Opportunities to be less of a consumer and more of a world-citizen are rare, that’s why Cheapflights.co.uk is highlighting these tried-and-trusted volunteer travel organisations:
Travellers has more than 16 years’ experience arranging projects in 22 countries around the world. Volunteer projects run from two weeks to 12 months – you choose the length. Projects are well supported with airport collection, accommodation, food and a network of support staff available 24/7. Projects include hands-on conservation and cutting-edge research work; teaching projects (English, sports, drama, music, art, IT, maths etc); care work in orphanages, creches and care homes; professional internships; language and cultural courses. No qualifications are required, just enthusiasm and a desire to help. Projects are open to all nationalities from 17 years (no maximum age) and are ideal for young and first-time travellers, singles, couples and groups. Tailor-made projects are available on request. (www.travellersworldwide.com)
Ecoteer has a different approach to volunteering abroad. Rather than charging expensive handling fees, Ecoteer puts volunteers directly in touch with grassroots organisations abroad – from Argentina to Zambia. For an annual membership fee of £15 prospective travellers have access to those most in need of support. In many cases, accommodation and food will be provided, leaving members to sort out only their own travel.
Ecoteer.com highlights volunteer opportunities in conservation, ecotourism, teaching and community development. One example is volunteering in Malaysia where the founder of Ecoteer has lived since 2005, setting up two projects: teaching English in Borneo and working in the community in Pulau Perhentian. (www.ecoteer.com)
Gap Year South Africa
Community development projects are in Gap Year South Africa’s DNA; they are its primary objective. It welcomes volunteers who are motivated to make a difference and serve others who have been afforded few opportunities in life.
There are community development projects in Cape Town: teaching, sports coaching, HIV/AIDS awareness, environmental awareness, care work and performing arts as well as heart-pumping projects such as surfing, scuba diving and ocean adventure. In addition, Gap Year South Africa offers bespoke internships across a range of industries. Projects last between three weeks and five months and the organisation endeavours to ensure that volunteers have a safe, meaningful and fun time in South Africa. (gapyearsouthafrica.com)
Khaya Volunteer Projects
Khaya Volunteer Projects (KVP) offers affordable and unique volunteering projects in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and other countries in Africa. Participants will spend their time in a variety of ways, working as a volunteer with children, the community, sports development, wildlife, education or on conservation projects. (www.khayavolunteer.com)
Mind The Gap Year
Mind The Gap Year provides a full range of online services to help plan, prepare, and stay safe on your travels. The combination of services includes research of countries you wish to travel to; full travel insurance; security training, interpretation services in more than 170 languages; overseas security information service; a Mind The Gap Year online planner and organiser, electronic document safe, discounts on Visas and travel products, acess to online travel journal and a gift voucher scheme to help your finances. Mind The Gap Year services can be used by anyone going on a trip away, from a few weeks up to 18 months, you can be volunteering through a Tour Provider, working your way around the world, or just going away for an adventure, all the services provided will help with organising your trip. (www.mindthegapyear.com)
WorldWide Volunteering (WWV)
WorldWide Volunteering provides instant access to information on the widest range of volunteering opportunities in the UK and around the world. The WWV database enables volunteers to build an on-screen profile of their ideal volunteer placement which is then matched against the requirements of more than 2,400 organisations with more than 1.6 million placements each year worldwide. It’s a three-way system that works for everyone – volunteers, the organisations and the individuals they help, and, ultimately, society. (www.wwv.org.uk)
Lattitude Global Volunteering
Lattitude Global Volunteering was originally called GAP Activity Projects. The organisation that coined the term “gap year”, they know what makes an amazing year out. The international youth development charity has been sending young people on long-term and challenging volunteering placements around the world for nearly 40 years. Volunteers are matched to placements to ensure that there is an overlap of skills, interests and needs so that both host community and volunteer benefit. There are opportunities available in Africa, Asia, Australasia and the Americas on a variety of different projects including medical, teaching, caring and environmental work. Placements range from three months to one year. A charity, Lattitude does not make a profit from volunteers, ensuring exceptional value for money. (www.lattitude.org.uk)