Writer Maureen Littlejohn considers the pros and cons of paying to volunteer on your holiday in a recent feature article titled Goodwill or Good Vacation? in Monthly Developments magazine.
Examining the growing trend for volunteer vacations, Maureen considers many of the motivating factors, effects and viability of volunteer vacationers. In her research, Maureen examined the numerous trips and destinations managed by Globe Aware:
Globe Aware, a 12-year-old American nonprofit voluntourism organization, has a mandate to promote cultural awareness and promote sustainability. "Since 9/11 and the economic turndown, people are starting to want vacations where they can give back," explains Aubrey Roberts, the company's director of social media and outreach. Globe Aware operates 17 programs in 15 countries and sends approximately 1,000 people a year to an assortment of projects, from building schools in Ghana, to assembling wheelchairs in Cambodia, to building an eco-ranch for tourists in Costa Rica. The trips are around $1,200 for one week and include food and home-stay lodging. Flights are not included. "Volunteers do sLx hours of work a day. People really like our concept. Repeat business is between 40 and 50 percent:' notes Roberts. Globe Aware partners with local NGOs and communities, relying on their input before projects are undertaken. "We don't require expertise from the volunteers, since we mostly are just looking for able-bodied workers, but if someone has certain skills we try to use them. Our coordinators oversee the projects and make sure they move forward as each new volunteer team arrives;' explains Roberts.
The article in its entirety can be viewed HERE