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.


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.


Heather's arm, post dog bite

Follow freelance writer/producer Heather Newgen as she goes to Kenya to volunteer at an orphanage, where things go wrong, fast.

After I finally arrived at the volunteer house, I was still upset about not being picked up at the airport, but I decided to put it behind me and focus on the rest of my trip.

I was in Kenya to not only volunteer, but to shoot the pilot for a TV show idea I want to pitch to networks about traveling and volunteering. Unfortunately, there are several organizations that are corrupt and take advantage of people who spend a lot of money to volunteer and donate their time for free. It’s hard to believe a program would do such a horrible thing, but it happened to me and my goal now is to help others get involved with creditable companies while showing them cool and exciting things to do in their time off from working.

Heather abandoned at airport

Follow freelance writer/producer Heather Newgen as she goes to Kenya to volunteer at an orphanage, where things go wrong, fast.

Oh no, it’s India take two!! Here we ago again, but this time in Kenya. For those of you who followed my experience in New Delhi working with street kids you know it was quite traumatic to say the least–so much so that it took me two years to want to take another international volunteering trip. more…

Rabbie Nass music video shoot

Having spent the last two days working on the set of a real, live reggae video, I can now add “gaffa” to my CV.

I am someone with few, if any, practical visual media skills. So how did I end up on the production team for what might be the most polished music video to ever come out of Monrovia? The story starts, as the best ones always do, in the hotel bar.

Liberian church

We arrived at the Church an hour late; one of our two taxis had broken down.. Joseph, a taxi driver and presiding elder in the church, was dressed to the nines in an orange blazer and navy tie. He had told the congregation that he was bringing foreign guests, and was obviously anxious to deliver on his promise.

The Church itself was in the middle of a very poor neighborhood. Because of the rain, there were deep, muddy puddles in the road that our low-slung taxi struggled to get through. People along the road were selling charcoal in little blue and white striped plastic bags. I also saw a hairdresser, weaving strings of black hair onto her client’s head.