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Volunteering overseas gives you the unique opportunity to experience local cultures first-hand and make a real difference in critical projects and causes internationally. Here the top 5 volunteer destinations!
Volunteering and traveling is great as you will play a vital role to make a positive impact on local communities, animal rehabilitation or rescue centers, the natural environment, or at vetted organizations and genuine charitable causes around the world.
This has been a tough year. It still is. Covid-19 has been a good reminder of how much we can all do for each other and make a difference in the world. People self-isolated themselves from family and friends, willing to endure months of loneliness and social deprivation for the greater good. This shows the real power we all have to change things and make this planet a better and healthier place for every living thing.
Now, as the biohazard catastrophe is slowly settling down, it’s time to think of the ways to continue helping the world. Traveling to make a difference is probably the best opportunity to help both yourself and other communities all over the globe. If this sounds like an attractive idea to you, here are some of the top volunteer destinations that could use a helping hand.
1. Create volcano maps in Iceland
Iceland is very dedicated to eco-friendly practices and preservation of the environment. You will find remarkable natural wonders all over the country and some may even be an opportunity to volunteer. One of those is the Earthwatch Institute that works on creating maps of volcanic disturbances underneath the surface. This volunteer program is crucial to help scientists predict future volcanic eruptions and preserve countless lives in the process.
The work will take you to all the popular volcanoes in Iceland — from glaciated Vatnajökull to still active Krafla. The landscapes you will see many like to compare to the surface of the Moon or call it otherworldly. And if you are lucky, you may spot a herd of famous indigenous Icelandic horses running freely in the land.
2. Assemble pedal-powered machines in Guatemala
San Andrés Itzapa is a small Guatemalan village using bicimaquinas to power their everyday necessities, like water pumps. Volunteer program here is dedicated to helping the village population with building these pedal-powered machines from old bikes and scrap materials. As a volunteer, you will collect the donated bikes, disassemble them, and build new ones from these parts.
Bicimaquinas are also used to haul cargo, shell coffee beans, and thresh corn so they are important for agriculture of the area. Moreover, they are eco-friendly, lower energy costs and help improve the local economy in an already poor region. The village is close to Antigua and Lake Atitlan so you will have the perfect spots to start exploring Guatemala.
3. Plant corals in Borneo
Borneo in Malaysia is one of the dreamy vacation spots people like to come to de-stress and leave urban chaos behind. However, this tropical destination could use your help with replanting the coral reef in places where local bomb fishing has destroyed it. Volunteering on nature conservation programs here will give you a chance to meet the magnificent marine life of the area and improve the ecology.
Besides getting to know the ocean floor, you can also enjoy many other activities on the surface. Mount Kinabalu is a good place for hiking since it’s the highest peak in the area. Flourishing nature and wildlife of the Danum Valley are also not to be missed, especially since almost half the animals and plants of the world live here. Since it’s full of programs dedicated to the conservation of nature, you could find many other volunteer ventures in Borneo, besides the coral planting.
4. Teach the children in Nepal
Nepal is a country in the Himalayas full of magnificent lakes and white peaks with ancestral architecture and Buddhist temples. One of the most inspiring ways to help this country is to volunteer with children at the care centers and improve their early development. You will be responsible for teaching literacy through singing songs so they would learn the alphabet and numbers.
Commonly, you will read them stories every day to wake up their imagination and creative processes. As their teacher, you will also be responsible for some physical activity that will help hand-eye coordination and other motor skills. Since Nepal is a peaceful country with kind people and incredible nature, this would be a nice way to recharge your batteries, especially after this pandemic. Stop by Pokhara to visit one of its eight lakes, like Rara and Phewa or Lumbini — the birthplace of Buddha.
5. Protect the Amazon in Peru
Amazon Rainforest is home to many wildlife species and indigenous plants that conservationists have been protecting for decades. If you want to be part of this type of work, you can join the rainforest conservation program at Taricaya. This is an ecological reserve in the Peruvian Amazon by the Madre de Dios River and the middle of the jungle.
Your volunteer responsibilities here will include rehabilitation of wild animals and releasing them back to nature after they recover. Collecting data is very important since it can help scientists determine the state of rainforest and ways to help it thrive. This volunteer work is an excellent way to give back to nature through care for animals and plants, as well as sustainable farming and reforestation.
Why Volunteering is a great idea?
Being part of something greater is always satisfying and fulfilling. These top volunteer destinations can give you a new purpose in life that can help many people, animals, and plants in need. It’s a wonderful way to give our planet a fighting chance against global warming, poverty, and the disappearance of endangered species.
Here are some great platform to find volunteering programs around the world: