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Charity Opportunities for Volunteering Overseas

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Charity Volunteering Overseas

Volunteering internationally appeals to many of us. Retirees, people on vacation, groups of students with teachers, and many other generous individuals travel overseas to help with charities every year. Overseas projects include building houses, helping to conserve wildlife, teaching, and more.
A quick internet search will reveal hundreds of organizations that advertise opportunities for charity volunteering overseas. How will you know which charity is the right one for you? How can you ascertain which projects do the best work for their communities?
When you are searching for the right volunteer opportunity, you have many factors to consider. These might include:
  • Type of work. What skills do you have? A farmer or carpenter may have knowledge and experience that will be of particular value to agricultural or building projects, whereas a retired teacher can be very helpful at a school. Nurses and doctors are always in high demand for health and medical projects. Students may be best suited to simpler activities such as coaching sports, or helping to tutor English or French.
  • Faith-based or secular. Some of us prefer to work with an organization that has a connection to our religious beliefs; others prefer secular initiatives.
  • Country. There are charitable organizations working in virtually every country in the world. You may have a strong preference, family links, or a language facility that makes certain areas of the world more attractive to you.

Working with Children

Working with children is one of the most popular choices for those who volunteer internationally. As citizens of the world, we are moved by the plight of children in developing nations who suffer. Too often, children are the ones who are most affected by famine, natural disaster, or war. Children are also most vulnerable to exploitation.
If you choose to work with children, be sure to volunteer for an organization that is truly working in the best interests of the children and their communities. Unfortunately, the rise of "voluntourism” has led to some projects that actually exploit the children they purport to help. UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund launched a media campaign recently to raise awareness of unscrupulous volunteer opportunities. In some areas of the world, orphanages have been set up to cash in on donations from volunteers. Up to 75% of the children in orphanages actually have living parents, and some of the residents may even have been taken from their families.
If you want to work with children, find a charity that emphasizes family-based care and works closely with local community leaders.

Community-Based Organizations

Helping children often begins with helping families and communities. That’s why grassroots projects are so important. For example, the charitable organization Global Family provides programs in countries including Nepal, India, and Myanmar for foster families as well as for fatherless families, and those families who have been displaced from their homes. Support is given within the community, and might include medical care, food, and school fees. Global Family also runs a program designed to prevent human trafficking as well as a rescue program that cares for exploited children and reunites them with their families.
Choose wisely when it comes to charity volunteering overseas, and help to make the world a better place! 

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