Come one, come all—you have 60 (yes, 60!) islands to choose from for your volunteer abroad experience in paradise. Okay, truth be told, only 16 of the British Virgin Islands are actually inhabited, but each has unique needs that international volunteers’ help can benefit. Especially now, in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s AND Hurricane Maria’s aftermath in 2017, more hands are needed to support relief and recovery efforts on the island. Grab your spyglass, don your sailor’s cap, and turn your eye towards the Caribbean—volunteer in the British Virgin Islands!
Hurricane Irma and Maria Response Efforts
As if getting hit hard by one hurricane isn’t bad enough, a second giant storm tore through the British Virgin Islands in quick succession in September of 2017. These batterings took a toll on all of the islands, but especially Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands. Some people lost their lives, and all 30,000+ residents of the tiny British Caribbean territory lost access to power and electricity.
The scale of the devastation is enormous, and international relief teams have already begun descending on the island to begin recovery efforts. Efforts have been hindered due to the poor remaining infrastructure, making “island time” feel more stressful than ever. Volunteers like you are needed to support clean-up of disaster areas, which will undoubtedly remain a months-long process.
To maximize your impact, donate money to organizations already making an impact. While financing your trip to the islands so YOU can help can seem like a good idea in theory, in the immediate aftermath of disaster, sometimes money alone can bring about even more positive change. Consider your motivations and resources before choosing one way or the other.
Other Ways to Volunteer in the British Virgin Islands
First, make sure you understand the current state of affairs in the British Virgin Islands before hopping south to volunteer there (your presence might further stress resources rather than alleviate stress). If you get the green light, consider these other ways to volunteer there.
Education. While the children of the British Virgin Islands grow up with English as a native language, their school system and classrooms suffer from limited resources. As a volunteer English teacher, you can bring new creativity and flair—and maybe some extra markers you packed—to increase student interest and retention.
Construction. The British Virgin Islands only began focusing on infrastructure development towards the end of the 20th century, meaning there’s plenty of work to be done on construction and building projects. Between school houses, playgrounds, sidewalks, and other rudimentary structures, you’ll love your new hard-hat and work glove tan lines.
That’s a Wrap!
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum—Throw those beach-bum tourists for a loop and volunteer in the British Virgin Islands instead. It’s time you head to the British Virgin Islands for a meaningful adventure.