Unconventional Ways to Volunteer


Global travel is becoming easier and with that more people are choosing to Volunteer in Latin America, volunteer abroad, combining visiting a new country with meeting new people and giving back to the community.

Some people think that volunteering abroad is just boring teaching in classrooms or long days in the heat building classroom, but it is so much more than that! There are more volunteer projects opening every day in weirder and wilder ways.

Here are some unconventional ways of volunteering abroad for adventurous travelers:

Making Puzzle Boxes For Monkeys

UK based volunteer sending organisation Original Volunteers recruits for an animal sanctuary in South Africa. There are as many as eighty exotic species homed at this busy sanctuary.

The animals are either rescued or injured and include: monkeys, sugar gliders, foxes, macaques, lemurs, cats and dogs. Because these animals have spent too much time at the sanctuary, unfortunately they cannot be released back into the wild.

Volunteers prepare and feed the animals along with monitoring the behaviour. Without keeping their minds mentally stimulated, the monkeys onsite become distressed and experience anxiety. Puzzle boxes are made by volunteers, the monkeys have to figure out how to open these puzzle boxes for them to get food along with other enrichment activities.

Festival First Responder

With just a basic first aid background, volunteers are needed at festivals all over the world to help festival goers.

Volunteers patrol event sites and respond to calls for assistance, providing medical help to minor injuries. Whether volunteers are patrolling by foot, bike or ambulance, they can also assist at medical facilities and walk in centres around the event.

Usually there is a minimum shift requirement across the festival with the rest of the time to enjoy the music and comedy by headliners.

Restoring A Water Mill

This 300-year-old mill was built as a factory but has since been converted into a bed and breakfast. Help renovate this cute chateau in France and get the mill back up and running!

Volunteers help with general tasks that anyone can do, cleaning, painting, gardening and assisting in building. The mill owners also have a special interest in roofers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and welders. There may be a chance to learn these as a new skill for longer stay volunteers.

ThaBarWa Centres

Only certain people fulfilling certain requirements are allowed to live in a monastery, ThaBarWa centres were built to give everyone- regardless of age, nationality and religion a home to meditate and good deeds. There are over 40 centres around Myanmar and new ones constantly being built.

Help the elderly, sick and homeless at a ThaBarWa centre, around the patient religion of Buddhism. Volunteers are free to get stuck into each activity: basic health care, physiotherapy, patient washing, providing fresh air by wheelchair, alms collection, maintenance, building, teaching English, art projects, cooking, gardening, childcare and much more.

Meet Celebrities At Cannes Film Festival

Media junkies will love this volunteer opportunity meeting the movie stars and directors who attend this prestigious and famous film festival. Applications are only accepted for a short period of time in November for the festival between February and May.

There are also volunteering options offered by companies in Cannes which have partnerships with the festival: American Pavilion Internships and Creative Minds.

Butterfly Park Volunteering

Nature lovers can help make a difference for a butterfly park in Laos. Surrounded by blue waters and a famous waterfall volunteers can help on this project. The butterfly park opened in 2014 with a variety of flowers and wildlife in their garden, as well as a nine hundred meters squared butterfly garden.

Entomologists, botanists and horticulturists can get involved hands on with the butterflies. Volunteers without previous experience can still help by promoting the park in the city centre, welcome guests as a receptionist and guide visitors around the butterfly house.