Read up far more about voluntourism and the problems pertaining to it, do not just get swept up in glossy brochures and websites along with your own idealism here. Nothing wrong with being idealistic as such but you could well end up feeling used as well. Not all programmes are well run by any means and are run purely for profit and to exploit the ideals of the people who attend.
What skill sets do you have; do you really think you could make any real difference?. Many of these programmes are very short term, a matter of a couple of weeks and/or with beach time added on at the end. These are designed to make such companies money. When you people leave another group come in. Do you think that helps the people you're going to see?.
If you want to volunteer then I would look into doing this in the UK. Doing such longer term can make a difference even though it is seen as far less glamourous and with worse weather.
Bamboo has great reviews by all accounts. We actually met someone who worked for them when we were in Thailand at the end of last year. He was holidaying at the same hotel and we found him really interesting. He wasn't trying to plug their tours either. It's not all about teaching either.
Thanks for the input and views! They do seem to have brilliant reviews - as far as I can see you do t have to do the volunteer stuff either - there are alternative sightseeing trips. It’s only 2 weeks and the emphasis seems to be on seeing the country as a normal tourist with just a little volunteering.
Its still not ideal and people who go on such, although having good intentions, can actually do more harm than good.
Anyone can write brilliant reviews, this is how people can get taken in. I would urge you to research this whole subject properly and not just go by reviews and or glossy websites.
Seeing the country purely as a tourist is something I have no issue with. What is the issue here is the voluntourism added to this. Who is such volunteering really designed to help here?. Two weeks is not going to make any real difference whatsoever. These companies do this to make money, its not done for and with the locals in mind.