There are all kinds of reasons, it may or may not be voluntary, and you will probably experience a mixture of emotions, ranging from excitement to feeling unsettled, or anxious. Volunteering in Africa can offer a rewarding experience during a transition period. It may also help to put things into perspective, provide an opportunity to take stock, and the sense of contributing to something worthwhile can help to balance other feelings.
Later retirement ages, hence longer working lives and high pressure careers have resulted in more and more people changing employer or career at least once. Raising a family can leave a bit of a void when the children head off to University, or leave home. If you are approaching retirement age you may be a bit apprehensive, or wondering what to do.
We are not suggesting that volunteering should be considered as a form of therapy and the project co-ordinators certainly have enough to do without providing a professional counselling service. However, we very much welcome volunteers taking an ‘adult gap’, or who have retired. The life-skills, experience and knowledge that you will bring to a project are of genuine value. It also creates a very productive and positive group dynamic to have volunteers of a broad range of ages.
We are aware that less young volunteers are sometimes more concerned about the standards of accommodation and basic home comforts. We also understand that you are unlikely to want to spend a month or more in Africa with a group consisting solely of 18 year olds. We can recommend a suitable month for you to join a project based on the numbers of volunteers and their ages. The standard of accommodation also varies between projects and so we can advise which projects you will feel the most comfortable at.
It is important that you are well prepared for your programme and we will help you with the planning and arrangements before you depart, so that you will set off in a relaxed and open frame of mind.