You may have heard of “voluntourism.” It’s one of the fastest growing areas of tourism. The idea is simple: rather than lounging on a beach while visiting a foreign country, you can make a difference in the community by volunteering. Many people add volunteering opportunities to their vacations. Others turn their whole vacation into making a difference! Whatever you choose to do, if you’d like to give back to the world while traveling, voluntourism is just the thing for you.
Where are there voluntourism opportunities?
There are chances to do voluntourism in just about every place you can visit. (Except maybe Antarctica. Sorry, you won’t be working with penguins unless it’s at a zoo.) It really just depends on what kind of work you’d like to do, how long you’ll be in the country, and which country you’d like to visit.
Plant a tree in Brazil!
The Amazon Rainforest is known as the “Lungs of the Planet.” More than 20% of the Earth’s oxygen comes from this incredibly rich ecosystem. However, logging, agriculture, and human activity has severely damaged the rainforest. If you’re visiting Brazil, you can give back by volunteering with reforestation groups. Reforestation is simply a fancy word for planting trees. Going through a reputable volunteer group can help you choose the correct species to plant and ensure that it grows to be a healthy adult tree.
Teach English in Morocco
Arabic and French are the most commonly spoken languages in this North African country. However, many Moroccans want their children to learn English so that they may have opportunities elsewhere. If doing manual labor isn’t for you, consider teaching English to children! You can choose whether you want elementary or high school aged students and you may even have the opportunity to help with school plays or other extracurricular activities.
Feed Big Cats in South Africa
Kitties are so darn cute. In fact, there’s a Reddit thread dedicated to photos of adorable felines. If you’re headed to South Africa, you may want to check out the Tiger, Lion, and Wildlife Park. Volunteers prepare meals for cubs and help feed them, play with them, and assist with the care of injured animals.
Cleanup a beach near Mumbai
The largest beach cleanup in the world has already removed 4 million pounds of garbage from Versova Beach, but the work is ongoing! You can check out the local volunteer group’s Facebook page for updates. Every other week or so, they host a public cleanup of the beach. If you’re visiting family in Mumbai, this is an easy way to give back to the local community.
Build housing in the Philippines
You’re probably familiar with the concept of Habitat for Humanity. Did you know they’re international? There’s several different types of programs that you can volunteer for in the Philippines. You’ll want to be comfortable doing manual labor and in decent physical condition. You may help renovate existing housing or build new homes. Because Habitat for Humanity keeps working groups small, this is a good way to volunteer if you’re traveling with some friends.
Are you interested in voluntourism? We can customize any trip to include volunteer opportunities! Give us a call!