Updated for 2023-2024
If you’re interested in volunteering abroad but aren’t sure where to get started, construction volunteer programs overseas may be the perfect opportunity. Construction volunteer programs often are open to volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, and are perfect for solo travelers, groups, couples, and families. And since you’ll work alongside local staff on most programs (including those listed below), you’ll be guided by professionals that can teach and guide you in building and renovating homes, community centers, schools, and more worldwide.
Best Construction Volunteer Abroad Programs
There are tons of tasks you’ll take on when you sign up for a building project overseas, including digging, mixing cement, carrying or helping to lay bricks, landscaping, carpentry, painting, plastering, beautification, and much more. Most construction projects require a level of physical fitness, so these programs are perfect for students and active travelers who’d like to get dirty, do some good, and help a community in need.
Check out the opportunities below for just a few ideas to get started.
With International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ), there are 18 opportunities for single or group volunteer projects to improve local infrastructure and help with community development worldwide. Through their construction and building programs, volunteers work along with locals to build new community structures, renovate existing ones, and improve civil infrastructure initiatives. Most often, these construction projects benefit orphanages, schools, community centers, and recreational facilities. The tasks required for each program vary depending on the location, community needs, and phase of construction volunteer work.
One construction volunteer opportunity IVHQ is offering right now is a trip to Laos ranging from one to 12 weeks, and starting from just $285 for your first week. You’ll take on light tasks to improve medical centers, childcare centers, and schools within the local village, as many of their community centers are in dire need of improvement and maintenance. Some of your tasks can include building, renovating, painting, restoration, carpentry, and landscaping. Like many other construction opportunities abroad, project scope is constantly changing depending on program needs and season, so you should expect to work on multiple projects during your trip. On weekends, there’s plenty of time to relax, explore the area, or go biking, kayaking, climbing, caving, trekking, and rafting. To apply, you must be 18 or older unless you’re traveling with a parent or guardian – and you don’t need prior construction experience. If you’d like to learn more about IVHQ’s construction volunteering opportunities in Laos, click here.
Temples are esteemed in Sri Lanka, and must be kept in good repair and presented well. Local community members help by cooking for the monks at the temple, but assistance from volunteers like you is needed with general painting and repair. Perform physical labor while learning about Buddhism on the the Sri Lanka Temple Renovation program with IVHQ. Through this program, you’ll learn about local construction methods as you work alongside locals and children within the village. If you have artistic ability, you may have the opportunity to restore existing paintings or paint a new illustration. Prepare for your journey by researching Sri Lankan culture and history. Volunteers can take long weekends to travel to Colombo, Galle or Southern India, on sightseeing trips. This program starts from one week at $380. For more information about this project, visit Sri Lanka: Temple Renovation.
If you’ve got a lot of energy and want to work with your hands, then IVHQ’s Construction and Renovation project in Peru may be a great placement for you, where you can choose construction projects in either Lima or Cusco! Volunteers work in underserved neighborhoods alongside local construction workers who provide direction and motivation. You’ll help repaint, renovate and repair a variety of buildings, including schools, orphanages, clinics, and community centers. You’ll be immersed in Peruvian culture during your comfortable homestay, hosted by a local family. Expect to share a room with one or two volunteers as well.
Take the weekends to explore Cusco, or travel to Machu Picchu. Relax on Sundays, a religious day of rest in the area. If you wish, you are welcome to attend a local church with your host family and enjoy the unique service. Program fees are $275 for one week. Read more about Construction and Renovation in Peru.
What Volunteers Say: Review from Nicole
Wow! I don’t even know where to start! My first experience with the IVHQ company was exceptional! I first looked in to volunteering this last summer. After looking at plenty of companies I found that many didn’t have many reviews, or had very high costs. I stumbled across IVHQ on Instagram and was sold very quickly. What stood out the most was the amount of reviews IVHQ has from actual volunteers! Just on instagram I found tons of volunteers both current and past ones who were answering questions, posting their pics etc. Not only that but the prices are extremely affordable and the connection that IVHQ creates with itself and its volunteers in completely unique. I think IVHQ is a unique company and since coming back I have been telling everybody about my experience with your company! I cannot say enough good things! I am planning to continue to volunteer with IVHQ in the coming months/years! Thank you THANK YOU!
