Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Estonia
Volunteer options in Estonia are mostly limited to those offered by the EstYES International Youth Association (see below) or with one of the small number of hosts using the main help exchange websites. Tallinn’s reputation as a party town does though mean energetic, alcohol tolerant volunteers can find work for bed and food gigs with hostels, leading pub crawls and socialising with their guests, sometimes with the chance to make some side money selling tours.
Grassroots Volunteering in Estonia
The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:
EstYES International Youth Association
An International Youth Association EstYES is non-profit, non-political, non-governmental organisation established in 1991 with the purpose to promote youth and cultural exchanges for better understanding and a more just world. EstYES run workcamps lasting two to three weeks from May to September with the aim of supporting local development. The camps revolve around particular activities such as renovation, tree planting or working with teenagers. Volunteers should be over 18. Most volunteers are between 18 and 26 but there is no maximum age limit. Where possible, volunteers should apply through a partner organisation in their own country. More information can be found on the EstYES website.
Those with good English language skills and camp leading experience in their own country can apply for camp leader positions.
Where: Workcamps take place in small villages, close knit communities, in the countryside, or in urban areas around Estonia.
Accommodation & costs: Meals and basic accommodation in schools or similar is provided. A small contribution is required to cover administration costs and food and accommodation at the project. Camp leaders can expect accommodation, food, local transport costs and other costs connected to running the camp to be covered by EstYES.
Further information: International volunteers are also invited to apply for mid term social volunteering, mostly with children or teenagers at social institutions and orphanages etc, lasting between one and three months, and exceptionally up to six months. Volunteers are usually requested to contribute a modest participation fee, but are provided with board and lodging and linguistic materials. In some cases a little pocket money is available.
Hostel Work Exchanges
Of the over a half dozen hostels we had down for Tallinn that were good bets for hostel work none seem to still be around. The Monk’s Bunk, Viru Backpackers, Tallinn Old Town Hostel, Tallinn Backpackers, FeelGood Hostel, GIDIC and Knight House all appear to have gone down the toilet with the used condoms and puke from their final volunteer led pub crawls. Lai 22 has risen from the ashes of The Monk’s Bunk party hostel – and they do have a presence on Worldpackers for volunteers.
Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Estonia
ELF Conservation Holidays have a number of short term conservation working holidays each year, normally lasting three to five days. Evening activities include camp-fires and saunas. Some information is in English but the project listings are in Estonian only. Google translate suggests food and accommodation costs are covered by what appears to be a reasonable participation fee.
If you wish to contribute to solving Estonia’s societal problems Good Deed Foundation invite volunteers to use their professional skills and knowledge as advisers and strategic developers. Contact them and they will figure out how your input can be used to make the biggest positive change. Otherwise, some of the initiatives founded by the group over the years are listed on their website and might also require volunteers.
Help Exchange Networks in Estonia
Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Estonia
Stay for free in return for caring for local residents’ homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). You can also get a free Airbnb credit from us here.
Welcome to Estonia! Again! – A hostel volunteer takes pride in his work leading bar crawls around Tallinn.
* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations
Image copyright EstYES International Youth Association