This is a touchy subject for me, mainly because every time I hear a story from a fellow traveller about volunteering overseas, they just didn’t feel as though they actually achieved something and helped out. Which makes me question, is volunteering abroad bad?
Now, this is not to say I am against volunteering, quite the opposite actually. I am totally all for it., and generally think that to say volunteering abroad is bad or volunteering anywhere is bad is the wrong thing to think. Although it ‘aggravates me’ to say the very least, when I see and hear of these amazing people spending their valuable time to go and help others and not necessarily work on improving anything.
It hurts to know that they have put time aside to go and focus all their energy on a volunteer program that just didn’t appear to be what they perceived. Which is why when people ask or tell me they are going overseas to volunteer overseas, I think great, you are a legend, there should be more people in the world like you who actually care enough to go and do some good for others.
But the other half of me thinks, oh no really, volunteering overseas is bad and could be a huge waste of your time and money. Where are you going? Who are you doing it with and why? What is the benefit, and how will you really be helping those people you know?
Which is what I do, I question everything because I love learning. However to learn that fellow travellers, great people who are willing to give up there time for the greater good are actually getting taken for a ride.
I hear of people paying money towards volunteer programs, paying for their flights and being put up with a family while they help in construction or something of the sort. Which gets me thinking, if these big non-for profit organizations were really doing the right thing, why on earth are they making volunteers pay for their own way to get there? And the biggest one is, why must they pay for a volunteer program?
Is that not what volunteering is all about, volunteering their time instead of money? I mean if they wanted to help out by paying money, they could of stayed at home and done so from there. Instead they are asked to cough up their own time and money and to me that just doesn’t seem right, which is why I wonder is volunteering overseas bad?
What is going on behind the scenes? And are most of these non-for profit organizations really doing this to make a difference? Because if they really cared about making a difference, I am sure they could all align, put their forces together and make a much bigger change together than by working individually.
“We cannot accomplish all the we need to do without working together” – Bill Richardson
So I am not bagging out every single NGO (Non Government Organisation) or Non-for profit, because there are a select few out there which really and I mean REALLY, are doing great things for the world. However it just kills me to see all you great people go out there to make a change, and then find out you have just wasted your time and money on a volunteer program that did nothing for no one.
Which is why I find, if you are going to spend some of your own time helping people out. First off spend some of that time researching a company, organization or group, which are legit. One that you can question and find answers, because the more thorough you question it, the more answers you should get. And if something smells fishy as your try to poke holes at it and receive no answers, then that is a red flag!
But by all means, the world does need you. We need great people who care about important issues that are not blown up by the media, but more so hidden. Issues that have people on the streets, people without clean food, clean water, a roof over their heads and issues that all lead to the death of people who are completely innocent and do no deserve it.
So this is a shout out to you all. Have you worked as a volunteer overseas, who for, what did you do, and why? But even more importantly did your efforts make a difference, did the program or organisation really help with pressing issues that are important in this world? And do you believe that volunteering overseas is bad or not?