If you’re looking for a travel opportunity that combines volunteering with social importance, consider a childcare volunteering program that places you at a kindergarten or daycare center within a disadvantaged community.
The stories you read and the songs you sing will help toddlers to learn creatively and engage them from the start. A child’s early years lay the foundation of their entire future. In fact, scientists say that the human brain develops the quickest and is most receptive between birth and three years of age.
Teaching important lessons and basic life skills to a small child doesn’t require a formal background in education, and it doesn’t require a village. There’s a theory called “The Power of One” that claims one person can change the future, and that person’s actions can even change the lives of many. You can have a positive effect on a child’s life when you spend time teaching them the value of education.
You’ll feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction when you join organizations like International Volunteer HQ in Uganda, lending a hand at daycare centers, nursery schools, and kindergartens. Children in poor communities are often marginalized and struggle to learn basic hygiene and how to feed themselves, much less educational programming through playing games, reading books, singing, or dancing.
There are hundreds of childcare programs that you can choose from all over the world, and each brings with it a different impact. Perhaps you’d like to help Global Vision International on a program whose mission is to empower young girls in Kerala, India, where gender bias makes it difficult for girls to remain in school.
Another opportunity to check out is Maximo Nivel’s programs in Latin America. In one trip, you can volunteer at a community center in Costa Rica, helping tutor the disadvantaged children of undocumented immigrants. These neglected children often end up on the streets, working long hours for menial pay to help support their families. Formal and informal education, including the chance to practice conversational English, can help to break the cycle of poverty.
If you want to work with young children, Love Volunteers can connect you with a daycare in Kenya where you can teach toddlers in the morning, and spend your afternoon on educational field trips with older students. Your presence and attention can give a child the courage to choose to stay in school and eliminate the threat of exploitation and child labor.
Spend a couple of weeks or more in Madagascar with Plan My Gap Year and help to alleviate school dropout. This country struggles with poverty, a weak infrastructure, and rapid population growth, which results in child neglect, or worse. According to UNICEF, close to 80% of the people here survive on less than $1 per day, with half of its children enduring chronic malnutrition.
Regardless of which program you choose, when you commit to helping a child, you commit to creating a better future. Read on to learn more about the variety of opportunities available from some amazing volunteer organizations.
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International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) sends more than 10,000 empowered people abroad each year on meaningful projects with sustainable objectives. Founded in 2007, IVHQ is a trusted volunteer organization that works with local organizations and NGOs in more than 40 countries worldwide. It offers 200+ affordable and safe projects programs that are designed to be responsible, and deliver sustainable value for the environment and underserved communities.
If you’re interested in childcare programs, IVHQ offers 44 childcare and educational projects in 30 countries spanning six continents. From Argentina to Zambia, IVHQ places you in some of the most exotic and exciting locales in the world.
The Indonesian island of Bali is an amazing destination with tropical forests, volcanic mountains, rice paddies, and idyllic beaches. Combine spiritual travel with purpose, and choose a childcare project there, volunteering with kindergarten students, giving them a head start on their English education. You’ll work in a small village near Ubud, teaching basic language lessons to children ages 4 and 5. This is an informal placement, and you’ll find that the children are excited about learning from you. Spend your time off exploring Bali and enjoying the ample restaurants and shopping in Ubud. Popular destinations and activities include the beaches of Sanur, Seminyak or Kuta, cycling or trekking tours on Mount Batur. Stay for one week or more, with fees starting at $295. Read more here.
If you love working with children, consider a project in Uganda volunteering at care centers, nursery schools, children’s homes, and kindergartens. Many Ugandan children live in poverty and have lost one or both parents because of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. There’s an urgent need for help with day-to-day operations and assisting the staff of these centers, providing care to children of poor communities. Typical activities include basic education, conversational English, math, health, reading and writing, and more. You’ll also help with play therapy and games, reading stories, dancing, singing, and arts and crafts. No experience is needed for this project, but you should have high energy and a willingness to help where needed. Uganda is popular for its game safaris, as well as trekking to see gorillas and birds. Visit a national park and enjoy white-water rafting and hiking. Sightsee the town of Kampala, visiting markets and enjoying the street fare. Fees start at $270 for one week. Learn more and register here.
