A senior volunteer working with a child in Senegal in a Projects Abroad program.

International volunteer organization Projects Abroad is expanding in countries across the globe to give volunteers the opportunity to make a difference.

With an already vast collection of projects and internships available throughout the world, Projects Abroad is offering new programs in Jamaica, Tanzania, Fiji, India and the Philippines.

Whether they’re tackling the issue of human rights abuse in Jamaica, building a new school for Maasai children in Tanzania, or helping disadvantaged communities in India overcome poverty and start businesses, senior volunteers and those of all ages can get involved in these impactful opportunities.

“Projects Abroad’s close ties with the communities we work in allow us to regularly expand the ways our volunteers can make a positive contribution in those communities,” said Thomas Pastorius Jr., vice president of Projects Abroad.

Projects Abroad places a great deal of value on senior volunteers, for with age comes a mixture of experience, skills and patience that younger volunteers simply cannot offer.

Jamaica: Human rights

Projects Abroad volunteers on the human rights internship in Jamaica work with an organization called Women Incorporated. Based in Montego Bay, Women Incorporated is one of the few organizations in Jamaica that actively supports women’s rights. Volunteers focus on work that supports abuse victims and empowers women through workshops that focus on civil, cultural, economic and sexual rights.

New school in Tanzania

Projects Abroad recently purchased land that will become a new school for children from Meserani, a Maasai community. Classrooms, toilets, offices, a kitchen and a playground will be built by volunteers to support more than 60 young children.

“It is an incredible opportunity to make a substantial and long-term contribution to the Maasai community,” explains Glory Matoi, country director for Projects Abroad Tanzania.

Microfinance in India

In India, Projects Abroad works with a local non-governmental organization to give people the opportunity to build a sustainable future through entrepreneurship and small businesses. Its interns gain practical experience designing and conducting training programs, deciding how to disburse loans and compiling data for the financial year.

Nutrition in Fiji

Poor diets and unhealthy lifestyles in Fiji have led to a prevalence of diabetes and heart disease in many adults. Projects Abroad has introduced a health and wellness program based on a 21-day challenge that promotes healthy living, exercise, diet and nutrition. Volunteers get involved in general health assessments, workshops and presentations, and cooking healthy meals together with the participants. It’s an opportunity to gain practical experience abroad as well as work alongside qualified professionals.

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. For details on volunteering overseas, visit www.projects-abroad.org.

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Send questions and comments to Southwest Senior columnist William Tomicki by email to wtomicki@aol.com

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