Some people would like to see the world and are willing to do voluntary work to experience another culture. Generally, two types of opportunities are available: short term, often during summer holidays, and long term, often a gap year or after graduation. Many young people prefer to volunteer through a non-profit organization, otherwise known as a non-governmental organization (NGO). There are two types of oganizations: secular and sacred. Sacred NGOs are often affiliated with religious organizations which usually stipulate that participants adhere to the religious beliefs of the host organization. Both types of NGOs can be open to enthusiastic people without specific skills, such as Habitat For Humanity or restricted to specialists, such as Doctors Without Borders.
Choosing the NGO that’s right for you can make the difference between a good experience and a bad experience. To begin, it is important to know what you would like to do, why you would like to do it, and where you would like to do it. Answering these questions can direct you to a compatible NGO. While NGOs provide volunteer opportunities in most parts of the world, it is important to remember that there are many volunteer opportunities right here in Canada. If your motivation is to work with people who are disadvantaged, you can save time and money by volunteering in your local community. Any volunteering should be based on respect, equality, and your willingness to learn from other people.
NGOs often confine themselves to certain countries or regions or to certain themes, such as children and youth; community projects; conservation; emergencies; education; elderly people; environment; fund raising and office work; health; human rights; prisons; and social work. Whether you wish to volunteer abroad for a summer or for a year, you should leave yourself a lot of time to apply because it can be a long process.
Here is a list of some NGOs that are available to Canadian citizens: