Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 32

Thread: Volunteer Abroad

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1
    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Middle of Wheat field USA --> Middle of Rice field Japan-->Middle of Cornfield, USA
    Posts
    11,955

    Default Volunteer Abroad

    I thought this could be a place for people to post volunteering opportunities. A friend and I are looking for some places to volunteer in SE Asia and Nepal.

    Also, there is a Habitat for Humanity build in Vietnam near Christmas. They are still looking for volunteers.
    Numbers and colors are my bread and butter

  2. #2

    Default Re: Volunteer Abroad

    Good call
    Need a website hosted? ITIL runs on webhosting provided by BigWetFish. They're really great - check them out at bigwetfish.com. Sign up using the link and you'll also be helping ITIL with commission!

  3. #3
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    日本
    Posts
    18,421

    Default Re: Volunteer Abroad

    So, yeah, you didn't respond to my PM about the H4H build in 'Nam. While I might be a jackass to you here on the forums, I promise that IRL I'm actually a really nice guy (usually). Are they actually looking for volunteers, or is this a scam (pay a bunch of $ to go on vacation in 'Nam for a while, swing a hammer for a bit, then go back to your friends and tell them all that you volunteered overseas, "helped people," learned what "real" Vietnam is like, and can feel like you're better than all the other tourists you see there)?
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  4. #4

    Default

    Also, if you don't mind me asking, how did you hear about this? I tried emailing H4H Japan directly because I was interested in abroad volunteer opportunities this upcoming summer and they basically told me to keep checking their web site which they never seem to update... still just have summer 2010 opportunities listed but nothing else >_<

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    662

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckle View Post
    Also, if you don't mind me asking, how did you hear about this? I tried emailing H4H Japan directly because I was interested in abroad volunteer opportunities this upcoming summer and they basically told me to keep checking their web site which they never seem to update... still just have summer 2010 opportunities listed but nothing else >_<
    jetwit.com
    How are you? Yes yes!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kegger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,247

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    So, yeah, you didn't respond to my PM about the H4H build in 'Nam. While I might be a jackass to you here on the forums, I promise that IRL I'm actually a really nice guy (usually). Are they actually looking for volunteers, or is this a scam (pay a bunch of $ to go on vacation in 'Nam for a while, swing a hammer for a bit, then go back to your friends and tell them all that you volunteered overseas, "helped people," learned what "real" Vietnam is like, and can feel like you're better than all the other tourists you see there)?
    Mmm, from my experience it seems like it is very difficult to get on an organised trip that isn't what you described up there. It's ridiculous how much places charge for the privilege of helping out too.
    Last edited by Kegger; February 23rd, 2011 at 14:55.

  7. #7
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    日本
    Posts
    18,421

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegger View Post
    Mmm, from my experience it seems like it is very difficult to get on an organised trip that isn't what you described up there. It's ridiculous how much places charge for the privilege of helping out too.
    Yeah, it sucks.

    Before you pay to volunteer abroad, think of the harm you might do | Ian Birrell | Comment is free | The Observer
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  8. #8
    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Middle of Wheat field USA --> Middle of Rice field Japan-->Middle of Cornfield, USA
    Posts
    11,955

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    So, yeah, you didn't respond to my PM about the H4H build in 'Nam. While I might be a jackass to you here on the forums, I promise that IRL I'm actually a really nice guy (usually). Are they actually looking for volunteers, or is this a scam (pay a bunch of $ to go on vacation in 'Nam for a while, swing a hammer for a bit, then go back to your friends and tell them all that you volunteered overseas, "helped people," learned what "real" Vietnam is like, and can feel like you're better than all the other tourists you see there)?
    I don't know. I think it might be a bit of both. It looks like some pretty long work hours, so I don't know. But you do pay for it. However, the person I talked to said the accepted people who weren't part of the 'package.'

