The story of two brothers in a Thailand orphanage.



You'll help with building projects, get your hands dirty in the garden and break out the paint set! Volunteering at an orphanage or foster home proves that giving back can be just as fun as it is rewarding.

Duties

Depending on your chosen site, you will be asked to do any number of tasks, such as: assisting with bathing and feeding routines, playing music, sports and games with children, gardening, cooking, assisting with schoolwork, teaching English, working in the office, or kitchen, and simply spending quality time with the children. Each site has specific needs and you are there to help. Of course if you have a specific passion or skill, tell the orphanage about it in advance of your arrival. If you play guitar, you may be asked to lead a jam session with a group of kids. Or if you love to cook, you can offer to prepare meals and snacks with the staff. If you know how to build things, they'll absolutely ask you to help fix something. Invite the kids to join you for a cooking class! Volunteering is as meaningful and enjoyable as you make it.

Expectations

As a volunteer, you are expected to express generosity and compassion towards the children, as well as adhere to the desires, needs and rules of the orphanage or foster home. The site supervisor will direct you towards certain activities and jobs during established work times, while keeping your specific skills (such as musical or sports ability, a background in healthcare or education or previous volunteer work) in mind. You are expected to fulfill all commitments, particularly the amount of time you have committed to serve. Most of these orphanages and foster homes have limited staff, so your presence is a huge support. To that end, the functioning of the orphanage is in part contingent on your dedication and enthusiasm.

Keep in mind that you are traveling to a foreign country with different customs and cultures, which may be uncomfortable or unfamiliar to you. It is imperative that you respect the approach and methods of the orphanage. You may not agree with everything but the place works, and functions, and will continue on long after you leave. Focus on the fact that you are there to support and assist in any way possible, and try to keep your personal, religious, political and moral ideals to yourself. Everyone will be happier and the children will be best served.

Once you sign up and choose an orphanage, we will provide you with a detailed brochure entitled "Before You Go" that will outline all aspects of volunteering: what you can expect at the orphanage, tips on immersing in a new culture, what to bring, health and safety information, and much more.

Locations

The countries and cities on this website have primarily been chosen based on their vacation appeal so that you can incorporate a volunteer stint into your travel adventure. KVV will offer volunteer opportunities in 53 countries throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia.



Lodging

While volunteering, it is most rewarding to stay alongside the locals, in their villages, towns and cities. Some orphanages and foster homes offer room and board for a minimal fee, though you can always choose to stay elsewhere. We may offer lodging suggestions for each location that will fit into your budget. You can find detailed information on lodging options, pricing and locations under each orphanage and foster home listed on the website.

Number of Volunteers

The number of volunteers varies per orphanage, but you can expect to work with a about 5-10 other volunteers, or perhaps none - you may be the only volunteer at a given site, or you may join forces with a whole other group. Each orphanage or foster home accepts a specific number of volunteers at any given time based on how many children live there.

Volunteers can be any age, although some orphanages request that at least one parent, guardian or leader over the age of 25 accompany children and young adults under 18. Check each orphanage or foster home's specific page for more information.

Length of Volunteer Stint

Whether you have just half a day, a day, a week or months, volunteering is always a rewarding experience that will have you coming back for more. Although many orphanages and foster homes prefer longer volunteer stints, most will welcome any number of hours you have to give. Orphanages often have specific hours of the day when they are in need of your help - you may be asked to work for a few hours in the morning and/or the afternoon, though some will be in need of as much assistance as you can give. Most orphanages can work around your time constraints, if you have any, especially if you are not staying on site and have to travel to and from your hostel or hotel. Be prepared to take a taxi, rickshaw, tuck tuck, horse, mule or bicycle to the orphanage.



© 2011 Karma Volunteer Vacations, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization


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