Recently,I have been trying to put together a site called volunteerafrica.net. The idea is to make a list of low fee volunteer opportunities in Africa. It’s only new, but hopefully it will become a useful resource. This led me to think that I haven’t seen a list of great low fee volunteer abroad resources.
So, here is my current list of Top 5 Volunteer Abroad Resources.
1. Daniela Papi and the Pepy Ride
I think that Daniela Papi is someone people should checkout at the beginning of their research of voluntourism. Daniela started the Pepy Ride in Cambodia in 2004. The Pepy ride was created when a team of 6 cyclists went on an adventure across Cambodia to learn and contribute to education programs in the region. The organization currently has the mission “to invest time and resources in young people in Cambodia, working with them to connect them to the skills, systems, and inspiration necessary to achieve their goals, raise standards of living, and improve the quality of education in their communities.” After a number of years being actively involved in the voluntourism industry, Daniela has some great insight, and it isn’t always positive. Her recent article in the Huffington Post, “Why You Should Say No to Orphanage Tourism (And Tell All Tour Companies to Do the Same)” is a thought provoking read. An article that I think all people should read before they go off to the world of voluntourism. You can also check out her Ted Talk:
Also thought provoking is this picture from her twitter feed:
2. Volunteer Forever
The idea behind Volunteer Forever was conceived after Founder and CEO Steve Weddle’s volunteer trip to India. The site is “a comprehensive online resource that would help volunteers find and fund their volunteer opportunities. Empowerment through information and resources!.” It also has a long list of programs to chose from and has very useful program reviews. This site will undoubtedly become a great resource for anyone looking to fundraise.
3. All Hands Volunteers
All Hands Volunteers “provides hands-on assistance to communities around the world, with maximum impact and minimum bureaucracy.” I was first introduced to this organization when following Kristy’s blog, the Nerdy Nomad (www.nerdynomad.com). After reading about Kristy volunteering with this organization, I started to follow them on facebook. It seems any time there is a natural disaster, no matter where it is in the world, they are quickly orchestrating a relief effort and recruiting their army of volunteers. Currently, they are recruiting for a volunteer project in Cagayan de Oro, in the Philippines which was hit by Typhoon Washi on December 16, 2011. All Hands has been “helping homeowners to remove debris and mud from within their homes so that they can move back in from tent shelters or evacuation centres. We also have been cooperating with Catholic Relief Services, IOM and Habitat For Humanity Philippines.” I hope to get an opportunity to volunteer with this group in the future.
Volunteersouthamerica.net was one of the first volunteer sites that I saw. Steve McElhinney founded the site in 2005. His story of how and why the site was created is very similar to that of True Travellers Society. He states, “the origins of volunteersouthamerica.net date from early 2005 when I was looking for free, grass-roots, volunteer work in Argentina. I soon discovered that finding volunteer work that didn’t involve paying a middle-man/third party a large amount of cash was much more difficult than I had expected; the result was many happy hours spent searching on Google, internet travel forums & obscure Spanish-language websites for a suitable volunteer work program.” Historically, it has been a list of community based organizations in South America. Steve has recently added a blog section, which I think is a great addition to an already great resource.
5. Volunteer Global
Volunteer Global connects travellers with community based organizations worldwide. They have a great layout for their site and an extensive list of organizations. Volunteer Global has established a strong community and an up to date list of opportunities which is difficult to find. There is a cost to a number of their programs but most are very reasonable.
Well, that’s it. Hope you find the list useful. I’m starting with five and hope to build on to this list with your feedback and recommendations. Please let me know if you have anything to add in the comments below.