Travel Tips : Paid Voluntary work

Washing a elephant in North Thailand

Wait ... read it carefully ... PAID voluntary work. That means you pay people money to do voluntary work! I do read many times people asking about opportunities to do voluntary work, especially as teacher. There are a few thing that I wonder myself then.
  1. Are you a qualified teacher? If not why do you think people in "poor" countries do need you?
  2. Are you a native speaker of the language you want to teach?
  3. Why do you want to do voluntary work? To make yourself feel better?
  4. Do you really think kids are waiting for a 2-weeks teaching from you while on your holiday?
I mean the kids here in South East Asia have already enough not good teachers and do already speak foreigner languages very bad. They really do not need not-qualified teachers and/or Germans or Dutch people to learn them English. And really what are you going to do in 2 weeks teaching at a school you have never been, in a culture you have never been with kids you do not know?

Then there is another scam waiting around the corner. Organizations (actually just commercial companies) that arrange and help you to do voluntary work. Of course you do pay these organizations. Eh??? What??? Would it not be easier to use that money to pay a full-time professional teacher?

And of  course it not only happens with in the education sector but in all sectors of voluntary work. That all said I must say that there are of course also sincere organizations and people who do really do voluntary work without any hesitation of their own free time. Like that surgeon from England that comes once a year to Cambodia for 3 weeks just to work in a OT and he even takes a lot of needed medical stuff with him. He pays his own transport and pays his own accommodation. The 3 weeks are his own and only long holidays he has.

And if you all fit in be aware that voluntary work is work. So like in Thailand you will need a working permit. And employers in Thailand like schools just like to have a foreigner teacher because that is good for the image of the school. Some of these schools do actually not take care of the work permit and do pay very bad salaries. Be aware of these scams in Thailand.

Voluntary work, do it when you are qualified for it and do NOT pay other people money for arranging  it. Check the local legal law in regards to doing voluntary work!

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