Frog backlit on Musaceae leaf. Photo by Trond Larson, Amazon Conservation Association
REACH OUT TO OTHERS around the world by volunteering abroad during your travels. By giving a piece of yourself- time, sweat, work and effort, you will receive back tenfold: joy, proffered hot meals, and gratitude.
You only need to bring the essentials: a willingness to get your hands dirty and a desire to help your neighbor. Among the hundreds of incredible volunteer opportunities worldwide, here are 10 of the best:
Voluntario Global Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, Argentina
“Every corner of Buenos Aires has a pulse…a pulse that is worth listening to.” While partnering with Voluntario Global you’ll be aiding locals with small business administration, or providing street children with a safe place to gather and play at the local recreation center.
Only have a day in the region? Voluntario Global provides a 4 hour tour of shanty towns designed to spread awareness of living conditions, and give an ear to residents’ concerns. Weekends can be spent taking regional trips to visit Mar del Plata, Iguazu falls, and other nearby trips in Argentina and Uruguay.
Unity Charitable Trust
Tamil Nadu, India
Teach young girls computer skills, help them get jobs and become self sufficient on the weekdays, and let your weekends take you to local shrines and temples.
Dynamic Hands Youth International
Got organizational skills? This endeavor is in the process of formally organizing. Dynamic Hands needs help in setting up its training and living assistance programs. Opportunities are child and youth oriented, and some include a healthy living component for those who are health conscious. Once settled in Ho, you’ll be unable to take your eyes off nearby Mount Adaklu. Ask a local to help you get to nearby tourist destinations such as the Vakpho Cave system or the Mole National Park to see wild elephants.
Volunteer Action for Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Good at brainstorming? Looking to hone your leadership skills? VAC is looking for “new impulses and fresh ideas.” Designed primarily for recent college grads and current students, VAC offers volunteer opportunities in the areas of human rights, legal rights, and humanitarian issues.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to get in on the founding and establishment of a new direction, this is your opportunity. Of course, visitors can check out the gorgeous architecture of the Royal Palace, plus local temples and pagodas, along with the crush and excitement that comes from being in a populous urban center.
Volunteer for Community Development
You’ll know when you’ve arrived to Kathmandu; the crowded cityscape against the serene mountains is unmistakable. You’ll be welcomed by colorfully adorned shrines, fresh marketplace products and the melodic Nepali language in your ears. VCD Nepal is currently focusing its volunteer efforts on teaching English within the schools, but opportunities to work inside monasteries or on sanitation and health care projects are also available. Use your time off to venture out of Kathmandu into rural mountain communities or the nearby Chitwan wildlife sanctuary.
Enjoy a cool African city that is highly engaged in local artisan crafts and coffee trading. Work on fund-raising, AIDS education or agricultural development. The Navti Foundation offers to individually match your skill set and interests to an appropriate project. Nearby farming communities harvest tea and coffee, and the area is perfect for those looking for a quiet hike.
Use the UK Social Services System’s “PathWay Aproach” to aid institutionalized teens in making the leap to independent living in Romania. While you’re there, you’ll have a chance to visit medieval Transylvania and all the best that Eastern Europe has to offer.
Creative Corners Global Arts Project CIC
La Paz, Bolivia
Help sustain a newspaper started and sold on the streets by children. Writers and photographers are needed to keep the project going after approximately 9 issues. After work, immerse yourself in this South American urban center.
Relief and Friendship
Visit the banks of the Bac River in the largest city in Moldova, and put your efforts into helping the women of the area to promote programs that teach about gender equality and women’s rights. If you visit during October, celebrate with the locals during the annual Wine Festival, or, for more solitary travelers, enjoy the lush hills and sunflower-filled fields.
Green Camel Bell
Help out the local economy and environment by volunteering with this Chinese authority on sustainability and environmental education. Here in the ancient city of Lanzhou you can explore the Yellow River.