Who has done (or knows somebody that has done) volunteer work abroad?

I’m looking into volunteer work abroad (I know, it seems like I’m totally flitting from idea to idea right now but I’m trying to figure out something to do before I join the police). I have always wanted to do volunteer work, and after a meeting with a careers advisor today, I realized that right now is the perfect opportunity for me to help make a difference in somebody’s life.

If you know somebody who has done volunteer work, I’d really appreciate it if you could ask them what organization they went through (as there are many fake ones online and I’m not sure which to go with). If you have any funny/scary/sad stories, I’d love to hear them, and if you have ay precautions or warning messages for me, I’d love to hear them too!!

Thank you.

Answer #1

I have a friend who spent last summer working with children in Cambodia. If its something you would be interested in I can get details for you

Answer #2

Yes, I’m very interested. Did she do it voluntary by herself or with an organization? I’m not equipped enough to do it by myself. I’m researching organizations right now. Does she have qualifications to work with children? Most of them don’t require specific qualifications, I’m finding one that doesn’t require qualifications. I have experience, but nothing on paper. I’m willing to pay for flights etc btw too :) But yeah, if you could talk to her, or maybe give her my email address so I could talk to her, I’d appreciate it greatly. Funmail me for my email. xx

Answer #3

Actually Renee if you wish to make a difference in someone’s life I’d strongly suggest you start in your hometown, I’m pretty sure there are a few charities around that cater to the poor or homeless. You don’t have to go overseas to make a difference in someone’s life - there are people who need help everywhere, including places around your vicinity. I’m very cynical when it comes to overseas volunteer work (I’m referring to those done in developing countries). People from wealthy nations pay hundreds or thousands of dollars just to get some sort of “experience” of what it’s like to live in an impoverished village or slum - there are not many things I find more disgusting than that, your pair of $500 airplane tickets could have been so much better utilised simply by just donating to the charity itself! Now that’s actually okay in my book if people actually had skills that poor countries needed - for example, professional doctors, first-aid workers and logistics people are in great demand - but most of the time (especially for people our age) it’s just about going there to do manual labour, which means people end up getting in the way because they’re not as accustomed to physical labour as the locals. I can’t emphasise this enough - unless you have special skills that are in great demand in developing countries, volunteer work in the 2nd or 3rd world isn’t for you. In conclusion, find a local organisation that needs help, every little bit goes a long way. (Don’t take all that as gospel truth though, once again those are just my personal views :D ) P.S. I’m aware you didn’t mention developing countries directly but nevertheless I thought it’d be good to talk about it, sorry if it’s irrelevant.

Answer #4

See below. IMHO, charities in impoverished countries need your money (and skills, if you have them), not your arms.

Answer #5

That’s a great answer. Though in my hometown there is nothing much I can do voluntary-wise. I am fortunate enough to live in an area where we do not have homeless shelters because we do not have homeless people. If I were to go an hour south, I hit a main city that, yes, has homeless people, but they are people who do not appreciate what you do for them. Auckland city homeless persons are drunks with addiction problems and we are encouraged to keep away from them because every time somebody tries to help them, there is always some kind of attack involved and somebody gets shot. Of course this isn’t always the case, but it is often. I do already donate to charities that help these people, but right now I am specifically looking for hands-on work as I have about 2 years free.

I agree, I could donate what could be used as a plane ticket, but that way I am just paying for somebody else to go over and help. I am doing this to help people, but I’m also doing it as something that will help me be accepted into the Police force when that time comes. My recruiting officer is really into overseas volunteer work. The work I would be doing is mostly teaching work, something that can’t be brought with money. I would be teaching women how to cook and sew and look after their children, and I would no doubt also be doing manual work.

Answer #6

Yay 7 pts, lol :D thanks Back to the question - I have serious doubts about teaching natives how to cook and sew. I’m assuming you use gas or electricity in your home to cook - so if you were to go to a developing country to teach locals how cook, well you would look silly tbh, because many ppl there, particularly in SE Asia, India, Africa etc, still use firewood to cook, so unless you have significant scout training you would be teaching them nada. Far better to donate to a charity you trust so that the impoverished can eventually upgrade their primitive stoves into safer, more efficient gas or electric ones. Ditto for sewing - few homes in the third world enjoy access to a modern electric sewing machine.

Answer #7

“I agree, I could donate what could be used as a plane ticket, but that way I am just paying for somebody else to go over and help” So? You’re helping, not getting in the way. That’s good.

I suggest you think about the skills you genuinely have - acquired, or otherwise. For example, I see myself as a creative person so I decided I could help tutor young kids from poor families and make their tuition lessons more interesting and interactive (I didn’t end up doing anything though, you have to be 19 in my charity to do stuff like that haha :/ long story that). Discover yours and think where they can be best utilised. If those skills you have are badly needed in Africa or Cambodia then fair enough. But if they’re more suited for a charity nearer to home, I don’t see any reason why you should choose the overseas option over the local one.

Answer #8

Im sure she will be more than happy to email you - she doesnt have any qualifications specific to children. If I remember correctly she did other things in the community also, but cant remember exactly what… Anyway will funmail you!

Answer #9

I had a friend of mine, she worked for this organization called Buildon and they help build schools in some parts of Africa and they actually sent her out there for a week or so to build the school.

From what she told me, I can say that it would suit you really well because they actually give you a family that you work with and help them with the school and all.

Here’s the website: http://funadvice.com/r/bi6dd5f5mq7

And cheers to you Renee :)

Answer #10

Renee, there is a highly reputable non-governmental organization in India called Sanlaap that works with female sex workers there, many of whom were trafficked, tricked, or forced into child prostitution. Do you think that could be of particular relevance to your future police work?

Here is there wikipedia page for general info about them:


At the bottom is this link to their own website:


Be sure to check out the “Volunteer” pages (under “Support” in the drop-down menu), which include these two possibilities that I thought might suit you:

• Come over and play with the children, teach them through joyful methods, train them in computer skills

• Help us in designing our Communciation and Promotion material

Answer #11

My cousin came to Africa to work at a school in one of the villages. It was part of her degree in social work. She came back to the capital where my family lives in a day. Apparently showering out of a bucket, and going to the toilet in a hole was not for her (although I honestly have no clue what she was thinking, she wouldn’t even last in the capital city for a week, let alone an actual village). There are all sorts of things you can do. What specifically are you interested in doing? Like working with what sort of population, or doing what sort of thing (teaching english, computer skills, building homes or wells for drinking water, working with kids or older adults, working with individuals who have been through a war, etc…).

Answer #12

Thank you for your reply. I am interested in working with children, I already do work with children right now. I have seen ads online on volunteer websites asking for people who can go to various countries and help with looking after small children and helping new parents care for their children. I know I’m young, but I do happen to have a lot of experience in that corner. Though honestly, I’d actually take whatever they offer me, if it sounds like something I can do.

The showering out of a bucket etc etc thing doesn’t bother me at all. Lol. Just thought I’d mention that :)

Answer #13

You have all given fantastic answers but FA won’t let me like any more!! Maybe you guys could like each other’s answers… :DD

Answer #14

I went through a volenteer program and they basically lied to me about what they promised me from the beginning. They promised me that I’d have a job at the place I was volenteering at and when I got through it and graduated from it, they had me graduate and that was it!! no job and they sent me on my way. And, that was through a program called Easter Seals.

Answer #15

Thanks for that info. I’m going with an organization called IFRE. But thanks that’s helpful :)

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