Last month Grassroots Volunteering’s founder, Shannon O’Donnell, sat down with Rachel Martin on NPR’s weekend travel show to talk about the relationship between travel and international volunteering.
The segment looks more closely at the idea of supporting social enterprises as you travel, and explores the many ways travelers can think of innovative ways to support local communities even beyond traditional volunteering.
The transcript and post are on NPR’s site, or click the icon below to listen to the short segment.
The core of the message is in accurately assessing how you are most useful to the communities and causes you’re supporting on the road. That looks like different things for different volunteers, and that’s the beauty of the evolving voluntourism industry—as it grows and evolves it’s the travelers and communities themselves who define what and how this relationship works.
In the interview, O’Donnell noted:
“Service-minded travelers have committed to doing their research, committed to understanding development and aid issues alongside making every effort to maintain the dignity of the local people. Sustainable and ethical travel means you examine the ethical issues so you understand when you can be of service, when your skills might be useful, and when it’s better to responsibly spend your money in the local community.”
Feel free to leave your thoughts below; how have travel and service intersected in your travels?