Budget travellers should check out this list of 10 amazing non-profit organizations offering free volunteer opportunities abroad:
- Casa do Caminho, Brazil
- Harvest Training Cambodia, Cambodia
- Centro de Conservación de la Biodiversidad Chiloé-Silvestre, Chile
- Olancho Aid Foundation, Honduras
- Agatha Amani House, Kenya
- Ban Nai Soi Community Learning Center, Thailand
- Peace and Happiness Foundation, Thailand
- Sapa O’Chau, Vietnam
- Vietnamese Community Volunteering, Vietnam
Volunteering abroad is a great way to grow and make a travel experience meaningful. Non-profit organizations all over the world need volunteers to support local initiatives, so it’s often a win-win opportunity for everyone. In most cases, they request a fee from volunteers to cover the expenses associated with their stay.
However, some non-profits do not charge any volunteering fee, which is good news for students and budget travelers! In some cases, they even offer free accommodation, meals, and more.
Free volunteering opportunities abroad might require a minimum time commitment that can range from a few weeks to a few months. Specific skills might also be needed, but some organizations are willing to train volunteers, especially if they take part in long-term programs.
Below are 10 of the best free volunteer opportunities abroad available on the GivingWay platform:
Volunteer Activity: Teaching languages
Includes: Accommodation and food (minimum 6 months)
Located in Xerem, about 50 km away from Rio de Janeiro, Casa do Camino is a non-profit organization aiming to support underprivileged children living in rural areas through educational, cultural, social, and sports projects.
Casa do Caminho was founded in 1982 by philanthropist Carlos Alberto Nogueira with the help of five of his closest friends. Before Casa do Caminho, he and his friends worked for some time in Rio de Janeiro distributing food to the poor and helping the homeless, which inspired the idea.
Casa do Caminho relies on its team of local and international volunteers to teach language lessons to kids aged 6-12 years old in 2 or 3 schools. The volunteers should have a good level of English or Spanish, and be able to understand some basic Portuguese.
Working in Casa do Caminho not only gives you a chance to empower the kids but also helps you get a taste of the rich Brazilian culture, mingle with the friendly locals, and learn from their unique way of life.
“I am currently volunteering at Casa do Caminho, and so far I can say that it’s been the best experience of my life. […] My view of the world has changed a lot. My eyes have been opened to harsh realities and now I understand the difficult living conditions of many people. At the same time, I have found that good people who are willing to work restlessly to help them, really do exist in this world!
I am volunteering for a full year, and I wish I could stay longer. I don’t regret making the decision of coming here for a second.”
Read more reviews here >>
Volunteer Activities: Teaching, agriculture, animal care
Harvest Training Cambodia is a non-profit organization that works with various churches and Christian organizations to spread the word of God to the people of Cambodia.
Harvest Training Cambodia was founded in 2004 with an aim to provide medical care, education programs, community development, and church planting. The founders had the vision to provide meaningful training for Cambodian youth. In 2012, Harvest Training Cambodia was registered officially with the government which led to the expansion of the organization’s objectives to include youth projects and education programs that teach kids valuable skills.
Harvest Training Cambodia needs volunteers to help them with teaching kids computer lessons, English, music, and any other valuable skills.
The volunteers also travel to the village regularly to help with the agricultural training of the community, digging wells, building toilets, building worship centres, and running mobile medical clinics.
Volunteer Activities: Conservation work, animal care, research
Includes: Accommodation (minimum 2 weeks)
Chiloé Silvestre is a non-profit organization located in the Chiloé Archipelago in Southern Chile. Their mission is to conduct research and engage in active conservation measures to protect the island’s natural environment and the various species of wildlife found there.
Chiloé Silvestre was founded in 2009 to help with the conservation of animals and their natural habitats. Over the years, the non-profit has worked together with researchers, educators, private and government institutions, as well as local and foreign volunteers to reach their goals.
For people interested in volunteer jobs in Chiloé Silvestre, there is plenty to do.
You can participate in the rescue, handling, cleaning, and feeding of the wild animals till they are released back into their natural habitat.
You can also help in research via field work, animal tracking, lab analysis, data analysis, among other tasks.
Education through workshops and the creation of audio-visual materials is another important task you can assist with.
This volunteer program is perfect for travellers who want to spend time with animals while enjoying the picturesque views and relaxing environment of the small island.
Sustainable Roots Ecuador offers travellers an opportunity to get involved in their ongoing environmental and educational programs, both for short and long terms.
Volunteers can interact with the friendly Ecuadorian people and learn from their rich culture. They also get to enjoy the peace and quiet of living in a small village surrounded by stunning mountain views.
Volunteer Activities: Teaching, childcare
Includes: Monthly stipend, sufficient to cover accommodation and food (minimum 4 months)
The Olancho Aid Foundation aims to promote love, faith, and hope in the people of Olancho, Honduras through catholic-based education and clean water projects. The organization makes education possible for all children, including those with special needs, and helps the community access purified water.
The Olancho Aid Foundation was founded in 1996 by a priest who was visiting and realized how much the people of Olancho needed quality education for their children. Today, the non-profit has 4 schools in the area with over 900 students and 100 employees.
The Olancho Aid Foundation invites volunteers who love children and are driven by Christian values to serve in the school system. Volunteers can contribute to the well-being of the local community through education, child care, or administration.
