The VolunTourist™ is a premium Newsletter for the Travel Trade. For those interested in discovering what is happening in the world of VolunTourism and seeking emerging practices, general information, and case studies, this is your Source.
Thank you, again, for your interest in The VolunTourist!
And a BIG Thank You to all who send us some great comments!
This Issue's Reader Comments & Other Mail
I recently saw Hope Givers a documentary about volunteers who went to Morocco. I would like to organize a similar trip. Is there a guide from your organization that can assist with this venture? Would the $2,000 per person discussed in the FAQ apply to a trip to this destination? How much more money would I need to raise in order to accomplish this goal? ps I am a junior in high school and I would like to propose this service trip to my school in the fall. (S.G.)
The Hope Givers documentary was produced by WFYI Television in Indianapolis, IN. I was asked to provide some technical information via an on-camera interview for this project. I am glad that it inspired you to seek assistance with your potential VolunTourism trip to Morocco.
In terms of a guide, if you mean information, we can provide you with information to help you organize your trip. However, if you mean by guide, a person, we do not generally send people abroad.
The $2,000 that we mention in the FAQ on the website is simply an average. It does not necessarily apply to any specific trip. In this instance, I would suggest that you contact Ambassadors For Children - the entity that organized the trip for the documentary - for pricing details.
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I was wondering where you qualified your information and stats on voluntourism from. Thank you!
In terms of stats that are provided either in The VolunTourist or on the Voluntourism.org website, we get these from a number of sources.
If they are direct references to information that entities have provided, we try to state this within the context of the quoted statistic. Quite a number of the statistics that we include on the website are gathered from a handful of VolunTourism Organizations with whom we have communicated for a number of years. We compile these statistics and provide them to readers in both the newsletter and the website.
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Some information is gathered from one organization, Los Ninos International, and extrapolated. With a 30+ year track record of providing VolunTourism trips, the organization is in a unique position to provide excellent insight into trends and demographic information, particularly as it relates to the under-25 market.
Hope this helps!
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Inspired by a recent inquiry about volunteering in our program, I have just been purusing your website and would like to offer another suggestion to your participants as they 're-enter' after a voluntour.
St. James ESL Program (www.stjames-cathedral.org/esl) is a non-sectarian program offering English as a Second (or third, fourth, etc.) Language (SJESL) to low income, adult, immigrants and refugees who live in King County (Washington State, USofA). Our students receive one-to-one or small group instruction from volunteers who are 18 or older, fluent in English, can commit to 1.5 hrs., 2 days/week for six months, and pass a criminal history check. SJESL provides on-going support and recognition.
A recent inquiry from someone having just returned from a voluntourism type experience in the Former Soviet Union and wanting to practice her Russian-language skills with Russian-speaking students, lead me to consider sharing this idea with others.
Is there a way to post or otherwise share with your participants a short announcement? In King County alone, only 10% of people who want to learn English are served. No doubt there are similar figures across the country. I'd like to encourage your participants to consider volunteer ESL tutoring as another way to 're-enter' and to continue contributing in a meaningful and satisfying way. Please contact me if you want more information about this.
In the meantime, if you have particpants returning to the Seattle/King County area, we'd be happy to hear from them. Here's my announcement:
Have you started something you don't want to stop? If you've just returned from your voluntourism experience and live in Seattle or King County, give us a call. We'll match you with an adult, low income, immigrant or refugee who wants to improve their English language skills and get involved in their new community. Call Cecila at 206-382-4511 or send me an e-mail message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so very much for your consideration - and your good work. (When I retire I'll check you out for an extended voluntour of my own.)
Cecilia Erin Walsh, MSW
Refugee Project Coordinator
St. James ESL Program
804 Ninth Ave.
Seattle WA 98104
Here is your letter and your post.
I hope that you are able to connect with some VolunTourists as a result!
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I was wondering why one should have to make a monerary donation as a volunteer doing work for your organization...It seems to come out as having to pay to help. Shouldn't it be the other way 'round?
Thank you for your question.
First, you should know that Voluntourism.org does not currently solicit donations of any kind.
As for organizations that offer VolunTourism trips, because many of these companies or nonprofit organizations offer you more than just the opportunity of volunteering - some include sightseeing tours, recreational activities, visits to cultural centers, etc., in other words, tourism - such experiences do have an expenditure associated with them.
But even in the case that you describe in your question, why should you pay at all?
Here are several reasons:
1) Organizations that offer these itineraries to you spend a great deal of time and talent in developing the potential for you to simply be able to step into a situation and render service. Do you have any idea how much time and money it would take you to try and do this personally? For this service to you, they should receive compensation.
2) To have insurance to cover your health and well-being while you are conducting your service effort costs money; to provide you with food and shelter costs money; to pay the salaries of the translators and people that coordinate your activities costs money; to purchase the materials for you to do the work that you do costs money. Your "payment" offsets these costs and allows the organization to continue its efforts in identifying additional opportunities for future VolunTourists.
3) The value that you personally receive from participating in a VolunTourism experience is very difficult to measure; but you most certainly will benefit from the experience. Putting a price tag on the experience means that you will take it seriously. There have been numerous studies conducted over the years that detail how important it is to charge people rather than to provide them with "free" things. It is the same with VolunTourism.
Hope this helps to answer your question.
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