    Global Village Program - Habitat for Humanity Int'l
    Numbers and colors are my bread and butter

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    662

    Default Re: Volunteer Abroad

    Its a shame your not in niigata - there is a charity trip to papua new guinea every year..this year the trip was cancelled due to lack of interest...
    How are you? Yes yes!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Volunteer Abroad

    Word - very interesting article, cheers for the link. This is a topic that I find really interesting, although I'm still unsure as to which side I fall on. I volunteered at a slum children's charity in India for 3 months ... fitting the stereotype in the Guardian article, I was 19 and on my gap year, and I didn't really have a clue about what I was doing, I didn't have a prior understanding of the childrens' backgrounds or cultures, and I don't know if I made much of an impact other than providing some short-term entertainment. However, it is one of the most life-changing things, for me, that I've done. Selfish, maybe, but it has given me a different perspective on many things. Now I'm older and wiser (a bit), and I am planning to return to the charity next year after JET for an indefinite period. This time, I know what to expect. I know more about how and why people end up in these situations. I know that I won't be saving the world, but hopefully I can make a small difference, whatever that may mean.

    Nonetheless, I still feel uncomfortable when I hear of people going off to foreign countries to volunteer, particularly for short periods such as a fortnight or even less (which amazingly, some charities accept). Hypocritical I know, and I accept that I wasn't aware of the issues raised in the article when I went away for the first time, but I did choose the charity I volunteered at partly because it only accepts volunteers who do a minimum of three months, which I guess the staff see as the point where short-term blurs with long-term volunteering. They also require a police check from all volunteers, don't charge extortionate fees (don't charge any in fact), and have a permanent core of Indian staff who provide a support network to the children. I looked into many different placements whilst planning my gap year, and found lots of companies, such as i-to-i, that charge hundreds or thousands of pounds for a couple of weeks in an orphanage.

    In Cambodia over Christmas I saw flyers inviting tourists to come and visit orphans. I saw Westerners throwing out handfuls of sweets to street children who immediately passed them onto the adult accompanying them without eating any. My friend actually went to Kenya with i-to-i and has stories of tourists swanning into the centre she was at, posing for photos with the 'orphans', distributing toys and games, and then disappearing after an hour, probably to boast to their friends about how they saved some African children. She ended up hating everything about the company, which channels very little of what people pay to volunteer to the charities themselves.

    I'm sceptical about the good things like this can do, and sometimes of the motives for volunteering. Again, I'm fully aware of how hypocritical this is of me, and this is an issue that I've not managed to reconcile in my head yet. But an example - some JETs from my prefecture went to Thailand over Christmas to volunteer at some children's charity. They went for a week. They spent another 2 weeks in Thailand, no doubt sunbathing and drinking. But I'm sure because of this first week, they felt vastly superior to all the other people just there on holiday. Things like this surely can't be doing any long-term good. I guess the most we can hope for is that they don't do any long-term damage either.

    Sorry for the (possibly incoherent) ramble, but as I said this is something that I'm really interested in, and I'd like to hear other people's opinions if anyone's willing to share!
    always put off today what should have been done yesterday

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    United Kingdom (Scotland)
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jerseywonder View Post
    I volunteered at a slum children's charity in India for 3 months ...
    Would you mind naming the charity you worked with? And would you recommend it, even though it's not ideal?

    I'm looking for cheap, semi-long term options post-Jet. I'm also a qualified teacher so a charity that asks for qualifications would be nice (usually most of them say 'no teaching experience necessary, just pay $$$!' which is not exactly reassuring).

    Also, has anyone heard anything good / bad / indifferent about ecoteer? Volunteer Abroad | Teach English | Volunteer Conservation | Charity Volunteer

  12. #12
    Member rosec20's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Cromwell, Otago, NZ
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jerseywonder View Post
    Word - very interesting article, cheers for the link. This is a topic that I find really interesting, although I'm still unsure as to which side I fall on. I volunteered at a slum children's charity in India for 3 months ... fitting the stereotype in the Guardian article, I was 19 and on my gap year, and I didn't really have a clue about what I was doing, I didn't have a prior understanding of the childrens' backgrounds or cultures, and I don't know if I made much of an impact other than providing some short-term entertainment. However, it is one of the most life-changing things, for me, that I've done. Selfish, maybe, but it has given me a different perspective on many things. Now I'm older and wiser (a bit), and I am planning to return to the charity next year after JET for an indefinite period. This time, I know what to expect. I know more about how and why people end up in these situations. I know that I won't be saving the world, but hopefully I can make a small difference, whatever that may mean.

