Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC)

Welcome to the Volunteer Capital Centre

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Volunteer abroad Organizations

There are a number of organizations that provide volunteer travel services. These volunteer service organizations could be for profit and not for profit. There is no big difference between the two, unless you live in the USA where your trip could be tax deductable. Most of the organizations provide you with somewhere to work, a school, hospital, or orphanage; and somewhere to stay: a group home, hostel, hotel and a home stay. They arrange everything for you and offer you full support during your stay in the host country. Other organizations offer transport to and from the project location, while some just offer you a place to work while you organize where you will stay. Depending on where you want to go and how much money you have there is a huge list of volunteer travel organizations to choose from. As the industry is fairy new there are no rules or guidelines that govern these organizations in their new industry. There is also no umbrella body in which these organizations fall under whereby you can check an organization’s credibility or also to complain to. When you are planning your volunteer abroad trip here are a list of volunteer abroad organizations to use:

Volunteer Capital Centre

Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC) is an organization that is based in the UK. They provide quality and affordable volunteer abroad work programs in third world countries. The volunteers will be placed in nonprofit organizations, community based organizations, faith based organizations, and government agencies. They make the process of making volunteering in third world countries a safe and comfortable as possible procedure. They provide their volunteer programs in Africa.

Cross Cultural Solutions

Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS) is an international not-for-profit volunteer organization offering short term programs in 12 different countries and 20 different sites ranging from 1 to 12 weeks. CCS is a recognized leader in the field of international volunteering and work with sustainable community initiatives abroad. It is based in USA.


Amizade Places individuals and groups with community projects in ten countries, from Australia and Brazil to Tanzania and the United States. Most service trips are short (about three weeks) but both alternative breaks for college students and long-term projects can be arranged. Volunteers pay for all of their expenses and a percentage of the cost of the project on which they will volunteer. The organization is based in Australia.

Abroader view

A Broader View Volunteers is a 501(c)(3) based non-profit organization based in Pennsylvania. With a love for humankind, and a motivated spirit to help others, A Broader View was created on the belief that one person can make a difference in the lives of others. Our US office is operated by an enthusiastic staff with almost 20 years combined travel and hospitality experience.


BUNAC offers a range of exciting summer camp, work abroad and volunteer abroad programmes. Established in 1962, BUNAC is a non-profit work and travel expert and has been helping young people work and volunteer abroad for 48 years. Popular BUNAC destinations include: USA, Canada, New Zealand, Ghana, Australia, Britain, China, South Africa and many more.

Students Partnership Worldwide

This British organization runs four- to nine-month volunteer programs in India, Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. All volunteers receive intensive training (up to six weeks) before working together in teams in rural communities, raising awareness of important health and environmental issues. Participants must be aged 18 to 28 years, and pay fees for each program; SPW offers fundraising advice. The basic cost of a placement ranges from £2900 to £3300, including air fare.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Volunteer abroad Advice for parents

Many young adults are opting to take a gap year or volunteer abroad vacation for a period of time. With these vacations the children stay for a minimum of one week to three years depending on how they have planed their trip. As a result many parents these days are faced with the dilemma of letting their kids to travel alone. The parents have done a great job teaching their children to be independent and responsible. The real test comes when the children ask for their independence by asking their parents their desire to volunteer abroad. Most parents are uncomfortable with this request as there are too many concerns to address. One of the concerns is that their child might not be mature enough to live in a country by themselves for a long period of time. Another problem is that most of the parents have not travelled to other countries and they don’t know how to give advice on travelling abroad. Many parents aren’t sure that their children can travel abroad without them. They are also worried about health issues; their kids could get homesickness; and security issues. Many first time travelers have a problem convincing their parents to let them volunteer abroad. As the volunteers they should inform their parents of the benefits that come from volunteering abroad, and most parents are glad to have let their kids volunteer abroad. As a parent who has a child who wants to volunteer abroad, you can help by:


Your child would have already done most of the work and found a travel organization that s/he would use. Although your child might have researched where they want to go and which company to use there are small details that they might have over looked. As the parent you should counter check everything the child has done to make sure s/he didn’t forget anything out. You should pay particular attention to what the organization is and not offering; fees cancelation policy; their privacy policy and the benefit to the child’s career. Find out where the volunteer project is and what work they will be doing. Since volunteering is not just a humanitarian act, picking the right volunteer abroad program it could help building your child’s career. As the parent you should contact the organization directly to speak to the person who is in charge and planning everything for your child. Also if there is an in country coordinator, s/he should be contacted to for advice about the place.

