So here we are at the next phase in our lives. We’re retired. Most of us are reasonably healthy, full of life and engaged in the world. We want to make a positive difference, do something special and meaningful.
But this doesn’t mean we have to sit back and drink coffee, lunch with friends, go to early-bird dinner specials and leave the fun to others.
Many of us are breaking the mold of what it’s like to be over 60. We’re starting businesses, traveling the world and entering into new relationships. We want to make a positive difference and do something meaningful. Volunteering overseas is an option we can all consider.
Research tells us that people over 50 are the best demographic for charitable donations. People in this age group have accumulated and grown throughout their lives and are now ready to give back.
The best examples of this are Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who are now distributing their accumulated wealth to make the world a better place. Their projects include eradicating polio on the planet and empowering the masses in Africa to overcome poverty and disease.
While we may not be billionaires downsizing our portfolio, we do have something wonderful to offer those less fortunate in faraway places.
We can volunteer. There are many worthy charities that desperately need help using the basic everyday skills we all have. From animal and child care, to gardening, renovating, painting, as well as coaching them on organizing and managing groups of people. The needs are endless.
Here are 7 great reasons to volunteer overseas:
All the money in the world can’t compensate for the good feelings we get when we help those less fortunate overcome their hardship.
Don’t you love how you feel when you see that big smile on the face of the child you helped, the mother you supported, or the man you helped rescue his cat. We all love to feel good. Giving back feels good.
Volunteering overseas gives us something ongoing to do with a set of activities and a schedule for doing them.
It’s more regular than volunteering once a week at a nearby hospice or animal shelter. Most overseas volunteering opportunities involve a daily work routine which mitigates boredom and/or the onset of depression that many of us fall into from a lack of purpose felt post-retirement.
The majority of us didn’t have careers that let us explore our passions. We had to find jobs that paid the bills, and feeding cats just doesn’t pay the electricity, water and rent due each month.
There are many opportunities with organizations involved in animal care, gardening, basic construction and athletic activities. We can explore our passions, while giving back.
As we get older and our ‘work life’ ends, we can begin to feel useless, that we are no longer needed. Volunteering helps us find value in our lives. It improves both our self-value and self-esteem.
Through volunteering we feel we are positively contributing to society. We see value in our efforts and that it is important to something bigger than ourselves.
Our activities and interactions begin to shrink with retirement and our children leaving the nest. Life calms down, however sometimes this calm can lead to boredom and depression.
Volunteering overseas provides an adventure, it puts excitement into our lives. If you feel stuck in a mundane daily routine, overseas volunteering should be considered.
We are never too old to learn new things, but often it is a challenge to take a course. There are endless choices for on-line learning but deciding what course to take can be daunting.
Volunteering allows us to learn new skills and techniques. We can explore our passions and hone in on skills that are not available from our living rooms.
Whether you are volunteering with children, animals or another aspect of community life, you are always learning new things and new ways to do old things.
The learning is reinforced and refined each day, and often we can enhance it by exploring new and continuing volunteering opportunities.
Our future does not have to become boring and uneventful as we age. Volunteering overseas gives us a chance to shape our future and fill it with meaning and value.
We can consider overseas volunteering for an adventure with a friend, a summer project or even use it as a break from the cold winter months. The possibilities are endless.
There are many excellent charities that need people for overseas volunteering. Lanta Animal Welfare, an animal rescue charity in southern Thailand, provides the perfect opportunity for senior people to volunteer and care for rescued cats and dogs.
There are also opportunities for interacting with the local Thais and with the visitors to the shelter, or even contributing to their marketing and outreach initiatives.
The work isn’t difficult. You volunteer alongside others from all over the planet. Like most charities in the third-world, it offers accommodation. Check out their website and consider volunteering with them.
There are many online organizations for overseas work and volunteering. Hovos is an example of an organization where people who are looking for foreign work can post their details.
To help you assess the organizations that specialize in overseas volunteering and work opportunities, this article compares and contrasts some of the more popular sites. Here is another article you might find useful.
Volunteering overseas is something we can all consider and explore. It can be as physical or as passive as we want. We can indulge our passions and interests, as we make a positive contribution to those in need. How good is that!
Have you considered volunteering overseas? If so, which organizations have you had experience with? Please share any recommendations and tips in the comments below.