    Nonetheless, I still feel uncomfortable when I hear of people going off to foreign countries to volunteer, particularly for short periods such as a fortnight or even less (which amazingly, some charities accept). Hypocritical I know, and I accept that I wasn't aware of the issues raised in the article when I went away for the first time, but I did choose the charity I volunteered at partly because it only accepts volunteers who do a minimum of three months, which I guess the staff see as the point where short-term blurs with long-term volunteering. They also require a police check from all volunteers, don't charge extortionate fees (don't charge any in fact), and have a permanent core of Indian staff who provide a support network to the children. I looked into many different placements whilst planning my gap year, and found lots of companies, such as i-to-i, that charge hundreds or thousands of pounds for a couple of weeks in an orphanage.

    In Cambodia over Christmas I saw flyers inviting tourists to come and visit orphans. I saw Westerners throwing out handfuls of sweets to street children who immediately passed them onto the adult accompanying them without eating any. My friend actually went to Kenya with i-to-i and has stories of tourists swanning into the centre she was at, posing for photos with the 'orphans', distributing toys and games, and then disappearing after an hour, probably to boast to their friends about how they saved some African children. She ended up hating everything about the company, which channels very little of what people pay to volunteer to the charities themselves.

    I'm sceptical about the good things like this can do, and sometimes of the motives for volunteering. Again, I'm fully aware of how hypocritical this is of me, and this is an issue that I've not managed to reconcile in my head yet. But an example - some JETs from my prefecture went to Thailand over Christmas to volunteer at some children's charity. They went for a week. They spent another 2 weeks in Thailand, no doubt sunbathing and drinking. But I'm sure because of this first week, they felt vastly superior to all the other people just there on holiday. Things like this surely can't be doing any long-term good. I guess the most we can hope for is that they don't do any long-term damage either.

    Sorry for the (possibly incoherent) ramble, but as I said this is something that I'm really interested in, and I'd like to hear other people's opinions if anyone's willing to share!
    Wow, this thread is really thought provoking, it's definitely making me reconsider some options. As an alternate for this year, I'm trying to come up with some back-up plans and as someone passionate about conservation and wildlife, I would love to get involved in some sort of overseas conservation volunteering.

    I find it a little ironic that as a qualified teacher, I am possibly able to offer some technical skills to volunteer opportunities teaching in developing countries, which is what a lot of this thread is discussing. However, I am more interested in working with wild animal conservation for which I am totally unqualified except for a passion in this area. (The grass is always greener, right?)

    Jerseywonder, your post totally hit on the nail with where things have gone wrong in voluntouring that I have previously done. Last year I went to Thailand with i-to-i, "working" at an elephant study centre in Surin for 10 days. The project was completely the opposite to what I believed was being promoted by i-to-i. Granted, I didn't do a lot of research into the trip as it was already booked by my friend and I was basically just along for the ride. However, I believed I was going to work at a sanctuary rehabilitating elephants who had been working on the streets, begging or in circuses and who were now being provided with a life closer to that of elephants in the wild. Totally untrue. We spent our days with elephants and their mahouts who kept the elephants chained up all day in the sun, then took their elephants to the forest at night to be chained up once again. The elephants had no life at all except for to perform in a circus show at the study centre and giving elephant rides.

    One day our job was to help a local government initiative plant trees on the study centre's land. This seemed like a great idea until after the ceremony was over and all the plastic bags which had contained the tree seedlings were left next to the planting site along with a mountain of plastic cups which the officials had drunk water from. The rubbish was left there to add more litter to the village, completely defeating the purpose of planting the trees.

