Volunteering is an incredibly selfless way to travel and experiences the diversity of the world’s cultures. Whether your volunteer escapades take you to Africa, India, Australia or further afield, the world is not just to be travelled, but also be engaged with. Lots of people unfortunately do view volunteer travel as a sneaky roundabout way for people to make money by exploiting the poor and needy from disadvantaged communities around the world, but this is not always the case…
Volunteer travel should not be about how much money you can splash in the face of a problem, it is how well the funds can be raised and then carefully used to help promote the progression and development of different communities around the world. In some cases this process can be well and truly hashed and the funds can easily end up lining the ever-swelling pockets of the wrong people. In many cases, this is the rich corporate businessmen (and women) in the western world travel industry, preying on young people who just “want to make a difference” during their gap year, inflating prices and squeezing the local charities to reduce their overheads, and therefore the overall donation to the cause.
It’s a dodgy business…
I have however, had the privilege of personally working with a volunteer travel agency, as well as a charity that uses volunteers very effectively, to support local communities in underdeveloped and underprivileged areas of the world. Volunteers, staff and most importantly the beneficiaries all receive amazing support and real value from their experiences abroad. I have highlighted the two organisations below:
Changing Worlds is one of the original gap year travel organisations. Working closely with global communities since 1999, the Changing Worlds team have sent thousands of volunteers and adventure seekers abroad to experience life in completely different environment. Think: Expanding your mind, broadening your horizons and growing as an individual. Web: www.changing-worlds.com Phone: +44(0)208 123 8702 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
United Through Sport is a global sport and education charity. The main focus of this incredible charity is support developing communities across Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean through using sport as a tool for educational and social change. United Through Sport operate a hugely effective volunteer programme which gives people the opportunity to share their love of sport with children and adults in a range of inspirational locations. From the slum communities of Buenos Aires, the townships of South Africa, to tropical villages of the Caribbean, the work undertaken by the UTS team is helping to promote education, HIV and medical awareness, as well giving locals the opportunity to experience the power of sport! Web: www.unitedthroughsport.org Phone: +44(0)207 193 5775 Email: email@example.com
These are just my personal experiences of volunteer travel. Please share your thoughts with me and others. Leave a comment or contact me directly through the form below: