I have no idea of anyone can help but I'm not sure where to start looking. Me and DH have often talked about wanting to spend some time doing humanitarian work where we would be able to make a positive contribution to the lives of other people. At first we thought about taking a career break for a couple of years but once you have kids you start to see the limitations to visiting third world countries and the risks etc involved. So I think realistically we won't be able to do that until the children are much older so in the meantime we are thinking of trying to find a charity where we could go for a few weeks and we would have our family look after the kids whilst we are away.
The problem is I have no idea how to go about finding such a project. If you google you come up with lots of gap year type volunteer programmes but that's not really what we are looking for. My (probably idealistic) idea is to find a smaller local charity that would just be grateful for an extra pair of hands for a few weeks and would maybe give us the opportunity to be more directly involved (my concern with the large programmes in place is that you pay huge sums of money to go and then have very little contact with the people who need help). I would love to work with children such as an orphanage or hospital and whilst I know it would be heartbreaking, the thought of just being able to give a baby who has nobody a cuddle and a small amount of love and affection would be amazing.
My DH work contract runs out at the end of this year and our plan is to return home to Europe. It would be an ideal time to do a small project before we start working again. I'm wondering if anyone has any first hand experience with volunteer work or knows the best avenues to find information, eg asking local church etc. I know people will have opinions on the practicality and idealistic views of such a project but I'm really just after some positive feedback and help.