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Charitable Volunteer Opportunities Internationally

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Charitable Volunteer Opportunities in Developing Countries

 
In recent years, many North Americans have travelled to developing countries to work with charities. In the best cases, this practice has provided the charities involved with committed and welcome help, while at the same time affording participants a rewarding cross-cultural experience. If you’re considering charitable volunteer opportunities, however, be sure to do your research.
 

Working for Children

 
Often, generous people wish to help those in the most need: children. We know that children suffer greatly when there are food shortages or natural disasters, for example, and in some parts of the world, children are exploited and treated as commodities. Many charities work to provide better lives for vulnerable children, and welcome the help of informed volunteers.
 
If you want to help children, look for a charity that works to keep families together. It’s estimated that up to 75% of the millions of children in "orphanages” have living parents who simply can’t afford to care for them. Family-based care has many advantages over institutional care, and there are numerous charities that support the health of families and communities.
 
Volunteering to help administer a charity or raise funds for them can also be very fulfilling, and you can do this without leaving the country. If you have a few hours a week to work in marketing, social media, curriculum writing, non-profit operations consulting, fundraising, or research, you can make a great difference to the efficiency of a charity, and to the lives of those the charity helps. Skills in photography, videography, graphic design, publication, communication, word processing, or clerical areas are extremely valuable to not-for-profit organizations.
 

Community-Based Programs

 
The best programs have good local involvement by community leaders, and put an emphasis on grassroots participation. For example, the Daughter Project in Nepal has a two-pronged approach: it works to help young girls who have been sold into domestic slavery or into prostitution, and it works with at-risk populations of girls to help prevent this from happening to them. Taking a closer look at the programs they run will help to illustrate the community-based approach.
 
The Daughter Project is a program of Global Family. This charity’s core values include the following:
  • Identify and help the most needy children
  • Collaborate with established community organizations
  • Trained volunteer caregivers provide quality care
  • Family care rather than institutional care
  • Lean administration, volunteer fundraisers, web-based sponsorships
The Daughter Project reflects these values in many ways. By cooperating with community leaders and legal officials, Daughter Project workers identify girls who have been exploited and bring them to a safe shelter where they can be counselled and given tools to help them recover from their ordeal. Whenever possible, these girls are reunited with their families. Continuing support for food, medical care, and school fees may be provided.
 
At the same time, girls at risk in various communities are encouraged to join clubs called Bhitri Sundarta (meaning "inner beauty" in Nepali). These clubs use a 44-step curriculum designed to build self-worth, to warn girls about exploitation, to help them advocate for themselves and their peers, and to give participants a supportive community to turn to when necessary.
 
Volunteers skilled in classroom help, teaching English, curriculum development, medical clinic care, patient care, or teaching hygiene can be of great help in Nepal.
 
Charitable volunteer opportunities can be exciting, fulfilling, and educational. Choose an effective community-based organization that you know will be making a difference for the children it cares for.

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