One way we did so, recently, was through an impact cruise and voluntourism.
What is Voluntourism?
Voluntourism can mean a lot of different things, practically. The definition is “a form of tourism in which travelers participate in voluntary work, typically for a charity.” How that voluntary work is executed is what takes different forms.
For us, we went on a Fathom cruise to the Dominican Republic where we participated in several “impact” activities (the volunteer part of voluntourism). Our ship, the Adonia, was docked in the Dominican Republic for 4 days while we participated in these activities. It was like our own 4 star “hotel” to come home to after working for the day.
Fathom and the Dominican Republic offered several different volunteer “impact” activities to take part in. As travelers, we signed up for the ones we wanted to do or were available. We chose paper making, reforestation, and English tutoring of sixth graders. You could also make clay water filters, pour concrete slabs, help out in a forest nursery, and tutor English for adults.
Watch the videos, below to see our experience with these volunteer activities.
As you can see in the videos, our kids had some amazing interactions with locals and experienced immersion in the Dominican Republic in a very different way than a normal vacation or travel experience. It was also a learning experience that I’m sure they’ll never forget. They both learned the importance of giving back and sharing of their time, talent, and treasure with others.
Unfortunately, last month, Fathom announced they would be ceasing operations in May of 2017 (Fortunately, this means you can get some really GREAT deals on this Fathom cruise between now and May!).
However, being owned by Carnival, they do plan to continue the impact activities in the Dominican Republic. Most likely, they will do this through the other nine brands under the Carnival umbrella that port in the Dominican Republic, although they have not announced official plans beyond continuing the impact activities.
Also, many travel operators offer voluntourism opportunities and you can even put together your own, customized voluntourism travel itinerary. We usually contact local visitor bureaus for help when doing customized travel plans.
Share some of your favorite voluntourism opportunities in the comments! We’d love to learn about other opportunities like this one.