Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) do a very important job in the world. Helping to develop regions, bringing access to information to distant places, providing support in the event of natural disasters, teaching children and helping with environmental preservation work are some examples of the goals sought daily by several people around the world. How about getting to know the biggest organizations working to make the world a better place?
Doctors without borders
Perhaps the most well-known non-profit humanitarian organization in the world, Doctors Without Borders brings medical care to areas that have been affected by humanitarian crises such as wars, natural disasters and epidemics.
It was created in 1971 by doctors and journalists concerned about the lack of humanitarian management in serious situations such as natural disasters and wars after volunteering in Biafra, Africa. Today the organization is present in more than 70 countries offering assistance and care to those who need it most.
Some of the crises in which DWB has been actively present in recent years have been the Earthquake in Haiti (2010), the Syrian War (2011), the Typhoon in the Philippines (2013), the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa (2014), Conflict Yemen (2015) and Nepal Earthquake (2015).
Originally created to help victims of the 1970 typhoon, the Bangladesh-based NGO is the organization with the largest number of employees today. Seeking primarily to combat poverty, it is estimated that BRAC has helped around 150 million people in Africa and Asia.
Its creator, Fazle Hasan Abed, 81, won the World Food Award in 2015 for his active work on poverty alleviation in Bangladesh and several other countries.
Abed believes that poverty is not just the result of a lack of income, but also of a lack of opportunities, basic sanitation, non-existent health systems and other factors. For this reason, the main focuses of action of the organization throughout these years have been human rights, social and economic empowerment, education, health, environmental sustainability and entrepreneurship.
Mercy Cops is a humanitarian aid organization focused on offering help to people in a period of transition after natural disasters, economic collapses or conflicts. They seek to alleviate people’s suffering, poverty and oppression by helping them to build safe, productive and just communities.
Founded in 1979 under the name Save the Refugees Fund, the organization raised $ 1 million to help refugees from Cambodia fleeing the horrors of so-called “killing fields”. In the 1980s, the NGO established itself, changed its name and continued to work on projects to reduce poverty and help people in unstable areas.
Recently, it was present after natural disasters such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004), Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, USA (2005), and the Earthquake in Haiti (2010). Today, it operates in more than 40 countries and continues to bring aid to millions of people.
Save the Children
Created in 1919, facing the consequences of the First World War, which profoundly affected the lives of millions of children in Europe. The organization has consolidated over time and has actively participated in processes such as the International Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.
The organization believes that every child deserves a better future and that, for that, we need to provide a healthy start to life, opportunities for study and constant protection. Today the NGO operates in more than 120 countries around the world.
Small NGOs and voluntary work abroad
Just as important as large, well-established organizations are small local NGOs that work directly with the communities in which they operate. And they usually create partnerships with groups that specialize in connecting people interested in volunteering and organizations that need it. And, unlike organizations like Doctors Without Borders, which need specialized people, these NGOs accept people of all types and from all areas of activity.
Volunteer work is an opportunity for growth not only for the people and regions benefited, but also for the volunteers themselves. The cultural burden acquired by someone immersed in a completely different culture is extremely valuable and can change their way of seeing the world in a very radical way.
And, although it is not a paid job, the gains from this experience are so great that many people prefer to do this than doing an exchange, for example. But remember, volunteer work is, above all, work. And although some organizations bear the costs of their volunteers, this does not mean some kind of “free vacation”. You have to work hard.
If you are interested in volunteering abroad, be sure to run after it! Volunteering is very enriching and can bring friends and experiences throughout your life.