participate in?
You may discover what you are interested in and what type of volunteer you want to participate in through this platform.
**Although a lot of volunteer recruitments are in Japanese, there are a few volunteers you can do with English only.
After reading this checkpoint, visit KVnet database about volunteer recruitments in Japanese, click here.
Most of the programs in KVnet often require participants to have a certain level of speaking, listening, and understanding Japanese in order to provide accurate instructions. We are sorry for this inconvenience, and thank you for your understanding.
→Before you apply for a volunteer or you participate in a volunteer, please take time and read Volunteer Guidebook to get ready for your new volunteering experience in Japan! This is useful especially if you are worried about Japanese culture and different customs from your originating country.
It is always helpful if you know how to greet people in Japanese, to have even a simple conversation in Japanese, or to say some basic words and phrases in Japanese. It does not have to be perfect because a lot of people around you will definitely try to understand you!
Bring out the possibility of children
There is not a language barrier when you interact with people through your hobby or through something you like! However, this type of volunteer is often long-term in order to build a strong relationship.
Enrich the lives of the elderly people and people with disabilities
Similar to an interaction with children, there is not a language barrier in communication with them. It is more important that you are willing to have a conversation with them!
Conserve and raise the nature and an environment
If you feel anxious about talking to people in Japanese, this volunteer type might be easier to participate in! Volunteers related to an environmental issues overall or nature conservation do not often require communication among participants.
Deepen an understanding of diversity
Participate in Japanese Class (scroll down to see a list in different languages): Osaka City Board of Education creates a space for non-Japanese speakers to interact with Japanese speakers. Through learning Japanese, learners are able to exchange their own cultures. Consider attending Japanese language center to learn more Japanese!
This type of volunteering requires you to have a certain level of Japanese because this is to support non-Japanese speakers to learn Japanese. Even though there is a staff member who speaks your language and supports you, you may want to look into other types of volunteer if you do not speak Japanese.
Join hospitals and medical situations
Create a connection through cultures and arts
Support homeless people
Support civil activities through IT
Protect and raise animals
Be involved in volunteers after natural disasters
Work on community development with locals
This is a great opportunity for you to get involved in Japanese culture, history, and traditions, in addition to an interaction with local people.
Think about the gender
We think that this topic is not argued as often as it is in other countries, and an awareness towards gender and minority issues are just starting to be spread among people in Japan.
Connect through collect-send-activities
Be considerate of someone’s mind
Watch over children in an educational setting
When you first do a volunteer in Japan, you may feel excited and nervous, starting to think,“What do I have to prepare?” or “What is something I have to be careful when volunteering?”. If you know what to be careful, it will make you feel less anxious about your first experience of volunteering. Please check this out!
1What are the risks during the volunteer?
There is always a risk whenever people try to do something. It is the same for volunteering. For example, you might be late for the volunteer because of the delay of the transportation, or you might hurt or injure someone during the volunteer… Therefore, it is important to make sure what you do for the volunteer and where you volunteer, as well as how to deal with an emergent problem. Furthermore, there is a “volunteer insurance” that has an insurance for accidents during the volunteer or accidents while you transport. You may want to check it in with an organization you are volunteering for.
2How to choose the volunteer (basic attitudes)?
Volunteering is not just for your convenience, however, it is formed after an agreement between “what I want to do and can do” and “what the other person wants or needs”. Anybody can participate in volunteering, and it is most important to discuss and come to an agreement with what you want to do and can do, what the other person wants from you, what you actually do, and your thoughts, with people you are working with.
3Clothes to wear for the volunteer
It is ideal to wear something comfortable to move around. However, choosing too casual clothes might be inappropriate depending on where you do the volunteer at, therefore, considering what would be appropriate for a certain situation. It is essential to consider where you are going to do a volunteer and what kind of volunteer you are working for. For example in the case of physical assistance volunteer, long nails, a ring or a brooch with a projection, or an ornament such as long necklace would cause a harm on someone you are helping.
4What is the cost that you are responsible for the volunteer?
As a principle, volunteers need to be done without any reward. However, in order to decrease the responsibility of volunteers and get more participants, several organizations may cover the required fee to volunteer (such as a transportation fee, food, and ingredients). You will be able to participate comfortably if you make sure these points beforehand.
