If you've never heard of voluntourism, it's essentially a combination of both volunteering and tourism, so yes, there are usually some upfront costs involved, albeit minimum. Although there can also be some irresponsibility by some organizations, as well as exploitation from emerging tour companies, voluntourism is an increasingly popular way to travel, and for good reason: Volunteering abroad can help people in need and enrich the lives of travelers doing the volunteering.
Whether you're new to voluntourism or interested in being a part of one of the organizations making actual, positive change in the world, GoodNet shared their 10 best voluntourism organizations you should consider for your next journey.
1. GO ECO
If you love travel and are passionate about planet conservation, GoEco is your resource for pairing your hobby with meaning.
CAUSE: Challenged communities, wildlife and the environment.
WHERE: All over the world.
A bridge year program that places graduating seniors in projects in far-flung and challenged regions. Global Citizen Year's mission is to cultivate prospective societal leaders and social entrepreneurs, giving them experience and tools to create impact.
CAUSE: Various projects in challenged regions.
WHERE: Brazil, Ecuador and Senegal.
Self-described as a “directory of meaningful holidays and travel opportunities”, One World 365 offers a wide variety of volunteer and offshore temporary holiday jobs.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or WWOOF, is a global network of organizations that matches volunteers with organic farms worldwide. In return for volunteer work, hosts provide food and accommodation.
CAUSE: Organic farming.
A large variety of volunteer, work and summer camp programs is availble on Bunac, an organization that has been around the block since 1962.
WHERE: USA, Canada, New Zealand, Ghana, Australia, Britain, China, South Africa and many more.
The American Hiking Society runs volunteer vacations in the form of trail building projects in the US. If you love the outdoors, you’ll love this opportunity to explore - volunteers enjoy backpacking or hiking tours provided by the host agency or organization.
CAUSE: Building trails in public American land.
WHERE: All over the US.
A pioneer of volunteer vacations organizations, Global Volunteers was founded in 1984 - that is, long before it was a trend. It has since been recruiting short-term volunteers for various projects overseas.
CAUSE: Projects for the benefit and welfare of children and youth.
WHERE: All over the world.
A user-friendly search engine for volunteer abroad projects culled from a variety of organizations.
CAUSE: Categories include Community Development, Environment & Wildlife, Learn Abroad, Teach & Coach Overseas and Women & Youth.
Projects Abroad one of the more large-scale volunteer abroad organizations out there; it matches volunteers with a tremendous range of projects worldwide. According to their website, they cater to volunteers aged from 16 to 75; as it turns out, there's a growing interest in volunteer abroad projects among retirees and career breakers.
CAUSE: A variety of projects from archeology and building to sports and medicine.
GeoVisions offers opportunities for volunteering abroad alongside paid English teaching and au-pair gigs.
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