Gift for project/host families while volunteering abroad

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Gift for project/host families while volunteering abroad

First of all, you are by no means required to give a gift to your host family so if you are unable to for any reason do not feel obliged. Having said that, your host family is not just a bread and breakfast and you should look at it as more of a cultural immersion. Host families invite volunteers into their homes because they want to share their culture and they are interested in yours. Many volunteers cite their host families as one of the most memorable parts of their volunteer abroad experience and even stay in touch after they have left. You are going to spend a lot of time with your host family so including a gift  when you pack may be a nice way to ingratiate yourself into the family whilst also sharing some of your own culture.

Gift ideas for host families when volunteering abroad

As I have mentioned, a gift is definitely not required for your host family so anything you do bring will be greatly appreciated. Many people like to bring something that represents where they are from such as a local food or confectionery item. Maybe if you are from a well-known tourist destination you could bring some sort of small souvenir or trinket.

Do I need to bring gift for the project?

Bringing a gift or donation for the project you are working on is not obligatory but if you are going to be working on an orphanage or school project, consider bringing something that would be useful to the school/orphanage. Remember that items you may take for granted may be very difficult to come by in the developing countries you are visiting.

If you are thinking of bringing a gift, talk to your contact from the volunteer organization and ask them what items are needed. In this way you will not waste time and money on items that will not be helpful.

What kind of gift would be good for project?

If you are going to be working in a school or orphanage, here are some suggestions for gifts which may be needed


Schools in developing countries (at least those that you are likely to be working in) are chronically under-resourced. Items such as paper, pencils, crayons, erasers, notebooks can be expensive for locals but extremely cheap for volunteers to buy in their own countries. Also, english-language books are likely to be appreciated as books are often extremely expensive and/or out of date in developing countries.


Do you know any kids who have out-grown their toys? Take a few of thee easy-to pack items with you. Soccer balls, colouring  books and even board games could also be greatly appreciated.

Items for daily use

Think about things like blankets, clothes and shoes are likely to always be appreciated. Toiletries such as soap or diapers depending on the ages of the children may also be appreciated.

Do not feel pressured to bring a certain amount/value of items. Any donations are sure to appreciated.

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