Volunteer with Children Abroad

Help vulnerable children worldwide

Volunteering with children abroad is one of the most meaningful and rewarding things you can do on your travels. There is a wide range of ways you can help, including childcare volunteering, teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) working with disadvantaged, vulnerable, and disabled children in developing communities, or volunteering with vital medical care projects.

Volunteering abroad with children gives you the opportunity to help young people all over the world, including across Africa, Asia, South America, Central America, and more. As well as helping build them a better future, volunteering with children will take you to some of the most incredible countries in the world, let you live along a local community, and make lifelong friends along the way. Volunteering with children will enrich any travel plans.

Whatever your skills or interests, you will find a volunteering project here that will allow you to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children worldwide. Below are some frequently asked questions about volunteering abroad with children.

Volunteering with children projects

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Volunteer with Children in Costa Rica

from £945

14 days

Costa Rica

Immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture when you travel to Quepos and volunteer on a community project helping disadvantaged children.

Volunteer with Children in Thailand

from £1095

14 days

Thailand

Discover Thailand's idyllic Andaman region when you volunteer with local communities. Help them to improve their future opportunities by teaching...

Volunteer in Teaching and Sports Education

from £238

7 - 84 days

Fiji

Volunteer on the Teaching and Sports Education volunteer project in Fiji. Located in Suva.

Care for Kids & Explore Zanzibar

from £719

14 - 70 days

Tanzania

Work with disabled children in Arusha, the safari capital of Tanzania, before heading to the Indian Ocean Coast to help...

India Child Care

from £675

14 - 84 days

India

Create exciting sessions to develop the children’s creative and communication skills at day care centres and community outreach projects. Learn...

Community Project in Thailand

from £410

14 days

Thailand

Work with young children while living with a group in a local community in Thailand

Gap Year China

from £1120

28 - 180 days

China

Learn Mandarin, gain work experience and travel.

Teaching & Community Development Projects

from £2067

42 - 70 days

Tanzania

Program Includes a teaching internship in Arusha and community development projects in Lake Manyara and Dar es Salaam.

Volunteer with Children in South Africa

from £945

14 days

South Africa

Assist with childcare & educational activities in a township educare centre while exploring South Africa

Volunteer with Kids in Costa Rica

from £945

14 - 84 days

Costa Rica

Immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture when you travel to Quepos and volunteer on a community project helping disadvantaged children.

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4WD Broome to Darwin Overland (2018)

from £1145

Experience the wild and rugged beauty of Australia's northwest tip on this 4WD journey through the Kimberleys. A region of...

Local Living Italy—Tuscany San Gimignano

from £722

If you’ve ever wanted to forge a deeper bond with a destination, this is your chance. Centred in San Gimignano,...

Best of China

from £1597

Mix the bustle of China’s metropolises with the tranquility of rural life on a 12-day adventure. Explore hidden corners of...

Myanmar Highlights

from £1011

Discover the magic of Myanmar on a nine-day journey through some of its very best sights. Bookend your adventure in...

The Great Ocean Road and Kangaroo Island Adventure (Basix)

from £550

Take a memorable road trip through Victoria and South Australia, starting from Melbourne and taking in each twist and turn...

Gorilla Trek Independent Adventure

from £1359

The ultimate primate experience, trek through local villages and lush rainforests with the breathtaking reward of finding yourself in the...

Winter Bravo Italia

from £1479

Have yourself a bellissimo Italian adventure on this jaunt through the region’s most spectacular sites. Marvel at artistic masterpieces, historic...

Volunteer Costa Rica

From pristine cloud forests to the Pacific coast’s famous surf, experience some of the world's most incredible scenery and exotic...

Cape Town to Victoria Falls Adventure

from £2749

This 18-day journey through four African countries hits the highlights and is perfect for the adventurer who wants to discover...

Uluru Adventure – Basix (French speaking Guide)

from £455

This 3 Day Uluru (Ayres Rock) Adventure is the perfect short trip for those wanting to experience icons of the...

Articles and stories about volunteering abroad

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What kind of placements are available?

There are so many different kinds of volunteering placements centred on caring for children and young people. There’s volunteering with disabled children, which can range from physiotherapy and medical initiatives to coaching sport and other activities; medical care volunteering, which will see you working alongside medical professionals in either cities or developing local communities; volunteering with street children, which focuses on education and providing a stable environment. This wide range of volunteering opportunities mean you can always find a way to contribute, whatever your skills or travel plans may be.

Where should I volunteer with children?