Help the street children in Quito, Ecuador when you volunteer to give school lessons and teach basic English. School isn’t an option for many Ecuadorian children, who work year-round in the streets and markets, shining shoes, collecting and recycling garbage, selling goods, and begging on the streets to help provide for their families. You may also be able to organize singing and dancing lessons, teach basic hygiene awareness, and introduce children to new activities and games. Your interaction with the children is a bright spot in their lives and offers them new opportunities and perspectives they wouldn’t know existed. No childcare qualifications are needed as you’ll be assisting IVHQ staff during your trip. While in Ecuador, explore Quito’s history and learn about pre-Columbian cultures that once lived there. Take a cable car to sightsee the city, trek on a jungle excursion to experience wildlife including monkeys, toucans, parrots and more. Schedule a trip to the legendary Galapagos Islands and see iguanas and giant tortoises! Program fees begin at $290 for one week. Read more and register here.
Global Vision International (GVI) is a trusted organization that offers short volunteer programs, long-term internship experiences, and opportunities to study abroad that will enhance your education, and launch your career in the areas of teaching and working with children, wildlife and marine conservation, community development and construction, women’s empowerment, health, sports and business. Since 1997, GVI has placed more than 24,000 people on award-winning volunteer and intern abroad programs that are perfect for travelers of all backgrounds.
Everyone has the skill to share, and an educational program gives you the opportunity to teach conversational English in some of the poorest communities in Asia, Latin America, and beyond. Join GVI on a teaching project in India, Costa Rica, Fiji, or Laos. See immediate improvements in the lives of children there, and know that you’ve contributed to a brighter future.
Share your English-speaking skills, experience, and talents with disadvantaged children in Kerala, India, working alongside teachers at local care centers that support low-income families. From general education and tutoring to sports, to music, you can contribute much-needed life lessons that will encourage students to stay in school and build a better future. You’ll appreciate the rich culture of India. Side trips include an orientation of Fort Kochi and a traditional Keralan Kathakali dance show. Weekend adventures include trekking, rafting, kayaking, and scuba diving at beautiful locations while in-country. This placement lasts two weeks or more with fees starting at $1,795. Read more and register here.
Journey to Quepos, on Costa Rica’s stunning Pacific Coast, and volunteer on a community and educational project that helps disadvantaged children there. You’ll work in schools and community centers, and share your knowledge of English, as well other as life skills that encourage growth and emotional development. This program provides you with the opportunity to learn a new language, and to work with children on projects that range from general education to environmental conservation, arts and crafts, construction, gardening, music, and more. Weekends may be spent on leisure activities such as surfing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding, and zip-lining through the tropical forest. Duration of this project is two weeks or more, and program fees begin at $1,895. Learn more and apply.
Join GVI in Fiji for an educational volunteer opportunity that prepares you to teach school children English, mathematics, sports education, and art, as well as help to improve the overall lifestyle of people in the village of Dawasamu. Your assistance at under-resourced schools and community centers will help with long-term objectives, including ones that help to improve the literacy levels and the future careers of children, generate alternative livelihoods for women, promote first aid, and introduce sustainable gardening and waste management solutions to the community. Free time on weekends gives you ample time to hike and explore the beautiful islands of Fiji, and snorkel and scuba dive to your heart’s content! You’re invited to say two weeks or longer and program fees begin at $2,395. Click here to apply.
Share your passion for education and teach disadvantaged social groups in Laos with GVI. From children and young adults to novice Buddhist monks, and girls and women, your presence gives students the ability to improve their English-speaking skills, and in doing so, you’ll increase their social-economic status, and their quality of life. This is a great opportunity for history lovers since you’ll be staying in the beautiful and ancient city of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its Buddhist temples and monasteries. Located at the junction of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers, this small town is untarnished by tourism, and you’ll be able to walk everywhere and see people you’ve met during your stay. Time off can be spent taking scenic boat trips up the Mekong to the Pak Ou Cave. Trek to top of Mount Phu Si and watch gorgeous sunsets, and swim in the Kuang Si waterfalls. This program starts from $1,900 for two weeks. Learn more and apply here.
Maximo Nivel specializes in affordable volunteer programs, internships, and Spanish Language immersion stays throughout Latin America. Founded in 2003, Maximo Nivel has placed more than 25,000 people on educational and cultural travel programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Its mission is to empower people to travel and experience the world through its high-quality, safe, and adventurous programs.
Maximo Nivel’s childcare volunteering programs are a perfect solution for caring and responsible people seeking a volunteer program that improves the lives of underprivileged children. If you’re 17 or older, keep reading to learn more about volunteering in Latin America!
