The Middle East is home to an array of opportunities for volunteers looking to get involved and Lebanon is one such location. Lebanon often tends to be overlooked by those who wish to travel abroad for voluntary experiences, which of course leads to lots of available causes requiring assistance.
Ways in which you can volunteer in Lebanon include working for the United Nations, teaching English in schools, assisting with the care of children and working with charities and small businesses. If you are medically qualified there are further opportunities open to you through causes such as the Lebanese Red Cross and Embrace – the latter work with local partners that have a shortage of qualified staff members with the appropriate skills to place professionals such as occupational therapists, doctors and nurses into medical centres across the country.
There are many advantages to choosing Lebanon when you’re planning to volunteer. Volunteering helps you to reach the heart of a local community, which can be challenging but also rewarding with an educational impact. Having been welcomed by the Lebanese community you will then have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the people that you spend your time with daily. This could be through teaching new practical and language skills, and these people will also enlighten you about Lebanese culture, perhaps giving you a different understanding of the world around you. Volunteers usually get back as much as they give through these programmes.
GeoVisions run Conversation Partner volunteering programmes in Lebanon that give you the chance to get placed with businesses requiring assistance as well as providing your accommodation through host families. You will work with the families and the local businesses to teach them conversational English.
As well as any personal development goals that you may achieve through the volunteer and internship programmes available in Lebanon, you will also find that the economy, local businesses and community will greatly benefit from the skills and experience that you can bring.
Volunteering isn’t just for those with a medical or educational background. Transferrable skills and knowledge gained from your own work experience or studies in business, finance and marketing can greatly help small local businesses that are serving the local Lebanese community and beyond. Your input on such areas like finance could lead you to make simple yet effective changes to their business models, providing lasting benefits, even after you leave. Examples include assisting new and even established businesses improve their finances and ensure they have the most appropriate financial products and a current account in Lebanon to suit their particular business needs.
Programmes have been set up with the UN Volunteers, aiming to assist small businesses currently selling produce created in the country to expand from just selling to local farmers’ markets into a wider sphere, this could be either internationally or simply towards the more densely populated areas of Lebanon and of course, the capital, Beirut. Volunteers from corporate backgrounds bring these businesses the opportunity to explore skills, knowledge and ideas that they formerly would not have had access to.
With volunteer programmes still relatively new in the area your impact, however small, will be likely to be felt by the community, giving you the opportunity to greatly shape and improve the lives of others.