26 Mar Best Southeast Asian Countries to Go Volunteering
Village houses near rice terraces fields. Amazing abstract texture with sky colorful reflection in the water. Ifugao province. Banaue, Philippines UNESCO heritage
If you’re craving real human experience and you want to make a difference in the world, then volunteering could be just the ticket you need. And if you’re going to go volunteering, where better to start than in Southeast Asia. As the largest continent in the world, Asia has lots of opportunities for volunteering and community work. However, Southeast Asia is your best bet if you still haven’t earned your stripes in the volunteering community. To help you on your way, here are some countries you can consider.
Home to more than 17,000 islands, 300 ethnic groups, and some of the most unique biodiversities in the world, Indonesia has lots of volunteering opportunities for everyone interested. While there, you can go teach English, work on one of the orphanages, and aid NGOs reach some of the country’s most densely packed cities. Or if you prefer saving the environment, go help protect the turtles in Bali, make a stand against poachers in Borneo to keep them from making away with the wildlife there, or even replant trees in West Papua.
The Philippines is also host to thousands of islands, various ethnic groups, much exotic flora and fauna, and endless volunteering opportunities. Despite its fast-growing economy, several organizations are still regularly deployed there to aid health clinics, schools, and orphanages battle poverty, disease, and other problems. If you’re planning to volunteer in the Philippines, then you can either do charity work in the metro where you can help out from the comforts of snazzy suburbs like those Tagaytay condominiums in Highlands or the homes in Dasma Village, or choose to rough it and visit the remotest island of the archipelago to help its inhabitants.
Thailand may look like a serene tropical paradise on the surface, but it does have a thriving dark underbelly. To this day, child prostitution and human trafficking still put a glaring stain on the otherwise pristine reputation of the country as an Asian tourist destination. If you want to be a part of the movement trying to eliminate these problems, then best do charity work there. Go to organizations advocating the protection of women and children from these crimes. You can also teach English in schools and orphanages, work in Burmese refugee camps, or help take care of elephants and forests.
Cambodia is fast becoming a significant volunteering destination in Asia, mainly due to its recent historical events. The ’70s saw the country devastated by the mass genocides perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge, and Cambodia is still picking up the pieces to this day. With the majority of the population under 30, the country is in desperate need of volunteers who will help teach English and provide other child-welfare services, among others. Or you can help preserve some of its historical landmarks, most notably the Angkor Wat.
Volunteer in Southeast Asia
Volunteering abroad can help you engage with another culture in a meaningful way. So if you’re tired of just checking out and liking your friend’s superficial Instagram posts and you want something more out of life, then best go do charity work in one of the Southeast Asian countries listed above.
Featured Image: Envato.com
Angelo Castelda works as a contributor for a news magazine in Asia. He loves to learn and understand diverse cultures and aims to share through his writing his experiences around the world.