Travel together

Some parents travel with their kids and help them adjust to the new environment. They stay with their children during the first week to help them navigate around the city. You can go with your child to the orientation, find out where the project is, look at the working conditions, meet the project coordinator, look at the available resources and check to make sure it is safe. Also you could help your kid to find out where the nearest hospitals, restaurants, cyber cafes and how well to travel around the area. You could also get for her a phone and an appropriate internet connection so that you can communicate when you leave. Make copies of your child’s important documents like passport, visa, credit cards and travel insurance just in case s/he loses them.


You could help your child in budgeting money for the duration of the volunteer work. Since you will be funding most of the expenses, come up with an appropriate budget that can work for both of you. Also you should set yourself as a power of attorney on your child’s bank account in case your child runs into financial problems. Ensure your child as a Visa Card or a Master as these are available in most parts of the country. Carry travelers’ cheques could be useful in case they lose their credit cards. These are also exchanged in most banks and airports.


When you are planning take your child to see a general practitioner to get advice and medical checkups. Ensure your child gets the proper vaccination before they leave. Get a proper travel insurance which will take care of your child when you are abroad. If your child is going to an area prone to diseases like malaria make them carry a mosquito net, or make them have bottled water to avoid getting typhoid. If your child has a preexisting medical condition tell him/ her to carry double the medication as they might lose their first dose. Give general advice about staying healthy and avoid getting sick.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Volunteering with Children

Working with kids is one of the most fulfilling jobs that are available. When you work with kids you will have the opportunity to shape the life of a child. The influence that you will have on a child will last forever. The small things you do to kids as a favor have a huge impact on their lives. There are many programs out there that give you the chance to work with kids. There are the big brother programs, mentoring programs which are available in your local volunteer centres. There are also government organizations or institutions that help kids, like foster homes and group homes which could be a great resource for you to work in. Some of the activities you could do while you are at home include: forming a child care group; mentoring a child at the local Y; tutoring kids; reading to kids in the library; contact the local homeless assistance centre and help the homeless kids; and help in a local child advocacy group. When you want to travel abroad and work with kids the opportunities are endless. There are many non profits or not for profit organizations out there which offer you the opportunity to volunteer abroad. You could partner with a volunteer travel agency, a charity organization or a grass root organizations which have programs with kids. The volunteer opportunities are for all ages you could be 18 years up to 60 years old to be able to volunteer. Although many women would prefer this jobs there are also men out there who are embracing these new jobs. When you want to work with kids you should have the following qualities: open and kind demeanor; willing to care for the kids; open minded, patience; and loving. The opportunities are mainly in third world and developing countries, where you will go to Africa, Asia, and South America to volunteer. The kids who you will work with don’t have any one to care for them, they are not loved and they don’t have any special attention. When you volunteer abroad to work with kids you will be working in:

Orphanage work

Most of the volunteer work that is done with children is in orphanages. Most of the kids are orphaned because of famine, diseases, wars or natural calamities and social calamities. Many of the kids you will be working with are orphans and some could be having only one parent. They are vulnerable as they have no one to take care of them. The children especially in Africa are orphaned because of HIV/AIDS. Their parents die of the disease and their grandparents are left to take care of them. The only institutions available to take care of the kids are orphanages. The orphanages are normally understaffed working with a large number of kids. The ages of the kids in the orphanages range between 1 – 18 years. A large portion of the kids are often younger because the older ones are sponsored and go to boarding school. The kids could also be disabled, suffering from an untreatable disease, mentally handicapped or challenged in some way or the other. As a volunteer you will be required to perform a various number of tasks: providing one on one attention to the kids; helping them with their homework; feeding the kids; washing the kids; playing with the kids and mentoring them. It’s best to volunteer for more than one month because if you volunteer for a shorter period you won’t have any impact on the kids. Also the constant change will affect the kids negatively. When you volunteer with the kids you will form a bond that will last forever and when they are grown up and successful they will also help other unfortunate kids.


