One of the biggest reasons why students volunteer abroad – whether it’s for an internship or to work with an NGO – is to gain life experiences to help them in their work in global development.
Although there’s some differing opinions about the usefulness of these volunteer trips abroad, most agree that when working with local partners to serve the needs that locals identify as necessary, service can be useful mostly to the giver but also to the community. With a lot of research and a concrete, positive end goal, volunteering in a developing community can be a great use of your time.
Here’s a list of five excellent development organizations, vetted by ONE Campus, that work in collaboration with local community partners to do everything from boost literacy to improve health care. Some of these opportunities are here in the US, while some of them are as far away as India.
1. Room to Read
This organization partners with communities and local governments throughout Asia and Africa to develop programs that promote literacy and support girls to finish secondary school. They have 23 chapters across the United States to support their programs, all of which are supported by volunteers.
Haiti’s largest microfinance institution with more than 64,000 women borrowers, they offer internships for college students on a rolling basis. Their interns, who focus on Fonkoze’s rural microcredit and business development programs, spend at least 3 months in Haiti. Some level of Creole proficiency is preferred.
This group works to build the movement for health equity in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and the United States. They pair domestic and international fellows together to work in a placement organization that focuses on improving health care access and health care outcomes in impoverished neighborhoods. They are accepting a new round of applicants for their year-long paid fellowship positions until January 26, 2014. Applicants must have an undergraduate university degree by July of 2014 to apply.
This is an organization committed to fundraising for programs that effectively teach the hungry how to feed themselves. They recently kick started a Hunger U tour and are visiting college campuses across the country to spark conversation and advocacy about worldwide hunger issues. Add your college campus to the tour and learn how to get more involved.
New Light helps aid women and girls in Kolkata, India who have experienced or been exposed to trafficking. They provide comprehensive programs for this population through their shelters, micro-credit facilities, and healthcare treatment. The organization offers volunteer and internship opportunities on a rolling basis. Students must apply at least 3 months in advance.
Don’t forget that volunteering and fighting extreme poverty doesn’t have to be a full time job.