North Americans have the opportunity to share their skills and passion for dance, drama, music, and art in disadvantaged communities abroad
A Projects Abroad volunteer teaches a student to play the drums on the Music Project in Bolivia
NEW YORK – October 29, 2014 – Halloween is a time of the year when many North Americans seize the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild. Creativity is encouraged, and people celebrating Halloween craft elaborate costumes for costume parties, parades, and trick-or-treating. They also carve pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, and enjoy scary stories and movies. Unfortunately for thousands of children in developing countries across the globe, the ability to express their creativity and exercise their imaginations is one that is neglected in the face of more pressing issues, such as poverty, hunger, and violence. International volunteer organization Projects Abroad seeks to address this through several different Creative & Performing Arts volunteer programs, which cover a range of fields including art, drama, dance, music, and music production and management.
The Creative & Performing Arts projects are flexible, and any volunteer with a passion for the arts is sure to find a project that suits them. For volunteers who want to help disadvantaged children and teenagers discover and develop their artistic sides, Projects Abroad offers projects in schools and orphanages throughout the developing world. The impact of volunteers at these placements is incredibly beneficial for the children, especially if skilled volunteers can fill the gap left by a lack of local teachers. Not only do the children learn about different cultures, but their appreciation for the arts increases, as does their self-confidence and ability to express themselves. Projects Abroad also gives volunteers the opportunity to work with adults and volunteers could find themselves practicing and even performing alongside local artists and performers, or taking on the role of a manager and helping them succeed in their music careers.
“Our Creative & Performing Arts projects are a step into an entirely new world for everyone involved,” says Rachel McMillan, a Program Advisor at Projects Abroad USA. “While volunteers are helping others discover a love for the arts and learn new skills, they are also exploring the culture of the world around them and gaining a new perspective on life. It’s a rewarding way to give back and the lessons that the children learn from volunteers, such as positive self-expression, will help to shape the rest of their lives.”
Projects Abroad offers Creative & Performing Arts projects in Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Here are a few examples of what the organization has to offer:
This versatile project provides several different opportunities for volunteers based on their skills and interests. Volunteers with a background in music can teach an instrument of their choice and focus on any aspect of music, including singing. If a volunteer has experience in dance, they have the option of teaching modern dance or ballet in South African schools. Volunteers with an interest in music production work with Sounds of the World, a Projects Abroad initiative where volunteers are responsible for assisting the artist or band throughout the recording process, and in advertising and promoting their music. Artist management is another possibility in South Africa and volunteers will get involved in organizing local gigs, concerts, and promoting local artists, as well as writing articles, interviews, and concert reviews.
Although there is a growing theater community in Romania, there is a distinct lack of theater education. By leading acting workshops, coaching drama groups, and helping students prepare a production for local performances and festivals, volunteers can help nurture young artists and share their skills abroad. Volunteers on this project are based in Brasov and work directly with elementary and high school students.
Many disadvantaged students in Ecuador are unaware of their talents and of opportunities in the field of creative arts because of a lack of opportunities. For children, the arts can be used as a means of communicating their challenges as well as helping their personal development, and volunteers can help a great deal with this. Volunteers work in schools and local arts and culture centers and can teach art, dance, music, and drama. They can also paint large educational murals in classrooms and on outside walls of the town.
For more information about Creative & Performing Arts volunteer projects, please visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/creative-and-performing-arts.
Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.
Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 29 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.
For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at www.projects-abroad.org