Other ways in which you will be involved with kids is through teaching. You will volunteer as a teacher, and educate the children. You will teach the lower grades since it will be easier for you. The lessons will be done in schools where you will have basic resources, and sometimes they won’t be available. You will have to come up with imaginative ways to engage your students. You will be teaching English, Maths, Social sciences, Music or Physical Education. Also you will be asked to help with their homework; tutoring the slower kids to help them catch up and in some case help in providing lunch.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Volunteer Abroad Travel insurance

You will need travel insurance when you plan to volunteer abroad. Most companies that organize travel trips insist or recommend you having travel insurance. Travel insurance is an insurance that is intended to cover medical expenses, financial and other losses incurred while travelling. Travel insurance can be gotten directly from insurance companies, travel agents and travel suppliers. The insurance covers student travel, business travel, leisure travel, adventure travel, cruise travel and international travel. Buying travel insurance is tricky especially when finding the right plan for you that will cover you extensively. Travel insurance covers you against risks such as severe weather, last minute cancellations, terrorist attacks, emergency/accidental care, and travel delays, missed connections, lost baggage etc. Most people buy travel insurance so that they are medically covered when they are abroad; they don’t want to lose money due to cancellations and others want to prevent losing their luggage and travel documents. There are various companies to buy travel insurance from depending on your location, price and what you want. Some insurance companies provide travel insurance which is niche specific where they specialize in student travel; others offer simple policies for everyday travelers, some offer just medical insurance or evacuation plans. Depending on what plan you want there are generally two types of plans which are package plans and travel medical plans. When planning to buy travel insurance consider the following:

Trip Cancellation insurance

Trip cancellation coverage provides reimbursement for lost travel expenses if you need to cancel your trip. Unexpected events like sickness, death, severe weather, industrial strike, terrorist incidents, something happens to your destination residence, theft of travel documents like passports, financial default by tour operator, and you may be needed back at work. Trip cancellation insurance is important because some volunteer abroad fees are expensive which can go up to $ 5,000. With some organizations you are asked to plan early in advance in order to confirm a place with them. In such a situation during the period of waiting a lot can happen and you may need to cancel your trip. Also volunteer abroad programs involve a lot of several stops and connections and they have a higher risk of problems and things to go wrong. Trip cancellation is important as you may choose to volunteer as a group or as a family and you may need to cancel because one of you may fall sick. This will save the money that could have been lost. Depending on the insurance company you use, they each have a number of reasons for you to cancel and they will reimburse you. Trip cancellation coverage should be bought early in advance to make sure you get the full benefits.

Medical insurance

Health insurance from your country only covers you while you are at home. When you decide to volunteer abroad you will need travel insurance. Travel insurance takes care of medical coverage while you are volunteering abroad. When you are abroad despite of the vaccinations you are given you are still prone to be infected by indigenous diseases. The coverage includes being taken to hospital, being treated, charges for hospital stays, the cost of drugs, and evacuation back to your home country. Medical insurance is important since when you are in a foreign country and you might know where the hospital is. Also they may be speaking in a foreign language and getting help might be a bit difficult. When you are evacuated back to your home country, they will take you straight to hospital for further treatment. When buying medical insurance, inform them of your preexisting conditions to make sure you are fully covered.

Other advantages

Travel insurance covers against lost or damage baggage. This happens a lot due to connecting many different flights. It also protects against your property being stolen. There are some occasions when you arrive at your destination and your baggage is delayed. The cover includes reimbursement of essential items like toiletries, and basic clothing. Some companies offer extra coverage on car rental damage protection, identity theft, and adventure travel coverage. Consult your travel agent on which is the best insurance company to use and what exactly they cover

Examples of travel insurance companies

There are many companies, travel agents and specialty travel companies that provide travel insurance. They vary greatly on price and what they offer or cover. Many travelers use the following Cultural Insurance Services International, CMI Insurance Specialists, iNext Travel Card and International Student Insurance. There are many more companies choose wisely.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Volunteer Abroad Career benefits

