Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Malaysia
Grassroots Volunteering in Malaysia
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:
The Langkawi Animal Shelter and Sanctuary Foundation (LASSie)
Set up to receive, rehabilitate and care for neglected, abused and needy animals, LASSie also runs the Langkawi Island Animal Clinic, a charity project aimed at the sterilisation of the stray cat and dog population. Both are non profit ventures, staffed partly by volunteers, who are needed more than ever to help take care of the shelter and walk their friendly dogs. Volunteer vets are also required to work in the clinic assisting the two resident vets.
Accommodation & Costs: Up to four live in volunteers can stay at a time. Lunch and an evening snack is also included.
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There are many volunteer duties here, including cleaning, helping to prepare and serve meals to the animals, assisting the public when choosing an animal, socialising the animals, and general housekeeping duties. Experienced dog handlers may also assist with walking the dogs, bathing and grooming them. Volunteer work starts at 10am everyday, up to 4pm. There are also roles in the marketing and communications department.
Where: Ampang Jaya, Selangor.
Accommodation & Costs: Volunteering at the centre includes a lot of animal handling, and volunteers are required to go through SPCA’s Pet Care Programme to learn about the correct way to handle and care for our animals. This costs around £20.
Hostel Work Exchanges
A few years ago we stayed in four hostels in Kuala Lumpur, two of which said they were open to work exchanges with suitable passing travellers. Both politely declined our offer of free advertising in they Jobs Abroad Bulletin as they were not currently hiring and preferred to recruit from the ranks of those staying with them, but neither minded if we mentioned them in a short post we wrote on our blog.
Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Malaysia
The Charity Club Langkawi, Kedah, which looks after underprivileged families, is another organisation that for the most part doesn’t advertise to gap year travellers that they need volunteers. Generally they can’t cope with the logistics but get in touch with them at the right time and they may need someone to teach English or do a few odd jobs.
At £25 a night the Juara Turtle Project stretches our budget criteria but the fee covers most expenses, aside from lunch, and a cheaper bed is unlikely to be found among Tioman Island’s 5 star resorts. Prices drop by a third in winter, when there are no nesting turtles, and for longer stays. Families and Malaysians get discounts too. WWF Malaysia also on occasion have a need for volunteers and interns.
PAWS (PAWS Animal Welfare Society) is a non profit animal shelter in Petaling Jaya that receives unwanted dogs and cats for vaccination, deworming, neutering/spaying, and adoption. Volunteers are welcome to assist with the over 500 dogs and cats under the care of the shelter.
Help Exchange Networks in Malaysia
Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Malaysia
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.
My Volunteer Work Exchange Experience at a Hostel in Malaysia – Amélie works for her accommodation for three months in Malacca after being poached by the owner of a guesthouse she had stayed in previously.
Alli and Brian’s Tioman Time, Part Deux – 12 months on Malaysia’s Tioman Island doing sea turtle work and outdoor education.
Volunteering at the Juara Turtle Project, Tioman Island – Malaysia – This Dutch volunteer spent a week on the Juara Turtle Project.
Tracc (Tropical Research and Conservation Center) – Sadie’s time with Tracc really opened her eyes to a whole new world and showed her that we can really make a big difference to our planet.
* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations
Image copyright SPCA Selangor