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Moving library in Indonesia | © Seika / Flickr
Moving library in Indonesia | © Seika / Flickr

The Best Places to Volunteer in Indonesia

Picture of Edira Putri
Updated: 2 September 2017

Many tourists have fallen in love so deeply with Indonesia that their attachment inspires them to contribute. Others are just motivated by the goodness of their spirit to make a positive change in the beautiful archipelago. If you’re one of them, follow your kind heart and discover the best places to volunteer in Indonesia.

Education and social

Teach English in Bali

Balinese people are the sweetest, and they live on the awe-inspiring island that makes teaching English hardly seem like work. Dedicating your time in the tropical paradise while catching a glimpse of local life, making friends, and contributing to their education sure ticks many boxes in just one visit. Since they live in a popular tourist destination, English skills can sure help the Balinese a lot in their daily activities, work, and even business. Organizations such as Yayasan Widya Sari can connect volunteers with underprivileged children in Bali; you will see how dedicating just a bit of your time to helping them can change lives.

Contribute to Eastern Indonesia’s literacy

The eastern part of Indonesia is still much less developed than the major cities in the west, be it in infrastructure or education. Taman Bacaan Pelangi (Rainbow Reading Garden) seeks to distribute reading materials to Eastern Indonesia by establishing children’s libraries on remote islands and promoting the joy of reading. Volunteers can choose to fly all the way to the remote islands to teach basic literacy courses and to help manage the libraries or simply help collect, pack and transport books from Jakarta to the remote areas. The foundation can also develop a customized itinerary for volunteers and consult on how you can help according to your abilities and availability.

Teach and motivate Jakarta’s street children

Despite being a metropolitan city with big buildings and shopping malls, many families in Jakarta still live way below the poverty line. Consequently, hundreds of children are taken out of school to help the family earn money, and they continue to do so until they have kids of their own to take out of school, and so on and so forth. Providing these children a basic education, moral and/or financial support can make a difference in breaking this vicious cycle of urban poverty. Sahabat Anak has teaching centers around the city where underprivileged children gather when they’re not working, listening intently to the lessons of the day taught by volunteers with different backgrounds and expertise.


Working with orangutans in Borneo

As the world’s lung, Borneo (or Kalimantan in Indonesian) is covered with a lush tropical jungle, making it an ideal habitat for a varied biodiversity, including the adorable orangutan. Unfortunately, due to the changing environments and other threats, many of the wild species need assistance, including the newborns. OFI offers a chance for everyone to help orangutans; volunteers can help with the nursing, treat the orangutans medically, do small construction tasks, or organize events, campaigns, and fundraisers.

Rehabilitate sea turtles in Bali

On different parts of the island of Bali, hundreds of sea turtles need special attention in order to recover from injuries caused by fishing or tourism activities. Volunteers are called to care for the turtles and release them back to the sea where they belong. Bali Sea Turtle Rescue also has a conservation center where volunteers are needed to nurse new hatchlings until they are ready to survive in the wild. The people at the center will train and educate the volunteers, and there is something to do for everyone, including children.

Aiding animals in Jakarta

Indonesia’s bustling tourism scene has often put animals in danger. Dolphins are transported and placed in risky shows, and monkeys are forced to dance. Birds are caged without proper care, and other animals are exploited in different ways. Instead of traveling to Indonesia to see all of those animals pose and dance for your amusement, why not volunteer to help them for a change. The Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) advocates for animals rights through campaigns against unjust animal practices. The organization is in constant need of volunteers; you can either help rescue and rehabilitate exploited animals or organize campaigns and events.

Conserve threatened habitats in Sumatra

For ages, the flourishing rainforests of Sumatra have sustained the lives of wild species, including endemic birds, rhinos, orangutans, tigers, and more. Everyone is welcome to help preserve this nature—see to its cleanliness and protect it from illegal logging and other harmful production activities through strategic ways. Volunteers will have a wonderful experience spending time in the untouched nature, helping perform wildlife patrols, planting more vegetation, educating others, and helping with campaigns. Many organizations arrange this kind of activity; you can try Sumatra Rainforest Institute for a rounded, strategic program that covers all fronts from flora and fauna rehabilitation to education and awareness programs.