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

Search

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 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...

Teach English in Sri Lanka

from £205

7 - 168 days

Sri Lanka

Trusted by over 80,000 volunteers, IVHQ is the world's leading volunteer travel organization, providing affordable, safe and responsible Teaching programs...

Volunteer in Malawi

from £410

14 - 112 days

Our projects in Malawi will give you the chance to discover more about Africa and yourself. It's impossible to have...

Volunteer in Childcare in Kenya

from £191

7 - 84 days

Kenya

Volunteer on the Childcare volunteer project in Kenya. Located in Nairobi.

Sport and Education in Ghana

from £2500

90 - 360 days

Ghana

Lattitude's sport programme in Ghana works in partnership with Football For Hope (FFH) which uses sport to help re-engage young...

Fiji Teaching

from £895

28 - 140 days

Fiji

Fiji also has impoverished rural populations who as yet have not been able to capitalise on the booming tourist trade...

Madagascar Teaching English

from £995

28 days

Madagascar

You will teach conversational and beginner’s English to these impoverished children, help with environmental education, and participate in other community...

Childcare and Development in Peru

from £318

14 days

Peru

Become a teacher, mentor and friend to young children in Peru. Located in Cusco, this programme offers a great opportunity...

Search

Jordan Family Adventure

The worst part of resort vacations? Trying to find a spot to lay out your blanket on a crowded beach....

New Zealand North Island Explorer (ex Auckland)

from £2245

Explore New Zealand's heartland from the secluded beaches of the coast to the volcanic craters of the central plateau. Travel...

Game Parks, Zanzibar & Mozambique

from £1320

Gear up for an African adventure that’s every bit as exotic and exciting as its name suggests. From Nairobi to...

Miami New Year

from £699

Welcome to one of the best looking cities – home to buff bodies, art deco neon and eternal sunshine. This...

City to City

from £1089

High octane or slow and steady, this trip switches up the pace every day. Learn from Maori people, raft the...

Highlights of Italy

from £1079

Italy sure sounds like a myth, doesn’t it? Incredibly elaborate architecture, idyllic countryside, fascinating history, and, of course, incomparable cuisine....

Western Balkans Adventure

On the crossroads between east & west, the Balkan Peninsula is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This trip...

Boulevards to Beaches

from £1029

Channel your inner pioneer and join us on a a trip at lets you experience three of Europe’s best countries....

Southern Africa Explorer

from £1402

Wildlife, wilderness, and wow-worthy campouts makeup this 15-day exploration of South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Hop aboard one of our...

Ultimate African Adventure 39 Day

from £1300

Searching for the perfect antidote to the dreaded nine to five? Leave your cares at the office door as you...

Articles and stories about volunteering abroad

Search

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.

[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]