Jenkins/Penn Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO)

Sean Penn Haiti Volunteer

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When a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in early 2010, it seemed like the entire world turned its eyes to the poverty-stricken Caribbean nation – and Sean Penn was no exception. In the wake of the disaster, which virtually leveled the tiny country, Penn and fellow philanthropist Diana Jenkins sprung into action and formed the Jenkins/Penn Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO).

Unlike some other celebrity-based charity organizations, the J/P HRO and its namesakes were not only at ground zero immediately following the disaster but, nearly three years later, are still actively involved. Sean Penn’s volunteerism through the J/P HRO is, in fact, so lauded that he was recently named ambassador at large for Haiti.

Worldwide Orphans Foundation: Using Partners and the Media to Make a Difference

Four Orphan Boys

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When I try to imagine all of the needy people in this world—the poor, the hungry, the abused, victims of natural disasters, casualties of war—I always circle back around to the children. Children need. It’s the biological way of our species. Babies are born entirely helpless, relying on the love and protection of their parents. But what about children who don’t have parents? How do those innocent, defenseless creatures survive?

Elevate Destinations: A Voluntour in Haiti

Young Girl at Elevate Destinations Site in Haiti

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Writing about voluntour organizations all around the world means exploring inspiring projects conceived by inspiring people. It forces me to remember that making the world a better place is a process and that everyone, no matter how experienced or educated or motivated, can step up and change lives. Whilst reading AFAR, my favorite experiential travel magazine, I stumbled upon a voluntour organization that really got my attention: Elevate Destinations.

NGO Profile: All Hands Volunteers

All Hands Volunteers NGO Logo

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All Hands Volunteers is focused on “providing hands-on assistance to survivors of natural disasters around the world, with maximum impact and minimum bureaucracy.” There are several things that make this NGO unique. For starters, they provide housing and food for volunteers, so all you have to do is cover travel expenses. Since budgeting is such a huge problem for so many eager workers, providing these services means more people get to the scene of the disaster, and they get there fast.

Dr. Bob Paeglow: Compassion in Action

Dr. Robert Paeglow in Haiti

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There was a time, several years ago, when I didn’t have any money. I was just out of college, didn’t have a job, and was trying to pay rent, student loans, bills, and to eat (if there was anything left). It was the first time in my life that I felt the real stress of poverty. It could have been worse—I had an education—but I couldn’t find a job and didn’t know when I would. I was two months late on rent and looking at eviction, desperately trying to sell everything I owned to raise the funds. Then one morning I woke up and couldn’t walk. My leg was swollen to three times its size and I was in incredible pain. After years of ballet spent abusing my feet, I’d neglected to care for the blister on my heel, and now it was festering. I knew I needed medical attention but didn’t have money, let alone insurance. Lucky for me, I found Dr. Bob.