Affordable Special Needs Care Projects with IVHQ
98% Rating
(8 Reviews)

Affordable Special Needs Care Projects with IVHQ

Working with special needs children is a rewarding experience and suited to volunteers with a caring and compassionate nature. As an IVHQ Special Needs Care volunteer, you'll have the choice of working in a variety of environments across 12 program locations around the world. Volunteer work varies by location but can include feeding, care, physical therapy, education, recreation and stimulation, as well as help with cleaning and maintaining facilities.

Discover below 5 of the 12 Special Needs Care projects currently available to IVHQ volunteers. You can find the rest of the options on IVHQ's Special Needs Care page.

  • Cambodia: Volunteers assist in special needs classes which cater for children between the ages of 5 and 18 years with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities, including cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, autism, deafness and blindness.
  • China: Volunteers on the Special Needs Care project work in community centers alongside a small team of local staff, assisting children and adults with a range of physical and mental disabilities.
  • Romania: Volunteers will be expected to assist in the planning of games and educational activities for children and adults ​in special needs centers​, while also caring for them. For those with physical therapy training or experience, your tasks can include assisting with treatment, physiotherapy and rehabilitation for the children and adults.
  • Spain: Volunteers work mostly alongside teenagers and adults with special needs to help refurbish bicycles prior to being donated and to also coordinate the clothing donations for distribution. The aim of the Special Needs Support project is to teach vocational skills to the individuals who take part, in order to assist with social integration and employment, while also contributing to wider society.
  • Uganda: Volunteers on the Special Needs Care project in Uganda are placed in day schools for individuals with special needs, or in a special needs treatment center, handling both in and out-patients. Volunteers work as teacher aides, assisting with vocational training, providing care and playing games with individuals during their free time.
Locations
Asia » China
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Project Types
Starting Price
$270.00
Currency
USD

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    84%
  • Support
    99%
  • Fun
    91%
  • Value
    83%
  • Safety
    95%

Program Reviews (8)

Default avatar
Patricia
Female
22 years old
Los Angeles
San Diego State University

Volunteer for special needs !

9/10

I had a great experience volunteering at Pastoral Del Amor. It was an eye-opening experience where I met amazing individuals and assisted them with daily activities. We participated in making piñatas , bracelets, playing board games, exercising and going to the park. In addition I spent a lot of one on one time with each individual to focus on their special need. I was able to make a great connection with each individual and we were able to make progress towards their goals.

How can this program be improved?

I think this program can be improved by providing the volunteer with information about each individual at Pastoral prior to orientation .

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Patricia, Thanks for sharing! We are so glad to hear that you had a great experience volunteering at your Special Needs Care placement in Merida, Mexico. You have been an outstanding and dedicated volunteer and it has been a pleasure to have you join us. We wish you all the best and would love to have you back one day!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

Default avatar
Angelica
Female
22 years old
Mexico
Other

IVHQ

10/10

Great experience and volunteer program. Learned a lot about special needs. I was able to learn about each person's disability. I had a lot of one-on-one time with different kids. I made great relationships with each person. I was always busy with someone. We would play and do different learning activities. It was fun to see them learn and remember things each day. This is definantly an experience to remember.

How can this program be improved?

For my program it's best that volonteers learn about the disability of each student before meeting them. For the volonteer house, there should be AC.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Angelica, We are glad to hear that you have a great experience and learned a lot while on your volunteer program in Mexico. Thanks for your feedback and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

Default avatar
Helen
Female
25 years old
Shanghai, China
Other

Best Experience Ever! IVHQ Sri Lanka Special Needs Care Program

10/10

I participated in IVHQ Special Needs Care Program in Sri Lanka for two weeks. It consisted of one week of introduction and one week of actual volunteering.
During the first week, we were taken to all kinds of different activities in and around Kandy, our volunteer main base in Sri Lanka, including germ museum, spice garden, massage, cultural dance show etc.. You will have a chance to do all the stuffs most tourists come to Sri Lanka to accomplish and know your fellow volunteers better, who will be your teammates in later weeks.
The second week of the Special Needs Care was wonderful. We were placed to the disabled home in Kandy, where we were expected to participate in classroom setting, lunch feeding, and more importantly interaction with residents there, who are all differently abled. 30% of the residents there cannot speak, while around 10 of them cannot walk on their own. Before settling in the disabled home, they were abandoned, abused, rejected and now they are loved. No amount of love will be enough there. They need all the help they can have. This experience will definitely change your perspective of life. Never have I feel so sadened and yet blessed, depressed and yet enlightened, loving and loved.
I will recommend everyone to go there, however long or short.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Helen, Thanks for sharing your beautiful review. We are so glad to hear that you had a wonderful experience at your placement in Sri Lanka. It would be our pleasure to have you volunteer with us again in the future.

