There are excellent opportunities for aspiring volunteers in Indonesia, but Lonely Planet does not endorse any organisations that we do not work with directly, so it is essential that you do your own thorough research before agreeing to volunteer with or donate to any organisation. A three-month commitment is recommended for working with children.
For many groups, fundraising and cash donations are the best way to help. Some also can use skilled volunteers to work as English teachers and provide professional services such as medical care. A few offer paid volunteering, whereby volunteers pay for room and board and perform often menial tasks.
A good resource to find NGOs and volunteer opportunities on Bali is www.balispirit.com/ngos.
Alam Sehat Lestari (www.alamsehatlestari.org) Accepts skilled medical and conservation volunteers to help protect and restore Kalimantan's rainforest.
Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (www.orangutan.or.id) Accepts volunteers for its orang-utan and sun-bear rehabilitation and reforestation programs.
East Bali Poverty Project (www.eastbalipovertyproject.org) Works to help children in the impoverished mountain villages of east Bali. Uses English teachers and has a solid child-protection policy.
Friends of the National Parks Foundation (www.fnpf.org) Has volunteer programs on Nusa Penida off Bali and Kalimantan.
IDEP (www.idepfoundation.org) The Indonesian Development of Education & Permaculture has projects across Indonesia; works on environmental projects, disaster planning and community improvement.
ProFauna (www.profauna.net) A large nonprofit animal-protection organisation operating across Indonesia; has been active in protecting sea turtles.
Sea Sanctuaries Trust (www.seasanctuaries.org) Diving-based marine conservation volunteering in Raja Ampat.
Smile Foundation of Bali (www.senyumbali.org) Organises surgery to correct facial deformities; operates the Smile Shop in Ubud to raise money.
Yayasan Rama Sesana (www.yrsbali.org) Dedicated to improving reproductive health for women across Bali.
Yayasan Bumi Sehat (www.bumisehatfoundation.org) Operates an internationally recognised clinic and gives reproductive services to disadvantaged women in Ubud; accepts donated time from medical professionals. Founder Robin Lim has had international recognition.
The following agencies may have information about long-term paid or volunteer work in Indonesia:
Australian Volunteers International (www.australianvolunteers.com) Organises all manner of programs, with many in Indonesia.
Global Volunteers (www.globalvolunteers.org) Arranges professional and paid volunteer work for US citizens.
Global Vision International (www.gviusa.com) Organises short-term volunteer opportunities; has offices in Australia, the UK and the US.
Go Abroad (www.goabroad.com) Lists mostly paid volunteer work.
Voluntary Service Overseas (www.vso.org.uk) British overseas volunteer program that accepts qualified volunteers from other countries.
Volunteer Service Abroad (www.vsa.org.nz) Organises professional contracts for New Zealanders.
A work permit is required to work legally in Indonesia. These are very difficult to procure and need to be arranged by your employer. Apart from expatriates employed by foreign companies and English teachers, most foreigners working in Indonesia are involved in the export business.
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