The month of May brings us a little closer to the summer months and the holidays. We know that the most far-sighted will already have your destiny not only chosen, but booked and organized. But, also that there are more and more indecisive and improvisers looking for a last-minute offer and a decisive inspiration. Of the latter we are rather familiar at unuk: ideas, proposals and traveling tools.
In previous posts we have talked about marathon and rips and for runners. Also trips in which music is the protagonist. Even trips whose main axis is the road or the train tracks. This week we want to talk about solidarity as the driving force of possible summer trips … or for a whole year — these do not accommodate specific calendar dates. There are many people who, year after year, choose experiences that not only add new corners to their own world map, but also add to the society or the destination country.
There are infinite number of specialized companies or NGOs that offer this traveling possibility, but it is not always easy to know what kind of trip we are booking or, more essential still, what kind of solidarity trip we want to embark on. Therefore, in this post, rather than offering concrete ideas of destinations and solidarity projects, we talk about the differences that exist between a solidarity trip and international volunteering.
The first thing we have to ask ourselves when proposing a trip of this kind is the degree of involvement we want to have with the project or community that we choose. The answer will be essential to opt for one of the two options previously discussed. The dedication and work to be carried out is very different between a volunteering and a solidarity trip. Here we explain the great differences that exist:
A solidarity trip allows us to know on the ground the work of an NGO contributing, fundamentally, through an economic contribution. Cooperation and development projects carried out by non-governmental organizations are visited and links of collaboration and solidarity are established.
They tend to be initiatives that seek and promote an approach to the social, cultural or political reality of the people who live in the community or in the country visited. You can contribute some hours and days of work, but they are usually only part of the global journey. These are trips that are made especially during the high season of holidays — summer, Christmas and Easter — and in groups.
An international volunteering, on the other hand, implies greater involvement on the ground. They are trips that, although they are also made mostly in high season, they can be also made at any time of the year.
Opting for international volunteering means working in the field without financial compensation. In fact, quite the opposite for it usually has an additional economic cost to the trip — just like if we opt for the solidarity trip. These volunteering stays have two fields of action: cooperation projects and work camps. The choice becomes a bit more complicated:
- Collaborating in a cooperation project means participating in a set of actions with the objective of promoting the economic and social progress of a community. Normally they are actions aimed at the fight against poverty, gender inequality, the conservation of the environment, basic needs or sustainable growth.
- A work camp, meanwhile, involves a group of volunteers who are committed to developing a social project for a time. They tend to be professionals of a specific field or with specific skills and training. They tend to be longer trips or stays than in any of the other modalities.
International volunteering is not, therefore, a vacation at large. Neither a trip, but a way to really get to know the reality of the country you travel to. There will always be time, of course, to discover it during the stay in the non-governmental organization or in the work camp. And afterwards of course 😉
And now with this information, it is up to you to decide what kind of solidarity trip you are most interested in, to search the Internet and to opt for one of the many companies and institutions that manage these adventures and unforgettable and enriching life experiences.