how very refreshing – a 16-year old High School student who is already working hard on the idea of overseas volunteering in projects abroad … well done Joseph … keep up the good work!

“I’m currently a 16 year old high school student living in California writing to you to inquire about the possibility of volunteering abroad as a minor in High School. I was wondering If you could provide me with some information as to going about doing so. I really do have a passion for helping others, and I try to use it through volunteering as much as I can in my community.

questions and answers







Read the remainder of this entry »

crees volunteers – all together

By npegler1 | Filed in volunteer stories | One comment


cree vols

Finally we are all together, we all got together at crees headquaters and Nicola and Andy ran us through what we would be doing for the next two weeks at Shipetiari although I will be leaving after a week with Nic to go back to the MLC so that I can work on the community programme, biogardens etc and meet Renaldo the rain forest hero!

Tomorrow at 6.30 we leave for a journey to the jungle, we will climb to 4,000 metres and then descend through the rainforest, stay there the night and then on to meet the shipertiari, Andy says he has done the journey 40 odd times and he never fails to enjoy it.

I have requested a seat on the bus opposite to the sheer drop but as one volunteer said we would all go over the edge anyway!

This will probably be my last blog for a week or so, so if it goes quiet we haven`t gone over the edge!!

Chilling in Cusco

By npegler1 | Filed in volunteer stories | 3 comments

cus low1

Today is a fairly laid back with all of the volunteers and interns assembling at the hotel, some of us who arrived earlier went out for lunch and a bit of shopping and we are all going out for a meal later.

girl low res

We are in Cusco tomorrow and Wednesday our journey to the rainforest begins, then the hard work!

From what I hear we will be off grid for two weeks so if I stop blogging there is a good reason!

Norwich to Cusco – an epic journey!

By npegler1 | Filed in volunteer stories | No comments yet.


well I left Norwich on a coach at 9.20 (gmt) and arrived in Cusco at 3pm Peruvian time, so that was a coach to Heathrow fly Madrid to Lima to Cusco = 36 hours!


Read the remainder of this entry »

Have a great trip to Peru Nigel

By Sallie | Filed in volunteer stories | One comment

The ed ( volunteer of course) of our news letter is off to Peru. We look forward to his blogs here.

Nigel - newsletter ed to the end - taking pics

Nigel – newsletter ed to the end – taking pics

( satellite connections permitting!

Travel Well Nigel

Here at people and places we love this travel writing site. Sallie has just made this sallie headshotSMALLcontribution

BUT what are we doing to make volunteer travel better? 

You know when you have an idea – and you realise it wasn’t such a great idea….and you still don’t let go?

My idea – to write about the positive developments in volunteer travel (call it voluntourism if you must but in my book they are two very different experiences).

Normally I write about bad practice - I thought it would be good to write a good news piece for a change – little did I realise how hard it would be. The only way I have been able to write this piece is with a number of big fat BUTs.

So here we go – and let me start by saying that I firmly believe that a well prepared, screened, skilled volunteer can make a positive impact.

I have spent nearly 10 years campaigning for better experiences for volunteers and the communities they seek to serve. I am not a natural campaigner but I found myself involved in an industry bedevilled by bad practice (that’s a whole other story), so “if not me then who?”

Those ten years have been a real roller-coaster – I have seen the best of people and, boy, have I seen the worst of people. So time to take stock. I have no idea whether any of my campaigning has been effective, but I do know that the campaign has been effective, somewhat…

So I want to celebrate the steps forward (some impressive, some tiny) that I have seen in the past 10 years.

I hate lists but everyone tells me people read lists and I would quite like you to learn more about the steps forward we have taken so …a list it shall be.

Read the whole article here

Do you think i will get a reply?images

( and FYI we didnt enter the awards because we have a policy not to enter awards you have to pay for!


Thankyou for the invitation .

Before we can finalise our decision to take  up your offer of a seat at the awards dinner for the discounted price of £295 per person I would be grateful if you could answer some questions.

as an organisation promoting ethical business practices could you explain.

1. How you ensure that staff employed for the event are fairly remunerated

2. What steps your event organisers take to minimise waste.

3. What proportion of (what will surely be) an excellent meal is sourced locally

4.If any of the impressive ticket price is donated to the local community

5. Whether you make any of this information publicly available.


Thanks very much


PS this is an open letter and I will be posting it on the web.


sallie grayson

programme director

The orignal email


Hello Sallie

I hope all is well at your end!

Although you haven’t entered this year’s Ethical Corporation Awards I thought you still would like to know how it develops.

1.         The shortlisted organisations will be announced on July 17th. We are still considering the entries and getting the shortlists ready. We have some great entries this year, definitely some hard choices ahead!

2.         If shmoozing among sustainability leaders sounds appealing to you, then great! You can now reserve your seat for the glamorous Awards dinner. Book before the official sales opening (July 17th) at the discounted price of £295+VAT (commercial/ corporations) and £145+VAT (NGO/ SME/ Academic) per person.

In the meantime, if you’re considering it and need more info (i.e. last year’s attendee list etc), please let me know.

All bookings at this stage are through me only. So if you wish to secure a place, then simply reply to this email.

This email has been sent to If you wish to stop receiving communications from us visit

Ethical Corporation provides business intelligence for sustainability to more than 3,000 multinational companies every year. We publish the leading responsible business magazine, website, and research reports. Our conferences are widely recognised as the best in the field of corporate responsibility and sustainability.

