Esther Thomas, AFF’s Regional Manager Overseas, often receives questions about employment prospects for families in overseas locations. Here she gives her advice on what you can do if paid employment isn’t an option where you’re living.

“Whilst some may not entertain the idea of working without financial reward, if you change your mindset and see volunteering, or getting active in your community, as a two-way street then it becomes more appealing,” she said.

“Think of volunteering as a free way to feel better about your life, develop new skills and self-confidence.”

Health benefits

If you want to improve your physical and mental health without paying gym or counselling fees, try volunteering for an environmental or gardening building project such as a turtle watch, recycling clean-ups, or anything which gives you a break from your normal routine.


If you want to gain new employment skills and experience without paying for courses, try volunteering with a local group for a specific role or a specific project. Self-confidence If you want to socialise and be a more active citizen without it costing a fortune, try volunteering in a community café, a thrift shop, school or with Home-Start etc. Volunteering in your community will not only help a good cause, it could help you gain friendships with people of different age groups, ethnicities or social groups, especially if you are assigned overseas.

Explore current volunteering roles with some of our registered employers on Forces Families Jobs –

Pictured above: The forces community in Canada enjoying the annual Ralston Colour Run fundraiser

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