Friday, 5 August 2011 3:49 PM
Embarking on adventurous trips abroad can be some of the most incredible experiences of your life, giving you the chance explore far-flung destinations and totally different cultures. By choosing to volunteer overseas, you can make this kind of break all the more memorable.
Worlds away from typical tourist travel, Africa volunteering will give you the opportunity to really get under the skin of this remarkable destination – and make a tremendous difference to the places you visit.
Indeed, there are a variety of programmes based in amazing African destinations that allow you to work with local communities on various projects, from education and construction to disease awareness.
Among these is the Zambia building and wildlife experience, during which you can assist local people with immensely worthwhile tasks, such as building new homes. There is a large array of projects you can contribute to here in addition to construction, including teaching schemes and raising awareness about HIV.
Meanwhile, you could head out on a game drive in Chobe National Park in Botswana during your stay too – something that's certain to make for fantastic memories.
Alternatively, Uganda is another destination crying out for volunteers for community work. This location has one of the planet's highest orphan populations and the programme here aims to improve the lives of youngsters affected by HIV/AIDS.
Indeed, without the help of volunteers here, many children would be rendered homeless and faced with no other option than to live on the streets.
During your time working on this project, your primary role will be to carry out home visits with the aim of identifying the families in need of help. However, there are several additional ways you can contribute to the local community.
These include training orphans in various practical skills, such as bricklaying and sewing, as well as helping out with activities like sports.
While you're here, you can embark on a number of excursions during your free time to experience a little more of the country. Lake Victoria and Murchiston Falls National Park are just two of the amazing spots you can visit before your trip draws to a close.
Another option is to volunteer abroad in Cape Town. Helping five to 12-year-olds improve their reading skills, you will work with youngsters selected by their headmaster on a one-to-one basis.
You will spend an hour a week with each child working with them for half an hour at a time twice a week, with the goal of improving their reading skills, firing up a passion for reading and improving their future prospects as a whole.
And as illiteracy is believed to be one of the key obstacles for South Africa to overcome in order to create a future based on equal opportunities, this trip could prove to be particularly rewarding.
Meanwhile, you'll have your weekends free to explore this fascinating destination. If you're particularly keen to embark on adventurous or niche excursions, you can speak to your tour operator about organising trips such as wine tours and shark cage diving.
Whether you're intending to jet off on a gap year, take a break from your career or simply give a little bit back to the world during your annual leave, volunteering trips can be incredibly satisfying and worthwhile.
Allowing you to understand more about the places you visit and make a real difference to local communities, these kinds of programmes provide unforgettable experiences.