Volunteer Overseas with Children in Kindergartens, Care Centres and Disability Centres
Early childhood development, emotional and educational support, and specialised therapy are things we often take for granted. However, in many communities around the world, children and those with special needs – some of the most vulnerable groups in society – lack access to these vital services. Our Care projects aim to lend a helping hand to those most in need.
Care projects are also some of our most popular placements, and with good reason! They provide volunteers of all ages and experience levels with the chance to help make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. There is a wide scope to get involved – through its volunteers Projects Abroad support hundreds of varied settings, we can help you find and get involved at the placement that is the best fit for you.
What is a Care project?
Most of our Care projects involve work with children at care centres, schools and special needs centres. We also offer placements based at centres for people with special needs or HIV, as well as street children, refugees and the elderly. For those who also enjoy working with animals, you can get involved in our Canine Therapy and Equine Therapy placements.
Volunteers at our Care placements help to support the work of the local staff. Those with previous experience are also able to train staff and share their knowledge.
The conditions and facilities available at the placements vary between each country; however, the majority are very basic and understaffed.
What can I do on a Care project?
The role of a Care volunteer differs depending on the destination and specific placement. As a volunteer, you will work on different tasks that contribute towards fulfilling the needs and long-term goals of each community. Our Care projects are flexible, so there is always scope for any talents or interests you may have.
When working with children, teaching basic English, literacy and numeracy is a vital part of all Care placements. Volunteers also track, evaluate and improve children’s motor and social skills through arts and crafts, sports, and fun games. Ultimately, you will be contributing to long-term development work that’s making a difference in children’s lives over a number of years.
Whichever placement you choose, you will get involved in hands-on work that meets the immediate needs of the placement while contributing to the bigger picture.
If you have qualifications or relevant experience, such as a social worker or psychologist, then you can volunteer on a Care project as a Professional.
Students in years 10 & 11 (11 & 12 in New Zealand) can join our Care & Community High School Specials. These group projects allow you to get involved in Care work alongside other people your age, under the supervision of our local staff.
What makes our Care projects different?
At all of our Care Projects, we use a secure and anonymous database to track the development of the children and adults that we work with. Working with the database allows our staff and volunteers to monitor individual progress and identify specific areas of need related to the goals outlined in our Care Management Plans.
By using the database, we can create specialised checklists to address these needs and achieve our goals. At most of the placements we work with, these checklists are designed to assess levels of English, numeracy and overall development according to the rate at which their age group should reach important developmental milestones.
Other placements have checklists that focus on providing resources and educating children about proper hygiene. This means that volunteers’ work is structured, has a clear purpose and gives each volunteer the chance to make a direct impact at their placement, even if they’re only there for a short time.
In every destination we employ full-time professional staff whose job it is to supervise and support our volunteers. We also provide tailor-made resources, and staff often hold training workshops for volunteers. This teaches volunteers everything they need to know to make a valuable contribution.
We take the safety of our volunteers and the children at all our projects very seriously. That’s why we’ve put in place a comprehensive Child Protection Policy. This is so that we always work towards the best interests of the child, and ensure maximum effectiveness and safety for everyone involved.
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.
Volunteering abroad on a Care Project
Over the years, our volunteers have worked with children at orphanages and residential care homes. They have done incredible work at these placements, improving living conditions there and creating opportunities for children by supporting their education and care. However, we have decided to move our focus away from orphanages and homes toward community and family-based care. This is because we believe stable family environments are best for the children we work with. Read more about orphanage volunteering and our position on it. This means that instead of volunteering in orphanages, volunteers will work in placements like day care centres, kindergartens and schools, or support groups for the elderly and mothers and babies. This will help Projects Abroad build stronger relationships with local communities and – most importantly – help families stay together and flourish.
"We run Care projects with a clear focus: to provide sustainable educational support, care and protection to disadvantaged children and vulnerable groups in order to enhance their physical, social, emotional and cognitive development."
Founder, Projects Abroad