Work & Volunteer's best places for amazing volunteering experiences
Top 5 Volunteering Destinations
17 February 2014
Work & Volunteer has loads of great volunteering opportunities available across the globe in support of a variety of important causes, which are on offer to people looking for a unique and memorable experience abroad. Whether you’re passionate about the protection of rare animals, or you want to teach English to young people who may otherwise not have the privilege of learning it, Work & Volunteer can provide the right experience for you. All of our opportunities have their own amazing selling points, but here are what Work & Volunteer believe are the best locations in the world for unforgettable volunteering experiences.
One location Work & Volunteer believes is a brilliant destination for volunteers is Nepal. There are several different opportunities here, from working in an orphanage to a project aimed at female empowerment; however, arguably the most notable is the Volunteer and Escape Adventure. The Volunteer and Escape Adventure is particularly suited to gap year students as it provides a mixture of volunteering and adventure travel. You will have the option of working at an orphanage, in a school or community as an English teacher, or in ecotourism and environmental conservation. For those interested in spirituality, recommended out of these three options is working as an English teacher in a Buddhist Monastery, (the option to carry out this volunteering alone is also available, but it is recommended that you also take advantage of the adventure travel available in Nepal). Teaching young Tibetan monks can have a dramatic impact on their lives, allowing them to also explore scriptures written in English and communicate Buddhist teachings on an international level. The adventure travel part of your experience will include basic lessons in Nepali, sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley, a jungle safari and a trek to Mount Everest’s base camp.
Next on the list of top volunteering destinations is another part of Asia – Thailand. Thailand’s locals are famously friendly so you’re sure to feel right at home if you travel there. Anyone who can remember Christmas 2004 without a doubt will also remember the devastating Boxing Day Tsunami, which killed over 230,000 people. Work & Volunteer offers the opportunity to work at an orphanage which is home to children who lost their families to the disaster. The main aim at the Tsunami Orphanage, currently, is to support the children in becoming self-sufficient as they grow older. Volunteers’ duties include organising activities and getting involved with the children, teaching them valuable life skills. The children there are overflowing with affection and smiles, so working with them promises to be both enjoyable and rewarding. Another opportunity in Thailand is to volunteer within a Burmese Community. Burmese migrants living in Thailand, who have fled their home country’s military regime, face a very difficult life as they are not granted legal citizenship. This means they cannot drive cars, are subject to martial laws, (such as an 8pm curfew), and many children are unable to attend school in Thailand’s education system. The options for volunteers in the Burmese community are limitless; you may choose to teach English or computer skills, encourage self-development through female empowerment workshops, or simply care for younger members of the community. You’ll be provided with a bicycle, so in your free time you’ll be able to explore Kuraburi, the small town in which you’ll be staying; you could even go swimming in a beautiful, crystal clear waterfall.
Moving to South Africa, Work & Volunteer highly recommends the Gauteng Province as a fantastic place for volunteering. The Living with Lions volunteer programme is great for any animal lovers. The lion park is home to over 80 lions, including the white lion, which is very rare and already extinct in the wild. During the experience you’ll be preparing food for the animals and even be able to get up close and personal with them, (anyone want to hold a lion cub?). Gauteng is Sesotho for ‘place of gold’, a name that it lives up to not only because of the gold deposits found in the area, but also because of its sparkling, vibrant cities, including Johannesburg, which ensure you’ll never be short of things to do when you’re not bonding with the lion park’s majestic inhabitants.
Heading south for the next top volunteering destination, you’ll find Port Elizabeth, which forms part of South Africa’s stunning Garden Route. Port Elizabeth is home to over 40km unspoilt and beautiful beaches, and is the ideal destination for sports fans, as this is where our Sports Coaching volunteer opportunity is available. Many people in South Africa are passionate about sport, but in many of its impoverished communities, children don’t have access to coaching. Through this project, children are able to have fun while being inspired to improve their lives and realise aspirations. Whether you’re interested in netball, football, swimming, cricket or tennis, to name just a few, this project gives you the chance to share your enthusiasm with ambitious youngsters. In your free time, you’ll have no shortage of other things to do either; organised social activities available for you to take part in include visiting a Game Reserve, surfing at the world’s ‘surfing mecca’, (Jeffrey’s Bay), and, if you can stomach it, undertaking the world’s highest bridge bungy jump.
The final destination Work & Volunteer recommends as a brilliant opportunity for volunteering is the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands are probably most famous for the studies carried out there by Charles Darwin; the Charles Darwin Foundation was later set up in aid of the protection of the islands’ astounding biodiversity, which is threatened by damage created by early visitors, and their introduction of invasive species. One of the Islands' residents who was particularly famous was Lonesome George, the last known Pinta Island giant tortoise, who was identified as the rarest animal in the world until his death in 2012, which highlighted the importance of the protection of the Islands. As a volunteer for the Galapagos Conservation Project you will be involved in reforestation, station maintenance, organic agricultural activities and either developing your own personal conservation project or supporting one currently being developed at the station. You will also have the opportunity to learn about ecology and biodiversity through a guided trek, and in your spare time you will have no shortage of things to explore on around other Galapagos Islands, including the capital of the Galapagos Province, Puerto Baquerizo.
These top five volunteering destinations are all sure to provide you with amazing, fulfilling, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and are also hugely beneficial to the valuable causes you choose to support. Five amazing volunteering destinations – it’s your choice!