Hello, everyone. Is there any place that offers volunteering opportunities to foreigners?
I'm a university student. I took a year off, and came to Kunming to learn Chinese. At first, I studied in a library everyday after class. Then, I started to feel extremely lonely. So I'd like to find some volunteering opportunities and keep myself busy. It'll be great if it's related to children and if I can get a volunteer certificate or recommendation letter, but it's not necessary.
The owner/managers of Salvador's are in touch with a school in Kunming that provides education for local kids whose hukou is outside of Kunming and so find it hard to get registered in ordinary schools. Their parents are largely migrants to the city from the countryside and get by with very menial jobs. I suggest you ask at Salvador's.
There is also a sort of charity kitchen affair that the manager/entrepreneur, who I think is American, who runs Lighthouse (essentially an English-language school), has raised money for - anyway, his contact is through the Lighthouse website (www.lighthouse-edu.com). Guy's name is Murphy.
I think that "volunteering", in the sense that you seem to mean it, is largely an American concept that has arisen over the past few decades and has spread somewhat to a few other countries. Organized programs of such are fine, with certificates and so forth, but if you are serious there are actually quite a lot of things that need to be done, with nobody to provide much of a salary, here and elsewhere; and there are a lot of things for which you can be paid quite well that shouldn't be done at all. In that sense, 'taking a year', or a decade or so, 'off' from Maggie's Farm after university graduation can be worth consideration too.
I wonder if any volunteers from abroad, and especially USA, are even appreciated anymore. They may be "spies", their motives may be imperialistic and nobody needs help from a country that is messing with areas that China considers theirs. One could imagine that these days someones goodwill and altruistic volunteering may even lead to trouble. What some americans dont understand (yet) is how much mainstream politics affect the daily lives around these days. Sorry for the turnoff by the way, its just ice cold realism.
PS. Teaching English is probably okay anyway and some other similar things.
I have some paperwork ion my desk if anyone would like to volunteer I'd be only too glad for you to do it.
Afterwards I would even give a certificate as thanks.
@ Claire: You might contact the following:
If you can get out there - you might consider the municipal orphanage on the edge of town. Do a gokm search for orphanage in the forums and the name, address, and phone number should pop up.
@Claire: Kunming Trinity International Church at 188 Renmin Middle Road is looking for a bilingual volunteer like you, with work related to kids. Visit the information counter on Sunday, 11:30am to 1pm.