Since 2006, GoEco has offered affordable volunteer abroad programs and internships in over 40 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Australasia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. With more than 150 different wildlife, marine, medical, and community aid and development programs, GoEco is a great organization to check out if you’re looking for a variety of impactful trips to choose from, from wildlife conservation to teaching English. GoEco was recently recognized as the Top Volunteer Abroad Organization from GoAbroad, Top Eco-Enthusiast by Greenmatch, and has been recommended by Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and more. As a volunteer, you will have 24-hour support from the GoEco team, from start to finish. Currently, GoEco is offering a special travel grant where you can stay for the 3rd week free! Check out the qualifying programs here!
Journey to Samraong with GoEco and help underprivileged communities in the area by teaching at a school and participating in construction work. Through this program, education is provided to students who otherwise couldn’t afford it. Construction also takes place at the school and other community centers, and consists mainly of painting, renovating playgrounds, building new classrooms, and other needed work. You’ll also get to do some vegetable gardening with the children.
Ready for a volunteer adventure to Cambodia? Project fees begin at $880 for two weeks. Find out more here!
Help renovate a village school for the local children so they can learn in a comfortable setting. Some of the hands-on tasks include painting, working with bricks, and gardening. In your free time, you can enjoy Taraffel’s culture, relax on the beach, and hike the beautiful mountains. A minimum of 2 weeks is required to give meaningful impact to this project!
Nepal is prone to earthquakes and there is a high demand for help in building safer new constructions, as well as rebuilding damaged buildings and houses. This year-round project is located in Kathmandu. Construction tasks include mixing cement, painting, and removing damaged parts. You will be provided all the necessary safety gear and briefed on the work alongside the local team. These renovations help the local community as well as directly improving locals’ standard of living. For more information, visit GoEco!
Since 2003, Maximo Nivel has placed volunteers, interns, teachers, and students on meaningful and educational programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Partnering with local organizations to provide high-quality and engaging placements, Maximo Nivel is an excellent organization to check out if you want to volunteer for construction projects in Latin America.
In addition to many other volunteer abroad opportunities, Maximo Nivel offers a construction volunteer program where you can help with building or repairing homes, adding classrooms to schools, or making structural improvements to orphanages. These physically-demanding projects include digging, removing dirt, mixing cement, carrying bricks, preparing adobe, painting, plastering, helping in beautification or renovation work, and much more.
Maximo Nivel offers construction programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru, each lasting for a minimum of one week. Work hours are split between the morning and afternoon, Monday through Friday, for three to four hours a day – however, your schedule will vary depending on the project’s needs. Construction volunteers must be 17 or older, physically fit, and willing to take on different tasks based on the season and program needs. Programs start at a very reasonable cost of $595, and accommodations are provided in a shared volunteer house, with alternative options available upon request. For more information about Maximo Nivel’s construction volunteer projects, visit http://maximonivel.com/volunteers/construction/.
Through Maximo Nivel’s two-week volunteer adventure, you’ll have the wonderful opportunity to volunteer and travel in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru. You can choose from a variety of volunteer projects, including construction, where you can help build or repair schools, homes, and community centers. After your five-day volunteer project, you’ll embark on an adventurous, six-day tour, which can include zip lining, hiking, touring an island on a catamaran, visiting waterfalls and volcanoes, and much more. Learn more about Maximo Nivel’s volunteer adventure at: http://maximonivel.com/adventure/full
What Volunteers Say: Review from Kimsoo
Had such an amazing time in Antigua with the Maximo Nivel crew. Everyone was very friendly, showing real interest in my experiences with their organization and within Antigua in general.I volunteered on the construction site with my project manager Fredy. He was such a kind and fun person to work with day to day teaching me many new things about building.
Maximo is very well organized and safety oriented making sure everyone was aware of their surroundings and the realities of the city. With that being said, Antigua in general was such an excellent area to visit and donate my time in, with the gorgeous volcanoes as a back drop and welcoming culture; I can’t wait to go back.