Many people view volunteering as a waste of time and money. Especially volunteering abroad since there are very few opportunities whereby you can volunteer abroad for free. When you choose to volunteer abroad, you will spend money because most volunteer service organizations charge from as little as $ 1100 to as much as $ 2500 or $ 4500 a month to volunteer. In such instances, instead of using your time to make money you will be spending money. Depending on how you spend your volunteer abroad time, it will not be wasting money. There are many career benefits to volunteering abroad and when done right the money can be seen as an investment. There are many people who stop school to take a gap year; a career break; take a year after high school; and others volunteer at the end of their career. To everyone who volunteers abroad and give out their time and money, they get more back in return as opposed to what they give. They develop personally as individuals and they add on to their skills. The Career benefits of volunteering abroad include:

Personal development

When you volunteer abroad there are a host of things in which you learn. Even though your initial plan was for you to have fun there are a host of skills that you can learn while you are abroad. Whichever volunteer abroad work program you decide to do, you are bound to learn new things that will benefit you and your career. During and after your volunteer work abroad you will appreciate your culture, values and habits when you compare with the other cultures. Apart from learning new skills, many people who come out of their volunteer abroad are more focused and are able to choose the appropriate career path. After the work you will know which path to follow in their lives and to a fulfilling career. During your work abroad, you will new people and expand your network. Your will increase your professional network giving you more opportunities when looking for work. Working with different organizations opens up new avenues where you can gain employment. After you finish your education, you don’t normally have professional work experience. When you volunteer you gain professional experience in that field and with the organization. Another benefit of volunteering abroad is exposure, you will learn how other people do things and new ways of solving problems, it will change the way you look at things.

College applications

Students who have attained the required GPA and the right SAT scores all want to go to the best colleges and universities. Many students apply to colleges especially Ivy League colleges to proceed with their higher learning. The Colleges and Universities are overwhelmed with applications and find it hard to choose which students to pick due to their limited facilities. As such many students look for giving themselves an edge over other applicants. Some do this by engaging in sports, joining causes and anything that can give them an advantage. The students who have volunteered abroad are better placed to be accepted as opposed to other applicants. This is because Colleges and Universities prefer students who have volunteered abroad because it show they are more mature and they have unique ways of solving problems. Also many higher learning institutions have volunteer abroad programs which they endorse to encourage their students to get a better world view. With their volunteer abroad programs they have study abroad programs in different parts of the world. In institutions like Brown, over a third of the junior class takes the opportunity to complete part of their education outside the United States.

Employment opportunities

Employees prefer to take up individuals who have a world view and world experience. Especially companies which have many offices around the world prefer people who have world wide experience. For examples multinational companies like oil companies who have offices all over the world would want to hire candidates who have been to different countries. They choose employees who have lived or worked abroad because it is easier for them to adjust to the new living conditions. When you volunteer abroad you learn to live with new people and adapt to their culture. As a volunteer, you learn how to solve problems by thinking out of the box, it broadens your world view and you get to learn a new language. People who have volunteered abroad have a generally increased tolerance towards others and a better understanding of global issues. Being exposed to other cultures may not look like a transferable skill but employer value it because it shows you are used to work with all sorts of people. Employers look for candidates who communicate well with others; value of cross-cultural understanding and have an appreciation for different points of view.

Career break

When you take a career break from your work place and choose to volunteer abroad you become a more valued asset to your organization. When you come back after your volunteer work, you become more focused and more passionate about your work. During your volunteer work, you will have gained more skills and abilities for you to use in your work place. Any experience you get abroad make you perform better at work. In the case the company is having problems with money, taking unpaid time off can be an advantage. This way, the company can save money by not paying you in your vacation. This frees up money for the company to help it recover during the time you are away. After your vacation you could go back and work for your company. This can be a win - win situation to you and your employer as when you come back you will be of more value to the company.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Volunteer abroad teaching

