Volunteer in Dominican Republic
If you would like to do more than sunbathing we have some rewarding rewarding community and conservation programs where you can help local people and animals. Most placements are organised in groups and you can apply all year round. Find structured, free & low cost volunteer opportunities in DR with international and local charities, NGO's, non-profit organisations and animal sanctuaries.
Volunteer Programs in Dominican Republic
How to Volunteer in Dominican Republic
Organisations like Habitat for Humanity have been operating here for a number of years and have been doing amazing work helping communities. You will get to really understand local people and the vibrant culture which makes this destination special. Due to the location of this destination, most volunteers arrive from the USA and Canada on cultural exchanges although applications are open to all nationalities.
Why the Need for Assistance
There is real poverty and also to make matters worse in 1998, Hurricane George struck the Dominican Republic which damaged infrastructure further and left a housing crisis for thousands of local people. In the Dominican Republic there is a poverty level of around 42% but local people are very open and friendly, especially if you converse with them in Spanish.
Lots of local people in this country live away from the tourist resorts and don't have very much in regards to belongings and money. You will be able to improve the lives for people and children, especially in the more remote areas of the country where unemployment is high and education is of poor quality.
Location of Projects
Most programs have a focus on building and construction, medical and healthcare, working with communities and helping at schools. There are several places where projects happen including the capital - Santo Domingo (this is the biggest city in the country), Santiago de los Caballeros which is a city located in the North of the country and also there are outreach programs where you might be based in more rural areas like La Romana. You might also like to search more volunteer programs in the Caribbean.
How You Can Help
- Animal Care & Wildlife
- Arts & Music
- Childcare & Orphanage Work
- Community Development, Elderly Care & Special Needs
- Conservation & Environment
- Construction and Renovation
- Education & Volunteer Teaching
- Medical & Health
- NGO Support
- Women's Empowerment
Building & Construction Volunteer Programs in Dominican Republic
Over 50% of housing in the Dominican Republic is rated as poor and this is where a lot of organisations are helping by putting people on the ground. Hundreds of people take part in group building projects with the aim of improving communities, you could be part of a team constructing schools, community centres, houses and public recreation centres.
There are lots of places in the DR which are not developed to Western standards and you might be shocked by some of the basic living conditions some local people live in. There are also skilled placements for professionals where you can help with sustainability community development where you might be implementing solar energy and water filtration systems.
Summer Volunteer Programs in Dominican Republic
There are several non-profit organizations who offer summer educational programs for local children - this allows local youngsters to attend for free and learn in a fun environment. This is a chance for children to improve academically, or practise their English skills or give direct help to students with learning difficulties.
Organisations like The Esperanza Project are very active in the Dominican Republic working to help school children aged between 4 and 15. They recruit international volunteers from September to July and you can stay for a year, or a 3 month period. To be eligible you will need to be aged 18+ and be patient, responsible, enthusiastic, hard-working, and also enjoy working with children and youth. This is a fantastic way to integrate into the local cultue, gain experience and do something rewarding.
Most organisations will require you to be aged 18+ but there are special service groups for both families and school groups.
How to Apply
Some organiations charge a sign up fee to volunteer in the Dominican Republic, on these placements you usually get
- Airport pick-up and transfer to project
- All food and accommodation
- Training materials and science equipment
- Pre-departure support and services
- Comprehensive training necessary for research techniques
- 24-hour in-country support and a 24-hour emergency phone line
Volunteer in Dominican Republic for Free
There are also free and low cost volunteer programs with local NGO's - you can contact these by searching our featured organisations. After spending time working as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic you will find it a struggle to leave, there will be lasting impressions kept with you forever. There will be lots of free time to explore the island too, there are huge mountains, caves, relaxing beach spots and lots of activities on offer.
Dominican Republic Volunteer Reviews
"I volunteered in La Romana in the Dominican Republic with Gap Medics which was filled with excitement & encouragement in the direction of a future medical profession. I made incredible friends & will never forget the good times had. Push yourself out of your comfort zone & go for it. You will not regret it." - Faith, UK
"My time in Dominican Republic was amazing and more than I ever could have expected. I would recommend to everyone as it truly was a once in a lifetime experience." - Emma, UK