Join volunteers in Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose to help the children of poverty-stricken families living in shantytowns. Costa Rica is a stable country, one of the most developed in Latin America, and because of this, there are large numbers of undocumented immigrants from Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia, and other countries. The children of these families are often neglected while their parents work. Volunteer with community centers in shantytowns to provide love, support, and one-on-one attention to each child. Use your skills and creativity to keep children engaged and learning through homework, informal lessons, and playtime. Teach them about basic life skills, including cleaning and hygiene issues. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the East, Costa Rica enjoys a tropical climate, and is known for its rugged mountains, cloud forests, rainforests, coffee plantations, and spectacular white and black sand beaches! Program fees are $695 for one week, and you’re invited to stay longer. Click here to learn more and to register.
Guatemala has the largest economy in Central America, however, half of the population still lives in poverty. People here have unequal access to education and healthcare, so community service by volunteers is needed to make a real difference in people’s lives here. You’ll work in after-school programs, providing individual attention to children as you teach them social skills, and help them improve hygiene habits. Your kindness and genuine care can help to alleviate the neglect, abuse, and abandonment children experience with the lack of resources. This is an excellent project for new volunteers, and while you’re learning to serve, you can help make these children’s lives a little better. Guatemala is a diverse country, with lowland jungles, mountains filled with river valleys, and amazing tropical coastal areas. With 30 volcanoes, three that are still active, this is an exciting country! Home of the ancient Mayans and the land of the conquistadors, the country’s cultural traditions run deep. Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so the entire city is a living museum! This placement starts at one week with a fee of $645. Learn more and sign up here.
Despite Peru’s wealth of natural resources, its people still experience hardships with social development, including illiteracy. More than a quarter of its population lives in poverty, which impacts education, and its children fall behind on academics, health, and social skills. As a volunteer in Cusco, you’ll work with community centers and schools, assisting project staff and helping children with homework, extracurricular activities, and playtime. You can contribute to a safe, positive environment that Peru’s children need to live full, happy, and healthy lives. Peru is home to the amazing Andes Mountains, the lush Amazon jungle, the Atacama Desert, and the beautiful Pacific coastline, so there are lots to see and do on weekends. Visiting Machu Picchu is a bucket list item! Duration is one week or longer and program fees begin at $645. Read more and apply!
Love Volunteers offers 120+ affordable programs, many starting at only $280. Since its founding in 2009, Love Volunteers has placed more than 20,000 volunteers and interns on meaningful projects abroad. A nonprofit organization with a transparent policy, Love Volunteers works in 34 countries worldwide. With a mission to empower communities, Love Volunteers staff reviews each program for safety, social responsibility, and impact, and sends 90% of its fees to its partner charities and hosts.
With 32 Childcare and Development programs worldwide, Love Volunteers works with communities in critical locations to bring hope to children in need. Learn more about the childcare opportunities in Asia, Africa, Latin America and beyond.
Help vulnerable children of Kenya as a volunteer with schools in the Mombasa community. Assist with teaching toddlers during the morning, and planning activities and trips for the older students in the afternoon. Your presence not only provides essential care to children in need, but you’ll enable inter-cultural exchange, a benefit for you and the students, alike. Some of your tasks are to empower them to overcome the challenges of their life, poverty, and possible exploitation. Spend a minimum of two weeks on this project and on weekends, visit the best beaches in the world! With its year-round tropical climate, Mombassa is the main tourist destination and there’s plenty to do during the day, from shopping to dining, and even more at night! This placement lasts two weeks with a fee of $359. Read more and register here.
When you volunteer with a childcare program in India, you help overcome the obstacles of gender bias and the problems that arise from ill health that thousands of children suffer from in this heavily populated country. Work in a community-care center or shelter operated by NGOs in Delhi, and help children find the simple joys in life that you take for granted. When you offer the gifts of compassion and care, you make a huge impact on the lives of vulnerable children here and improve their prospects for the future. You’ll assist the children with their education and extracurricular lessons, helping with homework, and general education on life skills and personal hygiene. Help feed, bathe, and dress children, and spend quality time with them, teaching them through playtime activities. Spend your free time sight-seeing the city, enjoying Indian cuisine, and watching an authentic Bollywood movie! This program starts from $429 for one week. Read more and register here.
