What kind of community projects are there?
There are a huge range of community projects abroad that are in need of volunteers. We recommend considering what you are really passionate about and where your skills can best be put to work. Some options include: social work, where you will be helping people suffering with issues such as mental illness, substance abuse, and neglect; building projects, where you will help to build vital infrastructure such as schools, community centres, care homes, and basic housing; education, where you will work to teach both children and adults a variety of subjects. There are plenty of others too. Such a wide range means that you can become a volunteer on community projects anywhere in the world and be able to make a real difference.
What kind of people will I work with?
There are community projects doing crucial work all over the world, giving you the opportunity to volunteer in all kinds of local communities and meet all kinds of different people in need. If you choose social work, you might work with disadvantaged children or vulnerable elderly people, or people in need of medical care. Building projects will likely take you to rural communities, where a lack of resources and poor conditions can lead to food shortages and other damaging issues. Teaching projects may involve children and adults alike who want to learn English, or need education on topics such as safe sex and sanitation. What these people all have in common is that they are striving for a brighter future, and as a community volunteer you can help them achieve it.
Where should I volunteer on community projects?
Most community projects abroad are located in developing nations, where there may be widespread poverty, poor access to education, and a lack of healthcare facilities. It’s in these places that you can make your most valuable contribution as a volunteer. Where you volunteer on community projects will likely depend on which type of placement you choose, as different countries and communities will be in need of different kinds of help. Nevertheless, the availability of opportunities across Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and South America gives you plenty of options, and means you can fit becoming a community volunteer into broader travel plans if you need.
When should I become a community volunteer?
There are community projects in need of fresh volunteers all over the world at any time of year, meaning you can find a placement whenever you are looking to travel. The availability of some kinds of projects may be seasonal due to conditions in the host nation. We recommend carefully researching the weather, climate, and general conditions for the time of year in any country you are considering visiting, as it may make it difficult for you to work effectively. For example, some countries become incredibly hot in summer, and if you’re going to be working outside this can make it incredibly difficult. It’s okay to look elsewhere if you think conditions will prevent you from delivering your best work.
How long should I volunteer on a community project?
This really depends on what kind of project you choose to join. Some placements allow you to make a tangible difference within only a couple of weeks, like humanitarian work and manual labour. Others, such as volunteering with children and vulnerable people, require more time for you to properly get involved and help the community. Generally, it is always best to stay as long as you can. When looking at options, consider carefully how much time you have to offer and how you can use it best.
Do I need qualifications to be a community volunteer?
Many volunteer projects will not require you to hold any qualifications or have completed any training before you begin a placement. If any training is necessary, it can be completed on-site once you’ve arrived. This will depend on the nature on the community project you have chosen. Always make sure you pay careful attention so you can begin working and contributing as quickly as possible. If you have joined a project centred on providing therapy or medical care, you will be working alongside a trained professional.
The exception to this rule is that some teaching-focused community projects abroad 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 before you book.