Every single day, political turmoil forces people out of their homes and countries. Having to start their lives from scratch, these refugees oftentimes struggle to receive even basic human necessities.

By volunteering abroad with refugee relief, you can make a difference overseas. Typically, these projects will involve working in a refugee camp, teaching English, providing medical assistance (if you're qualified), or supporting organizations -- such as the IRC or Red Cross -- through administrative work.

Keep in mind that there are also lots of ways to get involved long-term with refugee resettlement at home, and you don't necessarily have to volunteer abroad to help the cause.

Europe / North America

Whether you're in your home country or abroad, volunteers can assist with refugee resettlement (e.g. helping refugees relocated to the country get settled, figure out the bus system, adjust to life in a new place) in Europe and North America.

Northern Africa / Middle East

Refugees from several different conflicts are currently seeking aid in countries like Israel / Palestine, Turkey, and elsewhere in Northern Africa / the Middle East.

Especially if you have proficiency in Arabic, your skills could be of use in this region. Just make sure to check on the current political climate before selecting a destination in this region.

Kenya

The world’s biggest refugee camp exists in Dadaab, Kenya. Kenya is actually planning on closing the refugee camp, because the “facility housing Somalis displaced… poses a threat”.

Nonetheless, Kenya -- and particularly in Nairobi -- is an option for refugee volunteer projects in mainland Africa.

Asia

Burmese refugees have typically taken up temporary residence in Thailand. The refugees arrived in the camps in 1984, and some of them have never left. There remains a demand for volunteers to work with refugee relief in Thailand to this day.

There are also populations of Tibetan refugees in India that volunteers can work with.

Medical Relief

Many of the refugee camps do not have access to proper medical care and medicine. If you have a medical degree or background, helping with medical relief in a refugee camp is a great option to consider.

Teaching English and Other Skills

Many camps lack the resources for education. By teaching children and adults English, you can help them prepare to adapt to a wider variety of foreign countries and gain a valuable life skill. Certain programs also look for teachers who have other skills to offer, such as teaching IT and general computer skills to the refugees of the camp.

Below is a snapshot of some tips to help you plan your trip volunteering with refugees abroad. For more details, Go Overseas also has a more comprehensive guide on how to volunteer with refugees abroad.

Choosing Your Program

Volunteers can help for as long or as short as they’d like, depending on the volunteer commitment. Some volunteer trips can take place over one week, while some can take place over many months and even up to a year. You should volunteer for however long you’re able to and however long you feel comfortable with.

IRC, the International Rescue Committee, is one of major organizations for refugee relief abroad and at home. You can start planning your trip by browsing some of the programs on the site to get a better idea of what is offered and what suits your skill set.

Alternatively, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, takes volunteers to help refugees in refugee camps. Even if you don’t want to physically go abroad, even donating a small amount of money will go towards the movement.

Questions to Ask

  • Is the company you're volunteering with reputable?
  • What necessary precautions do they take to ensure your safety?
  • How long is the program?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What are your living conditions like?
  • How many other volunteers are there?
  • What is the minimum age requirement?
  • Do they provide transportation, meals, housing, or even a stipend?
  • Do I need a visa to enter my country of choice?

Contributed by Monica Grey

Refugee Relief Programs

Displaying 1 - 15 of 51 programs
Projects Abroad
Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in Mexico
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Love Volunteers
Make a REAL difference in Ghana - From just $399!
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International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Belgium from $465
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9.4 •10 reviews

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163 reviews
The Excellence Center
Volunteer and Learn Arabic In Palestine
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9.31 •163 reviews

Are you interested in coming to Palestine? Would you like to live with...

The Excellence Center
Teach English in Germany with The Excellence Center
Germany
10 •3 reviews

If you have the skills to teach English in Germany as a foreign...

SB Overseas
Learn Arabic and Teach English to Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon
Lebanon
9.5 •4 reviews

SB OverSeas is now looking for enthusiastic volunteers to come join us...

The Palestinian Center - Go Palestine
Volunteer with Palestinian Refugees
Palestine
10 •3 reviews

The Volunteer with Palestinian Refugees program is an ideal...

Volunteers For Peace (VFP)
Volunteer Abroad in India with Volunteers for Peace
India
8.83 •6 reviews

Volunteers For Peace (VFP) is a Vermont-based non-profit organization...

The Palestinian Center - Go Palestine
Volunteer with Palestinian Children
Palestine
10 •2 reviews

Would you like to come to Palestine and volunteer with Palestinian...

Volunteer Palestine
Volunteer at a Refugee Camp in Palestine
Palestine
10 •3 reviews

When you are a Palestinian refugee, you are a person who lost their...

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)
Refugee Support Crisis - Greece - IVI Volunteers
Greece
10 •1 review

Greece is in the grip of a full-scale humanitarian crisis under the...

Solutions for Life Initiative Ghana
Volunteer in Refugee Camps in Ghana
Ghana
9.33 •3 reviews

The Buduburam refugee camp is a home for Liberians who fled their...

Involve Travel
Teaching English to Refugee Children Volunteer Program in Malaysia
Malaysia
10 •2 reviews

Giving a helping hand to the refugee kids by teaching English in a fun...

Abandoned Children's Foundation International Volunteering
Teaching, Orphanage, and Medical programs in Kenya
Kenya
10 •1 review

The Abandoned Children’s Foundation International Volunteering (ACFIV)...

What People Are Saying

I had an amazing time volunteering with IVHQ Belgium and Serve the City Brussels. My overall experience on this international volunteer program was 100% worth it. I have never been outside of the...

Project Leader Jennie and I at Le Phare. We prepared and served food for the refugees and migrants.

IVHQ and Serve the city in Brussel are like a big family helping people who need help. As a one-week volunteer, I just thought I could only do some basic work for them, but to my surprise, Aneles was...

take a early tram to the place we serve food to people and have fun on the tram

Overall a great atmosphere for a productive learning/teaching environment for students and teachers alike. Winter is not so cold but tends to be less people I personally enjoyed the attention afforded...

Breakfast with friends at Excellence Center cira 10am

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