15 Ways Volunteers Abroad Made A Difference

Volunteers – Your Achievements!

Taken the street kids to the beach in Mombasa

All children love a trip to the beach and the street kids of Kenya are no exception! Their life on the streets is extremely tough and they rarely get the chance of a day out to relax and play together in a safe environment with adult supervision and something to eat. Our volunteers need no experience to help these children improve their lives; just an investment of time and plenty of compassion.


Invaluable support at remote clinics in Cameroon.

Deliver babies in Ghana and Cameroon

Even if you’re not a medical or healthcare professional, sharing knowledge of basic hygiene can make a world of difference. You won’t be expected to deliver babies in Ghana or Cameroon single-handedly but helping to educate new mothers about basic healthcare and providing the midwifery staff with an extra pair of hands will be invaluable (you may even get to cuddle some newborns!).

Built a library from scratch in 5 days in Kenya!

It’s incredible just how much can be achieved in a few days! One group of employees from Butlin’s volunteered on a project in Kenya in 2013 and succeeded in building a brand new library for the local community. A team of 30 people really made their mark – you could be part of the next team to achieve big things! (Just be aware that you’ll need to plan ahead with some innovative fund-raising ideas!)



With baby Hannan at the baby orphanage in Marrakesh.

Fund raised for an operation for baby Hanan in Morocco

Medical facilities are a rarity in the poorest areas around the world. When you really get to know local people on one of our projects, you may feel that you want to do more to help and sometimes, it is possible to change someone’s life forever. Whilst on a project in Morocco, one of our volunteers Justin Farrance had befriended a family with a child who had been born with webbed fingers. After some incredible fund-raising, £2000 was collected and the child was able to be sent for a surgical procedure which would improve their quality of life both now and in the future, second operation along now and all going well!


Volunteers building new medical centre in Uganda.

Helped build the new medical centre in Uganda

Teamwork really can make all the difference, especially where there is a general lack of medical facilities in a remote area. Building a solid, accessible medical centre for nurses to attend to people with sickness and also vaccinate children against a variety of dangerous diseases will greatly improve the living standards of a poor community. It will also be a centre for healthcare education and ensure that families have a more positive future.


Learning how to use the new water filters donated to communities.

Introduced water filters to remote regions in Ghana

Water-borne diseases are still a big problem in remote regions and we’re delighted to say that our volunteers have been instrumental in ensuring that safe, clean drinking water is available to communities in the very poorest regions. Water can be found – but it’s underground and needs to be cleaned with filtering equipment before it’s safe to use. Our volunteers and local team in Ghana have teamed up with Aquafilter to raise funds and also help out on site to make sure the systems are installed in the best places and that the local community know how to access their brand new water supply!


Emma insured a whole school for medical treatment for a year.

Paid for a whole school to have medical insurance

Here in the UK, it’s all too easy to forget that we have a National Health Service providing free healthcare and emergency medicine. In poorer regions of the world, medical treatment is only available to you if you have insurance. When one of our volunteers visited a community in Ghana, she was upset to discover that two children were quite ill with ringworm. After paying for their immediate treatment at the local hospital, she discovered that the cost to insure a child for medical treatment for a whole year was less than £2! This led to a fund-raising idea and at the end of the project, our volunteer had raised enough money to insure every child at the school for medical treatment for a year!


Emily at the sewing machine in Ghana.

Taught sewing and dressmaking skills in Ghana

Do you have a hobby to share? A variety of crafts – especially needlework – are very popular with our project destinations and provide local people with a variety of new skills to develop personally and even financially. Items such as jewellery and bags can be made and sold at a local market while clothes and blankets can be produced for people to use in their homes.


The Obo library, built and started by volunteers a few years ago was impressive, always packed with children.

Opened a community library in Ghana

Our volunteers were involved with building a library for the local community which is now also used as an after-school activity base for children. Not only can they read books, they have access to a laptop which was donated by a volunteer. Many children have a tough home-life and use the library to escape. It’s also a wonderful resource for adults as many are illiterate and need help to learn how to read and also support their children through school. More can be found about the library in volunteer Alile Tshume’s volunteer story.


Group of Peru volunteers take a break whilst on expedition.

Gone on expedition with the children in Peru

Much of our work in Peru is with children’s’ homes and also to help prevent children from small villages becoming street kids. Our volunteers can help with teaching, supervising play and also taking the children out of their usual environment for a day or two of fun exploring. Just spending some time with the children to help them learn and encourage them to develop social skills can make a big difference to their future.


Volunteers help the Masai to manage agriculture.

Implemented better irrigation for Masai farmers

The Masai Mara in Africa is a truly stunning part of the world. Packed with a range of beautiful wildlife and glorious open spaces, it’s a very popular holiday destination. The local people are mostly farmers and rely on crops and livestock to provide their food and income. Every year, there is a drought season and often, food and stock supplies are scarce. Our volunteers have been involved with irrigation projects to ensure that water is still available to keep lands and livestock healthy. All that’s needed are a few walls, ditches and pipes to contain and conserve water which can be used for the drought period.??Performed health checks in remote communities.


Volunteers help to clean infected wounds at outreach clinic.

Worked in community outreach in remote communities

We often take basic healthcare for granted here in the UK but in some areas of the world, it’s surprising how our volunteers can truly help to improve lives. For example, many people in poorer regions of Africa don’t wear shoes – they simply don’t have access to a shop nor can they afford them! Unfortunately, they often walk several miles to access education or a water supply resulting in very sore and damaged feet. Our volunteers often get involved helping with wound care to prevent infection and further health implications. Volunteers can also assist at a community healthcare centre or clinic to help check a patient’s blood pressure or checking for diabetes. Simple tests can help diagnose relatively straightforward ailments before they become a serious illness.

Worked alongside women’s groups in Cameroon

It’s amazing how the smallest piece of shared knowledge can make a difference. One of our volunteers was working with a women’s group in Cameroon who sell palm oil at a market in their local town. With a quick calculation, it was suggested that their usual second visit to the market to sell their produce was inefficient – because it incurred more costs and cut deeper into their profit. How about the group aim to make just one trip to town to sell their palm oil instead of the usual two trips? This simple adjustment could make a big difference to the group’s overall profit! Our volunteers don’t need vast business knowledge to help local communities; it’s often just a matter of weighing up the checks and balances!

Built a play ground for the children in the Kenya Masai

Not only have our volunteers helped to construct buildings, they’ve also recognised the need for safe, spacious play areas for the children. Play has a massive impact on a child; they can socialise with others and learn how to count with just a few ball games with an adult to teach them the basics. A playground also provides an outlet if they find it tough to sit still in a classroom!


With a baby monkey at the sanctuary – so cute!

Built new animal enclosures in South Africa

If you’ve a passion for animals and are willing to get stuck in with some real physical work, our volunteers provided a wonderful example at an animal sanctuary in South Africa! Conservation is hugely important and our volunteers can be involved with creating safe, suitable environments for some of the most beautiful (and endangered) animals in the world. A truly inspiring experience for animal lovers!

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