Self help

Helping Underprivileged Communities on Your Holiday

It’s a big world out there and being lucky enough to explore it is something you should take advantage of.

However, it’s important not to forget that for every person who’s in a position to spend a week, month or a year travelling, there is another who may never leave the village they were born in. There are underprivileged communities all around the world, whose warm spirit and generosity help complete countless travellers’ trips.

With this in mind, I think giving something back to the people you meet on your journey by doing volunteer work abroad is incredibly worthwhile and will only serve to make your adventure even more special.

Here are three countries where I believe you can make the greatest difference to the lives of the people you meet.


Cambodia is one of Asia’s true gems, but it has a dark history and the wounds left by its past are only just beginning to heal. This is a country relatively new to the traveller’s radar, but it’s fast becoming a must-visit stop, thanks to its rich beauty and fascinating culture.

With the aftershocks of the civil war and genocide still reverberating, there is so much good you can do here. Among the most worthwhile is to volunteer at one of the country’s orphanages, where you’ll be able to help teach these youngsters.

Assisting them in getting to grips with English will give them a real chance of escaping the poverty they grew up in. Of course, it’s not all serious – and there’s also plenty of opportunity to have fun. Help put a smile on these kids’ faces by organising activities like acting or team sports for them to enjoy.

“cambodia ankor vat”


Nestled within the Himalayas, Nepalis a mysterious country and also one of the world’s poorest. Becoming a republic in 2008, it’s a place that has attracted thrill seekers for years, as this is where you’ll find Mount Everest.

However, many of the people live in poverty – which is where you can help. There is a variety of community projects running across the country for you to choose from, whether you want to teach in schools or build houses.

Among your options are helping out at a school or orphanage, teaching English to the Buddhist monks at one of the monasteries or building day care and resource centres, along with extending existing community properties.

“nepal mountains”


Uganda is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa and if you’re on a tour of the continent you should stop here.

However, it’s also home to one of the highest populations of orphans in the world and while there are community projects established out here doing all they can to help, they need more volunteers.

Your time here will be greatly appreciated and you’ll be called upon to assist in a variety of ways, from making home visits at the houses of some of the poorest families to training the children – many of whom live on the streets – in basic skills.

There’s not always a lot of laughter among kids who are living without any parents, or who are nursing loved ones who have been struck down by the AIDS/HIV epidemic. Put a smile back on the faces of these young people by organising games for them to play and helping them to feel cared for again.