Volunteering – a great way to travel

Here’s a great way to see the world and give something back to communities that need help. Australian Red Cross plans to send hundreds of volunteers on assignment across Africa, Asia and the Pacific over the next three years, under the new Australian Volunteers for International Development program launched on May 26.

Volunteers will work with the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and its partner organizations, helping to build healthy, functional and self-reliant communities in developing countries. The first group of volunteers selected under the Australian Government-funded program heads off on assignments to countries such as Cambodia, Kenya and the Philippines next month. Volunteers will be supported with airfares, modest living allowances, accommodation, medical and travel insurance, pre-departure training, and in-country support.

Australian Red Cross has been selected to recruit and support volunteers under the Australian Volunteers for International Development program.

“Asia Pacific, home to our closest neighbours, is a region prone to natural disasters, with large pockets of entrenched poverty and disadvantage,” says Australian Red Cross director of services and international operations Michael Raper.

“Volunteers have the ability to make a huge contribution to international development; this is about everyday Australians working with some of the world’s most vulnerable people meet their most urgent needs.”

Volunteer assignments will include positions in human resources, disaster management, fundraising, marketing, social work and IT. Most jobs will fit into one of five areas of need: disaster preparedness and recovery, health, social inclusion, strengthening civil society and blood services. There will also be a focus on climate change and gender issues.

“Volunteering is likely to be one of the toughest jobs you will ever have, but it can also be one of the most rewarding. You will be immersed in a new culture, become part of the community and see the real impact of your work on people’s lives,” says Raper.

Assignments will range from three months to two years and will mostly be in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, though there will be a small number of assignments to the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East. Information about assignments is at www.ausaid.gov.au/volunteer, and they are open to Australian citizens and Permanent Residents aged 18 through 80.

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