Volunteer Overseas at Care Centres and Orphanages
As a Care volunteer working in orphanages, children's homes, or care centres, you will be helping the kids to learn vital life-skills which they 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 will be making a really positive impact on their day to day lives.
Volunteers overseas on a Care project can make a positive impact on the lives of disadvantaged children where it is needed most. Care projects, whether volunteering in an orphanage or day care centre overseas provide children with the support and attention they may not otherwise receive in under-resourced and under-staffed institutions. 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.
For many people, volunteering in an orphanage is where they feel most likely to be of benefit overseas. Being a volunteer at an orphanage or care centre is an opportunity to bring creativity, structure and fun, improving the day to day quality of life for the children.
However, orphanage volunteering is not the full story. Many care centres are termed orphanages but in reality, the children who live there may be temporarily separated from their families or have disabilities or needs that are impossible for the family to cope with, given their circumstances. These centres, and kindergartens for children whose families work long hours for very little pay, benefit hugely from dedicated volunteers and are often in need of greater resources and extra pairs of hands than orphanages, which are often well funded through international charities.
Projects Abroad places volunteers in orphanages and many other types of centre which support disadvantaged children and those with disabilities.
Projects Abroad volunteers support a variety of sustainable and worthwhile Care projects in each of our 29 destinations and projects vary greatly from country to country. For example, volunteers can care for HIV+ children in Cambodia, support street children in drop in centres in Senegal, or care for children with disabilities in Ecuador. You could be working with trained horses and therapists in Argentina or Bolivia to help children with physical and psychological problems, playing and singing with children in the largest state-run children’s home in Ghana, or supporting 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.
Care placements are suitable for everyone and anyone. 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 the 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 on site where volunteers help out. If you have the relevant skills you can administer first aid to any 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.
Your day may start early to help get the children up and give them breakfast, however, you may finish early too or have several hours off at lunchtime before returning to play with the children or teach basic classes in the afternoon.
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 different ages. You will help with a variety 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.
"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