A teacher is a person who facilitates education or provides schooling for students. The science of teaching is pedagogy, whereby teachers get professional qualifications for teaching. When you volunteer abroad as a teacher, many organizations provide you with TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification. This involves 120 hours of learning on how to teach English best in foreign countries at the end of the course you are given a certificate. Most of these programs are flexible and are done to fit your schedule. Apart from getting TEFL there are other language certificates like for French, Spanish and also Italian. But when volunteering abroad as a teacher you don’t need to have these professional qualifications. You don’t need to be trained as a professional teacher; all you need is to be able to speak English fluently. Most of the programs are in third world countries whereby they have problems speaking the language. The local teachers know the language, the grammar and the structural aspects but they lack the right pronunciation and intonation. As English is not their native language they have problems with pronouncing the words properly. As an English speaking foreigner you will be a great asset to the place where you will be working. Usually the volunteer work for 18 to 20 hours a week. Most of the teaching abroad programs are done in classes in some occasions you could be a private tutor helping the kids with their assignments. You could be working in primary, secondary schools or in universities and colleges. The main duties involved in teaching are: Work as a teaching assistant: teaching classes, grading books; Work as a social worker with the Administrator; help in cooking and cleaning; Help in sports activities; and playing with the kids.


Although teaching English is the most popular choice amongst volunteers, there are other subjects that are taught in the schools. These subjects are mainly taught in primary schools to the kids who are in lower grade levels. The subjects include Maths, social sciences, geography, and Arts, music and sports education. The subjects are easy and anyone can teach them. For students who are studying art could teach the higher grade levels on how to present their arts. As well as music, any volunteer who has experience or academic qualification can teach music to the lower grade to the higher grade levels. If you have a passion for sports, or just one sport your skills could be used to teach physical education. Also it could be your opportunity to teach the kids new sports that are played in your home country. Some volunteers combine teaching sports as well as teaching English.

Teaching advice

On the first day of your class, it could be daunting with all the eager eyes before you, introduce yourself and ask the rest of the class to introduce themselves. This will break the ice and the tension in the class, also find other ways you could involve the students in the class. Try to establish a rapport, and tell the students something about yourself while teaching them the importance of the subject you are teaching. The school you will work in will give you a syllabus in which work with. When preparing your lesson with the syllabus in mind. As your time is limited, planning lessons makes the use of time to be effective. This helps in covering most of the course work in time and helps the students to plan their time as well. There are several teaching techniques you could employ but they need to: encourage contact between teacher and students; encourage active learning; give prompt feedback; emphasize effective time management; and communicate expectations. Lastly as a teacher you should pay attention to the school’s academic and work culture


Most of the programs and projects are done in developing countries, and you will be placed in schools which are ill equipped and don’t have the necessary tools. You will be given a chalk board and chalk to use as tools. Most of the text books and reference material will not be available for you to use. This will require you to be creative in your work. With an open mind you can come up with new and creative ways to solve your problems. Another problem is that the students will be excited to meet you since you are from a different culture and may lead them to stray off the topic and ask too many questions about you. Also since you are in a new culture you will have a bit of cultural conflict in the work environment.
All in all the students, school and communities are excited about your arrival and the work you are doing. They will help you in any way they can to make your work more fun and as easy as possible.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Volunteer in Africa

Volunteering in Africa is a new trend that is rising in the world. Many people are looking to Africa and find ways to help the local communities. Volunteering in Africa provides a host of new opportunities and challenges to whomever who wants to volunteer abroad. Africa is the second largest continent in the world. Second to Asia, it has a billion people with a diverse set of cultures. There are over 1000 languages spoken from Kiswahili to Arabic. Sudan is the largest country while Seychelles is the smallest. The main official languages spoken are English, French and Spanish. There are also two main religions which are, Christianity and Islam, although there are many more traditional religions or folk religions. The African continent lies on the equator, making most of the countries in Africa being tropical. The main seasons in Africa are mainly summer and autumn. The rainy seasons are mainly in June to July and November and December. During the rainy seasons there could be flooding which occurs in areas near rivers and lakes. Other than that it’s usually sunny all throughout the year. Except from the southern African countries, where they experience winter in the middle of the year. The African Geography is also unique with the highest point being in Mount Kilimanjaro, the second largest mountain in the world, while the lowest points lie in the Rift valley in Kenya. The largest desert in the world lies is the Kalahari Desert which cuts across several countries. The longest river lies in Egypt, River Nile. All these make volunteering in Africa to be a unique and a beautiful experience.

