Volunteering overseas can be a fantastic way to create social change and positively impact communities. Voluntourism does the opposite.

                               

The conservation about Voluntourism and Volunteerism is an important one to have. Here at Concordia, we want to ensure that all our projects empower local working people and local volunteers. We want the volunteers we help travel abroad to volunteer are fulfilling a need and that the community feels the benefit of their work long after they have returned home.

When choosing to list projects from our worldwide partner organisations on our website we consider:

  • What will be the outcome of this volunteer project? Will it help implement structural change?
  • What can our volunteers offer to local communities? What skills and knowledge do they have that will positively affect the lives of others when applied to this particular voluntary work?

Concordia and its partners collaborate with local communities. It is key to recognise that the people our volunteers assist are citizens with rights and not objects of charity. This is something we emphasise to our volunteers on our Preparation Days. Preparation Days are compulsory for volunteers who choose to volunteer in selected countries. We make them aware of the political, social, economic and cultural histories of the places they will visit.

Overseas volunteering shouldn’t be abandoned as it encourages cross-cultural engagement and understanding in a society where violent conflict and communication is prevalent. Volunteerism is beneficial to the volunteer and much more importantly, the groups or individuals in need.

Here are some great resources about Voluntourism and Volunteerism and their impact:

What's the difference between Volunteering and Voluntourism? - Go Overseas

Considering Volunteering Abroad as a Teen? Here’s What You Need to Know - Green Heart Travel

Decolonizing Missions & Development Work - No White Saviors