Volunteering On The Rise...

woman and orphanVolunteering is a concept foreign to some and more familiar to others, but to volunteer in Africa with an organization such as Khaya is a concept that is gaining more and more interest.

Maybe I can explain you more about why Khaya offers volunteering projects and what makes us tick...

Travelling in Tanzania in 2011 was an eye opener; there were so many volunteers in Arusha with a variety of organizations and after visiting an orphanage where I met 15 volunteers (young and all from Sweden) who were working at this small orphhanage with only 40 children.  I was quite intrigued and shocked at the same time. How come there are so many of them on one project; how much is the host family getting for their services; wat does the project gain out of this; what do volunteers pay for this experience? All questions I found answers to as well after asking around a bit, and the answers were quite shocking; only 10% of what volunteers pay to their international well known organization (let's leave the name in the middle) is spent in Tanzania (the rest stays with the UK-based head office), the host families get a very small amount to look after their volunteers, the project get NO financial help in any way except for donations from the volunteers.

It made me think; if this industry is there and obviously will not go away but only grow with the growing interest for such experiences, how do you do this the best way possible? Big question with many different views and opinions on this and none of them really has the answer I believed.

Because of what I learned and saw while in Tanzania I realized that while some organization choose to make as much money as possible using other people's poverty there needs to be options for consious and more critical volunteers to work with an organization that is transparant, where fees are honest and justified, where local staff and projects financially get supported and volunteers have an experience where they felt is was worth it. If all can win in these kind of experiences we at least try to make the best out of this fastest growing form of tourism; experience travel.

This is what makes Khaya tick; to offer the best service possible in an open, honest and transparant way where both volunteers as local projects know what to expect and were fees are transparant so you as a volunteer know exactly where your fees go and why.

Quite a challenge ahead though to promote ethical and responsible volunteering on an international market where big companies with huge budgets are hard to compete with, but let's try and at least do what we do the best way possible!

Martijn van der Put

Founder of Khaya




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