Have you been thinking about a holiday that includes overseas volunteering? National Volunteer Week is coming April 12 – 18.
Voluntourism has begun to boom as of late. BenefacTours has been arranging volunteer tours for over 8 years. Over half of our volunteer clients are women travelling on their own, so naturally they want to feel secure and know what to expect upon arrival in a foreign country. I personally visit each volunteer placement site regularly before sending any travellers. You can read about my own 5 month volunteering experience in Uganda in 2004 here.
I caution you to know what you are getting when you sign up to volunteer overseas. CBC’s Doczone ran a program recently about this subject. Some people have been fooled into thinking they are going on a life-changing experiential tour when they are sadly disappointed. This gives international volunteering a bad rap, and that is sad because you really can make a difference in people’s lives by your contribution. Watch Global TV’s interview with me.
You need to ask questions like:
- What is the reputation and credentials of the organization that is arranging the volunteer package for me?
- Does the charity really need me and my skills?
- What are the goals of the charity that I will be working for?
- What will an average day look like?
- Do I get time off and what can I do in my spare time?
- What sort of accommodations will I have?
- Will I have to share a room, and if yes, with how many others?
- What sort of toilet/shower facilities are there?
- Which meals are included in my fee?
- Will I be met at the airport and transported to the site?
- What about health issues, ie vaccinations required and/or anti-malaria protection?
- Anything that makes you feel hesitant or nervous.
If you wish to look into volunteering overseas, have a look at our volunteer tours, starting at $635 US. Contact us with any questions. BenefacTours is licensed by Consumer Protection BC and we are members of ACTA, The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies.