Posts Tagged ‘Projects Abroad’

World Cup-Inspired

So I’m not sure whether Paul the Oracle Octopus will choose Spain or the Netherlands to win the World Cup, but I do know that the World Cup has finally conquered the US with Football Fever (soccer for us with our weird naming), bringing us up to the level of the rest of the world where the sport has been the most popuar on the globe.

When I was researching sport volunteer options for 500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference, I had a tough time filling a chapter with any sport-focused volunteering that WASN’T soccer. I found a swimming coaching program here, maybe teaching tennis to kids in a distant land there, but mostly it was all about footie. So if you are a player or juts a fan, you can help kids and adults around the world find the importance of teamwork, exercise, and community building all with that black and white ball (or a bunch of t-shirts tied into a sphere–the beauty of soccer is there isn’t any fancy equipment or playing field required).

Find out more by checking these out, and using it as a launching pad–there are many more…

The Homeless World Cup takes place in a  different city each year, after qualifying tourneys in their own countries, championship teams, all homeless players, converge for a huge tournament run by volunteers like you. 2010 is in late September in Rio.

Also in Rio is a coaching kids volunteer gig via Institute for Field Research Expeditions.

i-to-i does soccer coaching volunteer vacations in Posada, Argentina (as well as a host of other volunteer vacation opportunities).

World Endeavors will get you to Accra, Ghana to work with kids as they play through their passion for football.

Pitch in teaching on the pitch in La Esperanza, Honduras with Intibuca Soccer Volunteers.

In Madurai, India, the sport and community clubs keep active with international volunteers who visit and work with Travellers Worldwide. Working with the same organization, kids in Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka need volunteers like you to help get fields safe (gravel, dirt, and broken glass don’t make for great play) and run tournaments.

How about some soccer coaching in Chisinau, Moldova? Projects Abroad gets you there and sets you up to help kids excel.

In Hout Bay, South Africa, the vuvuzelas were blaring for the World Cup, and kids are eager learners, benefitting from your coaching with Abang Africa Travel.

Closer to home, in Santa Cruz, California, the Resource Center for Nonviolence has inspiring volunteer programs focused on community sport/soccer league for at-risk kids.

There are 14 urban areas across the United States: Atlanta, Bay Area/San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, DC, Denver, L.A., Miami, Milwaukeee, New England, New York, Seattle, and St Louis that all benefit from the volunteer efforts of soccer coaches and supporters via the America SCORES program for sport and creative expression.

High School Volunteer Abroad Programs

It’s prom season and closing in on summer break for the high school crowd. Sure there’ll be some well-earned downtime at the lake or beach or just in the backyard, but that’s good for an initial break… to avoid the seasonal ennui that gets teens mired in bad re-runs on TV or computer games or lost afternoons at the mall, maybe a volunteer program abroad is the answer.

I would’ve jumped through rings of fire for an opportunity like these instead of summers working the drive-thru window at Carl’s Jr.

Projects Abroad has a plethora of 2-week service trips focused specifically for high school kids.

“By participating in any of Projects Abroad’s programs, students experience the fulfillment of making a difference, while also gaining skills that will impress professors and future employers,” said Projects Abroad’s Executive Vice President Thomas Pastorius, Jr. “Our summer programs are designed to maximize a volunteer’s time in the destination, with a healthy mix of work and sightseeing excursions that give a well-rounded view of the local culture and community.”

Two-Week High School Programs

Projects Abroad’s two-week programs for high school students are designed to provide valuable work experience or help develop a particular skill. The basic program involves two weeks for work and a weekend tourism excursion. Projects are available in the areas of Care, Conservation & Environment, Community, Journalism, Law & Human Rights, Medicine & Healthcare, Sports, Teaching and Veterinary Medicine.

Spanish & Turtle Conservation in Mexico – Volunteers are located at the Campamento Tecoman biological station on the Pacific Coast where they receive up to four hours of Spanish instruction a day. In the evenings they help count, collect and bury eggs of the rare Olive Ridley turtle in a safe location, then help release the newborns into the sea. Volunteers can also look after injured adult turtles, be involved with crocodile conservation work and study wildlife in the local lagoon. Sessions are June 27-July 10, July 18-31 and August 8-21.

Care & Community Projects in Ghana – Volunteers will work at an orphanage or help renovate a local school and arrange activities for children of the community. Weekend excursions include the Kakum Rainforest Reserve and Cape Coast’s slave fort. Sessions take place June 27-July 10, July 18-31 and August 1-14.

Inca Projects & Archaeology in Peru – Volunteers begin in Cusco with an introduction to the history of the Inca Empire, then head to the small Andean village of Huyro to help uncover Inca structures with local archaeologists. During the weekend they will visit the archaeological wonders of Machu Picchu and other ruins, explore markets, and can also white water raft down the Urubamba River. Sessions are available June 27-July 10, July 18-31 and August 1-14.

Community Building in South Africa – Volunteers help members of the impoverished community of Mfuleni build better quality homes. They live with local host families, and on the weekend will visit Table Mountain and Cape Point National Park or even have an opportunity to go whale watching at Hermanus. Sessions take place July 11-July 24 and August 1-14.

For a complete list of Projects Abroad’s special two-week high-school programs and session dates go to For details on all Projects Abroad destinations and programs visit

Peru Disaster Relief

Projects Abroad, a volunteer vacation company with service travel opportunities around the world, is redoubling its efforts in encouraging us to get to the Sacred Valley of Peru to try and help with disaster relief. The area around Machu Picchu and the valley were devastated by storms and mudslides that destroyed entire hillsides of crops and and decimated the homes of 22,000 people. The train to Machu Picchu, the nation’s most well-known visitor’s attraction, is still not running after the January flood, and the enormous task of rebuilding has begun.

Projects Abroad is continuing its Peru projects for volunteer travelers, with focus on education, care projects, and youth sports projects, but is now also asking specifically for motivated professional volunteers with experience in the fields of civil or agricultural engineering, geology, architecture, psychology, IT, and the aftermath of natural disasters. Volunteers who speak Spanish will be especially helpful with the psychological support work.

I’ve visited the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu twice, and it is a wonderful region of the country with amazing mountains, beautiful hospitality, and the Inca Trail for some breathtaking (literally, as it is at elevation where the air is thinner) hiking. Many people live in modest home structures of mud brick or cinderblock with dirt floors, so since the river washed so many away, the actual building materials are no longer available. Lots of sweat equity will go into rebuilding the communities, perhaps with your help? Haiti is not yet ready for an influx of volunteer help, and Chile post-earthquake is moving forward nicely with recovery. Here is a chance to help out post-disaster, in a way that allows you to drop to sleep weary of body but inspired of spirit, knowing what you’ve accomplished each day.

Can You Hear Me Now?

boyphoneOne of the things about working so closely with a local community on a service vacation…exascerbated when living with a local host family…is saying goodbye. That family becomes your family and it is devastating to think you might never again be in touch.

The British volunteer vacation company, Projects Abroad (, (an organization that has hosted both Angelina Jolie and Madonna) is working with Vodaphone to help create a long-term connection between volunteers and recipients of aid projects.

The company has found that more than 70% of their volunteers are women, and has marketed the idea as an “adoption” program for young female volunteers, where a child with whom you’ve worked is given a pay-as-you-go cell phone that is funded by Projects Abroad (with at least £5 per month topped off remotely by the volunteer) so you can remain in contact with the family indefinitely.

“[Volunteers] are heart broken when they have to return,” says Faye Stickings, Head of Project Abroad’s Social Development. “They live with and completely immerse themselves within the lives of the families. Breaking that tie is always harrowing. The Link-for-Life program changes all that.”

Saying goodbye after creating such a bond will never be easy, but this is a smart idea (that I hope will catch on with other organizations) that can help ease the ache.