269 - How to find volunteer work that makes a difference
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How to find volunteer work that makes a difference

It takes a special kind of dedication and compassion to volunteer to help others around the world. Volunteer work gives compassionate people a golden opportunity to develop their invaluable skills. This way, they make a tangible difference in the lives of the vulnerable and the affected.

Realistic expectations for volunteer work

The idea of volunteering in a remote area seems like a win-win situation to travelers. It’s a way to help vulnerable people, and a great experience as well. But without a solid, well-thought-out program and realistic expectations, volunteer work can do more harm than good.

It’s likely to leave a traveler disappointed to show up in unknown locations, hoping to make a big difference in a short amount of time. The core to make a positive impact in limited time is realizing that your efforts are part of a process. Understanding that results come in subtle ways through a long line of volunteers is key.

Volunteers working in construction projects should ask the involved operator and organizations about the plans for the structure when the volunteers go home. Who is going to take care of it, who will work in it, how they will be trained? For example, a poorly constructed school without qualified teachers, probably will not make the difference a volunteer envisioned.

The needs of the community are at the core of humanitarian work. Members of the community should be involved in addressing areas where volunteers and their organizations can help. The organization you're working with should have a strong and ongoing relationship with the community, local non-governmental organizations and project leaders on the ground.

Whether you are heading out for short-term projects, as part of a gap year – or to join other professionals – you can always count on Raptim. Are you interested in voluntary work, or want to know more about the options? Please get in touch with us through our quick address locator.