Volunteer in Refugee Relief Abroad

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Refugee Relief Programs

Volunteer in Refugee Relief Abroad


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.

Where to Volunteer

Refugees from several different conflicts are currently seeking aid in countries like Israel, Palestine, and Turkey.

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.

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.

Project Types

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.

Planning Your Trip

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?

Read more: How to Volunteer with Refugees Abroad

Contributed by Monica Grey

What People Are Saying

Volunteer & Study Arabic In Palestine (1-13 Weeks)

My time in Palestine at Excellence Center was very insightful. I volunteered with teaching refugees and had a lot of fun with the kids, they were keen to learn and were very excited to meet new people...
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Volunteer & Study Arabic In Palestine (1-13 Weeks)

I had such a wonderful time at the excellence center. It is hard to put into words how amazing this experience has been. Even though I only visited for a short time, it was such an incredible ten days...
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Volunteer & Study Arabic In Palestine (1-13 Weeks)

I’m a female medical student who is interested in joining Doctors Without Borders after I graduate, and to hopefully be stationed in West Asia. This experience with PEC is foundational to that, even...
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