I created this post initially because whilst planning my own travelling I searched for placements that do not require volunteers to pay for the privilege of helping. Basic living costs are understandable, but there are many companies out there aimed specifically at the gap year market that charge large amounts of money for something that can be done independently and for a much lower cost, if you just put in a bit of time to research.
So, here’s a list of free or cheap volunteering placements suggested by members of gapyear.com. I can’t vouch for their quality but they are worth a look if you’re intending to volunteer.
Before you volunteer: I am increasingly cynical of many so-called ‘voluntourism’ placements, their motives and their impact. I don’t want to use this thread as a place to preach, but if you are interested in volunteering I’d strongly recommend having a browse of these blogs before you commit to anything:
EDIT: I started off by copying all the suggestions people made into this initial post, but as this is a thread that has been ongoing for a number of years now, I have stopped doing this due to time constraints and other commitments - so please scroll through the subsequent posts as there may be some information of interest to you further down!
http://www.avif.org.uk/index.php/join.html - volunteering opportunities in Kenya
www.stormsriverproject.com - working with a disadvantaged community in South Africa, different types of work available; don’t charge for long term (over 3 months) volunteers and only charge accommodation for the short termers
www.diywild.com - some long-term wildlife volunteering placements available; South Africa
http://j2atogo.wordpress.com/ - development and sustainable tourism projects in Togo, West Africa; volunteers probably need to speak French (or Evé) though
http://www.lifeandhopeangkor.org/ - English language teaching in Siem Reap, Cambodia
http://www.joehoman.org.uk/index.asp - South India; working with disadvantaged children; a lot of the voluntary work seems to involve visiting their projects, interviewing children and writing reports on them
http://www.operation-shanti.org/pages/getinvolvedindex.html - possible volunteering opportunities with homeless children in Mysore, south India
http://www.i-indiaonline.com/ - helping street children in Jaipur; I think it’s free to volunteer but please check if interested as it doesn’t specifically state
http://www.salaambaalaktrust.com/volunteer.asp - this is a charity helping street children in Delhi; I went on their street walk where they take you around the areas they work and it seems to be doing a good job
http://www.childrenwalkingtall.com/ - I volunteered here during my gap year so I can guarantee this one is reputable and very well-run! It helps a community of slum children in north Goa, aiming to make their childhoods worth remembering
http://www.sisp.be/English/about.html - free volunteering with socially disadvantaged people in Kerala, India
http://www.thequietrevolution.net/panepal/index.html - supporting children living in prisons and children’s homes, Nepal
CENTRAL / SOUTH AMERICA
http://www.ahnh.org/index.php?idioma=en&seccion=volunteer - working with children in a daycare shelter in Guatemala; I think you need to be able to speak Spanish though
www.entremundos.org - free volunteering opportunities in Guatemala
http://www.edvolunteers.org - reconstruction work and English teaching in Haiti
http://www.wishingwellcharity.org.uk/volunteer.htm - charity helping underprivileged children in Romania and the UK
www.akhaasia.org - volunteer work in Thailand; donation required
http://www.cast-uk.com/ - volunteering opportunities in Eastern Europe, India and Uganda and don’t charge as much as many similar programmes
www.volunteersouthamerica.net - directory of free and low-cost placements
thats an awesome post. Thanks.
yeah this is a fantastic post, **tagged**
I’d like to add one, for anyone wanting to go to Togo (West Africa!):
J2A Togo - a locally based charity run by a few young guys, lots of different projects in the general areas of development and sustainable tourism! You probably need to speak French (or Evé) though.
Ecoteer is a portal of cheap or free volunteer placements. check them out.
At the moment they are offering 1 weeks free volunteering in Perhentian, malaysia on turtle and environmental awareness.
To enter go to join there facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/edit/?id=44960520689#/pages/Ecoteer-EMPOWERING-people-for-a-sustainable-future/229056059281
The comp closes on christmas eve.
Another free volunteering opportunity, in South India:
http://www.joehoman.org.uk/index.asp - working with disadvantaged children; a lot of the voluntary work seems to involve visiting their projects, interviewing children and writing reports on them.
Aw this is great…thanks *tagged*
This is really helpful - thanks!
Links to thousands of Children’s Centres/Orphanages all over the world. Mostly asking for funding and sponsorship but is worth contacting any that you like the sound of, to see if you can be of any asssistance.
and a couple more;
http://www.lifeandhopeangkor.org/ - Siem Reap, Cambodia
http://omprakash.org/partners/our-lady-of-divine-grace - Cebu, The Philippines
Great topic. taggy tag tag
I think to get a good deal and experience out of a placement you have to pay a little bit of money if not just for the security. I went with http://www.subsaharanadventure.com/index.php and i had a wonderful time! I heard stories from people i met over there who had gone with cheap companies who turned out not to be real! Better be safe than sorry!