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Volunteers can save precious rainforests, teach or care for underprivileged children

NEW YORK – March 3, 2011 - Americans who resolved to do something different in the new year should invest their time volunteering in one of Projects Abroad’s newest destinations in Ecuador and Indonesia. These new destination opportunities, including a conservation project in Ecuador and teaching or caring for children in Indonesia, are the perfect way to make a fresh start this spring and having a positive impact on the lives of others in developing countries.

Ideal for an adventurous student looking for a resume booster, a career breaker wanting to escape the ordinary, couples, retirees or families looking to help others and experience a new culture, Projects Abroad’s new destinations can offer an experience for all types.

Ecuador Conservation Project

Volunteers are welcome to Ecuador, a vibrant country on the Pacific Coast of South America, to contribute to the Amazon Rainforest Conservation project. Eighty percent of the country’s rainforest has been destroyed in the last three decades, making the help of volunteers crucial to the environment.

Volunteers on this project are involved in a wide variety of animal studies including mist-netting research with birds, working alongside local experts on a pioneering bat project, and compiling a general wildlife inventory of all the animal species in the area. Participants work alongside local biologists, are trained in all the research techniques, and help with activities like clearing trails and mapping various areas of the park. Volunteers also work with indigenous communities in the area to make sure they’re able to live sustainably in such a unique environment.

Living in Ecuador gives volunteers plenty of opportunities for recreation and entertainment when they’re not working. Volunteers can discover the country’s colonial past on a weekend trip to the capital, Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the energetic markets overflow with hand-made goods. Another popular weekend activity is hiking up the Volcán Chimborazo, the country’s highest summit and the closest point on earth to the sun.

Teaching in Indonesia

Indonesians recognize the importance of learning conversational English, and are in search of volunteers to help in the Javanese city of Yogyakarta. Volunteers on this project can gain a new worldly perspective, all while helping less fortunate children.

Volunteers work alongside Indonesian teachers to help improve students’ English. By teaching children fun lessons, and using activities like games and songs, volunteers can positively impact students’ confidence and knowledge. Projects Abroad staff is glad to provide volunteers with suggestions for lesson plans, though new ideas and programs are always welcome.

In most schools, volunteer teachers begin as a classroom assistant, but as they become better acquainted with the children, and start to grow in confidence, they may want to take on more responsibility.

Care in Indonesia

As a volunteer on a Care project in Indonesia, participants make an important contribution and play a large role in relieving the workload of local staff in orphanages and care centers. Volunteers are also based in Yogyakarta and work with children who have lived difficult lives, have health problems or who require special attention due to disabilities. Volunteers’ roles are to improve their lives in whatever way possible.

Care work is often varied and depends on the age group and needs of the children at the placement. Volunteers may find themselves washing and dressing children, playing sports or games, or helping older children with their homework. Other times, work is less structured and may involve simply spending time with the children. Assisting with basic education is also vital, as many children are orphans or have been abandoned, and have received little or no previous formal education. Volunteers at these placements help with interactive activities that promote the children’s growth and development.

Volunteers on Teaching and Care Projects in Indonesia have plenty to do on the weekends. As the cultural capital of Indonesia, Yogyakarta is filled with music, ballets, and traditional puppet shows. Additionally, Borobudur, Indonesia’s most impressive archaeological site, is less than a two-hour drive from Yogyakarta and serves as a popular weekend destination. Volunteers can also choose to enjoy the sun on the Indian Ocean at Parangtritis beaches. Jungle trekking, climbing volcanoes, and visiting hot springs are also popular weekend options.

Volunteers on any Projects Abroad project can choose to add some extra travel time at the end of their placement for an exciting choice of additional travel options. Projects Abroad staff can recommend post-project travel destinations.

For costs and more information on these projects and more, visit

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 27 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Holland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering overseas, visit Projects Abroad’s Web site at

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