First published on 10 Aug 2012. Updated on 11 May 2013.
If you're not hitting the clubs this weekend, why don't you spend time changing other people's lives for the better. Here are two 'voluntourism' ideas you can do in nearby Batam, Indonesia.
Habitat for Humanity runs regular day excursions to Batam, where you can help a marginalised family build a house of their own. You have to get together a group of between eight and ten people, and pick a date three months in advance. You need to make a $3,000 donation per team and pay a $100 participation fee per person, which covers transport (including the ferry), meals, water and insurance. Once there, under the super vision of trained staff, you will use steel bars, bricks and cement, and work on construction tasks such as ground levelling and drainage digging for a total of five hours. You leave Singapore at 7.50am and return before sunset.
For something a little less structured, Panti Asuhan El Shaday Batam (+62 813 7284 5589) is a year-old orphanage founded by Pangihuatan Sitanggang. He doesn’t speak much English, so either find a Bahasa speaker to call or make an enquiry via their Facebook page. Probably the most useful thing for the 15 kids – all of whom are below 18, and are either orphans or from families who can’t afford to provide for their upkeep – would be English tuition and learning materials. Books, stationery and other educational materials would all be gratefully received, as would any donations – Mr Pangihuatan earns just $300 a month, and relies on public donations to raise $1,200 for monthly maintenance costs.