It always amazes me when people bemoan the lack of affordable, low-cost options for volunteering abroad. They say that no matter how hard they look, all they can find are programs that charge steep participation fees. You know, the ones that want a couple thousand euros/dollars/pounds for 4 weeks of work in Peru/Africa/Nepal.
And hence many would-be volunteers complain that finding a low-cost, grass-roots opportunity is almost impossible without having contacts overseas. Well, them folks are not looking hard enough, me thinks.
After two days of trolling the internet (I’m researching info for my upcoming book), I have compiled a list of 175 organizations that are desperate for volunteers and don’t charge you an arm and a leg. Some don’t charge you anything at all. Some ask that you pay for your room and board. Some are so bold they even request that you contribute to the project you plan to work on. And even with those add-ons, the total expenses rarely go above $400 a month. Not a week, as some big guys want to charge you, but a month. These organizations are in all corners of the globe, from Nicaragua, to India to Kenya. And those are just the ones that have websites!
This makes me think that many of these “I can’t find anything! Boo! Help me!” wanna-be volunteers are simply lazy. Which on the one hand is good news for me – my book will have a captive audience. But on the other hand, this utter lack of initiative makes me sad. Truly, some people would do more good by staying home and donating money to a charity of their choice.
Harsh? Maybe. Rude? You betcha! However, if such a mind-numbingly simple task as using google proves to be too difficult for some, do you really think they are suited to more complex work abroad?
Let me get back to my research before I offend the two remaining readers of this blog…