Volunteer work means giving your time and energy to work in a project without payment.
The programs of the volunteer work are made by the organization in which you are going to volunteer in.
Most of the volunteer abroad programs are flexible. As you will be putting in your time, energy and sometimes money, the volunteer programs available are flexible. The flexibility comes by choosing the numbers of hours that you are willing to work in a day or in a week and the duration of the volunteer program.
Also most of the work that you will be doing does not need any academic qualifications, meaning anyone can apply. Most volunteer abroad programs involve a lot of traveling, you don’t want to go to another country and find yourself being ineffective. You should put considerable research in to the work that you will be doing abroad. In that, you want to choose a program whereby it emphasizes on your strengths, skills and abilities.
Here are examples of the most popular volunteer abroad programs that are available:
Volunteer Teaching programs
This is the most popular volunteer program. Volunteers will work in private, public schools, orphanages and community schools. The volunteer work involves working with kids who are 7 to 18 years. The volunteer will be involved in teaching some of the subjects like English, Math, Science, Music and physical education. The volunteers will partner with local teachers and other volunteers to provide proper education to the children. The main duties involve work as a teaching assistant: teaching classes, grading books, work as a social worker with the Administrators, help in sports activities and playing with the kids. For this program, you will need to like kids, love teaching and to be patient with the kids. Sometimes some training for this program is needed but it’s not mandatory. Those who have done TEFL (teach English as a foreign language) classes have an advantage. Schools are not open throughout the year; you should time your volunteer work in order to coincide with the school calendar.
Volunteer Health/ Medical programs
The volunteer work will be done in hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, and public health offices. The volunteer health programs target the poor and those who don’t have access to medical facilities. There are many clinics and volunteer organizations in such areas that offer medical help to the poor. In conjunction with the clinics and the health centres (dispensaries) the volunteer will work alongside them to provide medical services. Other duties include filling in forms and charts, diagnosing diseases, giving out prescriptions and consultations. In this, the volunteer will need to have a medical background in order to work with the patients. This program is best for health professionals like: doctors, nurses, medical students and clinical officers.
Volunteer HIV/ AIDS program
As a volunteer you will be asked to help in the outreach programs to help educate the members of society and create awareness about the disease. The volunteer work involves supporting the infected and affected through provision of food and medical supplies. As a volunteer work, you will be counseling them, encourage and help empower them. Other volunteer duties will involve: intensify advocacy; demystify HIV/AIDS by encouraging people living with HIV to talk for them and advocate for greater understanding by the society; design, develop and disseminate materials fighting stigma and discrimination. For this volunteer program, you will need to be compassionate about the disease and understanding to those who are infected and affected. There are no academic qualifications that are needed to work in this program.
Volunteer orphanage work
Working in children’s orphanages is very popular, and it’s the most fun and engaging. If you like kids and want to change their lives for the better then working in an orphanage is the best place. The kids are active and love the attention they get from the volunteers. The volunteer work involves: spending time with the kids; work as a teaching assistant; work as a social worker; help in cooking and cleaning; help in organizing sports activities and playing with the kids. This program involves little mental work and organizing. Most of the programs activities are already arranged and you will have a supervisor to help you all the time.
Volunteer Community development work
Volunteer work involves education, empowerment, construction, and vocational training; providing sex education to the girls and the local community which you can assist with. It also involves empowering women through activities that make them financial independent. This is done through marketing their products, skills development and giving them access to information.
Written and contributed by Zablon Mukuba