Voluntourism: Beyond the Peace Corps, How to Help Overseas

Anyone can travel abroad; it’s what you do with the experience that makes the difference. If you’re looking for a more serious commitment than a weeklong service project overseas and don’t know where to turn besides the Peace Corps or teaching English in a remote land, listen up because one of these unique voluntourism ideas may be up your alley. We challenge you to consider one of these for your next trip because the memories made will be a thousand times more meaningful than a week on the beach in Cancun and longer lasting, too. Plus, it makes for a great resume enhancer.

Organic Farming

WWOOF is a very popular worldwide program which offers food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles in exchange for help on a farm. Their site publishes lists of organic farms, smallholdings and gardeners that welcome volunteers to come stay at different points in time. There is something for everyone and the diversity of hosts available offers a large variety of tasks and experiences from students doing a one-time school project to large scale initiatives attempting to impact the infrastructure of their community.

Animal Instincts

Monkey around! For a minimum of 2 weeks and a max of 8, live amongst the Vervet monkeys and bush people in beautiful South Africa. Located near Kruger National Park, this once in a lifetime opportunity helps the foundation’s huge rehabilitation center look after their 500 monkeys. Your time may be spent caring for injured or orphaned monkeys (in baby season Oct – March), working one on one with ex-pets, doing general maintenance work around the center, enrichment of the enclosures or contributing towards the building of new facilities.

Community Development

Ever dreamt of making a difference in Africa? Work alongside the Maasai community in Kenya to help them to gain access to better education, income generating activities, food security and basic resources. Potential volunteer activities include construction and painting, obtaining school supplies, volunteering in the medical dispensary, irrigation projects, workshops for women and children, business consulting, youth sports and organic farming.

HIV/AIDS Prevention

Global Service Corps has year-round programs in Cambodia and Tanzania for zealous individual to stay from two weeks to six months or longer.  Volunteers are needed to help increase teachers’ and trainers' comfort levels in teaching HIV/AIDS prevention, and keep future generations safe from the disease. Get trained in cultural differences and how to lead health workshops with games and interactive scenarios. Participants staying at least three weeks may also spend a week or more assisting staff at a rural residential children’s center that cares for HIV positive children.

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