25 years of global service
Projects Abroad is the world’s leading international volunteering organisation, with headquarters in the UK and offices and projects in over 50 countries around the world. With our global reach, we offer the widest range of volunteer projects and locations, and our own dedicated staff are on hand 24/7 to make sure our volunteers make the most of their experience and leave a lasting, positive impact.
In 2017, Projects Abroad celebrates 25 years of supporting international volunteering. Since 1992, we have sent volunteers to work in 38 countries and helped over 100,000 people make a lasting impact across the globe.
In 2016, Projects Abroad embarked on an exciting journey with the appointment of a new CEO, Greg Thomson, who has taken over the day-to-day running of Projects Abroad from our founder, Peter Slowe.
Greg is a supported by a highly experienced core team, many of whom are former volunteers themselves, and by committed and passionate project and recruitment staff in countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, North America, Australasia and the Pacific Islands. We are a multi-national organisation that works across language, cultural and geographic lines. Cultural exchange is at the heart of who we are.
We also believe in supporting long-term economic and skills development in the countries where we work, which is why we have established several support offices in developing countries, including an IT office in Romania, a design office in Mexico, a finance office in Mongolia and a volunteer support and recruitment team in South Africa.
Where it all started
In the early 1990s, some students in the UK wanted a break from their studies to do something worthwhile - what today we’d call a “gap year”, although the term wasn’t in common use then.
They approached their geography professor, Dr Peter Slowe, to help them find opportunities to travel and work in Eastern Europe, an area then just beginning the deal with the aftermath of the end of the Cold War. At the time, with Eastern Europe experiencing significant change, it was difficult to find reliable information on opportunities for these students, especially in the days before the internet! Fortunately, Peter was able to help, using contacts among fellow geographers in the region, and he arranged for the students to go and teach English in Moldova.
This is how Projects Abroad was founded in 1992. Until 1997, we were a small, family-run organisation with just a few part-time staff working with Peter Slowe to help university students to go and teach English in Eastern Europe. But as more and more people were taking time away from studies and careers to travel and work overseas, and with many developing countries in need of self-funded volunteers, there was increased demand for our organised volunteer travel programmes.
Since 1997, Projects Abroad has gone from strength to strength. We have grown from a small, family-run organisation in the UK to a team of over 600 people spread across 50 countries, with the vast majority working directly with our volunteers at our many different projects.
Looking towards the next 25 years
We’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings in 1992. Our volunteers have helped us achieve an incredible amount in the last 25 years, but there is so much more still to be done.
We’re constantly developing new projects in our existing destinations, and looking at more countries where volunteers can make a difference. And 2017 has already seen the official launch of our Global Impact Database, which we are using to track and show the impact that our volunteers make across the globe.
Volunteers are needed around the world now more than ever. Find out how you can get involved, and be a part of our journey to make a difference across the world.
Our South African office is based in Claremont, Cape Town, and you are more than welcome to give us a call, send us a message or arrange a visit if you want to find out more about our many great volunteer opportunities.