5Activity time and confidentiality
It is necessary to be punctual even if volunteers are voluntary activities. Volunteer activities are made up based on trust, therefore, it is essential to be on time and keep a promise. At the same time, it is never allowed to excessively tell others about what you saw or heard from the volunteer. These days, posting texts, photos, and videos on blogs, the internet, social media, and SNS is getting easier and more accessible. As well as the contact information of those who are involved in the volunteer, the other private information you get during the volunteer should be protected.
6What is the satisfaction level of people you volunteered for?
During the volunteer, you may get into the false idea that you are doing something good for someone, but the person does not perceive your favor the same way. People who are helped often feel sorry, and people who are helping often feel they should be appreciated. Therefore, you may feel, “why are people not happy even though I am helping them out?” In that case, always remember that volunteers have an equal relationship with people you are working for. Always try to put yourself in someone’s shoes while you volunteer.
7What would you do when you try too hard?
There could be a situation where you feel mentally and physically exhausted because you accept too much work. When you have more and more willingness, you put yourself in the other person’s shoes too much and forget to take care of yourself… If this happens, the volunteer will not be fun, you will have health problems, and other people will need to take care of you. In order to do a long-term volunteering with some fun, it is important to communicate “what you can do” and “what you cannot do”, and start from what you can do.
8What would you do when you struggle?
There are “volunteer coordinators” who are professional in consulting with volunteering. They are in volunteer centers, institutions, or organizations. At institutions and organizations, they may have other work as well or they are called “person in charge of volunteering”, and their position or the job name may differ. If you have anything in your mind about the volunteering, consult with a volunteer coordinator of the organization you are working with or of the nearest volunteer center. *People who speak other languages than Japanese are limited and sometimes volunteer centers do have a limited number of people or language.
OVAC was established in 1965.Following is a very brief history.
|June, 1963||Volunteer groups in Osaka City came together and started to have monthly coordination meetings.|
|November, 1965||“Volunteer Association Osaka Bureau” was established as a non-official organization.
“Volunteer Introductory Courses” was offered as the first volunteer course in Japan. ( Since then, we have been providing various training & educational course for volunteers.)
|July, 1966||Published the first volunteer magazine “Gekkan Volunteer” (monthly volunteer).|
|July, 1967||Published specialized book &”Volunteer Service” and 3 other books.
(Since then, we have been expanding our publication activities.)
|June, 1969||The status of the organization changed to the corporate Juridical person and was named “Osaka Voluntary Action Center”.|
|May, 1971||Applied “Volunteer Staff Participation System” and OVAC members became the main operators of the organization.|
|May, 1973||Started to provide volunteer information constantly through newspapers.|
|June, 1976||Offered “Training Course for Volunteer Coordinators”. The first one in Japan.|
|July, 1984||Offered short term experience program “Summer Volunteer Project” as the first experience course in Osaka ( Kansai ) Area.|
|October, 1991||Established “Center for Corporate Citizenship” and started to work in partnership with companies and volunteer groups.|
|July, 1993||The status of OVAC changed to a social welfare corporation.|
|August, 1994||DDeveloped and launched a data base system called VIS(Volunteer Information System).|
|January, 1995||Organized temporary support center “Citizen Groups for supporting victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake”.|
|November, 1996||Participated in the establishment of “Japan NPO Center” and sent a staff there.|
|July, 1999||Established “Non-profit Resource Center “.|
|November, 2001||Established the Steering Committee for Citizen Empowerment Center.|
|April ,2002||Opened “Osaka NPO Plaza”.|
|January ,2003||Redesigned the volunteer magazine and renamed it “Volo: Comprehensive Informational Magazine for Civil Activities”.|
|May ,2003||Started a new volunteer information distribution website “KVNET”.|
|April ,2005||Started “Kansai NPO Support Center Network”(KNN).|
|May ,2005||Started “Kansai CSR Forum” which aims at expansion of CSR value among enterprises.|
|September ,2009||Opened “Research for Voluntarism Institute”.|
|March ,2011||Provided various support for the Great East Japan Earthquake. Held an event, called 3.11 from Kansai, which aims at helping the reconstruction of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2012.|
|March ,2013||Closed “Osaka NPO Plaza”.|
|April ,2013||Opened “Civil and Voluntary Action Square -CANVAS Tanimachi”|
|November ,2015||Celebrated half a century anniversary. It has been 50 years since we started OVAC.|
NPO : Non-profit Organization