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How to volunteer in a southern country?

How to volunteer in a southern country?

How to be a volunteer in a country of the South? We tell you in four keys.

«I would love to volunteer abroad, but I have a thousand doubts! How do I choose the destination? Is my profile suitable for the NGO? Will I stay with other volunteers? Is food included? Every day they come to Tumaini messages like this from people who want to take a solidarity trip and don't know where to start. We tell you how to do international volunteering in four keys!

1. Choose the destination

A solidarity trip is a intense experience, full of stimuli and emotions. That is why it is important that, to do your volunteering, you choose a country where you think you will feel comfortable. Keep in mind:

  • Language: Do you have a sufficient level of English to communicate fluently? If not, it is best that you choose a Spanish-speaking country.
  • The weather: Can you handle the heat well? How do you take the cold of the high mountains? If you think it can influence you, choose another country.
  • The height: some NGOs (for example in Peru) are thousands of meters above sea level. It may be that, for health reasons, it is not recommended that you go.
  • The environment: find out where the NGO is located. Is it in the middle of a big city like in Nepal? Or in the middle of nature as in Bolivia? If you are an urban person and looking for cultural life, choose the first one! If you love tranquility, the second is yours! 
  • Food: We are sure that, even if you don't like spicy food, for example, you can adapt to the meals of India o Mexico. But if you think it will be a problem for you, you can look for another destination. 
  • The attractions: clear! Since you are traveling to a safe country, you take advantage of the weekends or a few more days to go sightseeing. Choose a country with enclaves that you have always wanted to visit: Machu Picchu in Peru, the Taj Mahal in India, the temples of Kathmandu, the Mayan site of Palenque in Mexico

Our partner Almu took the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu in Peru

2. Choose the NGO

Although there are people who are very clear about it, most of the people who approach Tumaini You don't know what kind of project you would like to collaborate on. To make your way easier, we give you some tips:

  • search for a project related to your training, your skills or passions. If you are an animal lover, travel to Thailand and learn to take care of elephants! If you love nature, collaborate in Bali with composting tasks, animal monitoring, beach cleaning, etc. And if you work in education, choose an NGO that trains Kids oh Adults. In any case, choose an NGO whose activities and philosophy fit with you. And vice versa, where you think you can contribute the best of yourself. 
  • In most cases, you will stay in the same NGO and you will even eat there too. Yes that's how it is, find out about the accommodation and food conditions. Accommodations offered by small NGOs are usually very basic: adaptability is key here. The same goes for: insects, WIFI, hot water, etc. 
  • Check the location of the NGO and, if it's important to you, about how you can move to other places. In CambodiaFor example, the project is located 10 minutes from downtown Battambang. Instead, Nepal, the organic farm is lost among the beautiful Anapurnas. 

María chose an educational volunteer in the Sacred Valley, in Peru

3. Calculate your budget

It is one of the topics where there is more ignorance:Do you have to pay for volunteering?? And the answer is clear: NO. Volunteering is an altruistic and supportive activity!

What does have a cost is your solidarity trip and you have to take it into account to calculate your budget well. Specific, what you have to pay in most cases is:

  • The air ticket.
  • The lodging and food.
  • The management expenses of your trip, both from the local NGO and from the platform that facilitates your volunteering
In Bali is one of the most exotic solidarity trips offered by Tumaini
In Bali is one of the most exotic solidarity trips offered by Tumaini

What are these expenses?

  • The local NGO: arranges accommodation, often airport pick-ups for volunteers, meals, etc.
  • The platform that facilitates your solidarity journey: looks for the solidarity project that best fits your profile and advises you on travel arrangements.

For example, at Tumaini we have visited and assessed all projects to ensure they are reliable and suitable. In addition, we advise the person who travels in the management of vaccines, visa, insurance, places to visit, etc.

Still a solidarity trip it is usually much cheaper than a conventional tourist trip.

The solidarity trip to Kenya is one of the most beautiful and authentic.
Solidarity trip to Kenya It is one of the most beautiful and authentic.

4. Preparation!

Once the destination, project and budget have been chosen, it's time to prepare your trip! This phase is important so that you get the most out of your experience:

  • Leave all the paperwork ready: Vaccines, visa, insurance... if you want, at Tumaini we help you with all the procedures!
  • Think of activities for your volunteering. Are you going to collaborate in a school for young people in Nepal? Think of ideas for activities that you think may fit the project, the initiative is always welcome! 
  • Manage your expectations: be very clear about what projects you are going for, what problems you are going to encounter and how much you can contribute to improve the situation. Do not try to change a project or partnership in two weeks because it is not viable. Make a small contribution, yes!
  • Open your mind to everything you will find: new landscapes, people, food, customs, rhythms, ways of working... Be flexible and try to learn as much as you can. 
  • Read, read and read! 

In Tumaini We will accompany you throughout the process so that you can live the volunteering of your life. Are you coming?

Thailand is the favorite destination for elephant lovers.
Thailand It is the favorite destination for elephant lovers.

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