100 Free or Cheap Volunteer Work Opportunities Abroad
Volunteer work has become big business. Hundreds of gap year companies are there to guide timid gappers into a voluntary project, but if you are willing to be brave and do it all yourself it can be much, much cheaper.
21. Ayni, Peru
There is no fee to volunteer with Ayni, though volunteers are expected to pay their own expenses and stump up a refundable $200 deposit. Volunteers take on many roles, including teacher, social worker, community developer, and are required to stay for a minimum of three months.
22. Open Houses Network, Germany
Though there are other projects, for most the Castle Camps programme will be the highlight. The work will involve lifting, gardening, digging and other manual tasks. The camps run for two weeks from June to September.
23. Patagonia School, Argentina
This English school works with local projects that require volunteers. These include looking after cats and dogs, teaching and social programmes. Volunteers are expected to pay a $50 weekly contribution and for their own accommodation and food.
24. Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, UK
Resident full time Wardens oversee the running of Skomer Island, open to visitors between April and October. Up to six vacancies are available each week from March. Wardens assist with managing day visitors and overnight paying guests, conservation work and buildings maintenance. Accommodation is simple and volunteers need to bring their own food.
25. Life Argentina, Argentina
With no paid staff, Life Argentina have relied on over 900 volunteers since 2001 to carry out all its activities and projects with disadvantaged children. Participation is flexible and free.
26. Peace Brigades International, Worldwide
Peace Brigades International is an NGO which protects human rights and promotes nonviolent transformation of conflicts. When invited, PBI send teams of volunteers into areas of repression and conflict to accompany human rights defenders, their organizations and others threatened by political violence.
27. Guardian Hay Festival, UK
A literary festival held every year in Wales. Stewards are required to work shifts of three to four hours to ensure audiences are safe and happy before, during, and after each event.
28. Colorado Trail Foundation, USA
Stretching 500 miles through the Rocky Mountains from Denver to Durango, the Colorado Trail is maintained by trail crew volunteers who enjoy the outdoors and the social atmosphere around camp. A one off fee of $50 is required to join a week long trail crew. Additional weeks are free.
29. Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, USA
Another Colorado trail, this one runs on rails and steam. Various programmes are available including keeping the rolling stock in good order and working on the trains.
30. Hellenic Ornithological Society, Greece
Offers both field and office work. Volunteers are required to pay a membership fee and insurance, their own expenses and, for field work, bring items such as a sleeping bag, binoculars, and head flashlight. Some specialist ornithological skills, such as good recognition of the birds of prey of Europe, may be required.