Sabiha Haider Kahn, the Director of Compliance at Quality Health Plans of New York (QHP), is dedicated to helping others through volunteering as a resident in Tampa, FL. She shares 7 ways to help others less fortunate around the world while volunteering.
There are multiple kinds of volunteer programs around the world. Choosing a program that’s ideal for you may sometimes turn out to be tougher than selecting the location. It’s highly important that you find a well-suited program, which will ensure you enjoy your volunteer program experience. Here are some ways you can travel the world as well as engage in volunteer work simultaneously.
1. Community Building
This usually involves having to work with adults, mostly residing in rural areas or supported via grassroots organizations. Community-based volunteering programs help particular communities create a stable income source, enhance skillsets, encourage unity & contribute to community space constructions.
Community development volunteer programs are usually set in rural locations. You may have to conduct medical or health missions, organize workshops or seminars, and build structures as part of your program. Your exact tasks may vary, based on which organization you choose to volunteer with. Apart from community members and leaders, you will also be working with NGO officials, architects, and researchers for coordinating development projects.
2. Working with Children
Volunteering at a childcare center is highly popular among volunteers looking for options in both developing and developed countries. This sector frequently experiences staff shortages and requires more help for providing children with their basic needs and for performing general tasks needed for maintaining a childcare home.
These projects usually involve youth development and day care. You’ll be working with children hailing from underprivileged backgrounds, who might not have any family.
If your intention is to go for such programs, you must possess the energy and heart to care for children on a physical and emotional level. Your tasks will involve organizing activities, teaching life skills & changing diapers. Childcare volunteer programs are often highly stressful, as these kids often come with a history of parental abuse, stunted emotional growth, and a variety of other problems. Patience is key for being successful in a childcare volunteer program.
Volunteering with kids can be ideal for you in case you’re majoring in child and family development, education, community development, psychology, or education. As these children are usually vulnerable, it is better not to go for them unless you’re planning for a long-term volunteering stint or possess childcare training, Stay away from orphanage scams & be critical of the ability to create a worthwhile difference in irreparable childcare systems that are often incentivized by certain Western programs, which create institutions not really needed by these children.
This is another popular choice among those interested in volunteering. While working for education-related programs, international volunteers usually handle students hailing from all backgrounds and ages. Volunteers may work with adults, youth, or orphans for teaching them subjects ranging from disease prevention and life skills to art and English.
Unlike regular teaching jobs, volunteering for a foreign teaching program will have you conducting lessons in many environments like community centers in rural locations, orphanages, clinics, and academic institutions. Although education-related volunteering programs don’t qualify for academic credit in most cases, an international teaching credit will greatly boost your resume, especially if you’ve decided to pick an education-related career.
4. Marine & Wildlife Conservation
This is among the best volunteer programs available for international volunteers. Marine and wildlife conservation programs are extremely coveted as they involve a bit of adventure. Volunteers get to visit unique places, live with a beach or a beautiful location nearby, or work with several exotic species.
Instead of focusing on communities and humans, wildlife conservation volunteer programs focus on wildlife support, both in marine and wild locations. Tasks may include surveying marine and wildlife reserves, assisting researchers, and rescuing animals. A few conservation programs include diving certifications or trainings as well.
5. Public Health Awareness
This is a popular choice in nations where there are rampant health issues, especially many African countries. Health education programs send volunteers to communities plagued by various health problems. Here, volunteers teach several disease prevention methods, educate locals about overcoming the disease & implement systems that prevent diseases from spreading any further.
When you volunteer in a health awareness volunteer program, tasks could include supplying food to locals, providing treatment, conducting seminars and providing assistance in other fields. This program is recommended for people who are healthcare professionals or are pursuing medial careers.
6. Multi-country volunteer programs
This is another highly-coveted volunteer program, as you get to travel different countries during the course of your program. During these programs, volunteers will have to settle down in different countries, conducting unique projects while staying in a location.
If you’ve got a travel bug, this is bound to be the perfect volunteer program for you to join. Although it may become tiring at times, it will eventually be worth it by the time the program comes to an end.
7. Women’s rights, health & welfare
Volunteer programs helping women are now highly popular as several groups with women well-being as their goal are starting to create additional volunteer programs that help them. Similar to community building programs, volunteer placements focused on women enable volunteers to start working in women protective shelters or rural areas.
Most women volunteers who engage in volunteer programs come to learn life skills like establishing a sustainable income source. Local women could also have been domestic violence victims. Hence, volunteers would have to help them overcome trauma experiences by teaching new skills or coping techniques for building self-esteem or confidence.
Giving up your treasured vacation time for doing some good for the world or a community is a noble gesture. But it’s crucial that volunteers carry out a legitimate assessment of all the organizations that they’re working with for coordinating their projects. Is this work sustainable? Have they assessed the long- and short-term effects of their program? Are locals incorporated in their projects? Are these locals being taught to manage these projects independently?
Once you’ve decided to start spending your time contributing to a volunteer program, be conscious about how your money is being spent, who gets to really benefit from it, and understand ways to connect the knowledge gained from these volunteer experiences with issues in your very own community.