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voluntary work overseas during summer

Discussion in 'Personal' started by hobbes 1, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. hello
    I have found various companies on the internet which offer volunteer projects, but I was just wondering if anyone could personally recommend a reputatable and reasonably priced company which offers short term voluntary placements overseas.
    I am looking to go to Asia or Africa, for 2 to 3 weeks during the summer, doing either education / wildlife projects.
    many thanks in advance
  2. hello
    I have found various companies on the internet which offer volunteer projects, but I was just wondering if anyone could personally recommend a reputatable and reasonably priced company which offers short term voluntary placements overseas.
    I am looking to go to Asia or Africa, for 2 to 3 weeks during the summer, doing either education / wildlife projects.
    many thanks in advance
  3. http://www.whiteshark.co.za/
  4. MayKasahara

    MayKasahara New commenter

    I volunteered in China for two months over the summer about five years ago, it sounds trite but I had an amazing time, the people I met were really lovely and I honestly felt that they were happy to have me there over and above any money I could have sent as it was more of a cultural exchange. People would come up to you in public and just start talking to you as they wanted to practise their English and I felt I got to see the country in a completely different way than other places I just travelled through. I went with I-to-I and personally I was very happy with what they offered, however I know other people who were unhappy with either the project or the accomodation/ food (I think this could have been down to unrealistic expectations). Good luck if you decide to go for it!
  5. I volunteered with http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/ and simliarly to MayKasahara some people were frustrated with the set up but I gained a lot from it.
    I haven't been with this one but I do slightly know someone involved with it and she seemed very trustworthy! http://softpowereducation.com/Volunteering/tabid/57/Default.aspx
    I have been to this one http://www.newfuturesorganisation.com/ (some years ago and only for a day) and they are very cheap- they want your time rather than your money, although once you're there you'll probably get sucked in to helping out more!- the children are absolutely adorable.
    I have heard i-to-i don't donate any of their profits to the communities they visit and they're expensive too. You might want to double check that as I've never looked into it myslef- the cost was too high for me to seriously consider them.
    As someone else said (sorry can't remember who!) the money is probably the most useful thing you can provide. It can be frustrating and demoralising to realise how little you will actually help (after all if the problems the children face could be easily solved they would have been solved years ago) but the opportunity it gives you to change your perspective and meet new and interesting people is incredible and I think it's valuable for the children to be exposed to new ideas and people they would never normally come into contact with.
    For me it was the first step in wanting to go with VSO and do a longer, more focussed placement where I can achieve more.
    Have a ball if/when you do go!
  6. I used i-to-i for a teaching placement in Kenya and although there are a lot of pros and cons with the company overall I was impressed with their service.

    The experience wasn't right for me at the time as the school they placed me in thought it was funny to physically abuse their pupils and as I haven't had the best childhood it was too painful for me to stay. Saying that once I made my feelings known i-to-i they offered to arrange another placement straight away and when I decided to leave early they helped rearrange my flights and took me to the airport.

    They are very expensive for what you get and their TEFL certificate isn't recognised if you decide to go into TEFL teaching afterwards however they do go out of their way to look after you when your on out their.

  7. thank you all - I have looked at the various options and will be going to a project in Sri Lanka where the placement will be tailor made to make the most of my various skills, eg teaching swimming and first aid as well as just English for example


  8. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Do you think 3 weeks will be enough to make a valuable contribution?.....i was considering the original volunteers and when i spoke to the lady at the office she seemed very welcoming.I was going this year possibly toAfrica...but i havent done all my homework and yet need to check conditions ,time of year etc.....If i went i would be working with a school and undertaking building projects,However, they do say you need to take money with you to finance this..but as I said i havent done my homework yet!
  9. I think 3 weeks will be fine for what I am going to do and as the project manager said, they are grateful for any help they can get.
    Sri Lanka is only 4 hours from me so I can easily pop back over to do some follow up work later in the year, eg November.

    one of the reasons I am so happy to have found this project is that it is 'grass roots' as it were, no company is organising it, no money to be paid other than food/accommodation (in the manager's house) which means I can then see where any of my donated money will go - they like to save it up for a specific project for example.

    this project also allows me to use my range of skills, eg in first aid / photography / swimming / sewing as well as just teaching English. Also, I can travel around at weekends and see some of the country too.
    The project manager will organise that for me, they use a specific driver for touring round so that keeps employment in the local community.....
    also, staying with the project manager's family should be an interesting experience, rather than staying in a volunteer hostel for example.

    anyway, I think that your idea re building etc is also very valuable, just that I am not really cut out for that!
    As far as I can see there are lots of different options re volunteering.

    I did like this website in particular:

  10. My friend helps organize this and has been a couple of times, it is apparently helpful and rewarding.

  11. I have done this twice. The first time was in Zambia and I booked this through the large gap-year company Real Gap. The project was run by African Impact. This was my first experience of this kind and I found the company very helpful - I felt safe, looked after, and my experiences were varied. Due to it being the summer holidays African Impact ran a summer-school and I was able to deliever my own lessons with two other volunteers which was a fantastic experience.
    However, my heart lies with the second company that I travelled with - Dave Squared Volunteering. They are a very new company who have only recently gained charitable status, who deliever educational/sports projects in Ghana. I travelled with them as part of a university volunteering project and however much I loved my time in Zambia, I felt that the small, personal nature of Dave Squared made my experience. They were supportive, flexible and genuinely nice people to work with. Living in a volunteer house felt safe, however it's location - right in the heart of the town we were working in - made it easy to assimilate to the local culture. We kept a blog to document our time there if you're interested: http://www.do-it.org.uk/doitblog/overseas/category/Community_Action_International
    Hope this was helpful!


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