The logistics of international volunteering have been greatly complicated by Covid-19 but you can still find ways to support disadvantaged individuals in communities around the world.
In the time of Covid-19, you are not limited to simply donating money via Paypal or signing online petitions. The beauty of volunteering is there is no fixed and universal model. It’s a versatile industry that – when at its best – continually innovates to give optimal support to those most in need. Well-run charities and aid organisations can, and do, adapt to all circumstances.
For months already, millions of people all around the world have been helping people in-need, however they can, and wherever they are. ‘Hands-on’ roles still exist. Well-organised charities simply have to ensure that all volunteers are properly protected, for example, wearing face-masks, practising social distancing and ensuring deliveries are ‘contactless’.
Helping from home
For expat partners, who cannot hit the front-line, you can still be part of the supply chain while staying safe in your community. For example, you can help to gather supplies and medicines that can be shipped to those in need.
Online initiatives have also risen to the fore. One member of our community, who is based in Seattle, joined a ‘virtual network’ that sourced and shipped vital supplies to Wuhan at the peak of the Covid-19 crisis. Many more millions have been offering their services for skill-based volunteering roles all around the world. For example, coaches offering free sessions to those in duress, or IT experts developing web solutions.
So what’s possible in your situation? To find out how you can help from your host country, first focus on networking and connecting with others (individuals and organisations). Ask around. Identify a cause / mission you feel passionate about and, as always, perform due diligence. When it comes to volunteering, accountability is crucial. Well-organised missions must know exactly what communities really need and operate in sustainable ways.
Even if you are trying to organise your own small charity run with expat friends, make sure you seek local input and guidance. You need to be sure the aid you wish to deliver is welcome and helpful. But rest assured, there are ways to volunteer in the time of Covid-19. Bonus extra: if you’re feeling the strain, collaborating with others for a common cause will bring you emotional relief.
This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.