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Volunteer for building and construction projects and use all your practical skills for a good cause...

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Volunteer for Building & Construction Projects

Why volunteer abroad for construction?

Developing countries around the world are home to countless impoverished communities living in terrible conditions. Entire families reside in cardboard shacks, lacking all amenities. Some areas have been affected by natural disasters and need help with reconstruction while other communities simply lack resources and manpower to work on the structural improvements and renovation measures of facilities like schools and day care centers.

According to the latest United Nations study on this problem back in 2005, around 1,6 billion people worldwide lacked adequate housing . It is estimated that these numbers have only grown in the past decade and not only developing countries are encountering a growing number of homeless people on their streets.

Governments generally lack the resources to support local communities who then rely on private organizations and NGOs for help. In order to offer the required help and support, these organizations need help from volunteers who are willing to contribute time and funds to their programs. By focusing your efforts to work on a construction project abroad, you are impacting real people and families. You are literally building them a better future and providing them a safe habitat and future opportunities.

There are constructions projects scattered around the world, from Sri Lanka to Costa Rica, Peru or the Philippines. They have various goals ranging from building schools or homes to renovation programs for community centers and sanitary facilities. Their communal goal, however, remains giving back to the local community and providing better living conditions to those less fortunate.

What will I do as a volunteer for construction?

Each project will differ depending on their focus and goal. Some projects may require volunteers who have some experience, but in most cases, organizations are grateful for volunteers who have a good work ethic and aren’t shy of some manual labor. We have listed possible projects you will help with as a volunteer in construction:

  • Building homes for poor or underprivileged families and individuals
  • Building schools and engaging in renovation tasks
  • Renovating homes or community houses
  • Building new homes after a natural disaster (hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, etc.)
  • Building medical facilities
  • Construction of an irrigation system/ greenhouse
  • Construction of a rainwater harvesting tank
  • Construction of a library or other community infrastructure
  • Construction of orphanages/ clinics
  • Digging Wells

Volunteers with an engineering background will be a great asset to construction projects abroad as they can provide insights and offer improvements or solutions. This isn’t necessary, however, volunteers without any experience are equally welcome and can count on some basic training in the construction tasks that need to be done.

Tasks will depend on the stage of the project and the amount of time volunteers work on the project. The longer the commitment to the construction project, the more tasks you will get to do as a volunteer. Most construction projects will require a certain time commitment from their volunteers. Volunteers will be expected to work on their programs from 9 am until 4 pm which is similar to a normal working day.

Don’t worry though, there will be time off with opportunities to explore your wonderful surroundings. Most projects will take place very close to the local community so you will have a lot of contact with locals and understand the impact of your work. They will be sincerely grateful for your time and efforts to their cause and will be sure to show you their gratitude.

You’re probably wondering what type of tasks you will be asked to do while you volunteer in construction. Construction tasks vary during the project. Let’s take a look at some of the most common tasks:

  • Building outdoor structures
  • Painting
  • Screwing metal scaffolding
  • Trimming and preparing cement blocks
  • Erecting walls
  • Leveling the ground
  • Constructing roofs
  • Putting down floors
  • Maintaining building
  • Renovation tasks on older buildings

Skills that are needed as a volunteer for construction

For those of you still on the fence whether volunteering abroad in construction would be a good fit, there are a few personality traits which are great to have as a volunteer in construction projects. It’s not necessary to tick all of the boxes of course, but it could give you an indication whether a construction program would be something you would like to volunteer for.

It would be great if volunteers in construction have:

  • a social mindset
  • a good work ethic
  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • adaptability
  • problem-solving ability
  • enthusiasm
  • resilience
  • a non-judgmental approach and respect for diversity
  • a professional attitude to work
  • a strong regard for health and safety
  • eagerness to travel

What language skills are required?

English is the main language on all projects abroad so it’s important that volunteers have a good understanding of English. This is important to communicate with the staff at the project center, the local community and other volunteers in your program.

For projects in South America, it would help if you have a basic knowledge of Spanish prior to going as most locals don’t speak any English. Knowing some Spanish words would definitely help kickstart your volunteer adventure in countries like Peru or Costa Rica.

Best places to volunteer for construction

Once you have decided to volunteer abroad in a construction and renovation program, you may be wondering where in the world you would like to do so. A volunteer project in construction will most likely take you to developing countries in South America, Africa or Asia but also less privileged communities in more developed countries like Germany and Portugal are in need of volunteers to help out with building tasks as well.

Is there is a particular part of the world you have always wanted to travel to or a culture you would like to learn more about? This is your opportunity to combine travel with a meaningful contribution to communities that are in need of your help and support. There may be a language you have always wanted to learn which could be a factor to take into account as you select your perfect program.

The Caribbean, Brazil, Costa Rica and Peru are South American countries where your volunteer journey can lead you. Africa has several projects in Central and West Africa. Madagascar is another option for those eager to discover what this tropical island has in store while Asian countries in South East Asia along with India and Mongolia have several constructions projects ongoing that are awaiting motivated volunteers. Volunteers craving sandy beaches and clear blue water can even volunteer in Fiji.

Top 5 benefits of volunteering for construction

There’s no doubt that volunteering abroad in itself is a fantastic thing to do. By doing so, you are giving less fortunate communities a better quality of life and building towards a better future. Besides doing good for others, let's have a look at how this experience can benefit you.

1. Happiness

Most people will agree that helping others feels great. Research shows that the act of contribution makes people feel happier because it gives them a sense of purpose. Being able to contribute to other people’s well-being is another source of happiness and brings people together.

2. Practical and personal experience

By volunteering in construction, you will gain very practical knowledge and experience regarding construction activities. This may come in handy in the future but more importantly, the experience in your volunteer program will teach you valuable life lessons you will take with you on your life journey.

3. Boost your career

Volunteering abroad is always a great achievement to list on your CV. It shows that you are passionate about a cause and willing to donate your time and efforts to work towards a better future. Employers value qualities like that very much so it might come in handy at some point.

4. People

Not only will you be connecting with locals but you will also get to know other volunteers and staff who are passionate about the same cause. You’re destined to meet inspiring people and develop meaningful relationships while you volunteer in construction. You will be making a significant difference in people’s lives and witness their appreciation for your efforts, first hand.

5. Travel

This is the ideal opportunity to combine travel with something meaningful. Always wanted to discover a certain part of the world, like Fiji, the Philippines, Peru or Costa Rica? This is your chance to explore these places while contributing your valuable time and build local communities a better future.

How do I get started?

You’re determined to become a volunteer for construction and you’ve found some volunteer opportunities you’re passionate about. What’s next? Let’s take a look at the first 3 steps which will send you on your way to volunteering in a construction program:

  1. Check whether there’s a match between the project and your skills.
  2. Take a look at the location of the project and decide whether it would be a location you are willing to travel to.
  3. Get in touch with the organization and see whether your expectations and the schedule of the program match up.

You’re almost done, hang in there. Once you know your destination, take the following 2 steps before setting off on your constructive adventure!

  1. Look into the visa requirements for the country you will volunteer in.
  2. Make sure you have a valid passport.

When these items are sorted, you are good to go!

Travel safe and get ready to help a construction program in some of the most exotic locations in the world! Local communities need your help. Help build them a better future!