Volunteer Overseas at Care Centres and Orphanages
As a Care volunteer working in an orphanage, children's home, or care centre, you will be helping children learn vital life-skills which they may otherwise miss out on due to their circumstances. By getting involved in the day-to-day running of the home - making sure children are fed and cared for, stimulated with creative and educational activities and given lots of attention, you can become a positive influence in their lives.
"If you ever wanted to experience the joys and simplicity of being a kid again – this placement was it! I got to spend my days with almost 30 kids aged between 7 months and 13 years old. Highlights included singing and dancing with them to some of the favourite nursery rhymes, baking cakes out of sand with younger kids and painting."
Care volunteer in Kenya
Enthusiasm and Creativity are the Most Important Attributes of a Care Volunteer
Enthusiastic and giving volunteers who are willing to get involved will be well suited to a Care project, utilising these attributes to help children who are in need.
No previous qualifications or skills are required and volunteers of all ages with a positive attitude and an open mind are welcomed. Volunteers’ combined contributions create a safe environment and provide a positive impact on the lives of underprivileged children.
There is always scope for any talents or interests you may have to be utilised. Arts, crafts and music are always popular activities and many Care placements have outside areas where sports and games can be played. Many volunteers also help to educate children in personal hygiene and social skills.
Opportunities exist in many centres for our volunteers to be more involved on the 'teaching' or 'medical' side of care work. Some homes even have schools or physiotherapy rooms on site where skilled volunteers help out. If you have the relevant skills you can administer first aid and therapy treatment to children in need. The work volunteers do can be challenging at times but the strength and resilience of the children will inspire you to persevere.
Scope and Variety of Volunteering in a Care Centre
Projects Abroad volunteers support a variety of sustainable and worthwhile Care projects in each of our 28 destinations where projects vary greatly from country to country. For example, volunteers can care for children living with HIV in Cambodia, support street children in drop in centres in Senegal, or care for children with disabilities in Ecuador. You could work with trained horses and therapists in Argentina or Bolivia to help children with physical and psychological disabilities, organise games and sing songs with children in the largest state-run children’s home in Ghana or, support single parent families and street-children in Kenya. We have volunteers helping in paediatric wards in Mexico, caring for malnourished children at a nutritional rehabilitation centre in Nepal and supporting the care and education of children in understaffed special education schools in Fiji, the projects vary greatly, from country to country and even within a country as well.
For many people, volunteering in an orphanage is where they feel most likely to be of benefit overseas however, orphanage volunteering is not the full story. Many of the care centres we work in are home to children who may live there temporarily, as they have been separated from their families or have disabilities or needs that are impossible for the family to cope with, given their circumstances. We also work in various centres and kindergartens for children whose families work long hours for very little pay and can benefit hugely from dedicated volunteers. These centres are often in need of greater resources and extra sets of hands than orphanages, which are often well funded through international charities. You can read more about the aims and mission of our Care projects, along with our policies and plans below.
Volunteering Overseas with People who have Disabilities
Volunteers work within a number of care homes with people with physical or mental disabilities such as AIDS hospices and schools for the handicapped, the blind or the deaf. Conditions are often basic and staff are sometimes overworked. Volunteers are needed to provide another pair of hands, helping some of society's most vulnerable people to lead a full and rewarding life.
Whilst a volunteer's impact will be beneficial to the placement, in turn the placement will often prove to be beneficial to the volunteer. Having responsibility for others and developing personal relationships in a new cultural setting, has been shown to develop individuals. In our supportive role, Projects Abroad staff are used to seeing volunteers returning home with more self-confidence and a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them.
Volunteering Overseas in Orphanages, Day Care Centres, and with Street Children
Volunteering in an orphanage or day care centre, you will be working with children of varying ages. You will help with a range of educational and fun activities such as art, games and songs, and assist local staff to develop stimulating new ideas to interest young children in learning. Any encouragement you can offer goes a long way towards building a child's self-esteem and confidence.
Volunteers can get involved in working with street children in a number of our destinations. You could help to prepare free meals, provide personal hygiene advice and teach literacy skills.
Care Project Mission and Management Plans
Projects Abroad places each of our care volunteers at a placement where there is a real need. Our mission for our Care projects throughout the world is to provide sustainable educational support, care and protection to disadvantaged children and vulnerable groups to enhance their physical, social, emotional and cognitive development.
In order to work towards this mission, in each of our destinations we produce a detailed Care Management Plan. The management plan is created based on the needs in each destination. Our management plans establish our goals for the year and list our actions for achieving these goals. Through following these management plans we are then able to evaluate our impact at the end of each year and set new goals for the year to come. You can read more general information about the Care Management Plans here, and read the care plans for specific destinations on their Care Project pages.
We take seriously the safety of our volunteers and the children with whom they work. Read more about our policies for Care projects and care volunteers.