Volunteer programs and projects

Despite the rich beauty and the bountiful resources that are available in Africa, there are a number of problems that continue to plague the continent. One of the main problems that Africa has is unstable governments and human rights abuse which are seen in a couple of countries. For example in the democratic republic of Congo, it is referred to as the rape capital whereby 1 in 5 women have been raped. But in the stable democratic countries in Africa, they have unique volunteer programs and projects available for whoever wants to volunteer. Depending on the country you go to you will find a project where you can be useful. The programs and projects include: orphanage work, teaching kids in primary and secondary school; teaching English as a second language; Health/ Medical work; HIV/AIDS work; community development work; care for the disabled work; conservation work, working with wildlife; teaching basic computer skills; teaching sports; work on marine conservation projects and preserving habitats; help build homes. The opportunities are all different in the countries, like teaching English in Kenya is very different from teaching English in Ghana. The programs prices differ greatly depending on the living standards and the volunteer travel company you use.

Wildlife and tourism

There are over 50 million tourists who visit Africa to see the beautiful landscape and the wild animals. The most popular places visited are the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the azure waters in Mauritius, Cape Town in South Africa and the Maasai Mara in Kenya. In Africa there is the largest diversity of animals and plants. It the best continent to tour if you are looking at adventure tours. The best time to come to Africa is between Julys to December but unfortunately it is the high season. Africa boasts the great wildebeest migration where they move from Kenya and go to Tanzania across the Mara. Africa is the host of the big five animals which are lions, buffalos, elephants, rhino and leopards. For bird lovers, there are ornithological tours which you get to see a great number of species and variety found in certain areas. There are a great number of beaches available to those who prefer lying on the coast. The tour prices range between the travel agent you are using and the season in which you choose to travel.

African Culture

When you really want to visit and experience Africa then you should see the African culture. With over 1 billion people; 3000 tribes with the Bantu being the largest; 1000 languages, and 1000 folk religions. Africa is said to be the cradle of mankind with most of the early man being found here. And with the oldest civilization being Egypt, there are many unique and beautiful cultures in Africa to see from sharing a meal in Morocco with a family and doing chores in an orphanage in South Africa. Most African cultures are welcoming and love seeing new people. There are many cultures and tribes which vary from each other across the continent. For example the Zulu are the largest tribe in South Africa; Luhya is the second largest tribe in Kenya. These two differ greatly not only in language but in how they do most of the things but they also share some common habits.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Volunteer in Kenya with Volunteer Capital Centre

Volunteer Capital Centre was formed to provide volunteer opportunities in third world countries. The volunteers will be placed in nonprofit organizations, community based organizations, faith based organizations, and government agencies. We make the process of making volunteering in third world countries a safe and comfortable as possible procedure. As our motto says we want to give the opportunity for others to leave a finger print in the life of another, this involves changing the life of another for the better. We make the process to be safe, affordable and high quality. To our volunteers we offer responsible volunteer travel experiences, exceptional training and career development opportunities, and facilitates the ability to make a real difference.
After the rigors of volunteering you are given the chance to visit the attractive sites. Also during the weekends we can organize safaris and tours to experience the full experience. A country endowed with breathtaking landscapes, changing terrain and exotic coastline, Kenya is the original safari country and the wildlife is simply magnificent. The Maasai Mara game reserve is home to the biggest animal spectacle on earth, the annual wildebeest migration. The climate, although varying from place to place, is very pleasant. For example it’s always summer in Kenya. There will also be other volunteers where you will be able to mix with them and have fun with them. This is an opportunity to meet other people, to learn other cultures and also to have fun after a hard day’s work.
The volunteer programs available are for English speaking individuals who are 18 years and older. There are no educational requirements but some programs need some academic qualifications like working in a clinic. We have flexible programs where you can pick how many hours you want to work in a day. Our program durations are between one week and three months. We also offer customized programs where you choose how you will work and the best times for you.
The programs that we offer include the following:


Volunteers will teach public schools, orphanages and community schools. Schools are in demand for teachers and the students are willing to learn this gives you a chance to impact the life of a young child. The volunteer will be involved in teaching English, Math, Science social Studies and physical education. The volunteers will partner with local teachers and other volunteers to provide proper education to the children. Volunteers are needed especially for the special needs students who require extra time and more effort for them to learn.

