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nova74
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Volunteer Abroad

Post by nova74 » Tue, 10 Feb 2009 1:50 pm

I am keen to go into volunteer abroad project. Can anyone suggest any reliable source or organisation i can approach to offer my volunteer service? Thks

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sierra2469alpha
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Post by sierra2469alpha » Tue, 10 Feb 2009 1:54 pm

Hi there - good on you. Three pieces of initial advice:

1. There is a book published by Lonely Planet called "Volunteer". I assume you'll be able to get it at major bookstores here. It lists literally every international volunteer programme.

2. I've used i-to-i.com, which is a part-pay system, giving you greater flexibility in the projects you engage with - including length of assignment, choice of project, etc. This flexibility comes about as you pay for a component of your travel and accommodation.

3. If you have any form of medical or logistics background, medicins sans frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) is constanly looking for volunteers.

HTH, P

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Post by nova74 » Thu, 12 Feb 2009 1:22 am

Thks Sierra for the good recommendations. I'm in midst of checking up from i-to-i
I'm not trained in medicine, i probably look into education or logistic area.
For a first timer, aside from taking up a shorter period stint to familiarise with the work nature first, any other good suggestions, should i undertake while making the decision.

My major concern is the security aspect for a female gender, hence safety is important to me. Is it better to find companion, if i am unable to find a partner, will it be safe for me to take up such project. From the experiences you had, i hope you can share a little bit more details with me.. and to others who may be interested too.

Sorry for asking that much.

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sierra2469alpha
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Post by sierra2469alpha » Thu, 12 Feb 2009 9:48 am

Nova - Hi sorry have been a little busy and missed your post!

OK, I certainly understand the security concerns, however all reputable organisations take security as their number one priority. My suggestion would be to ask the organisations you are interested in that question directly.

If you've got a degree or strong experience in logistics then MSF might be interested. Had a friend a while back who was a cold logistics specialist and did a fair bit of work for them.

Education, particularly if you have a TEFL/TESOL certificate is probably the best skill to have, even if you decide to work in different areas. Many organisations will actually subsidise this. Just be careful and do your homework on which course TYPE - teaching as first or teaching as a second/speakers of other languages than English.

In terms of other preparation, obviously choosing a "cause" you are passionate about helps. Also, it may sound strange, but climate can be the kncoker of many people, so if you are prone to suffering from heat/cold, then I'd suggest you take this into consideration. Obviously, reading up on the culture in which you'll be working is of prime importance also.

Personal health: ensure you have the full round of innoculations and KEEP them up to date. I have a friend who had his done here in SIN and when he told me the price I was shocked - it's actually really INexpensive here (compared to Oz, where I paid close on $1200) for the lot - mind you that included a very expensive Jap. E. vaccine. Obviously, a fair level of fitness will ease you into it. Buy top-end travel insurance - all organisations will insist on TI, but buy the best - it will give you piece of mind while you're deployed.

Mental health: continuing on the peace of mind component. Don't kid yourself that you won't get upset, bored, frustrated, angry, tired, homesick. It won't be all of the time, but they are normal human emotions and you should let yourself feel them if they occur. So, just prepare yourself mentally. When I got a bit down I said to myself that I'm doing some good and I'll be going home soon. Becoming an expert on the local beer also helps!!!

Clothing: depending on the climate, but if you can, try and get good technical gear (Ex-Officio is some of my favourites), but bear in mind that some of the work can be a bit grubby, so I used to visit the local army surplus store and get a few pairs of pants (they're pretty much unisex) for when you're going to do a bit more of the "dirty" work - and keep the good stuff for day-to-day.

Finally, have a think about how you want to approach it. For example, I decided on a life change before we moved here (thus it's not kinda working anymore!!). I had my own business, and was going to do that for 6 months, then volunteer for four months. So I guess I'm saying you can approach it that way, or you can take the "Voluntourism" path and do, say 2 - 4 weeks a year as part of your annual leave. I think the good thing about i-to-i is it suits the latter very well - one trip you can be counting baby lions in Africa (awwww of the day!) and the next year building schools in Vietnam.

HTH - let me know if you have any other questions - always happy to help!

Cheers, Mr. P

[Edit: added mental prep]

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Post by nova74 » Fri, 13 Feb 2009 1:13 am

Thks P,

Absolutely a great advice in a nutshell you have given me. I will seriously consider the options available and make a good choice.

Let me find out more, should i have more doubts in any area, at least i know someone i can approach now.

Thks again

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Post by sierra2469alpha » Fri, 13 Feb 2009 5:49 pm

If you cannot find the book, you're welcome to borrow mine. Let me know via PM.

Mr. P.

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