Voluntourism, a combination of volunteering and tourism, allows people a chance to contribute to sustainable development and experience a new country and culture. A friend of mine visited a small village in India to teach underprivileged children for two weeks in April last year. She enjoyed spending time with the young children, and once her volunteer work was complete, she went in search of an adventure. Like her, many travellers are visiting different locations around the world where they can make a difference and see the sights at the same time. Dubbed as a big travel trend this year, voluntourism is fast turning into a travel must do. Travellers are packing their bags in search of authentic experiences. Before you decide to visit, here are the pros and cons of voluntourism:
You get to do something good: The sheer pleasure a traveller gets from voluntourism is indescribable. It's a way for them to show they care.
Gives one a new appreciation of the problems the world is faced with: People face many issues around the world. Voluntourism assists in showing travellers the plight of others and how a single act can help make a difference in a small way.
Some organisations lie: Many organisations are not truthful about their needs and exploit travellers. Try to make sure that the organisation you choose is reputable and that your services are not in vain. Author JK Rowling spoke about voluntourism in a tweet last year. She said, “#Voluntourism is one of drivers of family break up in very poor countries. It incentivises 'orphanages' that are run as businesses…”(sic).
It can be risky for travellers if not well researched: Research, research and more research is needed when planning a voluntourism trip. There are bogus organisations out there who are ready to prey on unsuspecting tourists.