Short-term or long-term International volunteering cannot be overlooked in the field of international development. The energy, attention, skills, and ideas that international volunteers bring supporting sustainable projects abroad are priceless. The presence of foreign individuals or groups and the little things that they do greatly inspires the locals and/or needy communities to better themselves and to improve their own conditions, as well as others’.
Understandably, some people have reservations about short-term volunteering abroad (so-called volutourism) for various reasons. However, having previously lived in a developing country for a long period of time and having worked with a lot of students and professionals from overseas on various projects on a short-term basis places us in a good position to testify that the few weeks or months that people are able to spend helping abroad really does work if everything is organized responsibly, ensuring mutual benefit to the communities and the volunteers.
Arm-In-Arm Volunteers (AIAV) provides you with comprehensive pre-departure information about all you need to know before you go and while you are there. As we have ongoing relationships with the communities we send volunteers to, you are sure to support credible projects that actually need your help. This helps us make it easy for students, professionals, retirees, or carrier changers to responsibly volunteer some of their time at our current locations in Ghana, India, Kenya, Nepal, Sri Lanka, or Uganda, working side by side with locals to complete, maintain, or improve well-meaning projects. It is no surprise that our volunteers often say they feel welcome and safe, and are therefore comfortable in sharing experiences and enjoy every moment.
This is what Brendon from Central Washington University, USA had to say after his experience in Nepal:
“Volunteering in Hetauda, Nepal
I couldn’t be more pleased with my volunteer trip abroad. Arm in Arm Volunteers placed me with the ideal in country coordinator, who was extremely helpful. AIAV made sure that I was well prepared before departing, thoroughly answered all of my questions, and made sure to check up half way through my assignment. I volunteered at Manavsewa Ashram (Human Service Home) in Hetauda, in the region of Makwanpur, Nepal. The experience was life changing. Seeing life in a developing country first hand, getting to learn about the culture and heritage from the people, and having the opportunity to contribute to an outstanding project was wonderful. I stayed in Nepal for a month, and while there I worked with children at a center for the city’s homeless, mentally ill, and orphans which aims to put them in a position to re-join society. I wouldn’t change anything about my experience.”
On a last note, AIAV does not only help people bring the cost of volunteering abroad down, but embraces fairness by ensuring that the program fee covering accommodation, meals, project support, etc. is paid directly to the host organization since that is where the money is needed most. There is no better way for us to help our volunteers than, as well, enabling free online crowdfunding on our website for those who may need financial assistance to raise money through various social media to fund their trip abroad.