Default avatar
Angela
Female
24 years old
Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City University

Volunteering in Argentina

9/10

My time here has been nothing short of amazing and I believe it is all because of the people! The IVHQ staff was so accommodating! I have felt so at home with all of the support, communication, and security. The house was clean, in a safe area, with great cooking, and events scheduled on most evenings for entertainment. Advice on weekend travel was also such a nice feature! I cannot express just how great the staff is.

I came in wanting to do the community development project and ended up falling in love with the special needs programme. I was so grateful to lichi that we had the flexibility to try a range of placements. I have gained a new perspective on how people with special needs can thrive under various activities, I think my favourite part of this was meeting new lifelong friends. I got lost in the streets of Salta, saw tango in Buenos Aires, lived like a gaucho etc. with so many likeminded friends. I will even go on to see some of these friends in my future travel. i loved the feel of the volunteer house. Everyone is like family. I am so grateful for Jose and Ariel, the love and support they offer is indescribable. I'm tearing up as I write this because I feel like I am leaving my home. Villa Allende became my familiarity, where I would do my laundry, exercise and grocery shopping. It will be so hard to say goodbye. I am also very thankful for the fact I got to do so much travelling, Lichi was so helpful with organising trips, my trip to Iguazu was the highlight of my time here.

How can this program be improved?

As far as volunteering goes, I was disappointed about how much we were actually needed. I think that other placements could be investigated to see if more hands on work could be done. More description of what the placements are like in the program booklet. Make basic Spanish a requirement for the trip, I really struggled in the first few weeks. Longer placements -- I felt like I got a bit bored during or after as my placement was only 2 to 3 hours

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Angela, Thanks for your great review and thoughtful feedback. We are thrilled to hear that you were so warmly welcomed by our local team in Argentina. We often receive feedback on how awesome the Argentina team is and we are glad that this was your experience also. It was great to have you as an IVHQer and we hope you will join us again in the future.

Default avatar
Mei
Female
21 years old
Sydney, Australia
University of Sydney

Enriching is an understatement! (NBIC)

10/10

I think it's agreed that any travel is good travel, and no matter how good or bad the experience, you always come home with a huge sense of personal growth.

But my trip, working in special needs, went way above and beyond the expectations I had. And to ask me what was most memorable would be an impossible question to answer! With the children I spent time with, it was definitely the small things that were milestones, such as one boy going from not looking at me at all the first day, to smiling and making eye contact; really SEEING me and reciprocating a hug after 3 days. A different boy running up to give me a hug and say 'Hi' after not being with him for the weekend. Another child telling me that he loved me - making it even harder to face the fact that I would have to leave all these brave hearts.

We also were able to take some of the kids on a field trip to a resort and just play with them on the playground, explore the area with them, and take them into the swimming! The smiles on the kids faces were so heartwarming - they were so happy to be breaking away from their usual daily routine, being in a different place, and their excitement was priceless.

Also, I went into this program completely oblivious to the social aspect - I was merely going there to give my all to my placement - but the friendships, with other volunteers, that blossomed throughout this trip are so deep and unique that you really become family with these people who hold the same core values and morals as you, and that in itself is such a heartwarming feeling.

By the end of the month, it was so devastating to have to say goodbye, that I was kicking myself for not extending my stay, but I left with a heart so full of love and gratitude for all that I have gained from this experience. I can say with certainty that I will definitely be back - highly recommend!

How can this program be improved?

If volunteers could know earlier on where they would placed/if there was greater communication between the placement/in-country staff about the placement prior to the start date, they would be more aware and have more time to prepare any donations that they could bring from home/fundraise for their placement.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Mei, Thanks for taking the time to leave a thorough overview of your time volunteering in Cambodia. We are so glad to hear that you had such a meaningful experience. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we look forward to welcoming you on another program again in the future.

