Some years ago, three travellers met by chance in a Gambian garden. Harold, Sallie and Kate were there for different, yet related, reasons – Harold was advising the government on its national tourism guidelines; Sallie was using her business skills in a volunteer placement; Kate was designing a holiday for a newspaper readers’ offer.
Discussions rapidly centred on volunteer travel, with one overwhelming and recurring theme – the extant chasm between marketing and reality in a significant number of volunteer offers. Both sides in the equation – volunteers and local communities – frequently find themselves being sold ideas of projects abroad that bear little resemblance to the real situation.
We began to ask ourselves what we could do to address such potential exploitation …
… our initial idea was to ‘name and shame’ through targeted campaigning, but over the next few months, another idea took precedence: to achieve positive and long-term change, we would develop our own unique model of ethical volunteering, whereby all parties would be best-served and which would be totally open and honest in all its activities, including financial matters.
Thus – people and places – a social enterprise, committed to responsible volunteering.
Our initial programme was launched in 2005 with projects in South Africa and Nepal – and our very first volunteer was placed in one of the South Africa projects in April 2006.
We’ve come a long way since then … today we are matching volunteers’ skills to projects’ needs in 12 countries.
and the World Responsible Tourism Awards in 2013 …
We’ve come a long way … and we’re not done yet !
Look for a project and learn more about how we work at www.travelpeopleandplaces.co.uk