This blog post was updated on July 18, 2018.

“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”– Malala Yousafzai   

Image via Flickr CC- Global Panorama

20 years ago today, in Swat Valley, Pakistan, a local school teacher welcomed the birth of his daughter. He named her Malala. BBC blogger at 11, shot and nearly killed by the Taliban at 15, and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient at 17, Malala Yousafzai has dedicated her entire life to human rights activism and has single-handedly impacted, inspired and changed the lives of hundreds of individuals, around the world.

But you don’t have to be a Nobel Prize-winning activist to be a catalyst of change. To celebrate this incredible patron of peace on her 20th birthday, we’re taking a page out of her philanthropic agenda to give you a list of volunteer abroad programs that are Malala inspired and girl power approved! 

“We all need to do something. These Girls are our sisters, part of our global family. If someone is destroying our family we should stand up.” – Malala Yousafzai 

Short-Term Volunteer Programs (That Are All about Girl Power):

Craving an escape from med or law school? Looking for a way to make the most of your much-needed break from your 9-5? Consider adding an impactful twist to your next short (under 3 months) trip abroad. Beyond being an exceptional cause that bridges many gaps in highly unmet needs, women empowerment is also a cause that can enable you to find your place in a local landscape without impeding on the community or taking away job opportunities from residents. Here are some short-term programs that ensure that you will be working alongside local people and that your contribution will be appreciated by your host community while you’re volunteering abroad.

1) The Malala Fund

If teaching is your forte, Malala’s organization is your answer. Over 130 million primary school- aged girls are out of school until this day. In 2013, Malala founded this organization to carry on her crusade to eliminate this vast gap and offer a quality education for girls. With various opportunities ranging from hosting fundraisers to teaching in one of the many local schools in her networks, volunteering with the Malala Fund means endless options for you!

2) Vision Malala

If you’re on a short-term trip to India, Vision Malala is a great place to give back. Born from a deep admiration of Malala’s story, this non-profit organization was founded to provide housing and education to young girls rescued from forced child labor. Opportunities are incredibly flexible, with no specific skills necessary. Read to them, teach them how to draw, or simply sit and talk to them about the importance of education; all they’re looking for are people who are willing to volunteer some time, warmth and attention.

3) VIN – Women Empowerment Program

Bring your teaching, finance, law, marketing, public health and medical skills to VIN. This program focuses on education, life skills, income generation, microcredit cooperative support and sex trafficking prevention for women and is a great way gain a new perspective on your current career while using your preexisting skill set to aid these women in dire need.  


With over 15 women empowerment focused initiatives to choose from, and no minimum or limit to your service time, this organization is ideal for your next volunteering abroad experience. BRAC (Building Resources Across Communities) is an organization that focuses on creating opportunities for women through educating them in various life skills and assisting them in establishing small businesses. Volunteer with BRAC to make a big impact in a short period of time.

5) Love Volunteers

Booking your volunteer trip last minute? Love Volunteers has one of the fastest response times to applications, making the process of getting into your program, super quick and easy. Education, life skills training, abuse recovery and providing care to impoverished women and children are just a few aspects you can contribute your time and skills to when choosing from Love Volunteers’ 6 projects in women empowerment.

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai

Long-Term Volunteer Programs:

Maybe you’re feeling brain-dead after 4 rigorous years of high school. Perhaps you’re just not ready to join the workforce after college. Or maybe, you just need a change of pace and a new perspective on your career. Whatever your reason, devoting a year (or two) to travel, follow your moral compass and commit yourself to an honorable cause is a great choice in moving towards a better you. To follow on with our Malala-inspired list, here are a few long-term programs that are all about peace, love and giving back.

6) Girl Effect

Hone in on your digital advertising expertise, be a part of a social movement, become a local and gain invaluable work experience in the time you’re taking off with Girl Effect. The program offers many international job and internship opportunities in countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Malawi, to people with a broad range of expertise. 

7) Peace Corps

If you’re looking to make a long-term commitment to a cause, this is the organization for you. Perhaps the most well-known of the volunteer abroad organizations, the Peace Corps makes it onto our Malala-inspired list because of its core message: promoting peace across the globe, by providing trained manpower and aid to peoples of desperate need. 

8) Mercy Corps

Work, travel and use your expertise to help aid people in conflict-stricken and transitional environments through this organization. Mercy Corps teams up with many NGOs and schools (much like the one Malala opened for young girls in a Syrian refugee camp), to help lessen the difficult challenges so many refugees and displaced peoples face, worldwide.

9) Volunteers for Peace

Whether you’re taking a break between high school and college or looking for a way to give back while also learning a new skill and immersing yourself in a new culture, Volunteers For Peace offers a variety of options for people looking to turn their time off, into time used to make a difference.

Image via Flickr CC- Nicholas Frisardi

“Do not wait for me to do something for your rights. It’s your world and you can change it.” – Malala Yousafzai

You heard her, what are you waiting for? In the words of the superheroine herself, anyone can be a voice of change. While her unbelievable story of survival and undying devotion to women’s rights and education is awe-inspiring, what’s most remarkable about Malala’s message is that it entrusts each and every one of us with the responsibility to disrupt the status quo. So, whether you’re looking for a pause with a cause or trying to add an impactful element to your travel agenda, there’s a place for you take your skills to, make a difference in and irrevocably change your outlook on the world because of.

(P.s. Happy Birthday Malala!)

Have any girl power volunteer programs you want the world to know about? Tell us in the comments below, we’d love to keep adding to the list!

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About The Author

In a past life, Tasmiah was either a Bollywood actress, renowned ethnographer or master chef; no questions asked. In this one, she is a shower-singing, croissant enthusiast, who also writes content for Fareportal, in that order.