Volunteering is a wonderful thing to take part in and it is something which is incredibly rewarding. Those who volunteer are doing far more than simply helping out those in need, they are also building their characters and growing as people as they contribute to the world.
There is a he range of volunteering options throughout the world for you to choose from, depending on your interests. You could get involved in conservation projects in Costa Rica, helping to feed the hungry in Africa, protecting animals in Asia or any other number of wonderful causes who are helping to make this world a better place. If you want to become a volunteer then you have made an amazing decision and one which will benefit others. With this being said, there are some things that you need to be careful of if you do plan on volunteering. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you need to be careful of.
Can You Make A Difference?
The idea of volunteering is not to boost your CV or make yourself feel better that you won the geographical lottery, those are bonuses and the actual idea is to ensure that you are helping. For this reason it is important that you ask yourself what skills you have that can actually make a difference. A recent article by Pippa Biddle nailed this perfectly in her article “The problem with little white boys and girls and volunteerism” where she stated:
“I am good at raising money, training volunteers, collecting items, coordinating programs, and telling stories. I am flexible, creative, and able to think on my feet. On paper I am, by most people’s standards, highly qualified to do international aid. But I shouldn’t be.
“I am not a teacher, a doctor, a carpenter, a scientist, an engineer, or any other professional that could provide concrete support and long-term solutions to communities in developing countries”
With this in mind it is important that you understand your strengths, and know that you can make a difference.
Helping out with those in danger truly does give you a great feeling but it is important to remember that you will be exposing yourself to things that you have only seen on TV. For example, witnessing poverty first hand is brutal and these images burn into your mind, be careful that you are sufficiently prepared for this before you go.
Believe it or not there are many unscrupulous people out there in the world who try to take advantage of just about anyone. One such area where they do this is with volunteering. There are many projects around the world whereby the volunteer will need to pay, you must make sure however that you are doing so with a trusted and reputable charity before you part with any cash. Just make sure that you research as much as possible online before you pay a single cent, there are scams out there, don’t get caught out!