Free (or cheap) volunteering placements

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Free (or cheap) volunteering placements

Avatar for ambermarie

Total Posts: 800

Joined 2005-07-30

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 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!


Kenya - volunteering opportunities in Kenya

South Africa - 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 - some long-term wildlife volunteering placements available; South Africa

Togo - development and sustainable tourism projects in Togo, West Africa; volunteers probably need to speak French (or Evé) though


Cambodia - English language teaching in Siem Reap, Cambodia

India - 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 - possible volunteering opportunities with homeless children in Mysore, south India - helping street children in Jaipur; I think it’s free to volunteer but please check if interested as it doesn’t specifically state - 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 - 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 - free volunteering with socially disadvantaged people in Kerala, India

Nepal - supporting children living in prisons and children’s homes, Nepal


Guatemala - working with children in a daycare shelter in Guatemala; I think you need to be able to speak Spanish though - free volunteering opportunities in Guatemala

Haiti - reconstruction work and English teaching in Haiti


Romania - charity helping underprivileged children in Romania and the UK

LOW-COST PLACEMENTS - volunteer work in Thailand; donation required - volunteering opportunities in Eastern Europe, India and Uganda and don’t charge as much as many similar programmes

VOLUNTEERING DIRECTORIES - directory of free and low-cost placements

Avatar for Cheyenne

Total Posts: 99

Joined 2009-08-12

thats an awesome post. Thanks.

Avatar for Hhilton86

Total Posts: 44

Joined 2008-06-13

yeah this is a fantastic post, **tagged**

Avatar for lilac_turtle

Total Posts: 135

Joined 2006-05-30

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.


Total Posts: 16

Joined 2009-02-19

Hi guys

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

The comp closes on christmas eve.

Merry Christmas


Avatar for ambermarie

Total Posts: 800

Joined 2005-07-30

Another free volunteering opportunity, in 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.

Avatar for Gypsy-Eyes

Total Posts: 194

Joined 2009-02-12


Thanks Amber.

Avatar for Mssmuppet

Total Posts: 80

Joined 2009-10-04

Aw this is great…thanks smile  *tagged*

Avatar for gem_lou84

Total Posts: 117

Joined 2006-05-30

This is really helpful - thanks!

Avatar for Nutellover

Total Posts: 49

Joined 2008-07-13


Avatar for Cathyxi

Total Posts: 1

Joined 2010-02-19

smile  smile TAG^!~TAG~!~


Total Posts: 48

Joined 2006-07-14

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.


Total Posts: 48

Joined 2006-07-14

Avatar for Ballert

Total Posts: 82

Joined 2008-12-12

Great topic. taggy tag tag

Avatar for Naslatif8

Total Posts: 5

Joined 2009-09-11

Thanks :D

Avatar for Africaunite

Total Posts: 23

Joined 2010-02-16

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 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!