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Orphanage Volunteer Abroad

Projects Abroad volunteer plays with a child at an orphanage placement in Ghana, Africa.

As a volunteer in an orphanage abroad, you’ll be helping children to learn life-skills that parents would normally teach. Orphanages staff are often overworked and unable to provide each individual child with attention. This is where our volunteers come in. By getting involved in the day-to-day running of an orphanage - making sure children are fed, have suitable clothing and access to bathroom facilities, and paying them personal attention - you will be making a positive impact on their lives.

Orphanages are a great place for you to utilize other skills or interests you might have. Arts & crafts, music, and dance are always popular activities and some orphanages have outside areas where sports and games can be played. Many volunteers also help to educate the children in personal hygiene and social skills.

It is important to keep in mind that all children are worthy of support and encouragement, not only those in orphanages. Children in care centers, kindergartens, and special needs clinics are just as in-need of volunteer support and your help will be appreciated no matter what type of placement you work in.

What makes Volunteering in an Orphanage Abroad Unique?

There are some unique challenges that go along with volunteering in an orphanage. These are important to keep in mind when determining the type of placement you want to volunteer abroad in.

Number of Children: While some orphanages can be small (10-20 children), many provide shelter and care for hundreds of children at a time. In some cases, orphanages support children of all ages including infants through late teens (18). This can be an exhilarating experience but, for some, overwhelming. You should be prepared to share your attention with many children!

Less Structure: Due to the number of children in orphanages, it’s difficult for the placement staff to set up activities for every moment of your day. Orphanage volunteers need to be proactive and capable of working independently. We encourage you to utilize your MyProjectsAbroad page, our local staff, and other volunteers who all have great advice for engaging kids in an effective way.

Projects Abroad Care volunteers paint a room at Sukitha Children’s Orphanage in Sri Lanka

Language Barriers: Children in orphanages often haven’t had the same educational advantages of those in other situations. Many children you work with may have little or no English skills. This can be challenging at first but most volunteers find that they can interact with the children effectively through other forms of communication like gestures, tone of voice, etc.

Smaller Tasks: Your work may not all be focused on children. Most orphanages are understaffed and you may be asked to help with menial tasks like cooking, cleaning, serving meals. This may seem unimportant but it is essential to the successful running of an orphanage.

Volunteering with children in an orphanage overseas can be an amazing and life-changing experience. We encourage you to read through stories from our former Care volunteers to get an idea of the challenges they overcame and the experience they had overall.

Where can I volunteer in an orphanage?

General Care placements can be done in all of the destinations that we work in. Orphanage volunteer work specifically is available in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, Mexico, Mongolia, Romania, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Togo.

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