Volunteer Activities: Women empowerment, teaching, agriculture
Includes: Accommodation and food (minimum 1 month)
Agatha Amani House is a shelter for domestic and sexual abuse victims based in Naivasha, Kenya.
It was founded in 2014 by a group of Kenyan women with the help of foreign organizations that shared the common goal of protecting and empowering vulnerable women.
The non-profit is dedicated to providing a safe place for women and their children to heal and become self-sufficient through counselling, education, training and vocational guidance.
Volunteers are always welcome at Agatha Amani House either for short-term or long-term projects. There are many ways for volunteers to empower the women at the shelter: teaching English, facilitating the healing process through counselling and social work, coordinating project, gardening, looking after the farm animals, fundraising, cooking, promoting the non-profit on social media, and much more.
The organization is also just a few minutes’ drive from one of the biggest national parks in Kenya where you can enjoy breathtaking views of wildlife and natural landscapes.
Volunteer Activities: Teaching, community development
Includes: Accommodation and food
The Ban Nai Soi Community Learning Center’s mission is to empower the youth in Northern Thailand through high school education, community development skills, and vocational skills and help them become tomorrow’s leaders within their communities.
The Ban Nai Soi Community Learning Center was founded in 2004 out of the need for better training and skills development of the local community. The school currently teaches hundreds of young boys and girls from the Mae Hong Son area in Thailand subjects like English, organic farming, community development, management, and computer skills.
The center needs volunteers mainly to teach English, social media, and computer skills such as website building, video editing and Photoshop. There are both long and short-term volunteer programs that include a week of training.
Plus, the volunteers get to experience life in rural Thailand with the friendly and welcoming local community!
Volunteer Activities: Teaching
Includes: Accommodation, food and pocket money (minimum 2 months)
The Peace and Happiness Foundation is another non-profit in Northern Thailand based in Chiang Rai. Its mission is to provide free bilingual education to disadvantaged children with an education that teaches analytical thinking using the English language. The organization aims to improve the kids’ English ability through analytical skills rather than just memorizing the language.
The co-founders of Peace and Happiness Foundation worked with the Ministry of Education to come up with a way to incorporate some aspects of international schools into the Thai schools so that underprivileged children also get the chance to develop their English ability and analytical thinking skills.
The Peace and Happiness Foundation needs volunteers aged 20 years and above who can teach English to underprivileged kids for 5 or 9 months. Volunteers will teach five subjects in the English language using the organization’s videos: science, maths, English, social studies and health education.
In their free time, volunteers can experience the beautiful nature of Northern Thailand and even visit neighbouring countries (Myanmar and Laos).
9. Sapa O’Chau
Volunteer Activities: Teaching, youth empowerment
Located in the hills of Northern Vietnam, Sapa O’Chau is the only Vietnamese social enterprise founded by an ethnic minority. The funds generated from their 3 businesses (tourists’ café, Hmong handicraft shop, and tour operation) help sustain the Sapa O’Chau high school.
Shu Tan, a single mother from an indigenous community, worked alonside four Australian volunteers to establish Sapa O’Chau. At first, the organization was formed to help her people but later she decided to focus her efforts on solving the growing illiteracy problem among the ethnic minority population by giving English classes. The Sapa O’Chau School eventually opened in 2010.
Volunteers at Sapa O’Chau can make a difference in many different ways — they can teach English at the school or help with any of the three social enterprise businesses (café, handicraft shop, or tour operation). They can help with fundraising, marketing and social media, and can also get involved in conservation and art projects.
There is no fee to join the Sapa O’Chau volunteering program. However, volunteers will have to cover their own accommodation for a small fee of $5 per day, which also includes lunch and dinner.
Sapa O’Chau really appreciates foreign visitors who are willing to spend time and effort to inspire and empower the ethnic minority youth. The experience is rewarding for both sides, as travellers also get to immerse themselves in a unique and colorful culture in the Northern hills of Vietnam.
“I perfectly can recommend to be a volunteer in Sapa O’Chau. I spent a month there helping the kids with the English classes. They are just lovely. The staff works hard and there’s a very good atmosphere. […]
I can say I miss them so much. These kids are just…very very good people. I’m sure I learnt much more than them!”
Read more reviews here >>
Volunteer Activities: Teaching English
Includes: Accommodation and food (minimum 2 months)
Vietnamese Community Volunteering is a social enterprise based in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, and was created to help Vietnamese students to improve their English skills through education, eco-tourism, and cultural exchange. The organization wants to empower the Vietnamese youth so that they can eventually land a good job.
Vietnamese Community Volunteering was founded in 2014 to help students of all ages learn the correct pronunciation of English words. Since then, more than 300 volunteers have helped thousands of Vietnamese students improve their conversation abilities.
Volunteers are an integral part of the Vietnamese Community Volunteering operations as they are needed to teach English and help in other projects that benefit the community, such as helping the homeless and the underprivileged population of Hanoi.
Students also enjoy the presence of foreigners and will be happy to show them around and teach them some Vietnamese in return!
“Here at VCV I felt like a member of the family. I will remember my stay for the rest of my life. […]
Every week there is something new going on around VCV. They have many great volunteers from all over the world. Meeting so many people from all walks of life was unbelievable. I would recommend anyone anytime to come visit VCV.
I will visit again. In fact every time I come back to Hanoi I plan to call Miss Hay before I arrive so she can prepare one of many favorite dishes she makes.”
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