3 Places to Volunteer Today #3: Balyena, CISV, Operation Smile
3 Places to Volunteer Today #3: Balyena, CISV, Operation Smile

3 Places to Volunteer Today #3: Balyena, CISV, Operation Smile

Long-term, larger scale issues need patience, a steady hand, and follow through that can span years. We all know that.

It follows that there are volunteering gigs out there that are going to need more from you than just a day of your time and your wholehearted willingness. For this edition of 3 Places to Volunteer TodayI’m listing down NGO’s that need skilled volunteers for a month at the least. Who knows? You might just be that person they’re looking for 🙂


  1. Balyena.org – Balyena.org is a non-profit society that does research work on whales and dolphins in the Philippines. They aim to provide baseline data for the management and care of these marine animals, hoping that the information enlightens and encourages the locals and the general public alike to be active participants in their conservation. Balyena.org started out as a group of friends who shared a passion for learning about marine animals. Luckily, it’s a passion that’s been shared and experienced by their past volunteers. Every summer, from March to May, they invite volunteers to take part in research surveys on the field (read: at sea). They have a few volunteering opportunities, but the one that most interests me is the Humpback Whale research in the Babuyan islands. The Babuyan islands is the only known breeding ground for humpback whales in the Philippines yet there’s still a lot to be discovered about them (e.g. distribution, abundance, migratory patterns). Mainly, volunteers will have to photo ID the whales, requiring being comfortable and competent in the water. A concrete, important way that the research helps is that it informs plans for coastal resources management and marine ecotourism.
    From their Facebook. Gotta admit, part of the reason why I’d want to volunteer is cause I wanna see dolphins and hear whale song 🙂


  2. CISV International – CISV International is a global organization that’s been around since 1950. Their advocacy is peace and their method is friendship. Their programmes span all ages and all have one goal in common: building inter-cultural friendship, cooperation, and understanding. According to their site, their programmes are as follows:

    As a volunteer, you can opt to be a member of the staff in different programmes (e.g. Step Up, Village, Youth Meeting), or more specifically, you can apply for positions like being a Leader for an interchange. Needless to say, it would be great if you had experience with caring for and teaching children as you’ll be responsible for these kids while they’re in another country. But if you really want to go for it, they provide training too, so you won’t be completely in the dark 🙂

    Picture from their site.


  3. Operation Smile – Operation Smile Philippines is a non-stock, non-profit organization that seeks to provide free-life changing reconstructive surgeries to children born with facial deformities, like cleft lips and cleft palates. They’ve been around for 30 years – imagine how many kids with new smiles that comes to 🙂 Because of the nature of the work, Operation Smile is always on the lookout for medical volunteers who, of course, will have to go through a credentialing process. The role you’re given will depend greatly on your specialty (e.g.Plastic Surgeon , Anesthesiologist , Pediatrician, Pediatric Intensivist, Biomedical Technician, Speech Pathologist, Child Life Specialist, Dentist, Nursing). Once accepted, as I understand, you’ll be going on local or international missions to these children, as far as you’re willing to go.

For those of you entertaining a sustained love affair with volunteer work, I hope this helped somewhat!

I’ve never volunteered for a long-term project but, from what I hear from my friends who have, it’s a life-changing experience. None of them regret being away for long, and most of them feel the calling to go back and continue their work 🙂

It’s something that’s definitely on my bucket list.

To see more places you can volunteer at, click here.  ❤

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