For many travellers, gaining experiences abroad includes giving back.
Finding ethical, sustainable and safe volunteer opportunities can be a challenge.
Want to see the world and make a difference? Volunteering abroad is the trip-of-a-lifetime where you get to give something back.
It could be assisting in the release of endangered sea turtles in Sri Lanka or teaching English in Tanzania, but overseas volunteer placements allow you to see a country from a perspective rarely experienced through mere tourism.
One company that excels at putting the right people with the right projects is The Mighty Roar, which recently partnered with battleface to provide its volunteers with Single Trip Travel Insurance designed for the destinations and experiences they’d likely encounter.
The Mighty Roar, founded in 2017, provides structured, safe and affordable volunteer programmes in 18 countries globally, spanning everything from wildlife conservation to childcare and ranging from one week to more than five months.
We spoke to co-coordinator Christopher Holland to find out how potential volunteers can find the most rewarding projects that make a positive change to local communities and the environment.
Tell us about some of the projects The Mighty Roar is involved with! Any you’re particularly excited about?
We offer volunteer programmes in 18 different destinations around the world. Volunteers can join our 100% ethical wildlife and marine projects or help out on our community projects which provide sustainable care and assistance to help aid the people who are in most need.
Our most popular destination is Sri Lanka. Here you can help in the conservation of sea turtles, looks after the local street dogs, complete your medical elective, teach English in the community or volunteer at The Mighty Roar’s own kindergarten, which provides free childcare to the local village.We are also hoping to set up some new wildlife programmes in South America in the near future, which we are really excited about.
Solo travel is great, but this type of experience also throws you in with a whole bunch of like-minded folks. Do you find your volunteers forge bonds quickly from being in such a unique situation?
Absolutely! The majority of our volunteers are travelling by themselves and we find it is a great way to make new friends. Embarking on this unique experience allows everyone to become close very quickly and make friendships that will last a lifetime.
How would you recommend potential volunteers choose the best fit for their interests and skills?
You do not need any qualifications or experience to join our volunteering programmes (aside from some medical programmes) so we recommend you volunteer in an area you are most passionate about to get the most out of your experience and give the most back.
A volunteer project can often be the first solo trip many young people take. What kind of support is available to them and how do you recommend ‘acclimatising’ to life in a foreign destination?
Before our volunteers travel, our UK team will ensure they have everything they need and are well prepared for their programme. Once they arrive our local team will provide 24/7 in-country support – from meeting them at the airport to guiding them through their programmes.
It is not unusual for the first couple of days to be a bit hard as they acclimatise to a new place. However, our local teams will organise local tours, orientations and fun activities so they can learn about the local culture and make friends with their fellow volunteers, making the process a little easier.
Many people seek out these types of experiences before starting out on a career path. What kind of skills can they pick up that may stand them in good stead?
Volunteering is a great way to gain skills and experience for a future career. Not only do our volunteers have the opportunity to learn about the area they are interested in – whether this is marine conservation or working in a school – they will also gain confidence and independence as well as improved social and organisational skills.
What about those people who know exactly what they want to do, whether it’s going into a medical field or further humanitarian work – are they well catered for?
Definitely! All our medical programmes offer a selection of departments and our wildlife programmes specialise in different animals and areas of conservation. We have a huge variety of programmes, so if you know the specific area you would like to go into you can pick the right programme for you.
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