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                Ideal for students, mid-career and over 50.

International Volunteering & Careers

International Volunteer Programs           


1: Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mongolia: Slums
2: Sri Lanka & India: Micro-finance
3: Mongolia & Sri Lanka: Democracy Building
4: Nepal: Public Interest Law
5: Sri Lanka: Nursing, Medical
6: India & Indonesia: Physical, Occupation, Spreech Therapy
7: Sri Lanka & India: Psychology & Social Work
8: Nepal: Water & Sanitation
9: India: A Model for Development
10: Thailand: Dance, Music & Drama
11: Empowerment of Girls

12: Sri Lanka & Indonesia: Rainforest & Wildlife
13: Nepal & Thailand: Trafficking
14: Nepal & China: Teaching English

15: Thai-Burma: Refugees/ Migrants
For information about how these programs work.
Check how and where your skills are needed.

Almost every site in Asia has something for everyone: from beginner to seasoned professional.
Email answered Questionnaire & resume and together we can figure out which is best fit



One billion people on this planet live in slums.
People come to the city looking for work. There is none.
In all of these countries, they not only help with housing for the urban poor,
but with  community development and the empowerment of the people.

Who is needed?
--Archtects. Urban planners. Builders. Masons. Construction.
--Social Workers. Community organizers. Housing rights activists.
--Entrepreneurs. Smal business and/ or livelihodd development. 


SRI LANKA & INDIA:   Micro- Finance                         Sri Lanka on hold.

All over the world, micro-fiance is seen as a ticket out of poverty.
Both of these MFIs (micro-finance institutions) are modeled after Grameen Bank.
They see micro-finance as the entry point to help the entire community.

Your help is needed?
--People with a back ground in small business development, banking or business;
entrepreneurship, finance or  selling crafts on etsy.com.

MONGOLIA, SRI LANKA:  Democracy Building

Sri Lanka's last 10 years under Rajapaksa read  like a thriller:
nepotism, corrutpion,  the killing of 70,000 Tamil civilians at the end of the civil war.

Mongolia has been equally dramatic:
the fall of the Soviet Union birthed a new democracy;
and the discovery of Mongolia's mineral wealth, has required Mongolians to watch that
the profits do not just benefit a corrupt few.
Work in internationally esteemed organization helping build democracy in Mongolia!

Who is needed?
--SL: you need not be an expert to help raise awareness at the village level about
how to identify and resolve community problems.
--Mongolia: Sociologists & public policy experts who can train non-profit staff how to measure baseline and the changes made by  new policies.
--Mongolia: Public administration students & MPAs who can help strengthen civil society.
   Law students & lawyers who can recommend changes to new laws according to     
   nternational standards.

Celebrating the end of the civil war which lasted 1983 to 2009.

NEPAL: Public Interest Law

Nepal has also undergone dramatic changes as they shifted from monarchy to Maoist rebels to democracy.
This organization specializes in Public Interest Law: taking legal cases that will shift policies or impact many people.

Kind of help needed:
Attorneys. law students; human rights activists, political scientists; people good at resarch, esp legal research

SRI LANKA: Nursing, Medical                .....(Nepal in the making)

Come work in a clinic that serves the poor.

Who is needed?
--Nurses, nursing students, nurse practitioners,  doctors, medical students, lab assistances, optomistrics, opthomologists, dentists, dental assistants
, EMT's.


INDIA, INDONESIA:  Physical, Occupational, Speech Therapy

Work in clinic that helps kids with cerebral therapy learn to walk.
Or teach kids with developmental disabilities to speak, read or interact.

Kind of help  needed?
--Speech therapists. Occupational therapists. Physical therapists/
--Physiotherapists,  or students of these disciplines.
--Psychologist to do initial testing. Parent advocates. People to help build splints & braces.

SRI LANKA, INDIA: Psychology, Social Work

India has just launched a new "barefoot counselors" programs.
Who is needed?
Psychologists, Social Workers, Psychiatrists and students of these disciplines
to teach para-professionals and families about psychiatry/ andmental health.

We have another opportunity in India:
teaching community college students about Geriatric Social Work.
Who is needed?
Geriatric Social Workers, Psychology students and Physicians with an interest in Geriatrics.

We have an exciting new opportunity in Sri Lanka:
70,000 Tamil civilians were tricked into gong to the "safe zones"at the end of the civil war,
then those zones were shelled & machine gunned. Worse atrocities than Bosnia.
Help with trauma counseling in the North.
Who is needed?
Both students & seasoned professionals in Psychology, Social Work & Counseling.

NEPAL: Water & Sanitation

Food and waterborne disease are rampant in Nepal:
typhoid, hepatitus A and B, diarrhea and dysentary.
Only 45% of the population has access to toilets
and 13,000 children die a year from diarrhea related illnesses.

This organization is very scientific so who is needed:
--Public health experts & students.
--Watsan or WASH (water & sanitation) experts & students.
--Environmental engineeers.


INDIA: Shangri La? A Model for Development

This is a life changing place. It debunks the myth that a society needs lots of $
to create a high standard of living.
 Make this your first stop: learn the secrets
to their societal success then help transplant them.

Their formula for success? High literacy. "We educate our people then all of our other social concerns-- health care, hunger, clean water--can be addressed." Come to a place where kids ask, not for candy, but for pens so
that they can do their homework! This is a great place for families.