    So I definitely don't recommend i-to-i as a responsible volunteering organisation. *rant over*

    As has already been said, the best organisations are probably those where there is no middle-man involved, and only accept trained people for a long term project. Which doesn't help me with my quest to find a conservation project as an unqualified person.
    Last edited by rosec20; May 21st, 2011 at 08:32.

  13. #13
    Senior Member wry bread's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Fukuoka
    Posts
    912

    Default Re: Volunteer Abroad

    What do you guys know about PEPY? I'm interested in their Golden Week trip.

  14. #14
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    日本
    Posts
    18,421

    Default Re: Volunteer Abroad

    Hmm. Trivial, wanna take this one?
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Kegger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,247

    Default Re: Volunteer Abroad

    A bunch of people here are going to India via GoLongitude.

    Reasons why this annoys me:
    1. They're "volunteering" for 7 or 8 days
    2. It's costing 200,000 YEN excluding "Besides this we ask all the volunteers to try and collect donations for ARV which goes towards building materials and other community support programs. Materials for one home costs US$1500."

    Also, this:
    "BUT you will have a chance to see a part of India that very few foreigners get to see and you will also get to connect and meet with like minded JETs from all over the world placed throughout Japan. India is a very bustling and exciting place to be right now."

    From the JET who is organising it. -_-. Sigh.. Like minded sheep you mean, who have more money then sense?

    All I want to do is to rock up somewhere, and help someone who needs it or asks for it, with no god darn middle man. And this is exactly what I'm gonna do following JET.

  16. #16
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Volunteer Abroad

    In regards to the article.

    It's probably true that most short term international volunteer endeavors are for personal gain more than helping the local people. This is not to say that these organizations and volunteers have no positive impact.

    In reality, a majority of young college graduates and the average citizens of a developed country don't have the skills required to help a developing country. (construction, agriculture, skilled teacher). Those who are generally qualified will not go abroad to volunteer for a long time since skilled labor pays well in their respective countries and they know short term volunteering can not take advantage of their skill set. However, what unskilled short time volunteers do have is money. So these organizations let inexperienced hammer swingers and teachers go to a foreign country to make an "impact" for a week so that they can get enough money to continue doing some good such as paying local laborers, purchasing materials and continuing their organization.

    It allows young adults the opportunity to travel to countries they may otherwise avoid if they didn't have a group of people to go with. It let's them at least see another aspect of a country's society which is usually overlooked as a tourist. It may also inspire this individual to do long term volunteering which may have a greater impact in the future.

    I have done a few international volunteer trips. I first volunteered in Thailand. I always wanted to go, and at the time it was just something "extra" to a trip I already wanted to take. I never was part of an international volunteer team before and thought it would be a good experience for me while helping others. It is a direct project between JETs and the orphanage. So there is no middle organization to speak of. Trip fees were reasonable (which included a donation to the orphanage) and all fund raising that was done went directly to orphanage. I enjoyed this, and made some great connections with the kids there that I went back this past year, and will be going again next year.

    I also volunteered with GoLongitude in India. Although I don't really regret the experience, it was much different than Thailand. It was expensive, even though expenses in India are cheaper. Meaning having the middle man "GoLongitude" between volunteers and ARV (grassroots Indian volunteer organization) was somehow causing extra expense. I felt that the relationships built with the people we were helping to be rather unimportant. However, we did work hard and speed up the construction of homes. If anything we brought money and a few extra hands to help out.

    What it really boils down to, is how much of a difference you want to make and if the volunteer environment is conducive to it.

    Whereas harm can be caused, and exploitation is rapid in developing countries, there is also good that can be done, even in a short amount of time if you are committed to that time.
    Last edited by person; March 4th, 2011 at 11:24.

  17. #17
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    日本
    Posts
    18,421

    Default Re: Volunteer Abroad

    I dunno, are you sure the orphanarium in Thailand was legit? Reading that article had me all worried that such orphanariums might be populated with children who are being exploited in order to acquire tourist dollars. The article was pointing out that well-meaning "volunteers" often do far more harm than good without realizing it. By "volunteering," such persons may take job opportunities away from locals, create situations in which unscrupulous individuals may take advantage of their good will by exploiting children and poor people for their own personal financial gain, and influence local beliefs and traditions with Western ideals that may or may not be beneficial to the populace.

