Humanitarian, Refugee & Disater Relief Volunteer Programs

Join humanitarian programs and help make a difference in countries affected by disasters, poverty and natural disasters. International volunteer organisations are involved with community development and refugee relief primarily focussed in areas troubled by famine, war or poverty. As well as famine relief and refugee crisis management, NGO's participate in community infrastructure projects aimed at encouraging sustainable development covering a wide range of activities including school building, promotion of renewable energy use, agriculture programes and digging wells. Volunteering on a humanitarian project can be extremely rewarding but requires commitment, hard work and a strong motivation to alleviate suffering and improve the lives of others.


Humanitarian Volunteering Work

Humanitarian Volunteering

Guide to Helping Humanitarian Programs Around the World

Are you looking travel and make a difference? Have you ever watched the news and seen war and disaster situations and thought you would like to get involved? On our website we list a wide range of volunteering and work abroad programs where you can help on humanitarian programs in developing countries around the world.



Types of Positions

You could be helping in the humanitarian sector working on building / construction projects, helping care projects, and working on aid relief programs. Joining international development teams who bring care and relief in a medical capacitiy which help people and victims of humanitarian problems are very popular. Engineers, drivers and logistics / shipping coordinators are needed worldwide to enable NGO programmes. Doctors, Nurses and those with healthcare or medical skills can work for NGO's in hospitals / clinics and assist with community health initiatives. Similarly, qualified teachers can find volunteer opportunities teaching languages, literacy and promoting community health initiatives such as HIV prevention programs. Professional skills and corporate experience are also in demand as many projects require participants who can bring business management, volunteer coordination and micro-finance skills.

There are lots of organisations who are helping refugees in places like Africa - political stability is always an issue in some countries in this continent and you can contact volunteer organisations to apply to help local people in this region. If you have previous healthcare experience you could volunteer on medical volunteering placements by joining international teams who provide medical outreach projects to communities and people in need. On these types of programs you might be delivering medical assistance or generally helping doctors and nurses working to improve health standards and work with ill / injured people. Sometimes you might be working with children and others at community drop in centres which help people who are sick, have infections, cuts, wounds or just need medical attention. These placements can be hard work but really rewarding as you will visably see the difference you make to peoples lives.

You could join education programs and help in local schools and centres which have been set up to educate local children and youngsters. In humanitarian situations schooling is usually not available but international volunteer aid organisations provide educations programs to help, you could be leading English lessons or just helping out with daily activities. These educational care programs are offered to any children to attend and provide much needed help and an escape for children who can play sports and learn in a fun environment.




In Africa and the Middle East there are lots of humanitarian programs with victims of war, refugees and displaced people. There are also lots of educational programs where you can teach English for example or educate youngsters in places like Israel and Palestine and aim to provide a better future for this troubled region. There are so many rewarding, challenging and worthwhile humanitarian programs you could work on, choosing a destination is important or you can get advice by contacting sending organisations. Whatever your motivation is to work on humanitarian programs you can make a difference.

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How to Apply

Placements can be arranged through sending agencies or directly via larger NGO's and charities and there are opportunities worldwide for skilled and unskilled volunteers. Given the long placement durations, level of commitment required and difficulties of working in the field, new volunteers are recommended to gain experience by arranging a short term placement. Which ever country you choose to volunteer in there are individuals and communities which need help and will appreciate your presence. Volunteering for the aid of others is an amazing thing to do and on our website you can find a role and job suitable for you. Browse our humanitarian projects abroad or view our volunteer abroad directory to set up a placement today.



Volunteer with Refugees

Would you like to play a role in helping refugees and asylum seekers suffering due to war, conflict, political persecution and natural disasters like cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes? There are placements available worldwide in countries like the UK, Syria, Turkey, Greece. Syria in the midst of crisis and donations and also international volunteers are needed to help. If you would like to do more than just give a donation and if you are wondering how to volunteer with refugees our guide and programs will be able to help you. Search refugee volunteer opportunities and apply to make a difference today.


Places You Can Help

There are programs with refugees throughout the world you can choose to become a volunteer in your home country or actually travel overseas to make a direct influence. In Europe there is a huge refugee crisis, the largest since World War II and millions of Syrian citizens need assistance. But Syria is not the only country with a big exodus of refugees, thousands of people are also fleeing countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Haiti, Myanmar, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. The Syrian refugee crisis is getting a lot of coverage at the moment especially after the death of 2 year old Aylan Kurdi which shocked the world. This country is very dangerous to visit but there are lots of organisations helping fleeing Syrians in nearby Turkey, Hungary, Greece, Italy and other countries in Europe.