The great thing about volunteering on a building project is that you’re able to observe the results of your hard work. More than other projects, you take part in physical, hands-on work to benefit a community in need. You don’t need any building experience to join! You’ll work under a building supervisor who will teach you all you need to know for your building work. There will be many building tasks you can take on, so you can choose exactly how you want to get involved.
Building projects take place in developing countries all around the world. Some are in rural areas, and others in cities. You could help build homes, schools, day care centers, sanitation facilities, or community buildings. In some destinations, you may contribute in areas that were damaged by natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes. Your work might include making bricks, laying foundations, plastering, painting, and installing windows and doors.
Building projects with Projects Abroad to consider:
- Rebuild and repair school classrooms damaged by earthquakes in Nepal
- Improve sanitation facilities in the Philippines
- Build school buildings in a traditional Maasai village in Tanzania
This experience is a safe and sociable way to give back where it’s needed, while building your own confidence and understanding of global issues.
What Volunteers Say: Review from Jordan, building in Nepal
“Standing there on my last day, looking around the site and comparing the school at that point to where it had been when I first arrived was such a cool moment. It’s amazing, seeing all of the progress that’s been made and how much work has been finished, even in just the three short weeks I was there.”
Since 1997, GVI has placed more than 20,000 volunteers and interns on impactful programs in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australasia, and Africa. Right now, GVI is offering over a dozen construction volunteering opportunities where you can help with a variety of projects to build and improve homes, schools, community centers, and more.
One program GVI is offering right now invites you to the villages of Dawasamu District of Fiji, where you’ll assist with important infrastructure construction projects, set up community based income-generation initiations, work on studies to help create informed environmental decisions, and more. This particular expedition through GVI has five main focuses: WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene), health and nutrition, income generation, education enrichment and empowerment, and environmental management and protection. Volunteers have the opportunity to develop small income-generating projects that solve basic infrastructure issues through improvements and new initiatives, along with assessing environmental impacts and enriching available education. GVI and its volunteers have successfully increased local access to fresh water, improved education resources and opportunities, and expanded income generation options for this community – and you can continue to help improve locals’ quality of life through this project.
This program lasts two to 24 weeks, and you’ll work Monday through Friday, with weekends free to explore the area – including tropical beaches, dive sites, and a multitude of islands.
If you have always wanted to travel to Asia, GVI’s construction projects in Nepal give you the chance to travel to a beautiful South Asian country while also taking on a community volunteer project. On this program, you will start with an orientation to learn about your project and community, and after that, you will help local schools and facilities with building, painting, repairing, or landscaping. During your weekends, you can go hiking, paragliding, mountain biking, and much more.
Another construction project that’s great especially for younger travelers is GVI’s Under-18s Volunteer and Adventure Experience in Costa Rica. On this trip, you’ll have the wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture and help with a construction volunteer project in Manuel Antonio. Depending on the project you’re placed on, you will help with basic maintenance, building and renovation assistance, or painting. After the volunteer portion of your trip, you will go on an adventure trek, where you’ll take surfing lessons, relax on the beach, and go hiking through Manuel Antonio National Park.
If you’re aged 15 to 17 and would love to visit Africa, GVI’s Under-18s volunteer adventure to South Africa may be the perfect program for you. Based in Cape Town, this volunteer program invites you to join an international team of travelers to help improve the lives of local children by improving their schools and care centers. As with the Costa Rica trip, your tasks as a volunteer will vary depending on what’s needed at the time, but can include renovation, basic maintenance, and painting. Outside of volunteering, you will visit Boulders Beach, the Silvermine Nature Reserve, Fish Hoek, and many more places to see wildlife, go shopping, and learn about South African culture and lifestyle.
If you’d like to know more about these trips or the other opportunities GVI offers, please visit http://www.gviusa.com/.
What Volunteers Say: Review from Jes
GVI’s construction program in Pokhara, Nepal was my first volunteer trip ever and it was something I had been wanting to do for a very long time. There were many challenges during my 3 and a half week stay, but, do you know what the hardest thing about it was? Not the candle lit cold showers because the electricity randomly goes off, nor the carrying of bucket loads of cement back and forth for my construction project. Not even the fact I had to use squattie potties when I’m a very clumsy person. No, these were all challenges. Definitely challenges. But, the hardest thing… was coming home. Saying goodbye and leaving behind what now felt like a part of me. GVI and the other volunteers I lived with became my family. My home-stay family treated me like a daughter and took amazing care of each volunteer they hosted (even when there was 11 of us living there!). The projects I were on were the most amazing experiences where I got to work alongside locals and really feel like a part of the community. All in all I cannot wait to go back and see how much my projects have progressed and to say hello to all the amazing people I was so privileged to meet.
