Volunteer locations around the world tend to provide their volunteers with a bed, breakfast, and dinner. Many restaurants end up serving adaptations or dishes that aren’t actually very common in the local community itself. So free meals, in addition to making financial sense, give you a real taste of the local culinary culture.
In spite of all that, I thought that volunteering abroad wasn’t for me. After all, we do have to pay for the flights. But I changed my mind after finding a cheap flight to Argentina and realizing that I could begin my dream of visiting different countries and doing voluntourism while traveling.
NGOs that offer free volunteer opportunities abroad
Volunteer with NGOs
The opportunities offered by the NGOs on Worldpackers request 4-5 hours of your time per day and give you at least one free day per week to explore the area. And with the majority of social impact projects, volunteers can have their free day on weekends. This makes it possible to plan short trips by bus or hitchhiking to other cities and towns, which you can do at places such as these:
Help to plant trees with an organization in Nairobi and use your weekends to climb Mount Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa.
Prefer to stick with English? There are plenty of international opportunities for you too!
Volunteer with animals
Aside from your activities as a volunteer, the most important thing is your desire to help and be proactive and motivated. So look for an NGO with a mission that inspires you. None is “better” than the others.
Are you passionate about animal rights?
Travel to Italy! The Agripunk shelter has the perfect position for you. It was founded in 2005 and rescues animals from massive farms. They’re vegan and fight for the rights of their animal friends.
Visit Maasai villages in Tanzania, bringing food and teaching job skills to young people going through difficult times. You could help orphans, victims of sexual abuse, pregnant women, and victims of early marriages and female genital mutilation.
Preserving the traditional cultures of specific places is also a fight for the rights of the people who live there. Dance, music, folklore, and other artistic manifestations can help people who have experienced extreme situations in their lives.
Your motivation for traveling and exchanging your time for accommodation, food, and other benefits that cover some of your expenses is very personal. I travel to rethink my ideas of the world through different experiences. Now, I listen more to my heart and ask people for help more often.
When I write about the people I’ve met, I try to include a little of what I’ve learned by watching and listening.
Volunteer work turns the dichotomy of boss and employee into an equal relationship of exchange. When one person needs the other, they help each other and magical things start to happen.
Also, these volunteer opportunities will lead you away from typical touristic places to ones you’ve probably never even considered visiting before.
By supporting social projects, I’ve ended up meeting indigenous people, fishermen, teachers, dancers, and refugees, and I’ve gotten to dive in rivers and oceans of the most amazing, mesmerizing colors.
Travel journalist, author of the @solanomundo project and collaborator in different media such as Viajes National Geographic, Folha de S. Paulo and Qual Viagem Magazine. Read more: www.solanomundo.com.br