Mother Earth Living

Volunteer Vacations with Idealist.org

Volunteer vacations are a great way to get away and give back.
By Ginevra Holtkamp
July/August 2011

Volunteer to study sea turtles via idealist.org.
Photo Courtesy idealist.org


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Whether you want to build houses, save sea turtles or teach English, volunteer vacations are a great way to get away and give back. If you’re wondering what kinds of opportunities are out there, idealist.org is a good place to start. The 15-year-old site allows you to search through more than 12,000 volunteer listings by country and 57 areas of interest such as housing, environment and disaster relief. Here are a few of our favorite postings:

Save Sea Turtles in Costa Rica 

Posted by: Global Vision International (GVI)
Location: Tortuguero National Park, Limón, Costa Rica
Description: This volunteer program takes you to the heart of Tortuguero National Park and gives you the opportunity to become an active member of GVI’s conservation team. You will be conducting night-time patrols along the tropical beach, looking for nesting turtles and counting tracks.

Teach Kids to Garden in India 

Posted by: Vidyanagar Nature Club
Location: Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarāt, India
Description: Vegetables sold in urban India often contain high levels of chemicals because they’re produced using wastewater and/or pesticides. We want volunteers who have some knowledge of organic farming to teach school children how to grow organic vegetables at home.

Build Better Schools in Nepal 

Posted by: Volunteer in Nepal
Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Description: Most of the schools in rural Nepal consist of four wooden poles supporting a thatched roof. No blackboards, playgrounds, libraries or desks. Few books. Open toilets. Not even drinking water. As a volunteer in the school construction program, you will work as part of a volunteer team, usually with minimal supervision. Often you’ll also work alongside villagers, learning about traditional methods of building and working.








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