Travel Voluntarism with Purpose for Indian travellers

March 17, 2018

Travel Voluntarism with Purpose for Indian travellers

Sometimes when we travel we are struck by guilt about our carbon footprint, the pollution caused by airliners, cars, our reckless consumption, etc. Some other thoughts that are always buzzing in our head are “This  world is in a bad shape and this is self-indulgence, I shouldn't do this, I need to do more to help my fellow men”.

Well, there’s a way you can eat that cake and keep it too. Allow me explain; you can purge the guilt by combining voluntarism with travel. So if you have five days or five months to spare, it will make a difference. Not just in the life of others you help, but in yours too. The difference it will make in your life will be enormous. Some of your most intense memories will be from volunteering for this kind of work. But please do your own research because aid and charity is a mantle used by many a crook in a sheep’s fleece. Online organizations posing as charities are often bogus and headed by crooks. Consult friends and people you trust before volunteering.

Some questions to ask before and even after volunteering

1. What are my goals for volunteering?

2. What skills can I contribute to that particular site or project?

3. How will my skills or lack of them affect the host community.

4. The time period that you will need to make any difference.

5. The money you contribute how much of it is going to end up with the community?

6. Will your presence take away jobs from the locals?

7. Is there an agenda, hidden or open, that you think is unethical?

8. If you ask an important question, are you given satisfactory answers?

9. Are the locals treated with dignity and respect?

10. If you were a local being helped would you be happy?

Some big aid agencies are:

  • ActionAid
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • HelpAge International
  • Seva Foundation
  • Street Kids International

Travel volunteerism is a great way to help locally or internationally. All one needs is compassion and empathy. The rewards are great, both for you and the community you help. If you have certain skills and they are in short supply, by all means do help.

When travelling abroad for helping others you may need foreign exchange. No matter where you travel to help, carry a multi-currency travel forex card apart form a small amount of local currency for travel expenses. Taking travel insurance on these trips may also be a good idea and make sure you don’t carry all your foreign exchange in cash. Forex cards are a safer option when going overseas for such trips.

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