Whether you’re very much in touch with your "child side", have a strong maternal or paternal instinct or have always wanted to work with children, volunteering with children might be the perfect thing for you! There are countless kids all over the world who can’t count on their families to provide the necessary care they desperately need. Volunteer with children and make an immense difference in the lives of those who are most vulnerable.
International and local aid organizations rely on external support to continue making it possible to provide children with a safe and nurturing environment. Volunteers abroad can truly make a difference by dedicating their time and care to this wonderful cause and work towards providing less fortunate children with a better future. Volunteer abroad with children, enter their lives and be sure that this unique experience will turn your life around.
We live in a world where unfortunately not all children get the same opportunities and, in some cases, they are homeless or no longer able to stay with their families. A UNICEF study came to the shocking result that almost 385 million children worldwide live in extreme poverty . In many cases, their families cannot provide basic care or education, so they have to rely on the help and support of organizations that are equipped to deal with vulnerable children and offer them the necessary care.
Having been part of a family that is unable to support them, these children depend on childcare organizations to throw them a lifeline. Volunteer with children to give back to the community but more importantly, to help make a difference in a child’s life by giving them the attention and support they severely lack. Eventually, every child deserves love, care, and a happy life.
Children residing in childcare organizations have been through a lot during their early years and are in need of daily care, affection and attention. Considering the limited resources of the organizations, they rely on the support and contribution of volunteers to support the professional caretakers on site as well as tend to the children and give every child the attention it is are deprived of. Financial support is always welcome and also an option for those who want to make a difference but lack the time to physically volunteer for this important cause.
By volunteering with kids, you will be helping with daily tasks of feeding and caring for the children but more importantly, you’ll be interacting with them. Creative volunteers will enjoy themselves by setting up activities and games for entertainment. Volunteers with a teaching background can focus on teaching the children, helping them learn and performing better at school and exposing them to a different culture.
Essentially, everyone is contributing to the project in the way that meets their skills and uniting these efforts to help provide each child with a better future will hopefully break the cycle they are unfortunately trapped in.
Working with children effectively requires a unique set of characteristics as well as certain qualifications. This is highly important to ensure the wellbeing of every child and the protection from unqualified or even harmful people around them. The organizations have a list of requirements that volunteers need to join these programs and apart from the qualifications you will need to prove “on paper”, there are some personal qualities you have to bring to the table as well.
Volunteering at a program with children simply is not for everyone. To find out if you fit the requirements, here is a list of characteristics which are good to have when deciding to volunteer with children. Have a look and think about whether or not you fit this description. To volunteer at a program with children, you will need:
- a caring and patient nature
- good communication skills
- the ability to work as part of a team
- the capacity to think on your feet and stay calm in stressful situations
- problem-solving ability
- good organizational and time management skills
- a non-judgmental approach and respect for diversity
- a professional attitude to work
- a strong regard for health and safety
Although it’s not required for you to tick all the boxes, it’s a good guideline to take into account while considering doing voluntary work with children.
The other qualifications necessary really depend on the program you have selected and how much you will be involved. If your main tasks will be to provide afternoon activities, assisting with cooking or helping out with homework for example, most organizations happily welcome volunteers who are excited to work with children and speak English, even if they don’t have previous work experience in this field.
A good knowledge of the English language is important to be able to communicate with other staff and volunteers. In some cases, like South America, it’s encouraged to have a basic understanding of Spanish. It will help with getting around and make communicating with the local team members of the program, who often lack English skills, much easier.
When working with infants, there will be stricter rules but this needs to be verified in greater detail with the organization. In any case, volunteers have to agree to a criminal background check prior to joining a project working with children and organizations very carefully select volunteers they find suited for their work. The same goes for projects working with traumatized children or children with special needs. Volunteers with experience in childcare or who have a background in psychology, education or counseling are more than qualified to volunteer for these projects.
Volunteering with children is an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to contribute to a meaningful cause and have a soft spot for the young ones in our society. Take a look at the endless volunteer with children projects on our platform. You’re bound to find something that sparks your interest.
When you volunteer with children, you will spend most of your time getting to know the children and supporting their main caretakers in their everyday work while also teaching them educational basics. You and the other volunteers will engage with the children in a variety of activities aimed at building self-esteem, learning, and just having fun. As you volunteer, you will supply essential care and attention to the children which in turn will support families in need. To volunteer with children may include the following aims:
- Provide essential support to marginalized kids
- Teach impoverished children important skills such as hygiene practices
- Improve their future prospects and help them to break the poverty cycle by supplying quality early childhood teaching
- Expose volunteers, children and their families to different people and cultures
During your volunteering journey and your program, you will contribute to this good cause in a number of ways and you can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Planning educational games
- Helping daycare staff prepare meals
- Playing and interacting with the children
- Teaching basic classes, for example, teaching them colors, shapes, numbers
It’s good to have a flexible attitude when you work, learn, and volunteer with children. Schedules may change so volunteers are required to help with a variety of tasks. These tasks will differ depending on the projects so definitely have a look at the different programs available.