Health professionals

There are many clinics and volunteer organizations in such areas that offer medical help to the poor. In conjunction with the clinics and the health centres (dispensaries) the volunteer will work alongside them to provide medical services.

HIV/ AIDS program

As a volunteer you will be asked to help in the outreach programs to help educate the local and create awareness about the disease. Supporting the infected and affected will be done through provision of food and medical supplies. You will be counseling them, encourage and help empower them. Our partner organization will be carrying out outreach programs in schools, community centres and public occasions.

Caring for people with disabilities

As a volunteer you will be expected to help through capacity building. Empowering the disabled is important as they will be able to be independent from other people and can be self reliant. There is also a social aspect to the help given to the disabled. There is a wonderful effect felt caused by the special care and attention given to the disabled. The impact felt by the organization is tremendous; the disabled people’s lives are changed for good. You will be working with children as well as adults.


Many of the babies are orphaned because their parents had abandoned them, while other are because the parents died of HIV/ AIDS. Some kids are very young and they don’t understand why their lives are like that. As such they need special care and attention so that they don’t feel abandoned

Community Development

We work with organizations that provide a number of services to the local community. Our volunteers have the unique opportunity to become involved in a number of activities on a daily basis, including education, empowerment, construction, and vocational training.
The organizations provide sex education to the girls and the local community which you can assist with. It also involves empowering women through activities that make them financial independent. This is done through marketing their products, skills development and giving them access to information.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Volunteer abroad training and orientation

Training and orientation programs are meant to give you an idea of the work you will be doing and what you will expect to get. Volunteer abroad training and orientation programs are unique in that they prepare you for the life you expect in the country you are going to. The programs give you a glimpse of the language, culture and living conditions that are there in the host country. Many organizations that offer volunteer abroad work programs offer training and orientation as part of their package. With some organizations they offer pre- departure training and orientation in the home and country as well as the host country. The orientation equips you with skills and tools that will help you adjust better to the new environment. Most of the training material is usually gotten from life experiences and some are from professional experiences. The training programs are general guidelines on behavior and conduct in the host country. With some organizations training and orientation takes place in two phases, i.e. pre departure and post departure. Pre departure is done while you are at home, while post departure training is done in the host country. These are usually done a few weeks before you leave and the first week of arrival. The training and orientation is usually general for most countries, here are some of the training you should expect:

Pre departure training

You can do this by yourself by research or go to your volunteer travel organization office and have them help with your training. The people at the office are normally past volunteers and will give you first hand information on how their experience was and what to expect. They normally have manuals available for you, to teach you the basics about the country and the expectations from there. They will teach you basic language skills, dress code and the currency that you will be using. During this training they will help you prepare for your volunteer travel abroad. They will tell you the details on how to apply and get a visa, help coordinate when to book your flights, give you suggestions on the best places to get travel insurance. They will give you advice on how to get a passport, and your letter of acceptance letter. They will also recommend the proper vaccination and medication you should take before your volunteer travel abroad. In some organization they will put you in touch with the person who will be taking care of you in the local country. They will give you the address and destination on the place on where you are going.

Program training

When you arrive, you will be picked up by a member of the travel organization in which you are using. The first few days are normally used for training and orientation. They will wait for you at the airport and take you to where you will be staying. They will also take you to the local forex bureau and help you exchange the money you have. Also they will tell you the value of things like how much it costs to use public transport from one point to another or how much it costs to eat in restaurants. They will take you to where you will be staying during your volunteer stay whether it’s a homestay, hostel, group home and a hotel. During this training you will also be taught the basics of the local culture, customs and current affairs.

Health and safety training

You will be given tips and advice on how to carry yourself in the host country. You will be told how to carry yourself to avoid being exposed to risk. They give you general tips that you should follow to make your stay more comfortable. The health and safety training will be done on the place there you will be working. You will be given advice on how to handle yourself at the volunteer program. You will also be given a tour to where to access the local pharmacies and the nearest hospitals or clinics.

