Combining volunteerism with travel is one of our favorite ways to explore the globe, though it’s absolutely vital to choose a project which makes a genuine difference to the community and society as a whole.
And while every country needs volunteers equally, there are a number of countries that are notoriously resource strapped, and often overlooked by international volunteers who opt for more popular destinations when choosing their placements. Which countries are most in need of volunteers?
As such, the following are countries we recommend considering for a volunteer placement in 2016. These choices may mean branching out to a perhaps previously unthought-of destination, though each offers the opportunity to affect real change and impact local lives where help is desperately needed.
Honduras is a country of seductive natural beauty, and travelers looking to spend time off the beaten path in Central America enjoy vast stretches of white sand beach, unspoiled coral reefs, magical Maya ruins, and wildlife-rich jungle reserves. Though perhaps one of the best ways to immerse yourself in culture here is to volunteer. Countries that need volunteers the most.
Volunteer placements in Honduras are well suited to those with a passion for human care, and most programs see volunteers jump directly into helping members of the local community. There are a range of programs throughout the country which cover themes of education, childcare, medicine, nursing or dentistry. Which countries can I volunteer in overseas?
Volunteering in Honduras, offers a unique opportunity to work side by side members of the local community, and get to know new people who appreciate your presence. Children from disadvantaged homes, youngsters with learning difficulties, sufferers from HIV and casualties of poverty, these are all groups in need in Honduras. Countries that need lots of international volunteers.
The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world. Full of extraordinary nature, wildlife and awe inspiring views, it was a visit here, in 1835, when a young Charles Darwin began to formulate his evolutionary (and revolutionary) theory of natural selection.
As in Darwin’s day, the true attraction of the Galapagos is its exotic wildlife. Though most people don’t consider volunteering here, and usually opt for discovering the islands on a leisure cruise.
But why not spend quality time here and volunteer? Volunteering options in the Galapagos include teaching English, working directly with disadvantaged children and women, assisting in hospitals and day centers, as well as volunteering on environmental and animal welfare projects.
Ethiopia is in great need of International volunteers willing to work with children and assist with teaching. There are a large number of vulnerable children and marginalized women in desperate need throughout the country, and this is a nation where your efforts have a measurable impact on individuals and families most affected by poverty. Volunteer in Ethiopia.
The children volunteers work with in Ethiopia have lost their birth families due to extreme poverty, AIDS and other life-threatening conditions. Without volunteer programs, these children would be living on the streets alone and in danger, unable to attend school or reach their full potential.
There are a number of programs which support family homes within a suburban neighborhoods. The homes are well integrated in the community to reduce stigma and enhance socialization. Volunteer placements like these are changing the way orphans are cared for!
With eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, Sri Lanka is a destination that’s a bit off the beaten path yet provides no shortage of culture and adventure. Go whale watching, stay in a tea plantation, track leopards in the jungle, or view the unparalleled sight of the annual elephant migration, which takes place in Sri Lanka’s Minneriya National Park. Where can I volunteer?
Sri Lanka packs in a lot of excitement within its small borders, though volunteers have the unique opportunity to absorb the customs and culture by working alongside the local community. Volunteer in Sri Lanka.
Projects in Sri Lanka could mean teaching English in government schools, working with children with disabilities, working with children in kindergartens and orphanages, or assisting in a medical setting high in the tea plantations. Popular placement locations include Galle on the south west coast, Badulla which is about 230km from Colombo towards the eastern slopes of the central hills of Sri Lanka, and Wattala which is a large suburb only a short distance from Colombo city centre. Places in the world which need volunteers?
Mongolia is an adventure destination unlike any other, one where travelers can witness first-hand the traditions of the ancient past.
Nomadic Mongols live the simple life; tribes dwell in the spectacular countryside, vast steppes, and rugged mountains, and herders make home in traditional felt yurt’s called a ger. Though after having been isolated from the rest of the world for the better part of the 20th century, this is still a developing country with very basic infrastructure and a lack of facilities outside the capital.
As such, volunteer placements are diverse, and by volunteering you are contributing to the remarkable developments in this extraordinary land. Cities in Mongolia are growing exponentially, and volunteers are needed to aid people whose personal resources are scant or non-existent.
For those willing to contribute physical labour, projects involve house-building programs where volunteers work alongside the future occupants.
Bosnia was part of the former Yugoslavia until it was ripped apart during the Bosnian War of 1992-95. At the time, Yugoslavia was the most ethnically and religiously diverse region the world has known to date, though this made for a complex political landscape which ended in violence and devastation of unprecedented scale. How to choose a country to volunteer in.
This ethnically rooted war left in its wake great division between the people of this once united region long after the guns were lowered. Two decades later the remnants of racial hated still divide the people of the region who teeter on the edge of social and political instability. Where can I volunteer?
Volunteers here in Bosnia and Herzegovina can contribute to efforts to put an end to the racial segregation by removing the inherited prejudice of the regions next generation – its’s children. Volunteer in orphanages.
All of the above placements are available through Love Volunteers – an organization we can recommend for international projects which are both ethical and affordable, and who work directly with a variety of different NGOs in countries all over the world.
There are over 150 rewarding, safe and affordable volunteering opportunities in developing countries which range from childcare and orphanage work, community development, construction, environmental and conservation, health and medical, care for those with disabilities, teaching and education, wildlife and animals, and empowerment for marginalized women.
Love Volunteers works with local organisations wherever they can to keep administration costs to a minimum so to feed as much money and skills into the local communities where they operate.
Volunteering can be challenging, but the rewards are immense.
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Photo credits: Honduras photos by Nan Palmero. Same photos used for Pinterest images. Ethiopia photos by Bre. Sri Lanka: Elephants by Jonybraker. Jaguar by Blue Skyz Studios. Mongolia by Martha de Jong-Lantink.
Post completed in collaboration with Love Volunteers.