Ethical Corporation is part of FC Business Intelligence Ltd. FC Business Intelligence Ltd is a registered company in England and Wales – Registered number 04388971, 7-9 Fashion Street, London, E1 6PX, UK

Here’s a recent report from volunteer Godfrey who worked on the Community Project in Cambodia:

“I have to say that my first experience on arriving in Siem Reap, as a volunteer was one of great surprise. A tiring journey from the UK ended with a warm welcome from Michael Horton at River Gardens and Deborah Saunders the “Landlady” and an introduction to Khmer cooking!

That was the start of what was going to turn out to be the best 6 weeks of my life.

The first introduction to my volunteering was the participatory seminar at the ConCERT office on child abuse. But the necessity to make myself and the other 18 volunteers aware was dramatically necessary.

As to my own experiences, I was at a school located some 3km from the centre of Siem Reap where the principal objective was the teaching of English to children of many ages. I did not teach for I am an Engineer, civil by profession and nature … and so my practical skills? were to be put to a different use. Alan at Grace House, my boss, had decided that his whole workshop area needed a degree of reorganisation! So I found myself working with seven charming Khmer guys who were in fact all trained electricians. They also had a certain amount of woodworking skills and together we built racks for their tool boxes, duckets for their hard hats and safety shoes, completely fitted out the stores with new shelving, redesigned the workshop office so that more than one could have access, built a shop area for electrical items to be sold to the public and generally brought about a discipline and tidiness to the workplace.

pride in good work, well done

pride in their work …


new shelves !

new shelves !

That didn’t mean that I was remote from the school. In fact I felt an integral part and it was extraordinary to see the children receiving such dedicated tuition from the teaching staff and volunteers. There was so much happening around me and enormous credit must be taken by Alan and Bridget for the homely discipline that they imposed on the school. The children and the villages in bringing so much help to these lovely, kind, generous and respectful people.

If I was to pick a particular highlight to my stay, it would be difficult. At work, seeing all the various tasks come to fruition was rewarding in itself and the smiles told a good deal. Read the remainder of this entry »

Sallie recently made a presentation about child protection at a responsible tourism event - watch it here (about 14 minutes in ) - there were lots of tweets and a couple of articles afterwards which used the word passion


to describe her presentation. …. dead right – we are passionate and we are not going to stop campaigning and raising awareness.

Kate was interviewed on the BBC in May about “Orphanage Volunteering – watch it here

Does this mean we are against volunteer opportunities where volunteers engage with children?

NO – it doesn’t

There are well-run and well-managed programmes, doing important and worthwhile work – but there are still too many ill-conceived or down right exploitative programmes out there – and there are still way too many ill-informed travellers.

… there are  well-run child care organisations – but they are so difficult for the ordinary traveller / donor to find. If you have the skills and want to volunteer in a children’s home please read this advice too – please do your research.

We at people and places actively support programmes which seek to support families so that the children can remain within those families – take a look at our programme in Cambodia for example.




Our Chair, Professor Harold Goodwin, recently attended a workshop where many “agencies” working in Child Protection or promoting volunteer travel met to plan a way forward.


Here is his blog – it doesn’t make easy reading – but it is an essential read for anyone thinking about volunteering in an orphanage or children’s home. The problems exist not just in Nepal and Cambodia – to our knowledge they exist in Uganda, Kenya, Indonesia, India, Haiti …….. Read the remainder of this entry »

people and places latest volunteers’ social meeting was hosted by our volunteer programme advisor, Dianne, at her

Dianne Ashman - our volunteer programme advisor

Dianne Ashman – our volunteer programme advisor

home in Dorset …

Not only were Peru and Cambodia well-represented, but also Saint Lucia, The Gambia, South Africa, Nepal and India – a lot of views and news were exchanged as future volunteers talked with recently returned volunteers about their placements and experiences.

A local south-west group is forming and already making plans for their own get-together … if someone would like to form a similar group in their own area, please let us know !

Meanwhile, the people and places team is making plans for our November meeting in Faversham – this is always a good time of year (regardless of the weather!) as several of our local partners are likely to be in the UK for the annual World Travel Market in London.

So – a date for your diaries: Saturday 8th November – at home with people and places at ‘head office’ in Faversham, Kent.

Please email if you would like to attend

We’ll send out full details shortl, but meanwhile, we recommend that you ‘book early to avoid disappointment’ – please email Kate and let us know how many places you would like to book.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our meeting in Dorset –











and are looking forward to 8th November.

here are some lovely messages from those who attended in Dorset

Thank you all for arranging such an enjoyable and interesting and informative get-together. Susan

Volunteer Susan chatting with Harold our revered Chair!

Volunteer Susan chatting with Harold our revered Chair!

The meeting gave me a lot to think about before

Nigel - newsletter ed to the end - taking pics

Nigel – newsletter ed to the end – taking pics

I go to Peru and you will all get feedback

on my experience! Nigel
watch a video here of  Pam discussing her time volunteering in Peru



What a lovely reunion we had yesterday! Thank you very much for your hospitality and for making us all so welcome.  It was really nice meeting up with everyone again and being able to exchange experiences – and we were impressed with the file you had put together Dianne! It will be a very useful resource. Val (K)

Thank you for a most enjoyable Saturday afternoon with lovely weather and in a lovely part of the country.  It was good to meet and talk to yourselves and also other volunteers.  I was pleased to meet Kevin and Esme and have a preliminary chat about St. Lucia.  With my next placement I am sure I will want to contact previous volunteers.  Thanks also for the email contact information for everyone.  Also a special thank you to Dianne for hosting the event. Pat
P.S.  Thanks too from Julian for letting him come even though he did disappear.  The bellringers were apparently extremely pleased to see him as it meant one of them could have a rest each time and they fed him chocolates to persuade him to stay for the ringing after (not at all good for him but he didn’t take much persuading!)  He then enjoyed the cricket on the field behind and was almost disappointed when I called him to go.