Wednesday, October 3, 2012

#TTOT Round-Up: Voluntourism - Impact or Impossible

Every Tuesday, it's Travel Talk on Twitter! Each week is a fun, new topic. Join either of the two sessions at 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT to get in on all the fun travel talk!

Just follow the #TTOT hashtag! 

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT on "Voluntourism - Impact or Impossible."

Q1 via : What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to give voluntouring a go?
  • : Do it because you are passionate about volunteering and not because it looks good on paper
  • : See who the organizer really is. I found out halfway I was volunteering with a religious cult 
  • : Research, Research, Research. Check out lots of organizations and ask them lots of questions. Good ones will answer them all
  • :: Do it for right reasons, not on a whim. It may be a gap year for you but for them it's their life
  • : Do lots of research! Ask for advice and tips from people that have done it before 
  • : Really think about what it is you have to offer and ensure you can actually give the time you have agreed to 
  • : Make sure the organization is reputable and the causes involved are things you agree with or share in common
  • : Go with an open mind and willingness to work, but don't expect to save the world in a month
  • : Do your research. Always know exactly who they are and exactly what they expect from you
  • Do something in a field you love, something you're passionate about. Whether that's animals, environmental, building, etc 

Q2 via : Best voluntourism activity for a first-timer?
  • : Pick something that your comfortable with, that you think you'll enjoy and can contribute to 
  • : Start with something small - like help cleaning an old stadium for children to play in or help planting trees 
  • : Go with a friend so you can share the life-changing times. And rough out the hard days together
  • : Do something local, volunteering doesn't necessary have to involve long haul travel or developing countries
  • : Grow something! Whether it`s working on a farm or volunteering with a community garden, make an impact that`s sustainable 

 Q3 via : What was your most worthwhile voluntourism activity?
  • : Helping out at the food bank in Iceland. Felt good to be able to help others in need! Specially around Christmas
  • : Helping to rebuild parts of Pisco, Peru after it was destroyed by an earthquake
  • : When I spent two weeks at a childcare facility in Honduras, we took some paint/paper and did art with the kids in the afternoons  
  • : My most worthwhile was also my worst, in Cambodia. Learned SO many lessons on what to watch out for and better select in future
  • : Playing games with orphans in Jakarta, Indonesia. Love putting a smile on kids faces
  • : The hubs and I volunteered to help feed 3500 immigrant workers for Thanksgiving one year
  • : My most valuable voluntourism was digging trenches in India to stop elephant and locals conflicting

Q4 from : Which 3 things should potential volunteers look for in a credible volunteer program?
  • : Must not replace local work; must be sustainable/accountable; must not exploit 
  • : What impact will I make? Am I passionate about the project? Where is my money going?
  • : Check who's behind the organization,where money goes and try to find out what the local community thinks
  • : Financial transparency, safety, and of course...happy alumni
  • : Definitely get in touch with people who have used them, do proper research (beyond just their website)  
  • : Where does the money go? Do the locals really benefit? Has the organisation a good reputation? 

Q5 via : What info websites can you recommend for volunteers who are researching?

And there you have it, "Voluntourism - Impact or Impossible."  

Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Travel Buddies!" Submit your questions HERE!

See you Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT for the next #TTOT!

As always, a HUGE travel community thank you to our #TTOT hosts and organizers: traveldudes, , , , , , and !

Have YOU got anything to add to the "Voluntourism - Impact or Impossible" discussion? 

© Connie Hum 2012

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