    Your argument is that the volunteers bring money, but I question whether or not that money is actually going to the right places. GoLongitude seems legit, although they do seem to be set up more as a fund-raising organization rather than a volunteer organization (despite the fact that the volunteering aspect is their public face).
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  18. #18
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Yes, I am positive that the orphanage is legit.

    It isn't a sad, "cry me a river" atmosphere. The kids all eat well, probably healthier than I do, and the building is in good condition as well as a new building under constuction to give the older kids a different space from the younger kids. Also the orphanages philosophy is something I can agree with and see in action. I like volunteering there because it is obvious that the kids enjoy their life. The orphanage also runs a school, allowing primary education for all the orphans and even children in the town that are not orphans. It sees that they can go to high school, and if there is an outstanding student they will even find a way to send them to university.

    I've heard of other orphanages in Thailand and SE Asia, so the article you posted is true in many respects. However, it shouldn't be something to deter someone from volunteering, even just short term, since there is also a lot of positive effects of volunteering. Not to mention, much exploitation is from local peoples too.

    As far as local jobs, the orphanage supplies a lot of work for the local people in the community. The amount of "full" time foreign volunteers is actually not even enough.

    I think one can never be 100% sure of the validity of any corporation. However I see more good being done than bad, and that is a good start to keep it going in that direction.

    Volunteers do bring money, but it is their responsibility to research and observe to know if the investment is actually in the best interest to those that need it. I would think GoLongitude is legit, however there is a lot of legitimate overhead costs that take a good percentage from your pocket before it reaches the hands in need. However without GoLongitude many of these people and places in need would not have such a large voice to bring in the volume of volunteers/cash. That is the positive of large volunteer organizations, since someone has to do less active searching themselves.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Volunteer Abroad

    Oh boy, you’ve hit on something that I’m very opinionated about here, but I’ll try and keep it short...

    The article that Word posted absolutely nailed it. I lived in Siem Reap and worked with PEPY for six months, and that’s one of the better accurate articles that I’ve seen regarding the ethics of irresponsible voluntourism. It is beneficial almost solely to the person taking the trip, and in a vast majority of situations ends up doing more harm than good.

    
Instead of looking to volunteer abroad, look for opportunities to engage in “responsible tourism.” Any company that is offering a chance to “do good” in a foreign country by supplying unskilled labor might be trying to make a quick buck or could be a deluded idealist.

    All I can say is that PEPY is by far the most responsible organization that I’ve ever seen when it comes to responsible tourism abroad -- they are EDUCATIONAL trips, not volunteer trips, and they don’t try and trick people into thinking that they’re doing good. There are no orphanage visits, and they actively try to educate people who go on their trips.

    I’ve invited the director of PEPY to come in and comment on this, as she's massively more knowledgable and passionate about this subject than I am. Her blog over at Lessons I Learned|NGOs, Voluntourism, Cambodia, and Life Lessons is a great resource for learning more about the subject, and to learn more about PEPY you can visit the NGO arm's website at www.pepycambodia.org.

    Definitely check them out.
    "The complex Japanese language and its writing system are inventions of the devil, designed to prevent the spread of Gospel."
    -Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

  20. #20
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    日本
    Posts
    18,421

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivial View Post
    Her blog over at Lessons I Learned|NGOs, Voluntourism, Cambodia, and Life Lessons is a great resource for learning more about the subject...
    Holy s**t; that is some good reading material.

    I'm kinda with wry; I'm not sure that I'll be able to afford a PEPY tour anytime soon, but I might try to get in touch with you guys next time I'm visiting the area (hoping to do another 'Nam/Cambodia/Thailand trip with MG this GW; maybe something a bit more involved during this summer, if we can swing it). I'm curious to see what all you guys are doin' over there, and it'd be cool to have a beer with ya again.
    Last edited by Beer Baron; September 24th, 2011 at 04:34.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •