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Welcome to Voluntales, the number one resource in Voluntourism. Voluntales will provide you with the tools you need for volunteering at home or abroad - from picking an organization in the country of your choice, to setting expectations based on reviews from travelers like you. Voluntales also brings you articles about people and celebrities that will inspire you as well as travel stories and features to guide you through your journey. We'll show you how to get your hands dirty, and make a difference!

Goma Market

DAY 1

I was going through customs in Amsterdam on my way to Kinshasa when the officer next to the guy leafing through my passport overheard me telling him my destination. He leaned over and sarcastically asked, “Kinshasa? How’s life there?” As I’ve planned my trip to the DRC for the last few months that’s just one of the most frequent responses to hearing where I’m headed. “Why?” is probably the most common one. Closely followed by “You couldn’t pay me to go”.

I was recently asked by a new acquaintance if I am normal. It was more like a, “You’re normal, right?” I wasn’t entirely sure. Certainly not ordinary. “Extraordinary,” I joked. Not that either. Just wired a little differently, I guess. But I have ended up thinking about it a lot. Am I crazy? I am – against most people’s sound advise – headed to the rape capital of the world during an Ebola outbreak, where I am going to stay at something that is simply called “the lava site” in a city that rebels have occupied on countless occasions, next to an active, erupting volcano. And then there are the gorillas. Guerrillas and Gorillas. It’s the trip of a lifetime. A brave trip. I have heard it all. And so, today I go to the Democratic Republic of Congo and it’s with lots of plans and zero expectations other than to come out alive with really weird stories. more…

Giving Spirit

Volunteering for The Giving Spirit

When you’re going through the worst experience of your life, the last thing you want to hear is that there are others who have it worse. You want to believe that no one has felt pain like you’re feeling right this minute. This, you imagine, is what the end of the world feels like.

In recent months I have certainly been guilty of wallowing, and my friends have kindly indulged me as I cycle through all the unflattering stages of grief. But in one conversation a friend of mine said it was frustrating seeing me so sad, all the time, because it wasn’t who I was and suggested volunteering to help those who had it worse than I did. I’d like to say I gave it some serious thought, but I was too busy bawling. more…

Festivals are a wonderful way to see the world, and to see different cultures or shows or musicians you never would have otherwise. And what better way to get involved with different communities along the way, than to volunteer at a festival or two? By volunteering at festivals you really can get out so much more than you put in: you may get a free ticket, a discount on meals, or choice accommodation, but even more than that, you could make life long friends, or discover from your fellow volunteers what makes your host community tick. You might discover that obscure Swedish guitar player, or poet or author, that you can share with your friends back home. So get out there! Find out which of the world’s festival speak to you, and see if volunteering there might just be in your future. more…

It can be difficult to find volunteering opportunities that fit your schedule, budget and interests, but it is possible to make your own opportunities! Below Margaret, deputy principal at an Australian Christian school, tells Voluntales how she used her own professional contacts and skills to contribute to La Valla school in Cambodia.

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Michelle at Bramastani Awareness Society (BAS) doing some mobilization exercises with one of the Cerebral Palsy girls, Sangita (all photo credits to Michelle)

Namaste (Hello in Nepali)

My name is Michelle Barnard, but in Nepal I am known as Maya; my Nepali name. It was given to me by our in-country partner and means love, and love is all I have for my experience in Nepal.

Why you signed up:
I absolutely love travelling! My heart belongs to the places I have yet to see, and the people I have yet to meet 🙂 I heard that you could take an elective at Sydney University called FHS abroad where you could travel overseas. Wait, Going overseas counts for credit points in University??? I was sold. The next question was which company would I choose? That’s when I found Antipodeans Abroad. After doing some research about the company and hearing some great recommendations I paid my deposit and enrolled for the course. I had the choice to go to Vietnam, Cambodia, India or Nepal. I am often asked why I chose Nepal and like many people that were in my group I will tell you that Nepal is a place which calls to you (and is amazing if you are an adrenaline junkie like me) more…

Volunteering at LA Food Bank

I didn’t know what to expect when I promised to volunteer at the LA Food Bank on a February morning. We’d box food, I guess. Where does that food come from? No idea. Where does it go? Who knows? If I’m completely honest, I didn’t really know anything about anything, but I was curious enough to find out.

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Kimberly Haley-Coleman takes time out of her busy schedule to tell Voluntales about Globe Aware.

Can you tell us a little about your organization? What does Globe Aware aim to achieve? Why is volunteering important?

We seek to promote cultural awareness and sustainability by mobilizing small teams of volunteers to carry out humanitarian assistance projects the communities have requested in 17 countries around the world. First, it just makes the world a better place and it makes one happy to give of oneself. It also affords the local communities a way to learn about the world outside their own borders, an opportunity for cultural exchange for all involved. It’s a chance to connect, participate and participate in meaningful projects. more…

Volunteers walking to a planting project in Sydney. Credit: Matteo Ratini/©matteoratini.com

Can you tell us a little about your organization? What does Conservation Volunteers aim to achieve?

Conservation Volunteers Australia aims to link people with the environment. We believe in a healthy and sustainable environment, and for everyone to be involved in managing and protecting that environment. We do this by developing and implementing programs in line with recognised management plans that achieve measurable benefits for conservation, and by providing opportunities for volunteers to join well-managed and effective programs.

What have been some of your biggest challenges and successes?

Some of our biggest challenges arise from the sheer scale of Australia’s landscape – some of our projects are in quite remote locations, and we need committed volunteers who are able to travel with us in order to be able to complete these types of projects. However, we do also offer plenty of urban and regional projects too, so there’s a good balance and (hopefully!) plenty of opportunities to meet different volunteer needs.

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