The vast majority of volunteering with children placements are found in developing nations, where there is still widespread poverty, a lack of healthcare, and poor access to education. This can often mean that what you can contribute as a volunteer is invaluable to children living there. Where you volunteer may depend on which type of placement you are interested in pursuing, as different countries will be in need of different types of projects and volunteers. Still, there are plenty of opportunities available throughout Africa, South East Asia, India, South America, and Central America, making it fairly easy to fit volunteering with children into wider travel plans if you wish.

How do I know which placement is right for me?

Volunteering with children is always an amazing experience, but you will be expected to work hard while you are with any placement. You can’t do much good if you’re not able or willing to do the work. This means it’s important that you choose a volunteer project that lines up with your skills and interests, as well as one you are physically prepared for, to make sure that you can stick it out for the duration of your placement. For example, if you’re particularly passionate about volunteering with disabled children, look into projects where you’ll be working closely with them.

We recommend always closely reading what a volunteer placement will require of you to make sure it’s right for you before committing to anything. Leaving a placement early can leave a project shorthanded, and leave vulnerable children without important care.

How can I tell if a volunteer program is ethical?

There are so many volunteering opportunities available that, especially when children are involved, it’s important to ensure that whichever you choose is ethically run. There are numerous ways you can find out if a placement is sound. Before you commit to anything, do as much research into an organisation or individual project as you can: read their website and look for information on their goals, their relationships with local communities, and how and where they spend their money. You can also take this further by getting in touch and asking questions. Testimonials from previous volunteers should be available, and you should be able to request to be put in direct contact with some if you’d like. Online reviews and forum posts can also be useful. Find out as much as you can before you book, so you can ensure you’ve made the right decision. Check out our guide to choosing a volunteering placement for more advice.

Why do I have to pay a fee if I'm volunteering?

It might seem strange to pay a fee when you are going to be volunteering your time and work for free. However, this money can be vital to volunteering with children projects. Depending on the nature of the project it is often used to cover the costs of looking after children in their care. Your fee may also be used to cover any expense of having you join the placement, such as food, accommodation, and transport. Some of it may also be donated or invested in the local community, such as schools, businesses, and healthcare facilities, helping to create a better future for the children you’ll be caring for. If you are concerned as to where your money will go, this is definitely a fair question to ask of any volunteer project.

Do I need any qualifications to volunteer with children?

Many volunteer projects will not require you to hold any qualifications or training before you begin a placement. If any training is necessary, it will be given to you once you arrive. Much of the work will be general care or manual labour, and skills can be matched accordingly. If the work is anything more complex, such as providing medical care to children, you will work alongside a professional.

The exception to this rule is that some teaching-focused volunteer programs may require you to hold a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification. If this, or any other qualification, is required by a project, this will made clear in the listing.

How long should I volunteer with children for?

The duration of your stay will depend somewhat on the exact nature of what work you are doing. However, when volunteering with children it is recommended that a placement is as long as possible. A good minimum amount of time is two to three months. This is enough time for you to settle into the work, develop a real rapport with the children in your care, and make a real difference to their lives. It also helps provide consistency to their world, as constantly changing carers can be emotionally difficult for children. Always think carefully about how much time you have to offer when you are planning your trip.

What time of year should I volunteer with children?

It goes without saying that children are in need all over the world throughout the year. There will always be projects somewhere in need of volunteers. That said, it’s important to research the weather, climate, and conditions you will be working in depending on the time of year. If you are not good with heat, for example, you may not be able to work effectively in a tropical country at the height of summer. It isn’t selfish to choose conditions that will suit you as much as possible if it means you will be able to work to your highest standards.

Do I need a visa to volunteer with children?

Visas are a complicated business, requirements varying greatly for different countries depending on your nationality. While UK nationals can enter many countries as a tourist without a visa, if you are going to be working you will probably need permission. Volunteer organisations can often provide information about this, but we recommend getting in touch with your embassy and the embassy of the country you’re planning to visit to find out exactly what the requirements will be. This can be done online. Visas need to be taken seriously, as not having one – or having the wrong one – can prevent you from joining the project when you arrive.

Do I need vaccinations to volunteer with children abroad?

If you are going to be working in developing nations it is always wise to check with your GP well before you travel if you will need any vaccinations. This becomes particularly important if you are going to be doing medical volunteering with children, or working in environments which may not have the best health conditions. A volunteer organisation may be able to provide a list of what vaccinations are required, but detailing what you are going to be doing and where to your GP is the best way to ensure your health and safety once you travel.

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