How to Volunteer in Vietnam

You can change lives. You can make friends. You can really experience Vietnam. So check out volunteering opportunities today!

Want to volunteer in Vietnam? It is a great way to meet new people, contribute to a variety of causes and impact the communities you work with, wherever you are in the country. I mean, there’s only so much time you can spend at the clubs, right?

It doesn’t matter if you’re foreign or Vietnamese. There are several NGOs in Vietnam that offer volunteer opportunities to work with both people and animals. These nonprofits encourage social development among the various projects.

What to know before you sign up

Volunteer in Vietnam

First, you should make a decision based on interest and/or experience. Whether it’s working with local shelters, children and education, health issues, or animal causes, there are many NGOs in Vietnam that can provide volunteer opportunities across the board. 

Be aware that the charities, nonprofits and NGOs rely heavily on volunteer and community resources to meet their anticipated goals. Financial resources might be slightly more limited than what you’re used to elsewhere. But the causes are just as, if not more, important and meaningful to the community. 

There are also a number of organizations that provide potential volunteers the opportunity to work in the local community — for a fee. Some of these programs provide good work to those in need, but be cautious of signing up for a project that requires a fee from you to volunteer. Most organizations in Vietnam are happy to have you lend an extra hand. They will gladly agree to do so without asking for any sort of compensation.

Where to look for opportunities

Volunteer in Vietnam

You can check out Vufo NGO Resource Center, which currently holds the largest database of NGOs in Vietnam. The center lists current openings and opportunities for different organizations in their respective cities. 

Another website to find local opportunities is Idealist.org. You can filter your search by location and see any recent listings in the area that may be of interest to you. 

You can find more formal working agreements too. There are also a number of international organizations from supporting countries that offer “placement volunteers” for voluntary service programs in Vietnam. Some of these are Voluntary Service Overseas, Australian Volunteers and the United Nation’s program, UN Volunteers. These programs have a slightly different structure than ad hoc volunteer work but can provide just as rewarding of an outcome. 

Where your work matters

Volunteer in Vietnam

So, you decided on the cause for which you want to volunteer in Vietnam. Now you can finally start contacting organizations for opportunities.

Maybe you want to help kids and families. Saigon’s Children Charity in Ho Chi Minh City works to close the gap between adequate education and social status. This gives families the chance to send their kids to decent schools, regardless of their financial situations. 

Or perhaps you prefer to focus on protecting animals. You can check out ARC (Animal and Rescue Care) Vietnam in Saigon. Here you can walk rescue dogs, feed stray kittens in the shelters, and clean the facilities for rescued animals. The ARC also regularly hosts fundraising events. It’s just another way to work on behalf of the shelter. 

There are also organizations that aim to provide safe shelters to women and children in Ho Chi Minh City who suffer from trauma or trafficking. Opportunities are available at the Ho Chi Minh City Child Welfare Foundation and the Little Rose Warm Shelter for Girls. The women and children here are often recovering from previous experiences and difficult personal situations. Thus this opportunity can be particularly rewarding. You might provide comfort to someone in need.

Then there’s the Heart Institute. This Saigon NGO works to provide state of the art, Western healthcare practices to underprivileged  Vietnamese children suffering from heart-related illnesses. They cannot afford proper treatment otherwise. 

Other NGOs in Ho Chi Minh City also work on projects that provide technology to rural provinces. Others monitor safe development across Vietnam. 

Making a difference

Your time giving back to the community will bring an unforgettable experience that will impact you and the people (or animals) you choose to work with. There are numerous options. And these NGOs provide such important work and services to the communities in Vietnam. You will have no issue finding an organization to help if you want to volunteer in Vietnam.