Voluntourism: Becoming A Citizen Of The World.

Having been involved in the volunteer industry for a while, the good, bad and downright ugly issues and discussions surrounding it, fascinate me. It is a controversial topic with people often focusing on either the positives or negatives of volunteering and voluntourism.

Before I get into the topic, I am going to address the two terms that are often interlinked and used interchangeably. By definition;
Volunteering is the act of giving up your time to support others less fortunate; something that is done at, or at least close to, home.
Voluntourism is the combination of volunteering and tourism; people acting as global citizens as part of a global community, giving their time to support others less fortunate. It involves travelling somewhere new to volunteer your time.

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Ways To Make Your Time in South Africa Absolutely Awesome!

Our current projects are based across South Africa, a large, beautiful and, in many places unspoiled country. It offers visitors world heritage sites, mountains, beaches, cities, adventure and wildlife in abundance while also sharing its unique traditions and customs. Visiting Africa can seem daunting to many people and it has been said that South Africa is a perfect destination for ‘first timers’ As much as the country is more similar to the western world than elsewhere in Africa, there are still huge cultural differences. It is these that make South Africa the magnificent place that it is.

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Road Trip!

Trippin’ Tunes

There are so many ingredients that ‘make’ a road trip, the country you are in, the roads you’re traveling, the people you are with and the sites you see. Many of these will be set in stone when you set off, or will come and go as you make your journey. Some you will have full control of and others you won’t (every group road trip has that one person).

Over long and bumpy roads, music is a vital ingredient to any road trip. Looking back, once we are home and settled in to the everyday, music has the power to transport us. To take us back to a time, an experience and an emotion, whether that’s in the middle of the South African outback or the Brazilian rain forest. I asked a few Travel Bloggers to share their musical memories of a road trip they have taken.

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Landy + Sunset = Perfect Road Trip

Who Doesn’t Love a Road Trip?

Driving through a hot and humid Durban, what started off as a meaningless conversation about what we wanted to do in our own lives led to a series of questions;

“What if someone wanted to spend their vacation doing good, not just lying on a beach?” “And if they wanted to see more of a country than being limited to one place while volunteering?” “How about if they were able to spend their free time doing awesome activities?” “Or getting involved in the communities?”

Global Handprints’ Volunteer Road Trips were born. I mean, who doesn’t love a road trip? And what better way to improve an old classic but to add volunteering in to the mix. Continue reading

Children in Uganda playing parachute games introduced to them by international volunteers.

7 Tips For Volunteering Abroad

Volunteering abroad can be a daunting process, from choosing where to go and what organisation to go with right up to knowing how long to stay. There are varied opinions on all aspects of volunteering with endless articles dedicated solely to pros and cons of the ‘industry’.

Rough Guides have put together these tips and we think they are a great starting point for anyone broaching the experience.

Each of their points are ones we strongly believe are crucial to choosing the right placement; one that benefits you as a volunteer as well as the project and community.

3. Ask the right questions; once you have found an organisation you trust, it’s time to dig a little deeper.

We aim to answer all your questions on our website but should you still need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Click here to see all of the Rough Guide tips.

Six Reasons Why You Should Volunteer Abroad

With continued controversy over volunteering; whether it does more harm or good to communities and the idea that it is a selfish action, it’s easy to forget the that volunteering (when done right) can be highly beneficial. Often getting lost, when focussing on what communities are gaining from the experience, these points primarily relate to the personal and professional benefits to the volunteer.

As part of a mini series of posts about choosing a volunteering placement, Steph from the Worldly Adventurer travel blog has identified 6 reasons why you should volunteer.

“Travelling, whether it’s a three months or two years trip abroad, has become a popular approach to taking a holiday. And while spending your time moving between cities, carting your weighty backpack with you as you go, is a great way to encounter new countries and spectacular locations, volunteering in one place for a few months can equally satiate your appetite for adventure. Not only this, but it can completely change your perspective on your job, your life and leave you with the most incredible memories that no other form of travel can rival.”

Click here to read the full article, originally appearing on Worldly Adventurer’s travel blog. Following @worldlyadventur on social media will keep you up to date with all her news and travel musings.

The rise of the ‘Voluntourism’ package

“Today, people around the world are looking for ways to make their travel and holidays more meaningful. Gone are the days where people want to return home with a suntan, local crafts and the need to up their exercise regime to burn off the results of an all-inclusive resort.

We want to return home knowing we have seen and experienced somewhere new to us, to it’s fullest extent; that we have infiltrated somewhere as more than a tourist and also left our mark on a little piece of the world.”

To read more, click here to go to the original article written by our Director, Lottie Reeves for Above and Beyond’s travel blog.

Exploring the Concept of Voluntourism

“…Like the term or not, voluntourism is taking more of a leading role in the way that we travel. As people search for ways to add meaning to their travels, a holiday incorporating an essence of volunteering seems like the perfect way to give back whilst exploring a new country and culture.

Instead of returning home from a 2-week holiday with a suntan, local crafts and ideas of a country based on an all-inclusive resort, people now want to come home with more.

As travellers, we want to meet and get to know people, and leave knowing we’ve contributed to an aspect of another person’s life and community by sharing our experiences and skills whilst learning from theirs. And we want to have an adventure!”

Originally appearing on Love Puffin’s travel blog, click here to read the full article and interview with our Director.