Volunteer & Intern Travel News

Whether you are an experienced volunteer with a few trips already under your belt, or a prospective newbie who has just started out doing your research, you will want to make sure you choose the right organisation - one that has the best interests of you as a volunteer as a priority, AND keeps the welfare of the projects they are involved in close to their heart.

As a prospective volunteer in South Africa, you may have heard the terms “township” or “location”, and you’ve wondered what on earth they mean. Welcome to Township Life 101!

Throughout South African history, the terms “township” and “location” are what the local people have used to describe the neighbourhoods on the periphery of developed towns and cities. These areas were inhabited almost entirely by non-white people, who were not allowed by law to live in “Whites Only” suburbs.

One of the most fundamental aspects of being human is building dwellings and other structures – since man came out of the caves, we have ensured that our families are no longer at the mercy of nature, and we’ve had to opportunity to bond with other people and improve our communities with this most basic of functions – construction!

“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. And humans want to save things that they love.”

Steve Irwin

Most kids are fascinated and thrilled by seeing animals, hearing stories about animals, watching movies and documentaries about animals, and so on. The wonders of the natural world speak to most of us deeply, as fellow creatures on this little blue life raft in space! But if, as an adult, you’ve maintained an abiding interest in wildlife and the environment, then perhaps a job in conservation is for you. And if you want to pursue it as a career, then you also might want to consider volunteering for a wildlife or conservation programme that needs your help, to experience what it takes to work in the field.

Technically, “voluntourism” can be defined as a combination of voluntary service in a foreign destination, along with the traditional elements of travel; such as arts, culture, geography, history and recreation at that destination. However, words also have popular meaning beyond their strictly technical meaning. Whether you are an experienced volunteer or someone who has an interest in volunteering in the future, you’ve probably come across the term “voluntourism” in various media sources. And like many others, you might dislike the term and think that mixing “Volunteering” and “Tourism” downplays and disrespects the volunteering efforts of thousands of people worldwide. Or perhaps you are in the camp that doesn’t mind the term and thinks it acts as a drawcard for those who might want to combine a fun holiday of the usual sightseeing, sunbathing, sweet drinks and shopping with a more meaningful experience. Either way, you’re not wrong!

lilizela logo“Lilizela” is a Zulu word meaning to ululate as a demonstration of celebration and praise when someone has done well – much as one would cheer and clap for someone’s achievements in the West.

Recently, Khaya Volunteer Projects was privileged to be able to take part in the Lilizela Tourism Awards, first launched in 2013. These awards are given annually in South Africa to tourism groups and businesses who deliver a first-class product and exemplary service, and whose contribution greatly enhances South Africa’s ability to compete in the global tourist arena.

The awards are nominated by members of the public who vote for the best tourism experiences and products in South Africa. This encourages the tourism trade to provide excellent and innovative services, products and facilities; and remain competitive in the global arena.

“Disasters remind us we are world citizens, whether we like it or not.”

(Maya Angelou)

field hospitalIt's been only 4 months since a devastating earthquake rocked Tibet, the “Roof Of The World”, leaving those living there to pick up the pieces and try to rebuild their lives. Almost immediately after the quake hit, volunteers from all over the globe began focusing on Tibet in an attempt to help the people there.

Some donated money and resources from afar, and others boarded planes and flew to Tibet so they could donate their time and physical efforts. Needless to say, most of these attempts were well-intentioned, but some of these volunteer initiatives were actually causing more harm than good.

Fundraising tips

The decision is made; you want to volunteer abroad. Unfortunately, just like a normal vacation this will cost you some money.

Plenty of volunteers try to pay a part of their trip by collecting money through fundraising. This is a great way to spread awareness of your choosen project throughout your network and chances are that others are inspired by your efforts and will volunteer abroad as well or support the projects in need.

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