Homestay training

At the home stay you will be given the general guidelines on conduct and behavior that is expected. The will tell you the meals you should expect whether there will be 3 meals or two meals. They will tell you what to expect in your future diet. Whether they eat meat often or they prefer to eat vegetables. You will be told when you are meant to back at night.

Language training

Language training is done during the first week. Most countries either speak English, Spanish or French and when you go to third world countries they speak other languages. They speak English and their local language; during your training you will be taught the local languages. For example in Kenya you will be taught how to say Hello in Kiswahili which is ‘Jambo’. You will be taught how to get simple words on how to get by. If you go to a country where you don’t speak the language, during the first months you will be given intensive language training. In some cases you will be given a translator to help you better communicate with the locals.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Choosing the right volunteer abroad program

Choosing the right volunteer abroad program

Choosing the right volunteer abroad program

Travelling is a passion to some while others do it to get away from their routine. Volunteer travel is a more rewarding experience if you want to do more sitting in a hotel and seeing museums and animals. Volunteering abroad is a life changing experience for anyone who does it, whether you are in your teens, in college, taking a career break and whether you have retired. The experience you get is worth more the money you spent in your volunteer vacation. Picking the right volunteer work program is important as you plan your volunteer trip. There are many volunteer service organizations that offer many volunteer abroad work programs. There are many volunteer abroad programs to choose from for example: teaching; orphanage work; HIV/AIDS work; community developed; Health/ Medical work; teaching extreme sports, music lessons; conservations projects; and research projects. All volunteer abroad work programs are not the same. They are different and require different skills, expenses, training provided, types of placements, and quality of service. The following are tips to help you choose the right volunteer abroad work programs

Skills and abilities

Many volunteer service organizations recruit volunteers who don’t have any specific skills apart from being able to speak the language in which you are going. If you are an independent traveler, grass roots organizations also want volunteers with no skills or requirements to come and work for them. Most of the programs don’t require you to have specific skills or academic qualifications except for a few e.g. Health care and medical work whereby you are asked to provide relevant skills or background experience. One of the reason they don’t require any skills and qualifications because they attract young people who don’t yet have academic and work experience. Meaning anyone can apply for any program and be accepted. Even though you will be accepted in any program it is better choosing a program where you can apply your skills and experience. This will make you more effective in your volunteer work. With your love for kids and being good with them will help you better work in an orphanage or teaching. If you are a marketer your skills and abilities will be best suited in a marketing position. Also if you want to learn new skills choose a volunteer program where you will taught and experience new skills.


When choosing a volunteer program, find out what are the goals of the programs. Try and match your personal goals, mission statement and results with the volunteer programs. Find out about the organization that is providing the program. Try to find out the background about the program, how long it’s been working; how many people it has helped and their future goals. Write down what you want to do in your volunteer work, what you want to achieve and the long term effect of your work. When deciding the appropriate volunteer program, match your list with the work that will be involved. Also choose programs and project that have continuity, whereby when you leave the program there is somebody who will come and continue you work.


Choosing the right program will involve choosing the right destination. If you choose to do orphanage work, teaching, HIV/AIDS work etc, you will have to go to developing countries because the more developed countries address these problems in a different way. On the other hand if you want to volunteer in conservation projects like saving whales, teaching extreme sports, working in shelters then the more developed countries are a better pick. After choosing the country you should decide whether you want to be in the rural or urban areas. Rural areas are small towns while urban areas are large cities. Picking the right destination involves looking at the cultures, the languages spoken and the local customs. To avoid extreme cultural conflicts choose countries which are not too different from yours e.g. if you are Christian try and avoid Muslim nations who might find your habits offensive.


Find out how much time you have for your volunteer holiday. There are programs that range from one week to three years. Some programs are appropriate for short term volunteer work which takes up to one week to one month like orphanage work. On the other hand, there are long term projects like community development, construction projects which take between 6 months and 12 months. The volunteer programs are open throughout the year. But some programs are time specific in that they don’t operate in certain times of the year. Choosing the length of the volunteer and timing is important, for example when picking teaching programs take into considerations that the program doesn’t run in certain times of the year because the schools are closed.