Volunteer Travel – a real force for good, BUT…..

By Sallie Grayson. Filed in good and bad practice, people and places history and info, people and places in the news  |  
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There are still far too many volunteer sending organisations exploiting vulnerable communities and well meaning volunteers.

PLEASE PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO – its an hour long but it is very very important.

people and places was set up 7 years ago to campaign for change – we wanted to show that volunteer travel could be done responsibly –  that it can be a real force for good. It’s been an amazing journey – sometimes we feel as if we are talking to ourselves, or with the few people who already “get ” the ethics of volunteer travel.

There are still way to many instances of wanton damage to vulnerable children, adults and wildlife in the volunteer market.

This year I (Sallie) was asked to sit on a panel discussing volunteer travel at World Travel Market – one of the leading trade shows for the travel industry.

Paul Miedema – our local partner in South Africa– was also on the panel ( what he had to say is the most important )

The panel was chaired by Mark Tanzer the CEO of ABTA and Richard Oliver from The Year Out Group was the third panel member.

The debate got heated – GOOD – now we need ACTION .

I am an optimist – couldn’t do this work if  I wasnt! – I think we may be at a tipping point – I think, just maybe, some of the key players in the travel industry may start to help us expose the exploitation and promote best practice – oh I do hope so – it is time.

If you would like more info about the issues take a look at these two slide shows. I would ask you to post your comments here – you can be a change maker – we need people to ask these questions

people and places – responsible volunteer travel – It’s SIMPLE

Calabash Tours  – Time for Change

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Comment by npegler1:

    Thanks for posting this Sallie I have been searching for a video from the WTM conference.

    Well there`s nothing like saying what you think! and you and Paul certainly did that.
    Paul is so right it`s not all about what the volunteer want`s, what is the point of volunteering if you are`nt helping the community you work with achieve what they want.
    Sure it`s nice to achieve something and feel good about it and yes it looks good on your CV but is that the best reason to volunteer?
    Surely you should volunteer to help the community first and then consider what you get out of it, yes I know you pay good money to volunteer and want to enjoy it but if you don`t want to be challenged and do something out of your comfort zone just go and lie on a beach somewhere!

    I recently spoke to a volunteer who was nervous about her forthcoming placement and I said to her that`s good if you were`nt nervous there would be something wrong.

  2. Comment by Sallie:

    Jane – who volunteered with her partner at AV Bukani school has just posted this excellent advice on our face book page
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Responsible-volunteering-people-and-places/109179132471692

    ” I would particularly recommend anyone thinking of volunteering to look at Paul’s slide at 37:29 – ‘Ask these questions’. Robin and I were very lucky to come across People and Places and eventually to work on one of Paul’s projects. We had waded through information on dozens and dozens of providers looking for a volunteering organization we felt comfortable with. With most organizations we contacted answers to these questions were not available, in fact our impression was that they didn’t even understand why we were asking.”

  3. Comment by Sallie:

    One of the teachers from Jo Slovo – one of the schools we work with in partnership with paul posted this comment on face book

    “I am a teacher at Joe Slovo Primary School Port Elizabeth (South Africa). We are extremely fortunate to be one of the Calabash schools in the volunteer programme since 2007. Our school has benefited tremendously in respect of resources like teaching aid and other educational resource material donated by volunteers or acquired with their monetary contributions. Our learners are the ones who are gaining, as should be the case, based on their intimate interaction with volunteers in either small groups or in class. Paul has delivered strong and valid points in his presentation that need serious consideration by all concerned. Yes, Paul is very passionate about his projects, after all, although he is managing a business (NGO), the real beneficiaries are the learners in our schools whom he is just as passionate about. Thank you Sally, all the other employees at People and Places and volunteers.”Marilyn Luyt

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