Volunteering while travelling

Pam is keen to take on some voluntary work on her next holiday.

Volunteering while travelling

Pam is keen to take on some voluntary work on her next holiday, but isn’t sure what is involved and how to go about finding a worthwhile project

Q. Pam
When we were young we ticked off all the usual big ticket travel icons. Now that our children are independent and we are able to spend more time travelling, we would like to volunteer our time and combine our holiday with undertaking some worthwhile projects. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Participating in a volunteer vacation allows you to ‘do something good’ and enjoy new locations and challenges in places you might not otherwise visit. By combining a vacation and volunteering, you not only make a difference to the community you are visiting, but you will find yourself immersed in the local culture. But before you book the first flight to Africa you need to assess where and what type of volunteer travel will suit you best. It is important to take time to think about what is important to you, and more significantly, what you have to offer others.

First things first. If at all possible, it is preferable to volunteer on a project for which you have a strong interest or passion. If you believe passionately in the need for animal conservation, there are projects such as the conservation of the marine turtle populations of Sri Lanka where you can work with local community members to encourage a safe nesting beach. Or perhaps working on elephant conservation in Thailand, where you help shower, feed and keep the elephants’ living area clean and tidy may hold more appeal. Keep in mind that the work you do may be arduous and that there is no point in volunteering to work with an animal for which you have no empathy.

Perhaps humanitarian work is where your interests lie. Inevitably, there are always troubles happening somewhere in the world, due to natural disasters, wars or famines. Would you like to be involved with teaching or helping children? Or assist to rebuild homes destroyed by hurricanes or a tsunami?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    22nd Aug 2015
    There are also volunteering opportunities in Australia. Look at Outback Links for one. They offer opportunities to work for up to about 4 weeks at a time on properties around Australia. You live on the property, helping out with various jobs or just providing company. The website is:
    22nd Aug 2015
    Pam I live in a S E Asian country the advice given above is sound information do your home work it maybe rewarding but I assure you it can also be disappointing in big ways.My only other comment who'd be they are poor countries & think we are money trees!!!!Best of luck
    6th Mar 2018
    I travel to Russia every year and during the school year spend approximately two weeks working as a volunteer teacher in English (it is a specialist Russian English school) where the students are interested in learning/improving their English and I have been made very welcome by both staff and students. The school is about to celebrate 50 years as a specialist school and I felt honoured when I was told that there was a photo and story about me inthe book produced for the ocassion. I have been volunteering there for about 10 years. It is an informal arrangement which helps give me a purpose when I am there and I have been honoured by requests to help in other schools and cities. Time allows me to work only in one city.

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