Volunteer on Community Projects

Volunteering abroad in new cultures

Becoming a community volunteer on your gap year is a fantastic way to make a real difference to a developing local community and to help improve the lives of people in need. There is a huge range of community projects abroad to choose from, meaning you can easily find something to match your skills and interests. It might be a building project in South America, assisting with medical care in Africa, or working with disadvantaged children in India.

What all community projects abroad have in common is that they are ultimately geared towards changing vulnerable lives for the better. Being a volunteer on community projects not only means you can make a real difference, it will also help you experience your own personal growth, develop invaluable new skills, and gain a genuine sense of achievement while engaging with local communities.

If volunteering on a community project sounds like something you’d be interested in doing, check out these frequently asked questions for more information.

Top community volunteering projects

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Gap Year and Summer Programs in South Africa

from £400

14 - 119 days

South Africa

Volunteering in South Africa you will see there is a passionate desire for education – in the classroom, on the...

Community Care in Japan

from £2500

180 days

Japan

We offer several caring placement opportunities for volunteers. These are dedicated to helping residents with physical and learning disabilities and...

Sri Lanka – Caring for Children

from £1265

14 - 56 days

Sri Lanka

Volunteer in one of our care projects in a community centre or care home for disabled children. Typical jobs involve...

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.

Volunteer in Community Development in Madagascar

from £420

14 - 84 days

Madagascar

Volunteer on the Community Development volunteer project in Madagascar. Located in Nosy Komba.

Teach or Coach Sport in Brazil

from £995

14 - 112 days

Brazil

Head to vibrant Brazil and volunteer at an exciting youth centre that helps over 9000 young people. Bring skill, passion...

Teaching and Community Work in Ghana

from £2500

60 - 360 days

Ghana

Although Ghana is one of Africa's most stable countries, there are still many children and adults that live in poverty...

Community Education in Peru

from £695

21 - 84 days

Peru

Join a community initiative providing educational support to children from low income families in the beautiful mountainous town of Huaraz.

Gap Year China

from £1120

28 - 180 days

China

Learn Mandarin, gain work experience and travel.

Madagascar Healthcare

from £545

7 - 28 days

Madagascar

This exciting programme will challenge you and show you the reality of working as a medical professional in a developing...

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Chicago to New Orleans

from £1355

From laidback Chicago, hit the phoenix city of Detroit, find your inner kid in coaster city USA, feel the power...

I Love NYC

from £594

Learn the meaning of “I Heart NYC” after four #totesamaze days in the Big Apple. This concrete jungle where dreams...

Fall Colours of New England USA

from £2175

Hugging the continent’s rugged, spectacular north-eastern coast, New England calls to those who want to get close to America’s natural...

Garden Route Adventure

from £850

Travel to South Africa and Lesotho and explore the exquisite Garden Route on a tour from Durban to Cape Town...

Beijing to Moscow

from £2448

Travel across continents and time zones on one of the world's greatest train journeys. Start in busy Beijing before heading...

Highlights of China

Experience the towering achievements of China's rich history as you uncover its past along the Great Wall and reflect on...

Timeless Vietnam

For those who want the complete experience but prefer a more comfortable option, this adventure explores the best of Vietnam’s...

Zanzibar to Cape Town

from £3115

Travel from Zanzibar to Cape Town through amazing African vistas. Sample the exotic flavours of Spice Island, relax on Kande...

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...

Sri Lanka Explorer

from £1045

Drive along the road in Sri Lanka and you can pass Hindu temples, Buddhist shrines, churches and mosques all on...

Articles and stories about volunteering abroad

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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.

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