If you would like to volunteer in Africa, consider Agape Volunteers, a reputable and affordable volunteer travel nonprofit organization that’s also a registered UK charity. Founded in 2011, Agape Volunteers specializes in volunteering, tourism, and development work, with programs available in Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, and Tanzania. All participants are covered by the Agape Travel Policy, provided at no extra cost, and there is no registration fee. Accommodations, airport transfers, food, and orientation are included in the program fee, making Agape Volunteers the most affordable option for those who would like to volunteer in Africa. And with side trips and excursions provided, there’s plenty of opportunity for sightseeing!
Agape Volunteers places its Kenya volunteers at Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps to help build and improve housing for refugees of the conflict that followed the 2007-08 presidential election. More than half a million people were displaced following the humanitarian crisis, and even after the violence ended, many were unable to return to their homes and communities.
The situation is much more peaceful now, but sadly many residents remain homeless and at the IDP camps. Agape Volunteers is committed to offering as much assistance as possible, partnering with Marifiki to support refugees at one of the larger IDP camps in Mahi Mahu through construction projects. Agape Volunteers also provides weekly food deliveries, and helps to construct fresh water supplies and numerous buildings, including houses and schools.
Choose from four unique programs in Kenya that invite you to contribute according to your interests, while also volunteering at the IDP camp. These include:
Programs fees start at £510 for one week, and include accommodation, airport transfers, food, orientation, registration, and travel insurance. Stay up to a year – and sign up today!
Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International offers service opportunities locally and around the world for volunteers of all ages. From Collegiate Challenges to their Global Village volunteer program, Habitat can find the best construction volunteering placement for you.
Habitat’s Global Village program invites volunteers around the world to build decent, affordable housing while learning about community development challenges and Habitat for Humanity’s response to them. With the Global Village Program, you can volunteer to build houses in many different countries – this year some trips include Argentina, Vermont, India, El Salvador, Kenya, and China. Each Global Village trip lasts one to two weeks and offers a unique opportunity for every volunteer.
Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village trip to Kenya this year is a fabulous opportunity to help build housing solutions for elderly people – many of whom are caring for their orphaned grandchildren – so the home improvement program you’ll be a part of will last for generations. These construction projects both improve upon existing foundations and include opportunities to build from scratch, all alongside local construction workers and neighbors. This 10-day trip costs a pretty steep $2,240, though it does include a donation to Habitat for Humanity, accommodations, meals, in-country transportation, and travel health insurance (you are still responsible for paying for your own airfare).
Tasks on the worksite include foundation excavation, wall construction, roofing, plastering, floor slab construction, and painting. During your trip, you’ll stay in a hotel with double-room occupancy and have the choice of European-style or local meals. Kenya is one of the few trips that Habitat for Humanity International offers, and building homes for charity fulfills a basic need in the locals’ lives. To learn more about other construction volunteer programs you can join locally and abroad, visit http://www.habitat.org/.
Founded in 2007, A Broader View currently hosts 245 volunteer programs in 25 countries worldwide. They offer construction and community development opportunities in the following countries:
With more than $3 million donated to impactful programs since its start, A Broader View truly aims to make a positive impact through its partnerships and volunteer placements. If you are looking for a construction volunteer abroad experience that lasts a little bit longer than the others on this list, check out the opportunities that A Broader View has to offer.
For two to four weeks, you can spend time in the magnificent city restoring and decorating health care centers, restoring and decorating primary/middle schools and children’s centers, artistic decoration of school interiors, preparing sports facilities, landscaping, repairing houses for families that need urgent support, and developing garbage and recycling facilities. This program starts from $1,020 for the first two weeks, and you’ll work Monday through Friday for four to six hours a day. Staying in a shared volunteer house, you’ll receive breakfast, lunchbox, and dinner daily, with 24/7 support from A Broader View staff.
