Around the world volunteers are making a real difference, reaching places where their services are truly needed. Whether they are helping in wildlife conservation or working alongside communities, volunteer's work is so important. Recent aid work in West Africa and Nepal has further highlighted the importance of volunteers but it's not only the people in need who benefit. The impact of a volunteer's work can greatly benefit the individual themselves! The value of unpaid work is truly priceless.
There are many ways that volunteers help the world, one of which is the conservation of our natural places and its inhabitants. Wildlife conservation is so important in maintaining the existence of endangered species, such as Lemurs in Madagascar, for example! There are plenty of ways in which you can help such an effort as a volunteer. Many projects collect vital data on the animals themselves and the habitats they live in. However ultimately, as a volunteer abroad, your main job is to support the local area and educate the local people on the benefits of your work. By maintaining the biodiversity of our habitats you will be help preserve the delicate ecosystem which is vital to our own existence!
Community Development Projects
If working alongside animals isn't your thing, then perhaps you should focus on community development. Many projects around the world aim to improve the conditions of impoverished communities by building schools, teaching children or even coaching sports. Working with locals in such a hands on manner allows the volunteer to become totally immersed in the place they're helping, which is an experience like no other! Development projects provide local people, from all around the world, with a positive experience alongside volunteers. These projects help breach the cultural boundaries and work towards a much better world!
How volunteers have helped...
The break-out of Ebola throughout West Africa reminded people just out fragile our world really is! It threatened to become a global epidemic but thanks to the quick, efficient and selfless work of volunteers the disease was somewhat contained. Hundreds of volunteers from all round the world descended on West Africa to try and stop the spread. Health workers, medical professionals and councillors (to name just a few) flew into the worst affected areas and started their work immediately. Without the unselfishness of these volunteers the epidemic could have been much worse.
With the recent natural disasters occurring in Nepal and the surrounding area, much of the country is in desperate need. However, once again, volunteers came to the rescue. Aid workers rushed in to help in the aftermath and many are still there helping the area rebuild itself to former glory. Specialised volunteers are invaluable to an effort such as this and it is yet another example of how volunteering really does help the world go round!
As mentioned, being a volunteer is not only beneficial for the people being supported. Any returning volunteer will tell you that their time helping others ultimately helped themselves. Not only are you able to test yourself in some of the most challenging environments on earth, you are also opening yourself up to some incredible experiences. Of course people do not volunteer purely for personal gain, their primary goal is to help others but they do get some unintentional perks! After volunteering abroad, many people return with a more balanced perspective on life after meeting some of the most exciting and inspiring people they'll ever meet.
If it wasn't for volunteers, the world would be a very different place. They have an inspiring dedication to help others and will be stop at nothing to provide support for those who need it most. They are rewarded for this good nature with experiences which will last a life time and a satisfaction that they have done their bit!
Do you see yourself as a potential volunteer? Do you have a passion to help those areas who are in need? Then come and volunteer with Frontier! We have a wide range of projects covering many different aspects of volunteering. You can help out at our Community Projects, Wildlife Conservation or even Marine Conservation Projects all of which will value your vital contribution.
By Ben Church
Check out 'Into the Wild' for more articles like this.
Ben Church is an Online Journalism Intern for Frontier, a non-profit conservation NGO that helps people plan their gap year with over 300 opportunities to volunteer abroad and take part in adventure travel across the globe.