The Australian Government have launched a campaign to prevent Australians from inadvertently contributing to child exploitation through the practice of orphanage tourism. This includes by people inadvertently participating in misleading volunteer programs when they volunteer overseas.

The Smart Volunteering Campaign discourages Australians from any form of short-term, unskilled volunteering in overseas orphanages.  It also provides guidelines on how to be a child-safe volunteer. Anyone considering volunteering in this area should visit the Australian Volunteers website.

If you wish to volunteer overseas you can contact the following organisations (Please note: This is not an endorsement of these organisations – merely a collation of information).

AusAID’s VIDA Program

Volunteering for International Development from Australia (VIDA) places skilled Australian volunteers in countries in the Asia Pacific region. VIDA volunteers work with local staff to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development through skills exchange, institutional strengthening and capacity building.

Australian Volunteers International

AVI is Australia’s largest and most experienced international volunteer sending agency. Every year they recruit, prepare and support hundreds of Australians who volunteer to live alongside people of other cultures and work towards the sustainable development of communities.

Global Vision International

Global Vision provides support and services to international charities, non-profits and governmental agencies.  Join expeditions as diverse as marine conservation, community development, high altitude exploration and wildlife conservation. You can also volunteer with GVI’s partner organisations. Field work placements, internships and jobs in the field are also available.

International Volunteers for Peace (IVP)

IVP is the Australian group of Service Civil International (SCI), a worldwide non-government organisation promoting peace and justice through voluntary work. They organise volunteering projects in Australia around worthwhile community needs and causes. IVP also provides a gateway for Australians to participate in work-camps all across the world.

Palms Australia

Palms Australia recruits, prepares, sends and supports volunteers to meet the needs of requesting communities. This organisation is independent of government funding.  Volunteers spend two years in placement working alongside local staff in Asia, the Pacific and Africa, sharing their skills and building lasting relationships.

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad organises voluntary work placements overseas in the developing world. The placements are based in community projects.  They include working with disadvantaged children, outreach programmes, teaching English and working on conservation and sustainability projects. The placement time-frames are flexible. There is the opportunity to live as a local with a host family while working within the community. All ages are welcome.

Totally Travel

This Australian organisation specialising in overseas volunteering experiences in 23 countries. Whether you’re passionate to help at a sanctuary for Orangutan, African Wildlife, Pandas or Elephants, or keen to help teach English to primary aged kids in Cusco, Cambodia or Kathmandu – the programs offer the opportunity to connect with local projects around the world.  Inclusive packages include airport pick up, accommodation and meals.

World Youth

World Youth is a not-for-profit, non-religious and non-political volunteer organisation offering people over 18 the opportunity to help alleviate global poverty and travel in a meaningful way.  You can embark on a project in the areas of primary healthcare, education, sustainable environment and income generation. You don’t need any qualifications – just compassion, commitment and dedication.

Youth Challenge Australia

Youth Challenge is an Australian-based, non-profit, non-government organisation that actively engages Australian youth in community identified projects. Since 1992, YCA has mobilised young volunteers to assist the growth of sustainable and positive development, both internationally and in Indigenous Australia. Projects range from 5-10 weeks and leave at various times through the year.

Volunteer overseas