In addition to your volunteer program, you’ll spend five days learning Hindi – and your program costs also cover marketing, information pack, administration, A Broader View donation, travel costs to inspect programs, communication costs with volunteers, ongoing support from program staff, and more. To learn more about this program and others offered by A Broader View, visit https://www.abroaderview.org/.
What Volunteers Say: Review from Micaela
I LOVED my experience in Peru! It was really the people in Peru, including my host family and fellow volunteers, that made my experience. We all get along so well its magical! I have had an amazing time exploring Cusco with them and learning about the public services in the city. If I could I would do it all over again and I would do it with ABV. ABVs design allowed me to personalize my experience so that I could go where and when I wanted to go and I could volunteer in a place that was perfect for me. ABV and Peru were truly magical!
Since 2009, Love Volunteers has offered impactful volunteer programs and internships in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas, with more than 120 different projects to choose from. It’s also an incredibly fast-growing volunteer organization, with more than 4,000 volunteers placed overseas in the past year. Some of Love Volunteers’ most popular destinations include:
- Asia: Nepal, Thailand, Bali
- Latin America: Peru, Costa Rica, Ecuador
- Africa: South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania
This is an exciting opportunity to volunteer building houses. One of Love Volunteers’ construction programs brings you to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where you will help to build a home for a family in need. As with many of Love Volunteers’ other programs, you don’t need to have prior experience in building or do-it-yourself projects – you’ll complete your project with the help of a local team. During your stay, you will live in a volunteer house – a home-away-from-home where you can kick back and relax, and get to know your fellow volunteers. This program starts from one week at $359 – learn more here!
Another excellent program you can be a part of with Love Volunteers brings you to Costa Rica, where you can help with every aspect of building a safe, secure, and habitable home for a family in need. A few ways that you can get involved include helping to design work plans, assisting with building the foundation for the home, painting, building furniture, and much more. During your stay in Costa Rica, you will live with a host family and have the wonderful opportunity to learn about their culture and meet new people. This program starts from two weeks at $709 – learn more and sign up here!
Based in the Complexo do Alemão favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the aim of this volunteer program is to provide building, renovation, and repair work for families living in a community that suffers from overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and lack of solid or safe building codes. As a volunteer, you can help with labor projects such as painting, landscaping, and repair – you also can prepare and lead activities, monitor progress and write debriefs, and provide basic supplies to the favela’s residents. Throughout your stay, you will live in a youth hostel close to the Copacabana Beach – this program starts from one week at $419. Learn more and sign up here!
Travel to the village of Mwandi, Zambia to help build and repair mud hut homes and provide safe housing to families in need. To date, Love Volunteers and their partner organization in Zambia have provided much-needed repairs to more than 140 homes that have deteriorated or even collapsed due to the rainy season. As a volunteer, you can help with construction tasks – from building to repair to renovation – and you will have accommodation in a shared volunteer house or a canvas safari-style tent. This program starts from one week at $280 – click here to apply!
What Volunteers Say: Review from Jessica
Working with Love Volunteers was amazing! They were so helpful from start to finish throughout the whole program. During my experience in Koh Samui, I really got to learn about the culture, customs, and the needs of the community.I’ve found it incredibly inspiring witnessing how others live so happily with bare essentials; even businesses are operated right out their homes. It’s no question why this land is known as “the land of smiles.” Even in the toughest situations a smile remains on their faces. In Thailand, they live off of “Thai-time”-which means going with the flow. Most classrooms take place on the bare floors outside. No rooms, no desks, no pens… Just floorspace.
For building and repairing their educational needs, we’ve utilized sand and hoes to make cement by hand. A task that’s taken weeks to do would take hours using machines but this is how they live- happily going with the flow.
If there is one thing I’ve learned there is to appreciate life as it comes. Not stress on details or solutions, rather take every moment in as it is.
I would definitely recommend love volunteers if you’re looking for an opportunity to travel and give back to the world!
Ready to Travel?
If you’re ready to start planning your perfect volunteer trip, be sure to sign up for an account and check out the many volunteer opportunities listed right here on Volunteer Forever. For more inspiration for your travels, check out these articles: