This is where you can find more information about how to volunteer with your family, practical advice and any considerations to make when doing family volunteering abroad. Please see below for a personal letter from WorkingAbroad Co-Founder Vicky McNeil, who has volunteered abroad numerous times with her children. You can find a list of our current projects which are suitable for family volunteering abroad at the bottom of the page.
Hi! My name is Vicky McNeil and I am the co-Founder of WorkingAbroad and also a mother of two girls aged 12 and 15 years old. I have been involved with volunteering programmes since I went off backpacking and volunteering around in the mid 1990s with my partner – and in 1997, we founded WorkingAbroad.
Voluntary work overseas has been traditionally for those who don’t have children. Since taking our girls to visit our sea turtle programmes in Grenada and Costa Rica, to the townships and game reserves in South Africa and Namibia, to the Dolphin Research projects in Greece and Croatia, to the Bear Tracking Project in Sweden and the coral reefs of Mauritius, we want to open up the family volunteering sector and offer this to other parents.
There are multiple projects abroad that can host families, as the work engages volunteers to observe wildlife and gain hands-on experience, such as fin profiling dolphins and whales, tagging sea turtles or counting turtle eggs, or plotting GPS co-ordinates for predators in national parks. Most of this work can be undertaken by parents whilst the children learn and take part. The work often takes place over half-days, leaving the rest of the day to engage in beneficial recreational activities, snorkelling, hiking, tracking, and so on.
I have seen what works and what doesn’t work for a family volunteering abroad, and I am delighted to be able to help new families to go out and have a “once in a lifetime” experience.
Being with our children is the most precious time we have, and we spend a lot of our time doing school runs, and being caught up in a stressful working week cycle. A family volunteer programme abroad will be a great challenge, far removed from every day life at home, and away from a typical holiday sitting on a beach all day watching your children hooked on the iPhone. A family volunteer programme will enable you and your children to go out, learn, volunteer and experience something worthwhile far away from the school classroom, which will be remembered for the rest of your lives.
Below, you can find our current programmes that are most suited to family volunteering abroad – where there are specific family dates, we have listed them. For any questions on family volunteering abroad or if you are looking for some guidance, please email me!