Why we don't send volunteers overseas

Find out why we don't send volunteers overseas after a major disaster.

This page is available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

After major disasters people often want to volunteer in the affected area. But this isn't the best way of getting help where it's needed.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is made up of 190 National Societies. The British Red Cross is one of these. Each National Society can draw upon its own body of volunteers, so we don’t send volunteers overseas.

Our approach saves vital time and money, as local volunteers have the advantage of speaking the language, knowing the region and understanding the culture.

The best way to support vital frontline work in an emergency is by making a donation

Some opportunities to volunteer abroad

Every year we do send some young volunteers (aged 18 - 30) to other European countries through our international youth volunteering programme. These volunteers support long-term projects. They do not help in the aftermath of a disaster.

If you would like to volunteer overseas you might like to visit the NCVO website, which has details of organisations that do send volunteers abroad.

You may also like to consider contacting another Red Cross or Red Crescent Society in the country of interest to you. You can get the contact details by visiting the IFRC directory.

Sending paid staff overseas

We are, however, a leading provider of specialist staff overseas to:

We also provide paid staff with specialist skills to support international projects in partnership with other National Societies. Find out more about how to work for us overseas.