In honour of National Volunteer Month, let’s take a moment to spotlight some awesome volunteer opportunities for those who want to go above and beyond with their volunteer work this year. Even though a lot of help is needed in America, need also exists in developing countries across the globe, where poverty is rampant and drinking water is scarce. If you can find some free time in your schedule, take advantage of these awesome volunteer programs around the world.

1. Volunteering Solutions: Orphanage in Delhi, India

Follow in Mother Theresa’s footsteps by spending just two to four weeks of your time volunteering at an orphanage in a needy Indian city. Volunteers will spend their days helping children with homework, playing with them, exchanging cultural views and teaching students about health and hygiene. The program also encourages volunteers to get involved with the organization of the orphanage and to participate in non-required activities like taking the children on picnics and trips to the city.

One of the perks of travelling to volunteer is that you can experience your surroundings while giving back. This particular program allows volunteers to travel on weekends and after working hours Monday through Friday.

2. Peace Corps: Volunteering in Colombia

Since the Colombia Peace Corps volunteer program was first established in 1961, more than 4,720 people have served this region by promoting the organization’s main goal of world peace and understanding. Today, 56 volunteers serve in Colombia, with most focusing on teaching English to residents. Volunteers are trained and work in Spanish to make this educational process more effective.

3. Greenheart Travel: Wildlife Conservation Project in South Africa

It’s not just people who need help around the world—it’s animals, too. Greenheart Travel’s Wildlife Conservation Project in South Africa is devoted to protecting the abundant wildlife in this region and building a society where humans and animals can coexist peacefully. Volunteers involved in this project will spend the duration of their experience learning about the different types of animals in the area, their habitats and how to care for and protect them from potential threats. Part of offering protection for these animals involves creating a sustainable environment by planting vegetation, building wells and erecting sturdy structures.

4. Habitat for Humanity: Rebuilding Vietnam

During this 10-day volunteer trip in Vietnam, participants will work alongside 300 of their peers to build 25 homes for impoverished families in the area. Scheduled to take place from Aug. 1 through Aug. 10, the project will assign priority to families in vulnerable situations, including those with female-headed households, children and elderly or disabled members. Decent homes with sanitation facilities aren’t as easy to come by in this region, which is why Habitat seeks to provide a dependable shelter to improve health, academic performance, opportunity and—most of all—the entire community’s spirit.

5. Bike & Build: Cross-Country Cycling and Constructing Affordable Housing

For those who prefer to stay a little closer to home, Bike & Build offers the opportunity to volunteer and make a difference in the U.S. while still satisfying the yen for travel. Participants embark on a summer-long, cross-country bicycle trip, making stops along the way to help build affordable housing for those in need. Prospective riders—who can be no older than 25—go through a rigorous application process. Those who are selected get to choose from a list of available routes, which might involve blazing a trail through the southern states—from North Carolina to San Diego, Cal.—or traversing the central region of the country from Virginia Beach, Va., to Canon Beach, Ore. Regardless of your chosen route, you’re sure to come away from the experience with a new appreciation for the natural beauty of our country and the importance of lending a helping hand.

Travelling to volunteer might take a little more planning than a local trip, so you’ll want to start preparing early. Once you’ve figured out which program would be best for you, start figuring out the logistics of your trip by renewing your passport, obtaining a visa and finding out which vaccinations you might need for the trip. To protect yourself in case of an emergency, be sure to purchase travel insurance to maintain coverage while volunteering  no matter where in the world you are. Once you’ve gotten these tasks out of the way, remember that this is a trip for serving, not just a vacation. So build up a selfless attitude and prepare to make the world a better place.

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