As the largest, most populous continent, Asia offers endless opportunities to volunteer and make a meaningful, lasting impact. Collaborate with local organisations doing real development work, participate in cultural exchanges, immerse yourself in new communities and make memories that last a lifetime.
From the windswept mountains of the Himalayas to the crashing waves of the Thai seashore, GVI offers multiple life-changing locations to volunteer in Asia. During your volunteer experience, you’ll also have time to immerse yourself in the continent’s languages, traditions, architecture and history.
By volunteering in Asia with GVI, you’ll make an important contribution through hands-on, meaningful work. Because we collaborate with local organisations to really understand the needs on the ground, you can be confident that your impact will be felt long after your volunteer period.
Whether you’re interested in supporting local women’s empowerment initiatives, teaching English in schools, promoting global health practices, skills development through sport, or something in between, GVI has a program for you. To help you pick a specific location, we’ve laid out descriptions of the different GVI projects in South and Southeast Asia.
Programs we offer:
We offer many of these programs in multiple locations. Head to our locations tab to find activities in a specific hub.
GVI currently operates in three countries in Asia: Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia. We offer a diverse range of volunteer opportunities in each of these locations, covering everything from teaching to business skills development and more. While you volunteer in Asia with GVI, you’ll also have time to travel and experience the region.
Our volunteer projects are headquartered at our Siem Reap base, in northwestern Cambodia. Activities include early childhood education in the local community, skills and language training with girls and women, and awareness building on global health practices.
Experience the dichotomy of Siem Reap – both a bustling city and a hub of cultural and historical importance. Travel slightly further afield and you’ll find yourself walking through the countryside, surrounded by lush natural landscapes.
The ultimate destination for the adventurous traveller. Volunteer in Nepal, where your home base will be in the vibey town of Pokhara, in the Himalayan foothills. Contribute to early childhood education, women’s empowerment, international development or public health while volunteering among one of the friendliest communities in the world. If you’re the active type, join our Everest Base Camp Trek and volunteering program.
Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting some of the Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples in the region, such as Tal Barahi Temple or Shanti Stupa. Visit Kathmandu and see why it’s a world-class tourist destination. Explore the beautiful Phewa Lake and take in the blissful mountain scenery, or head up the mountains on one of our group treks.
Thailand combines rich history and culture with lush jungles and beautiful beaches. We operate in two locations in Thailand – Chiang Mai and Phang Na. In Phang Na, in southern Thailand, you can volunteer on education initiatives with local community members. In Chiang Mai, your work will support community development projects.
There’s plenty to see around Thailand in your free time, which we encourage you to do! Visit one of the iconic temples like Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. Or learn about the widely practised belief system, Theravada Buddhism. Join a cooking experience with community members and learn to prepare traditional dishes.
We put significant emphasis on safety and ethics in all of our volunteer activities. When you volunteer in Asia with GVI, you can be assured that your health, wellbeing and peace of mind are our priorities. We promise you support before, during and after your GVI experience. At each of our bases we also have comprehensive health and safety policies.
For our under 18 volunteers, we have a parent info pack that explains what GVI volunteering in Asia is all about and how we look out for our younger volunteers. Our staff are on call 24-hours a day to ensure that our participants feel safe and cared for, no matter where they are in the world.
All of our programs, whether focused on women’s empowerment, childhood education, business skills development or otherwise, are rooted in local experience and aligned with local needs. We communicate with our partners on the ground who assist with monitoring and maintaining ethical standards and practices.
If you’d like to read more about our ethics, we have useful information in our ten ethical principles and five human empowerment principles and our actions against oppression.
GVI does not run any activities in residential care institutions, like orphanages. This is based on decades of research that shows the harm caused by institutionalised care to children. We instead work with local organisations to reunify children with families if possible, or to find a family environment for each child.
We also have a Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy, which we have implemented across our organisation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all involved.
Is there an age limit on volunteering in Asia?
Not at all. GVI does not have a maximum age limit for our volunteers in Asia. While we welcome anyone over 18 to join us for a gap year, volunteer holiday, or sabbatical, our under 18 volunteers can join one of our teen programs.
Do I need any qualifications or skills to volunteer in Asia?
You don’t! Most of our volunteers come with minimal experience in their specific volunteer area. We do on-the-ground training to prepare you for your projects. While some skills might be useful in tasks like teaching or construction, we don’t expect you to come with any preexisting knowledge. If you’d like to find a program specifically aligned to your skillset, speak with one of our friendly enrolment managers.
How long are the volunteer programs?
You can volunteer in Asia for anything from one to 24 weeks. If you’d like to combine multiple locations into one long volunteer experience, speak with our enrolment team.
Is it safe to volunteer in Asia?
Absolutely. We take every precaution to make sure your journey to and from our programs is safe and organised, and that you’re confident and comfortable throughout your time with us. Read more in the safety and ethics tab.
What’s the accommodation like?
Each location offers different types of accommodation, from communal housing to homestays, bed and breakfasts, and even hotels. Enquire with one of our enrolment managers if you’d like to secure a housing upgrade, as this may also be available.