During her high school volunteer trip abroad, a Public Health volunteer measures blood pressure in a medical outreach.

You wouldn’t believe the impact our high school volunteers had last summer

Discover the impact of the work of our teen volunteers around the world

By Isabel Silva | 13th February, 2019
Updated on 21st June, 2019

Now that you know all about the journey you’ll take as a teen volunteer abroad, are you ready to join us on a High School Special Project and discover what you’re capable of?

If you found this blog, you are probably looking for a little more information before you click that sign up button. And you aren’t alone. One of the main question we get asked, is whether you are able to make a real impact on such a short trip. And the quick answer is YES!

Our volunteer travel opportunities for high school students are designed for you in mind. This means that the projects fit perfectly into your (generally short) high school break. However, the fact that time is limited, doesn’t mean that you can’t make a difference.

All of our projects have long-term goals that were set up with the help of local community members. These are the goals that you’ll work towards, and the volunteers who succeed you. With these goals in mind, you are able to meet the real needs of the community and contribute towards a long-lasting, positive impact. Our High School Special projects are no exception to this rule. Because of your combined effort as a group, plenty of work can be done in a short period.

To give you a clearer idea of the impact you can make as a teen volunteer abroad, we have listed some achievements below. More than 1750 volunteers from around the world contributed to these impressive numbers last summer.

High school students impacted communities during medical volunteer opportunities

Every year, we get professional healthcare staff to teach the high school students on our medical projects. They get taught basic medical skills like blood pressure monitoring and blood sugar checks, among others. Because of these newly acquired skills, our volunteers helped local healthcare staff screen over 7,650 people in countries like Ghana, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Bolivia, Peru, Tanzania and Belize.

Our High School Special volunteers also assisted with other medical initiatives, which included:

  • Health checks for 1,130 children, elderly and disabled people in Cambodia
  • Diabetes screening for over 200 people in Bolivia
  • Teaching proper teeth cleaning techniques for 200 children to promote oral hygiene in Bolivia

Thanks to regular screenings, our volunteers help detect symptoms before they become severe, making sure community members can seek early treatment.

For example, Belize community member, Steve, discovered he was type II diabetic during a mobile clinic. This non-communicable disease had caused a foot infection and thanks to the knowledge of his diabetes, he was able to get the correct treatment. Weeks later, Steve’s foot was fully healed, and he was grateful for the work done by our volunteers:

This is a testimony to the work that you guys are doing. I tell everyone this. If I didn’t come here, I wouldn’t have known how to treat my foot. These kids are doing great work. – Steve
A teen measuring a patient’s blood pressure during his medical project for high school students.

Teen volunteers raised awareness abroad

Another way our volunteers make an impact is through awareness campaigns. These campaigns are key for prevention and encourage early detection and treatment. Our high school medical travel volunteers did a great job sharing their knowledge about causes, symptoms and treatments of common illnesses.

For example, did you know mosquitoes are the deadliest animals to humans on the planet? The diseases they spread can easily cause an epidemic if communities are unaware of them. This is why in 2018, the high school students on our medical travel projects ran a global mosquito-borne diseases campaign. They also destroyed mosquito breeding grounds, distributed larvicide, and tested people for malaria and dengue fever.

As part of their awareness work last summer, our volunteers:

  • Inspected 126 family homes in Jamaica and Sri Lanka and eradicate mosquito breeding grounds
  • Distributed dengue fever information leaflets to 500 community members in Sri Lanka
  • Spoke to the residents in 99 houses in Belize, and handed out brochures to raise awareness of mosquito-borne diseases
  • Removed potential mosquito breeding grounds along 5 main roads in Sri Lanka

Not did only our volunteers help – they also gained valuable medical experience before college!

I learned so many things within the clinic and during our workshop lessons. Things like how to stitch, what type of stitches to use, and how to give injections, which we did on a piece of fruit and a pig leg. - Faith L, Medicine in Peru
As a part of their medical projects abroad, high school students raise awareness of dengue fever and pick up litter to reduce possible mosquito breeding grounds.

Working with children to support early childhood development

Our Childcare volunteers play an important role in assisting local teachers and caregivers in laying the foundation for a child’s development. They encouraged learning through play and taught basic maths and English.

Altogether, our volunteers worked with over 4,800 children around the world last summer!

Here are some examples of their work. They:

  • Ran holiday schools for 150 students in Ghana and 40 students in Argentina
  • Worked with 590 students at understaffed day care centers in Peru
  • Ran a football club in Ghana for 160 children
A high school students helping two children with basic English during his volunteering abroad trip

Leaving a lasting impact by creating resources for local communities

Our High School Special volunteers also created lasting resources for schools and kindergartens around the world. For example, our volunteer built:

  • 3 playgrounds in Ecuador and Fiji
  • 2 hand washing systems for kindergartens in Cambodia
  • Road access to 2 schools in Cambodia
  • 2 multi-sensory gardens using fruit trees and recycled materials in Mongolia and Sri Lanka

A bright learning environment stimulates a student’s learning and encourages them to engage during lessons. Colors and shapes also help younger children with sensory development. Because of this, our volunteers painted classrooms and educational murals in schools and kindergartens. Over 2,650 students benefited from their work!

We are grateful to Projects Abroad for their support. You have made my house very beautiful and now I can sleep with my family in peace without having to worry about rain washing down my house anymore. - Daavi A., Community member in Ghana whose house was plastered and painted by volunteers
A group of high school volunteers joined to create a mural to promote literacy in our High School Special Childcare & Community Village project Fiji.

Protecting the planet one project at a time

In terms of protecting our planet, the high school students on our summer Conservation programs abroad set a great example once more. They did a great job through clean-ups, biodiversity studies, awareness campaigns, reforestation initiatives and invasive species removal.

As part of their conservation work, they:

  • Picked up over 1,300 kg of litter in Belize, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico and Sri Lanka
  • Planted over 5,800 trees
  • Collected and relocated eggs from 155 turtle nests in Mexico. These relocations contributed to the total of 24,400 hatchlings released!
  • Removed 17 wire snares from a wildlife reserve in Kenya. This means our volunteers potentially saved 17 animals!

Our high school volunteers also helped with summer conservation surveys, monitoring and research work. Doing this work makes deciding on effective and long-term conservation strategies easier.

By participating in the Conservation program, I learned a lot about Madagascar’s unique flora and fauna and gained a better understanding of the ecosystem’s fragile state. - Simone V, Conservation & Community Work in Madagascar
Conservation volunteers transplanting mangroves in Thailand in their High School Specials.

Are you ready to make a positive impact this summer?

These are just a few of the highlights, but there is so much more. Read our High School Special Impact Report for a full breakdown of all the work you could potentially contribute as a teen volunteer abroad.

Together, we have had an incredible impact all over the world. With all this in mind, what impact do you think you’ll have this summer? We are keen to see what you’re capable of!

High school volunteers and children before a sports day in Fiji during their teen volunteer abroad program.

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