There is no better time to get away and embark on the volunteer trip you’ve always dreamt about. There is an ever-increasing number of volunteer projects around the globe. Each project more unusual and different from the next. With so many volunteer projects available it can be hard to know where help is most needed.
I’ve prepared the most popular and needed ways of volunteering abroad below:
Our earth is changing and having effects on our plants and animals. Choosing to help the environment and volunteer in conservation is an amazing way to volunteer abroad and will not only benefit this generation. But future generations too. There are many small grassroots projects which are a mix of international volunteers and passionate locals getting together to make a difference to the environment.
More animals are being added to the endangered species list and forests are falling down at an alarming rate. Devote some time replanting trees in deforestation areas and tracking wild endangered animals. Help monitor habitats and populations and get involved in breeding projects releasing animals back into the wild.
Nursing, physiotherapy, midwifery, medical students and working professionals can all make a difference in the world. As at least half of the world population lacks basic health care services. Medical volunteers witness first-hand the challenges different healthcare systems face around the world. And how they work around these struggles each day.
Hospitals in less developed countries are often underfunded and understaffed. Volunteers help to provide hands-on health care in areas of need. Either in a hospital, local clinic or directly in the community. Volunteers should be prepared to bring over supplies as resources are very limited.
The destination chosen to volunteer in will affect the type of teaching available at local schools. In countries where little English is spoken limits volunteers to teach this. As the language barrier make teaching other subjects difficult. By teaching the English, the locals have more options to apply for jobs with better working conditions and higher pay. Along with opening the path for jobs in tourism. Fluent English speakers are the perfect teachers to help schools who cannot afford to hire international teachers. Or properly train current teachers to teach English lessons.
Countries, where English is widely spoken means volunteers, have opportunities to teach different subjects. Picking up the local curriculum teaching, preparing students for their exams. In poorer, more underdeveloped parts of a country, schools may not have a curriculum they follow as there may not be enough regular teachers.
This is possibly the most tangible form of volunteering to see and understand the difference made. Leave knowing you have built something and made a difference. From schools and classrooms to houses, libraries and clinics. Volunteers help build much of a community. Long term water solutions such as introducing plumbing to the community and drilling a borehole are possible. But this takes more time and money to provide.
Community development isn’t restricted to just building projects. Volunteers also help develop the community through workshops on health education and diseases such as diabetes and AIDs. They also help by handing out water filters and showing the locals how to use them.
There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in social work in your home country as well as helping overseas. In every community, there will be disadvantaged groups of people within that community. Typically, the organisations and projects which support these groups of people are often underfunded and under-resourced.
Volunteers are the manpower that’s needed to make a bigger impact on the community. Awareness campaigns, fundraising, education, physical and mental healthcare support are all projects that volunteers get involved with.
This type of volunteering comes in many different forms, skills training. Health outreach, prenatal support and workshops on menstruation and birth control. Help in communities building relationships with women, fighting for justice around the world.
There are over 65 million people in the world who are either refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced. There is a huge need for volunteers on refugee projects abroad. As a lot of countries are inundated with refugees. Trying to meet the needs of all of the individuals and families is hard work.
There are many different ways to help on a refugee settlement, teaching English to refugees, counsellors, fundraisers and first aid workers. Lawyers are also a great help in settlements, there is a lot of paperwork with technical jargon, translators can also greatly help by translating these documents.
There are many cat and dog sanctuaries set up by expats around the world which welcome international volunteers offering their time. Especially to help walk, bath, feed and socialise with the animals. There are even opportunities to meet larger animals, learn about them and raise awareness, educating others through volunteering.
Rescue centres for illegal animal trading or poaching, sanctuaries for endangered or injured species and wildlife rehabilitation centres set up to rehome animals and reduce habitat destruction. There are continuous research projects which welcome volunteers. These projects might include getting up close and personal with wild animals in their natural habitat, monitoring and taking notes.
Hurricanes, floods and earthquakes continue to make a need for disaster relief volunteering. Volunteers travel to areas after natural disasters to help rebuild communities and provide a pair of helping hands on the ground. Even a little can go a long way. Entertaining children while their parents focus on rebuilding homes and schools can make a huge difference.
This form of volunteering can be difficult to organise and is certainly aimed at independent volunteers. Communities are busy building their homes and communities back up form nothing and don’t have time to care for volunteers, organising accommodation or activities. It sometimes requires staying in a tent in poor conditions.
It’s not hard to find volunteer projects that involve helping little ones but bear in mind this form of volunteering may be better suited to long stay volunteers. Children can take time to get to know someone and trust them.
Schools, summer camps, sports and art projects often all include children. Usually informal and great for first-time volunteers who want to help make a difference. Without the responsibility of teaching a class. There is no stress simply kicking a ball around or dancing with children abroad can help boost their confidence and make a difference. Learning and engaging with a volunteer from a different world to their own. Some of the children may be vulnerable or socially isolated and simply need interaction. To help them make them feel as if they’re achieving something.
Whatever project you choose to join volunteering abroad. Ultimately you will have endless amounts of fun, meet new people and make a real difference.
Resources For Volunteering Abroad
Original Volunteers – affordable volunteer-sending organisation based in the UK
Trip Advisor – for information and advice on local tours at your destination
Sky Scanner – probably the easiest site to find cheap flights worldwide
FCO – government travel safety information with country-specific updates
Fit For Travel – NHS site lists immunisations needed before travel