Since the outbreak of civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has opened its borders to accommodate over 1 million refugees. Although volunteers are needed to assist, projects working with refugees almost always require trained and skilled volunteers. You can learn more about helping as a skilled volunteer or donating to the cause by contacting relief organizations like the International Rescue Committee or UN Refugee Agency.
Positioned between two continents, Turkey is a fascinating nation which is a gateway to Europe and Asia. Turkey has a very rich history and heritage. It is home to many historical cities like Ankara, Izmir, and the famous Istanbul. Turkey has opportunities for volunteers to work on a variety of projects, and through volunteering, individuals will discover a different aspect of the nation.
The main language in Turkey is Turkish, with many people also speaking Arabic. English isn’t known spoken very widely which leads to a need for native English speakers to teach English in the nation. There are many options for volunteers who want to teach English, including teaching in schools or home stays.
Although parts of Turkey are well developed, there remain parts that need extensive work. There are thus many opportunities for volunteers to help towards Turkey’s development. As a volunteer, you will have an opportunity to work on various projects, like constructing schools, houses, and community centers.
Many areas of Turkey are devoted to farming and organic farming in particular. There are quite a few opportunities for volunteers interested in farming. As a volunteer, you will work on an organic farm, assisting with farming, harvesting, and upkeeping.
How to Save Money While Volunteering
Turkey is a popular tourist destination which means that there are many shops and restaurants targeting tourists and these places tend to be quite pricey. If you’re on a tight budget, try to avoid popular tourist hotspots and instead try and shop and eat in places frequented by locals. Try and avoid taxis and walk or use public transportation as much as possible.
Best Places To Volunteer
Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Bursa are all popular cities for volunteering. Below, we've shared a bit more about Istanbul.
Often mistaken for the capital of Turkey because of its status as a financial and cultural center, Istanbul is the most populous and most exciting city in Turkey. Istanbul’s status as a hub center isn’t just a recent development; the city has stood at the center of many different empires throughout history making it a historically and religiously diverse place to visit. Remnants of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires can be seen all around the city.
Even though you’ll be volunteering in Istanbul, don’t forget to take time off to enjoy what the city has to offer, such as hammams (Turkish baths), nargile (hookah/water pipe), cruises around the Mediterranean, and of course football.
Health and Safety of Volunteers in Turkey
Volunteers in Turkey are recommended to be vaccinated for Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid. If you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors, make sure to vaccinated for Rabies. For more information visit MD Travel Health.
Turkey is a safe nation. Violent crime is rare and tourists don’t need to be too concerned for their safety. However, it's important to watch out for pickpockets in crowded areas, and check on the current safety situation before departure.