Volunteers will have the best experience when adapting to the local culture and helping out with daily activities as much as possible. Approach your volunteer program and experience with a healthy work ethic, dedicate yourself to the activities involving the children and work towards giving them a good time. After the workday is done, you’ll be free to explore the area and dive into the local life!
Volunteer with children and discover the world! There is a broad choice of organizations worldwide who are helping children and need help from enthusiastic volunteers, so you can really choose to go anywhere you like. Consider all developing regions for example. Asia, Africa and South America are equally challenging and interesting locations to embark on this life-changing experience. Select a destination that fascinates you and set out to make a difference in the lives of the children on site. Pick a place and program where you feel comfortable and safe as this is a very personal decision that you will ultimately have to make for yourself.
All destinations are in need of volunteers who are eager to work, learn, and volunteer with children. They all have a unique culture and environment which is worth exploring. Combine this unique experience of volunteering with kids with the chance to discover a new place in the world you have always wanted to explore. Grasp this chance and make the most of your time! Volunteer to help children and get in touch with the real side of the location you picked. Aside you definitely won’t get to see as a tourist.
If you’re more interested in a healthcare and medicine program and want to combine this focus with childcare, though, you could become a children’s hospital volunteer. For this opportunity, head to our health services page and take a look at volunteer programs that are focused on the health of children. As a children’s hospital volunteer you will of course volunteer to help children and provide them with a greater health.
To find out in which countries you can volunteer with children, check out this map:
- South Africa
- Costa Rica
- Sri Lanka
We are convinced that there are only benefits related to volunteering. Research shows that volunteering makes people feel happier as it gives them a sense of purpose. You’ll definitely be contributing to a greater good if you decide to volunteer with children and rest assured, you’ll be touching more lives than you think. But apart from that, here are five benefits of volunteering abroad with children:
1. Make new friends
Besides the children you’ll be working with, you’ll be surrounded by other volunteers and locals who are passionate about the same thing you are. These unique life experiences are bound to forge meaningful relationships you will look back on with a smile.
2. Grow as a person
Volunteer with children and witness how you grow. Getting out of your comfort zone will give you a sense of empowerment which will continue to push you forward in life. Taking on responsibility for other people and putting their needs before your own will also help you discover a new side of yourself.
3. Explore new destinations
If you’re a bit of an adventurer, nothing will stop you from discovering your amazing surroundings. Volunteering with children will most likely lead you to one of the developing countries that are in need of support. Whether it is in South America, Africa or Asia, you will get to explore your host country through the eyes of a local rather than a tourist.
4. Learn about a new culture
Volunteer with children and discover a new culture. Wherever you decide to volunteer with children, you will be diving right into a new culture and it is the perfect opportunity to broaden your horizon. If you are willing to approach this adventure with open arms and an open mind, you will learn from the community you volunteer in and get a new perspective on life in general.
5. Boost your career
Volunteers looking to pursue a career working with children will benefit greatly from this opportunity. This could possibly count as an internship if acknowledged by your university or college. Of course, this depends on your field of studies. Nonetheless, volunteering experiences are always highly appreciated by future employers as they portray the willingness to contribute and help out along with a strong social awareness and sense of responsibility.
Don’t hesitate to embark on this journey and take a look at the different childcare volunteer positions available around the world!
There are a variety of organizations which have set up a volunteer program to care for children in less fortunate parts of our planet. Contact the organization you are interested in and discuss whether there’s a match between what they expect from a childcare volunteer and what you are up for. If you need help finding the right program for you please let us know, we are more than happy to assist you!
So you’re ready to volunteer for childcare but you’re not quite sure how to get started? Take a look at the following 3 steps that will prepare you for your childcare volunteer program abroad and an unforgettable adventure:
- Check whether there’s a match between you and the project by looking at their requirements.
- Take a look at the location of the project and decide whether it would be a location you are excited about.
- Get in touch with the organization and see whether your expectations and your schedule match up.
Once this is sorted. Let’s take a look at the practical steps to volunteering with children:
Insurance (Health & travel)
We recommend getting both health and travel insurance. In fact, this is even a requirement for most programs abroad. Get in touch with your program contact person to find out if an insurance plan is already in place for volunteers.
Visa, passport, and documentation
Once you know your destination, take the following 3 steps before setting off on your life-changing adventure!
- Look into the visa requirements for the country you will volunteer in.
- Make sure you have a valid passport considering the requirement of the host country.
- Prepare the correct documents to fulfill the visa application.
That’s it! You’re ready for childcare volunteering and can start organizing your volunteer adventure.