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Carolyn
Female
43 years old
Nanjing, China
Kansas State University

Music is Magical

10/10

It was my first day at the Special Needs Childcare center in Xi'an, China.
I had never worked with children with special needs before. The range of disabilities was big. We sat in classrooms with them at tables with many unengaged completely. I felt overwhelmed and limited in how I could help.
But, when we returned from lunch, they were all outside and dressed in these fantastic animal costumes! Little did I know, they were going to be performing for their families in a few days and practice was starting now. The teachers handed me an elephant costume and with lots of giggles, I was soon a part of the group.
The music began and everyone's energy matched our smiles! We had so much fun dancing and singing that afternoon. The music created magic to connect us.
As the week continued, the kids and I went to their favorite songs to share some very special moments together. Whether we sat drawing to the tunes or watched them share their talents playing instruments, it was then when I felt we were meant to spend this time together.

How can this program be improved?

I would recommend if possible that a person who is fluent in Mandarin be present on the team with anyone who is not fluent. We were fortunate to have a person on our team who was because I am not. This was extremely helpful in many situations to understand the small but important details of what was happening next or where and how we could best help. I would have missed a lot of useful information if our fluent speaker had not been on the team.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Carolyn, It's nice to hear from you. Thanks for sharing a little about your time in Xi'an. It's great to hear it was such a positive experience. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ!

Default avatar
Rebecca
Female
20 years old
Elland, UK

Brilliant Experience Volunteering at a Special Needs Centre in IVHQ China

10/10

I spent two months volunteering at a Special Needs centre in Xi'an in China, and had an absolutely amazing time. The volunteer work was difficult at times but incredibly rewarding. The centre had around 30 students, but we were primarily working with the younger group, which included 7 kids aged 4 to 14. Spending so much time with such a small group meant that we really got to know each of the kids, learning their likes and dislikes and understanding how we could best support them - it was lovely, although it made leaving incredibly difficult! During our time there we organised lots of activities - arts and crafts, singing songs, dancing, educational activities - which I think is important to do. There wasn't much structure at the centre, so bringing our own ideas (and resources) really made the experience much more enjoyable. Volunteering felt really worthwhile as there was clearly a lot of need at the centre. I had a brilliant time - they were really lovely kids and it was a pleasure to spend two months with them.

The support for volunteers here is really great too. Staying at the volunteer house was really lovely, as it felt so homely and the food was amazing! I met some fantastic people in Xi'an who really made the experience so much better.

China itself is such an amazing place to visit. There's lots to do around Xi'an in terms of sightseeing - there's the Muslim Quarter, the City Walls and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an itself, the Terracotta Warriors an hour or two away and the sacred mountain Hua Shan an hour away by fast train. I also got to do some travelling on the weekends, visiting Beijing (I saw the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, which were all amazing) and Chengdu (to see the Giant Pandas and the Grand Buddha at Leshan, which was so impressive). I would recommend coming for as long as you possibly can - there's so much to see in China, and I wish I had had more time to travel!

All in all, my experience in China was really amazing, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to travel and to make a difference.

How can this program be improved?

It might have been nice to have a bit more information about the project we working at before we started.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hey Rebecca, It's great to hear from you. We are glad that you had such a rewarding time in Xi'an with our local team and on your travels. Thanks for sharing your experience. Great to have you as an IVHQer!

Default avatar
Martha
Female
Campbell, CA
San Jose State University

IVHQ: NBIC Orphanage in Cambodia

10/10

I recently went to Cambodia to work at an orphanage for children and teens with special needs. I had no idea what to expect and I had many questions before my arrival. The IVHQ and in country staff were always available and responded quickly to all my questions and concerns. While I know that Cambodia is still a developing country, there was not one time that I felt unsafe at the volunteer house. The CVF staff at the volunteer house was very welcoming, always concerned about our safety, and I greatly appreciated their help with providing information for weekend trips. Meanwhile, the IVHQ staff would regularly send emails to see how we were doing thus far and if we had any concerns or problems. This was not my first time volunteering with IVHQ. IVHQ has many countries and programs to choose from at a very affordable price. I had a great experience my first time volunteering in Costa Rica, which is why I chose to volunteer with them again and I will continue to volunteer through them in the years to come.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Martha! We are so stoked that you volunteered with IVHQ for you second trip and that you will be volunteering with us again. Your safety is the most important thing to us so it's awesome to hear that you felt safe and supported throughout your adventure. See you next time! Thanks for being a dedicated IVHQer!

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IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) provides safe, unique, meaningful and extremely affordable volunteer programs in 35+ countries around the world, with a constantly expanding base. Programs are available in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, South America and the Pacific, where IVHQ works alongside local NGOs to

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