Join an NGO in Albania to help provide free education to children of Roma backgrounds, who suffer from racial discrimination, inadequate health care, and more. This amazing program supports minority groups who are neglected in terms of both economic and social aspects of life, which result in high levels of illiteracy, poor health, and diminished hopes for a bright future. When you help the impoverished youth of Albania, teaching them basic English and simple life lessons, you expose them to a new world where education overcomes barriers. You also can help by assisting with computing skills, arranging lessons in art, music or crafts, organizing sporting activities, games, and excursions. Elbasan is considered “the bellybutton of Albania,” located in the center of this country. Most residents take nightly strolls, so join them for a walk to Elbasan Castle. Largely unspoiled, the area surrounding the city is beautiful and known for its forests, waterfalls, thermal waters, and caves. Program fees begin at $339 for a three-week stay. Sign up here!
Plan My Gap Year (PMGY) places volunteers on myriad programs ranging from English teaching, wildlife conservation, community projects, childcare, and mental health programs in Africa and Asia. Founded in 2011, Plan My Gap Year inspects all programs personally to ensure project safety. The organization connects people to grassroots programs in the developing world with the goal to bring people together for a common good. Despite the name, you don’t have to take a gap year to sign up for trips since most programs have durations lasting from one week to six months.
Plan My Gap Year offers meaningful, affordable childcare volunteer projects in 16 countries, with a priority on safety and support.
Families are abandoning a rural way of life in Fiji, flocking to the urban areas of Suva for employment. As working families earn a living, daycare opportunities become a necessity because this island nation – home to one million people – has a massive child population. More than 30% of Fiji’s population is under the age of 14. The goals of the kindergartens that PMGY supports are focused on educational programs that provide a strong foundation in cognitive learning, problem-solving skills, and puzzle-based activities. If you’re eager to help and want to challenge yourself at the same time, this is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in creative learning. The largest city in Fiji, Suva offers shopping malls, farmers markets, restaurants and clubs, as well as hiking at the Colo-i-Suva Forest Reserve, and cultural exhibits at the Fiji Museum. Tour the Thurston Gardens, or catch a rugby match at Albert Park. You’re invited to stay two weeks or longer, and program fees begin at $352. Click here to learn more and to register.
Brighten a child’s life while making a positive contribution when you volunteer with a childcare program in South Africa. Apartheid ended in 1994, however, nearly 60% of South Africa’s population lives in poverty, subject to poor government funding and flawed policies. Estimates are that 80% of the children in South Africa’s townships don’t have access to early childhood development education, and as they grow up unattended and unprotected, they become victims of social and health problems. Children and youth here are vulnerable to gang violence, drugs, malnutrition, and HIV/AIDS. PMGY supports daycare centers that help working parents, providing their children with basic needs and education. Most projects are within Cape Town, and tasks may include reading, writing, basic math, and arts and crafts activities. During free time, saunter to the beach – a short walk away. There are plenty of clubs, restaurants, and local amenities in the surrounding area. Cape Town’s nightlife destination is only 10 minutes away by public transport. Program fees start from $393 for two weeks. Read more and apply here.
As a volunteer at a Madagascar support center, you can help regenerate hope and confidence in the lives of vulnerable children. More than one-third of the 22 million people living in Madagascar are children and youth, and they are often the ones to suffer most from this country’s desperate poverty. With its fragile location along East Africa’s coast, it is subjected to natural disasters and tropical cyclones that destroy infrastructures, including roads, schools, and homes. Add to this, a fragmented government and rapid population growth, and you’ll understand why so many of its children grow up without protection and why primary schools experience high dropout rates. Your tasks can include teaching basic English, leading fun and interactive games and activities, helping with general maintenance and cleaning, and providing daily hands-on care and affection for the children. While in Madagascar, visit Nosy Be to catch a glimpse of the reclusive lemur, or walk the Avenue of the Baobabs in Morondava. With world-class snorkeling and diving, Madagascar is a great location for outdoor enthusiasts. This program starts from $393 for two weeks. Learn more and apply here!
A Brighter Tomorrow
Children need sustainable educational support, care, and protection, and sometimes it’s a caring and considerate person like you who can provide it. When you volunteer with childcare, you create a brighter tomorrow – for yourself, and for children everywhere.
Robin Van Auken · Writer
Robin is a researcher, writer, and a registered professional archaeologist, a skillset she uses every day as a cultural communication specialist with Hands-on Heritage. Her projects connect communities with an emphasis on interpretation and education and conserve cultural and environmental legacies.