Ways to contribute:
Marketing handicrafts made in this community.
Work with children. Teach English, sports, computers, writing, baking, art.
Construction, welders, potters.  Mentor organic farming.

"This was definitely one of the greatest experiences of my life. Actually no, I lied: It was 'the' greatest experience of my life. The people were amazing, the culture was fascinating, and I learned & accomplished more than I ever thought was possible."

THAILAND:  Healing with Dance, Music,  Drama

Help children & youth build confidence and hope,
and the courage to deal with their medical problems.

Use dance, music, theater, mime, clowning, art... (whatever you contribute)
to help kids pull out of their shell, connect with each other, and enjoy!

Your h
elp is needed:
--You don't need to be an expert or professional in the performing arts!
--Do you love to dance? or sing? or lead kids in drama? We need you.
--Music therapists, musicians, dance therapists, dancers & "applied theater."
--The most important skill? You have a heart that heals.

lINDIA: The Empowerment of Girls

"Orphanage is not in our vocabulary." Rather this is a girls' home
where moms can take their girls when dad jumps ship and mom is struggling;
or mom wants them out of an environment of alcohol and abuse;
or moms want their girls to get an education.

It says everything that grads of this home/ school (is on site)
bring their husband and kids to show them what changed their lives.
I was charmed by the traditional Indian dance performance that they put on.

Your help is needed:
--People that love kids!  Tutors, mentors.


SRI LANKA. INDONESIA: Rain Forest Reforestation & Wildlife Rescue

All over the world, the rainforest  & habitat is being destroyed.
To rehabilitate the forest they plant the tree and the plant species of a climax forest
and the birds and frogs found in a climax forest return.
In Indonesia. monkeys & birds are illegally traded thus they are now endangered.

Who is needed?
--First, we need botanists and biologists (or students of these disciplines)
that can help create catalogue and inventory system of plants in their nursery.
--Then environmentalists and people with a passion for the rain forest can help with planting, tending the nursery and enriching the land through permaculture.
--Animal lovers to feed and clean cages of animals that have been rescued from illegal trade: organutans, gibbons, macaque, tarsiers, sun bears, babirusa, birds of paradise.

THAILAND & NEPAL: Trafficking

Your help is needed!
--Teach English or literacy in remote Nepali villages so females are educated & are not
so vulnerable to traffickers' offers of a better life.
--Counselors needed to help women start a new life who have been trafficked in Nepal.
--Law students or lawyers to teach women their rights & how to avoid trafficking.
--Teach any skill that will help youth gain employment or set up shop on their own:
restauranteers, painters, construction, car sales, catering, hair care, mechanics,
accounting/ bookkeeping, tailoring, tourism, selling cell phones...you name it!
--Grant writers & fund raisers needed!

NEPAL & CHINA: Teach English      

Nepal believes that English is a ticket out of poverty.
China has a huge demand for native English speakers.

Who is needed?
--No teaching experience needed but certainly helpful.
--What matters most is creativity. engaging the students &
   sequencing the lessons in a way fthat students can grasp.
--People with a background in TESOL or ESL treasured.
--Must be at least 18 years old. No upper age limit.    

THAI - BURMA BORDER: Refugee / Migrants          

The military of Burma/ Myanmar has destroyed 3,000 villages in eastern
Burma forcing 1.5 million to flee to Thailand. The Burmese have been in Thailand so long it is more accurate to call them "migrants"

Your help is needed:
 --Trainers to teach teachers more inter-active, creative style
 --Mentors that can inspire youth
 --Trainers on media, film, editing, music & environment
--Help in kitchen to feed 4,500 malnourished refugee kids/day
--Help seamstresses find wider market & become self-sufficient
-English teachers


SRI LANKA: Journalism by and for the people                   

Gutsy, provocative, innovative. Covering stories that others don't dare.
Covering human rights, humanitarian work, peace building, civil society and democratic governance.

Who is needed:
--Journalists & journalism majors with strengths in both written & audio visual media.
--Strong writers & thorough researchers. Strong investigative journalism skills.


How the International Volunteer Programs work:
Looking for a Volunteer Vacation or to Volunteer Abroad? We offer more real & challenging. More affordable.
Frugal:  1/4th the price of most programs.
      See fees & how to apply.

harness your skills to tackle real & important challenges.

Real Deal
: We are well-suited  for volunteers - students & older - who want the real deal: willing to
do both the grunt work & the glamorous; able to live humbly & make a real contribution.

Personalized: rather than one-size-fits-all approach, we believe that if you are really going to make a contribution, we must match your skills to where they are truly needed.

Flexible Schedule:
You can go at any time of year though school schedules may create constraints. Duration of your stay can be determined by you in conjunction with the Host Director. Your schedule can usually be accommodated.

Home Stays
keep the cost down & deepen your understanding of daily life.

We believe that you can immerse in other cultures if you are well prepared:  Travel & Cultural Consults maximize health & safety.

Some people wonder who pays airfare. 97% of the time: the volunteer. Your host organization cannot afford to pay your airfare. 50%
of humanity earns <$2/day.



  A Travel Consult with Mary Ellen is sometimes recommended
  to volunteers going to Asia.

  See info about usefulness of Consult with Mary Ellen.




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