We have added a new bunch of volunteer projects to our site about cheap ways to volunteer around the World. There are now around 150 listings that will interest travellers keen to stop awhile and pitch in on a worthy project with either their brains or brawn.
While there are many great adventures to be had with gap year companies we have designed Free or Cheap Volunteer Work Abroad to both promote smaller grassroots organisations that fall far from page one in a Google search, and to appeal to travellers who want to do something useful without incurring a hit to their pockets. Typically we list only places where it would not cost more – or, at worst, much more – were we to stay in the area as a traveller or tourist without volunteering.
A good example is Supporting Guasa. Not only are they a rare opportunity to volunteer on a Caribbean island, in Dominican Republic, but they do not charge a fee to participate and all volunteers will get free board with a Dominican family.
Other listings include an organic farm in Egypt, observing elections in El Salvador and horse riding schools in Costa Rica. Elsewhere in Central America, Panama seems to be the best place in the region to run out of cash and exchange a day’s work for a bed for the night.
Helping with horses is also an option in Argentina. In the same country, creative volunteers may like to help one of The Working Traveller’s past interviewees, Leigh Shulman, in Salta. Another past interviewee is Francesca Luke, who can help travellers to Madrid volunteer as an English language assistant in Spain. We also hope soon to learn more (once I get the questions to him as I promised) about Peter Gilbert who works for Sapa O’Chau in Vietnam.
We tend to find these projects ourselves via the internet. Otherwise they are sent to us. On occasion though, we are lucky enough to meet some of these people doing interesting things in remote corners of the globe. We met Andy and Tatiana when we stuck around in Cusco and were fascinated to learn more when we heard about their hostel and coffee farm in Peru.
We hope to meet more people like this when we visit Southeast Asia in a few months and in the meantime have been paying particular attention to projects in the countries of the region, particularly Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, where Siem Reap is the main volunteer hotspot. Animal lovers will find plenty of free volunteer work in Thailand, where animal rescue centres make it as easy as possible for short or long term travellers to go in and make a fuss of the animals.
If you know of any inexpensive places to volunteer around the world, please tell us more in the comments below.
Image courtesy Love Kids Foundation.