Our Placements

On our website you can search volunteering programs with refugees in Australia, New Zealand, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Kenya, Israel / Palestine and South Africa. Some of these countries are probably not the first place you think of when it comes to helping refugees but there are lots of worthwhile projects which you can get involved with including education, sports coaching, integration and also community development.


Volunteering with Refugees in Europe

A report from the United Nations refugee agency says that more than 2,500+ migrants and refugees have died or gone missing this year while crossing the Mediterranean Sea whilst over 4 million Syrians have fled their country since war began. Thousands of these people are now in Europe and need daily assistance in terms of clothing, food, housing and healthcare.


Questions to Ask Yourself Before Applying

  • Will you be able to make a difference?
  • What skills can you offer?
  • Where would you like to go?
  • What people would you like to help?
  • Would it be more benefical to help from home rather than at a refugee camp


Recommended Websites to Find Humanitarian Work Abroad

  • Daleel-Madani
  • Devnet Jobs
  • Indeed
  • Relief Web
  • Trust


Refugee Relief Organizations

Local and large internation organisations are working to help people in all corners of the globe, these include:

  • Aylan Kurdi Fund
  • British Red Cross
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Médecins Sans Frontières
  • Migrant Offshore Aid Station
  • Save the Children
  • Red Cross Europe
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
  • Refugee Action
  • Unicef


How to Choose an Organisation

There are so many different organisations each one is different and all aim to help and improve the lives for refugees. Some set up refugee camps and distribute essential items such as diapers, hygiene kits, food, water, mosquito nets, tents and basic healthcare. Some organisations are dedicated to preventing migrant deaths at sea whilst others offer practical help to people seeking asylum. Some organisations will pay for flights and pay you a salary, whilst a lot of non-skilled placements might require you to cover flights and accommodation yourself. Some international organisations might also require you to pay a fee or give a donation to participate, although with the majority of refugee projects this isn't the case.



Your role as a volunteer helping refugees will vary depending on the organisation. In Western coutnries you could volunteer helping to raise awareness, working on databases and website development or fundraising for aid missions. Whilst on the ground in refugee camps and at humanitarian centers skilled volunteers are in high demand including architects, teachers, builders, medics, doctors, dentists and people who can help improve peoples skills. Non skilled placements can include handing out food and water or helping with daily tasks. Out of conflict zones where you can help asylum seekers there are lots of roles available including teaching English, business and asylum/immigration assistance.


Volunteering in Refugee Camps

We get a lot of enquiries from people wanting to travel and work in refugee camps but we always tell participants you really need to consider if you are ready for this experience. The idea of travelling to a developing country to help people might sound appealing but in reality living conditions and seeing day to day struggles of disadvantaged people can be shocking. There are various opportunities to find work at a refugee camp and you will need to decide where you would like to go. Some international organisations offer placements but most programs are run by local NGO's and charities. One project we highly recommend is the Kenya refugee camp provided by Inspire Volunteering. Here you will find some of the poorest people in Kenya, including Kenyans and also Somalis who fled the Somalia conflit in the 1990's. Housing settlements in refugee camps can be poor and most organisations try to bring basic nessecities like fresh water and safe housing. There are also other refugee camps whcih are in desperate need of international assistance located all around the globe.



You will usually need to be aged 18+, in good health and also be passionate about helping people. An open mind and attitude will also help whilst it is important you research all projects before applying, the harsh emotional reality and living conditions might not be what you are used to. Most organisations will require you to have a certain skill to help whilst others projects are more open to non-skilled individuals.



If you get accepted onto a refugee volunteer program you will be provided with information and training. All organisations will have staff on hand to answer any questions or concerns you have about safety, you will also usually have an in-country manager to give advice and help with any concerns. Depening on your destination you will usually form part of a larger humanitarian team and stay in special accommodation.


How Long to Participate for

How long you commit to a refuee mission is usually down to the organisation. Most want a long term commitment. Some volunteer roles can turn into a full time career if you make a good impression. We often tell potential humanitarian volunteers the longer you stay the better, this is the best way to learn, improve and also make a difference. Short term volunteer placements with refugees and people can have a negative effective due to the amount of training required.


What You Will Learn

There are so many incredible things you will learn about yourself and other people and cultures. You will learn compassion and also hear heartbreaking stories of the way people have lived their lives. You will also get to learn new practical skills, if you are young having this on your CV will look fantastic to future employers. There will also be experience staff who will be able to help you develop, these experiences are pricesless and are difficult to gain in any other areas of work. This will be the most rewarding challenge of your life.


What to Do Before Applying

  • Check past participant feedback before applying with a certain organisation.
  • Read latest safety information from the foreign office travel advice to see if your destination is safe or if there are any urgent warnings or things to be aware of. 


Alternative Ways to Help

  • Make a financial donation to humanitarian organisations and NGO's which help refugees
  • Use social media and get active in helping aid organisations generate funds



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