Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Turkey
Spanning Europe and Asia, Turkey has seen civilisations come and go and picking through their remains provides work for archaeological volunteers. However such projects are rarely cheap and as such are not listed here. Plenty of northern Europeans choose to call Turkey home, attracted by a cheaper cost of living, the sunshine and the warmth of the Turkish people. Many expats busy themselves with pet projects and they, along with their Turkish counterparts, often advertise that they require a hand via the main help exchange websites. And house sitters are often required too when they visit family and friends back home.
Grassroots Volunteering in Turkey
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:
Fairy Chimney Inn
This cave hotel within the lunar like landscape of Cappadocia offers a free stay and food to a volunteer able to help out for four or five hours a day around the hotel. A personal assistant to the anthropologist owner is also required. One volunteer at a time is required for four to six weeks. Basic experience or education in the fields of tourism, anthropology, intercultural relationships, etc, or just personal interest and enthusiasm are required. Volunteers should also know their way around computers and MS-Office programs and speak English. German and Turkish language skills are advantageous but not necessary. Former volunteer Brandon Fralic’s article in The Working Traveller, Volunteer Work in a Fairy Chimney Cave Hotel, provides an insight into the duties involved.
Where: Goreme, Cappadocia.
Accommodation & Costs: No fee. Accommodation provided in the hotel.
Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Turkey
Our Turkish is limited to discussing the weather and ordering food so some of the information below might have changed. The last information we had we said that Genctur organises a number of fortnight long volunteer youth workcamps across Turkey each summer. International groups of between 12 and 15 volunteers from several countries take part in the workcamps, working five or six hours a day for one to three weeks. Most of the projects involve manual work such as building a school or health care centre, school garden levelling, digging an irrigation channel, planting trees, working at archaeological sites, and environmental projects such as forest or shore cleaning. There is no upper age limit but volunteers should be a minimum of 18. English is the common language at the camps. Volunteers pay a registration fee of €100 or so and stay mostly in schools or in the village center, sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags. Meals are mostly prepared by villagers but sometimes volunteers cook for themselves. Genctur’s site is in Turkish and applications are accepted only through partners in each country whose contacts can be obtained from email@example.com.
EEC Anglo run an English village programme where students can practice English in an exclusively English speaking environment. They state – on this page aimed at their students on their otherwise up to date website – they create this through “English-speaking volunteers from around the world.” Despite this, the link we had for volunteers is now a dud but previously we had written:
“EEC are looking for native English speakers who love the outdoors, enjoy socialising and getting to know other people and cultures, are adaptable, creative and naturally chatty. Volunteers are sought from all walks of life, ethnic backgrounds, age, and religions. As long as you are a great conversationalist, fun and inquisitive about other people and cultures, then you could be the perfect volunteer.” Volunteers receive full board accommodation in a three star hotel in Fethiye.
Help Exchange Networks in Turkey
Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Turkey
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). Turkey usually has house sits available but, if not, you can get a free Airbnb credit from us here.
Volunteering for a slice of Turkish life – An Irish Times piece about WWOOFing in Turkey.
Living and Volunteering in Cappadoccia – Crystle-Day and Julian volunteered in Cappadocia for a month with the Fairy Chimney Inn, assisting the hotel manager with housekeeping and setting up breakfast.
* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations