My relatively recent decision to take my life on the open road with long term travel all started with one thing. I have not told a lot of people this, only a handful of really close friends, but I have been thinking seriously about joining the Peace Corps at some point in the future. My plan was to use the Peace Corps as a way to escape home and a gateway to long term travel, but now I am thinking the reverse would be better.
While I was researching the Peace Corps, I also researched a bunch of other volunteer abroad organizations. Another thing I’ve always wanted to do, while traveling, is go to places and help people who are far less fortunate than me. Traveling with the purpose of helping people who are less fortunate would add a whole other layer to the whole experience. Not to mention, a lot of my top destinations in mind, for the more distant future, are developing countries, so why not go on some sort of mission to help?
So, here are my Top 9 Organizations I hope to sign up for, in the future. In no particular order.
- GoEco – GoEco has locations within around 35 countries, and they have ten different categories for potential volunteers including wildlife, community aid, education, and medical… my top three programs of choice would be wildlife, conservation, and community aid.
- IVCU – The International Volunteer HQ operates in about 30 different countries and has twelve different programs to choose from including arts & music, teaching, construction & renovation, elderly care, amongst others. My top programs of choice would include wildlife & animal care, childcare, and elderly care.
- Cross-Cultural Solutions – CCS has five key objectives: 1. End poverty, 2. End hunger, 3. Ensure healthy lives, 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable education, and 5. Achieve gender equality. They have programs for orphan & childcare, education, healthcare, human rights, etc. The programs that interest me the most are human rights, women’s rights, and community development.
- African Impact – AI operates in twelve countries within Africa. There are several impacts for potential volunteers to choose from within community and conservation, including building & development, medical & health, environmental, lion rehabilitation, and so much more… my top programs would be photography, lion rehabilitation, and child & orphan care.
- UBelong – Their mission is to “bring people together across borders to share their humanity and take action for positive change.” They have programs in ten countries, ranging from arts and education to medical and health. My top choices for this organization would be community development, human rights and childcare.
- Frontier – Frontier was established in 1989 as a nonprofit. It’s major focuses are within conservation and development and their mission is to conserve the world’s most endangered wildlife and threatened habitats. They operate in ten different countries to volunteer with children, wildlife conservation, environmental conservation, and many more. I am basically interested in everything this org has to offer… well, except for the medical fields, as I know I am nowhere near qualified for that.
- A Broader View – A Nonprofit charity based in Pennsylvania, founded in 2007. It operates in 23 countries within 4 continents. It has 21 fields including orphanage work, day care, community development, teaching, medical, and much, much more. The fields I am most interested in include elderly care, community development, and orphanage/child care.
- Rainbow VolunTours – This organization sends it’s volunteers to India to work on projects including orphan/childcare, woman’s rights, healthcare, education, and many more. My top three programs of choice though Rainbow VolunTours would be photography, orphan care, and community development.
- Peace Corps – Often referred to the toughest job you will ever do, it is definitely far more involved than most of the other organizations on this list. It was created in 1961 by John F Kennedy. Through the years, it has adapted and responded to whatever the issues at the time were. There are over 60 countries where the PCVs serve for two years, plus training, working with communities in fields including education, health, youth in development, environment, community economic development, and agriculture. There is also the Peace Corps Response option which sends volunteers out for 3-12 month assignments, but those are just for RPCVs and professionals with 10+ years of experience. If I go into the PC, I would be most interested in youth in development.
Many of these organizations also offer Internships as well which are excellent opportunities to look into and the program lengths generally range from 1-2 weeks to 1-2 years.