May 16, 2013

Humanitarian travel tips

Many of us have ever thought if we can do something more for others in our travels. We have visited remote locations, faraway villages, hidden tribes, poor neighborhoods... And you always think: "since I'm here, could I do something to help this amazing people who need it the most?" So today I bring you some tips and information to make a humanitarian trip.

Meeting the projects

Through main NGOs, you can sponsor a child through financial contribution, but many times people have doubts about whether the money goes, if Iwe've chosen the right organization, or you just we would like to be  involved a little more and see the magnificent daily work they do at the field.


Solidarity travel tips

Well, some of them, like Vicente Ferrer Foundation, gives you the opportunity to spend 3-4 days exploring the developed projects with local communities, in this case in Anantapur, India, and check in person the real needs and results of each project, which makes the journey very rewarding and meet directly the beneficiaries of your contributions.

Volunteering

Another very supportive choice of travel, but also full of controversy, is volunteering. Consists on participating for at least a month in one of NGO's projects that have these programs both nationally and internationally, and performing daily tasks that directly help the neediest communities.


Solidarity travel tips

There are many programs that range from helping build schools, to tutoring adults who need to be trained to be able to find a job, or raise awareness among families that their children should go to school and not working in landfills or grow between gangs violent.

The implication is chosen by each of us, and the time period of the collaboration. While it can not be less than 30 days, since the projects need to have continuity in time and is very important to be responsible and consistent with them.


Solidarity travel tips

If you want further information, you can check lots of Websites as Volunteering England, United Nations Volunteers or Volunteer Match.

Sustainable tourism

This type of tourism is increasingly popular. It's nothing more than traveling for benefiting local communities, respect their customs and culture and have a low impact on the environment.


Solidarity travel tips

Staying in hotels where the benefits go to the people living in the area and not directly to the government or the big chains is one way to help sustainably.

If you want to buy food outside a restaurant, a very good option is to buy it in local markets. You make sure that money is for the families of the area and so you can taste the wonderful local products in a unique way.

Always remember that children need to be children and your relationship with them has to be careful. In many countries, they are used as a lure for tourists and sell souvenirs instead of being in school or playing.

Solidarity travel tips

If you want to give them something, I recommend you to be something they can enjoy without having side effects. As an example we have candies, it seems the easiest gift and certainly kids are going to love it, but keep in mind that they have a lot of sugar and can cause them health problems that can not be solved in the future for their lack of means. The same goes for the food. Maybe a burger is beneficial for us, but for someone who knows only rice and soup, a hamburger does not do any good. So be responsible!


Solidarity travel tips

Make room in your suitcase

This option is very interesting and not really take long time or extra effort for you. It's bringing in your suitcase or backpack material that may be useful and necessary for the most needy in the country you're going to visit. Notebooks, pencils, soap, are some of the materials that you can carry with you and spread at your destination.

Although, sometimes we are a little lost when it comes to knowing if what you bring in the suitcase is really necessary for them. So, I recommend take a look to Trip-Drop, which aims to find worldwide real needs of the most
humble communities for travelers easily know what to carry and where to deliver it. 

It's easy. You choose the country in the Website and discover, for example, that in  Cambodian Kouk Chack community need soap, rice and shoes for children. So if you travel to Cambodia and you are passing by close to this area, do not forget to bring in your luggage any of these things, or what is better, buy it inside the conuntry so the benefit is double.

Solidarity travel tips

These are just some opinions and tips for humanitarian travel, more real and supportive, although there are certainly more options I have not mentioned. Do you know any more? Have you lived them in first person? I'd love to hear your experience!