6 Ways To Volunteer Abroad From Home

Monday, October 24, 2011

Orphaned children in Africa, equality for women in India, sex-trafficking in Thailand; these are just some of the issues people wish they could get involved in helping to address. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to take off of work and fly to another country to volunteer. This, however, does not mean that the opportunity does not exist for everyone to volunteer abroad.

Many nonprofit organizations now offer opportunities for people living all over the world to volunteer online and in their hometowns to help causes in other countries. These volunteers have the ability to make just as strong a contribution as someone working directly in the field. Moreover, these online opportunities give volunteers a chance to gain a deeper understanding of international issues as well as foreign cultures, just as they would if they were in the country itself.

Here are six ways you can volunteer to help from your own home.

Aid The Nations 1) Aid The Nations, Uganda

Aid the Nations is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to supplying orphans and former child soldiers in Uganda with the hope and resources for a strong and positive future. A 23-year-long gruesome civil war has left the area devastated, and Aid the Nations works hard to repair and rebuild the nation.

One way that you can become involved with this organization from home is to become an ambassador or online intern. By doing this you become directly involved in projects and also have the opportunity to lead them. If you have a special area of interest — for example, marketing, grant writing, social media or video creation — Aid the Nations will tailor projects and tasks so that you can help out while gaining skills in your field.

Aid the Nations also puts a large emphasis on creating awareness as well as on fundraising. On their website they provide educational materials such as malaria brochures for volunteers to use to spread the word of the situation in Uganda. Moreover, they suggest fundraising through carwashes, sporting competitions, bake sales, benefit dinners and concerts. And don’t worry if you have never planned an event — Aid the Nations will help you out to ensure success.

For more information on volunteering online with Aid the Nations, visit AidTheNations.org and click on the “Get Involved” tab.

2) DAAN Foundation, India

DAAN stands for Development Action Awareness Nationwide, and the nonprofit’s mission is “to promote right education and overall capacity building of rural youth and women. To develop their understanding of issues related to health, education, gender-equality, and socio-economic development through awareness generation and capacity building initiatives.”

The major areas of focus include microfinance, microenterprise and livelihoods, human rights, environment, sustainable agriculture, women empowerment, education, health and organizational development.

When becoming an online volunteer, DAAN helps to match the tasks and projects you will be involved in to the skills and interests you hold. For example, if you are a communication buff, some duties could include writing for the organization’s blog, performing online research or helping with online marketing and outreach.

Other possibilities include providing volunteers with mentoring or technical assistance, writing grants and sponsorship proposals, strategic and operational planning, feature and article writing, and even working with budgets.

For more information on becoming an online volunteer for DAAN, visit DaanFoundation.org/online-volunteering.html.

ADRA3) ADRA, Global

ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency International) works in many different developing areas. Their mission, put simply, is to improve the lives of men, women and children by working to eliminate deprivation, social injustice and needs around the world. Some particular ways that ADRA fulfills their mission is promoting health, supporting families, establishing livelihoods and providing resources.

ADRA offers many opportunities to volunteer online or from home. One way is to take a look at their “Do Something Kit,” which you can download here. When looking through the Do Something Kit, you will find background information on issues affecting people around the world and how ADRA is working to address them. Along with information comes ideas on how you can help, such as fundraising activities and writing to government officials. Everything you need to plan any fundraising efforts is completely laid out for you.

Another way to volunteer is to hold an event and invite a speaker to come talk, or have them speak at an existing event, such as a church service or convention. ADRA can provide the speaker for you, and once you let them know the audience, necessary language, region and topic you want discussed, they will help to pair you with the best speaker for your event needs. You can request a speaker using the form on this page.

For more information on getting involved with ADRA, visit their website at Adra.org.

4) RAIN For The Sahel And Sahara, West Africa

The mission of this nonprofit is to improve the lives of the people in West Africa through education, income-producing activities, agriculture and water security. For those people who live in New England, this nonprofit is based in New Hampshire. A Meetup.com group for the organization meets about once a month in social settings in various towns in New Hampshire to brainstorm fun activities to help raise money for RAIN’s “Girls Scholarship and Mentoring Program,” which helps girls in Niger gain educational resources.

If you are not from the New Hampshire area, there are still ways to get involved with RAIN’s mission. RAIN is looking for people from different cities and states to start Meetup groups in their own areas that can mirror what the New Hampshire group does. You can start one up at Meetup.com.

Furthermore, RAIN has their projects listed on multiple giving sites such as GlobalGiving, Nat Geo Action Atlas and Jolkona, to name a few. Because these are internet-based initiatives, getting the word out about them is vital to the success of the organization’s mission, so those interested in social media, marketing and communication could use their skills in this area. Moreover, most of these websites have options to start a fundraiser and get others on board. Event planners, those with public relations skills and creative types could really play a big part in helping create successful fundraisers for RAIN.

For more information on online volunteering with RAIN for the Sahel and Sahara visit Rain4Sahara.org.

5) CARE, Global

CARE is a leading human rights organization whose mission is to fight poverty worldwide. Their main focus is helping poor women because, when given the proper resources, CARE believes women have the ability to help entire communities. Some of their efforts include preventing the spread of disease, expanding economic opportunities, improving education and protecting natural resources.

There are myriad of ways that online and home-based volunteers can get involved with CARE. Before doing anything, it is best to create a profile on their website, as this can help you interact with other volunteers for feedback and collaboration, as well as for getting information out. You can do that here.

CARE gives volunteers various ways to help spread the word and get their message out. Some of these include writing on their blog, talking to legislators, sending e-cards, utilizing social media and joining their action network, which allows volunteers to take immediate action online. Click here for more information.

Another way to get involved with CARE is to hold or attend a local event. On their website they have a database where you can search events as well as add events. Some event themes include bike rides, fundraisers and conferences. CARE will even help you plan and host the events. For more information on CARE events, click here.

CARE also has a section on their website that encourages volunteers to get involved with CARE’s mission in their community. By visiting this page, you can click on your home state to find our how you can help. Through community projects and programs, you can help end global poverty right from your hometown.

For more information on how to get involved with CARE, visit their website at Care.org.

6) United Nations Volunteers Online, Global

This is a U.N. database of various organizations and projects from a myriad of countries that need online volunteers. Volunteers contribute the skills they have online in order to help organizations address challenges in development while organizations collaborate with the online volunteers to strengthen the impact of their volunteer efforts.

Through their website, you can narrow your search for the online volunteer experience that you want by choosing particular regions, tasks, development topics and hours per week you would like to volunteer. For example, you could search “consulting” and “governance and human rights” in “Eastern Europe” for “6-10 hours per week.”

Visit Onlinevolunteering.org/en/vol/ to search the database and start getting involved in a project.

By Jessica Festa


About the Author

Jessica, a New York native, is a world traveler who is always looking for a new adventure. She stays active through dance, hiking and cycling, and loves nothing more than her backpack. Follow her travels around the world and the Big Apple on her blog at Jessieonajourney.com.

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