DS planning a Gap Year - how to choose which company to plan an environmental conservation trip with?

(14 Posts)
beachyhead Fri 08-Mar-19 10:47:36

DS is planning his gap year and doesn't want to do the typical travelling thing, but would like to do a month or two volunteering abroad, ideally for a conservation project.

There are tonnes of companies out there who can arrange this, but it's really hard to find actual reviews (ie. not on their website) to see which ones really deliver. It seems a really overcrowded market.

Does anyone have experience, positive or negative, to help him choose?

OP’s posts: |
beachyhead Fri 08-Mar-19 18:55:42

Does anyone have any experience?

OP’s posts: |
FaultySpice Fri 08-Mar-19 18:58:26

Try www.thelanguagegap.org.uk

JuniperBeer Fri 08-Mar-19 19:06:46

Is it proper volunteering, or is it charity tourism that he will have to pay to do?

Charity tourism is big money, and doesn’t actually benefit local communities. Teens “helping” build a house for example doesn’t help the community. What would be useful is training and education of locals so they can build their own houses. Same for “teaching” English.

Pick carefully!

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 08-Mar-19 19:13:49

World Veterinary Services is a well respected organisation that often requires non- veterinary volunteers of their trap and neuter and rabies vaccination programs. These help to control population of feral cats and dogs and the rabies program helps to dramatically reduce the about of rabies disease in the human population. It's not big and flashy, but it makes a real difference in the areas it works.

SingaSong12 Fri 08-Mar-19 19:21:17

This Guardian article has ideas on how to pick a place, but also that to be of use a volunteer should be there at least a few months.

A gap year/young volunteer thinks that it is actually detrimental to local communities. There is an article from BBC here

anniehm Fri 08-Mar-19 19:25:21

Voluntarism is a huge business and charity is not at its heart - profits are. Far better to look for agencies working overseas who take on a few 18 year olds each year on proper supervised programmes which typically are several months! A friends son did 6 months in an Indian orphanage and they provided accommodation and food plus a tiny stipend, his only cost was flights.


CannyLad Fri 08-Mar-19 19:57:26

He could look at helpxchange or wwoof as alternative. They have volunteer places where you actually get to learn some skills without paying. I did it in Australia and New Zealand and only one place turned out to be a bit weird, the rest were fantastic. You actually live and work with people who know the place, rather than a bunch of transients.

oneteen Fri 08-Mar-19 20:03:12

Maybe look at the www.aiesec.co.uk/

It tends to attract DC who have actually started at Uni....so maybe worth consideration.

oneteen Fri 08-Mar-19 20:05:08

Not sure about helpxchange - I know a young teacher who had an awful experience (although she was female - so probably a slightly bigger risk).

tilder Fri 08-Mar-19 20:09:48

Have you thought of WWOOF? Pretty sure that's the acronym. Willing workers on organic farms.

Totally agree with posters who flag the sometimes unsavoury nature of this. I remember stories about false orphanages set up to encourage donations etc. You are wise to be wary.

beachyhead Fri 08-Mar-19 21:26:47

Thanks so much, I'll take a look at the articles and names suggested. He's seen WOOF and may do that in the UK.

The websites look so glossy and enticing and somehow you don't want to believe that they do no good at all....

OP’s posts: |
JuniperBeer Fri 08-Mar-19 23:14:56

Chances are if you’re having to pay for the “experience” it’s charity tourism.

beachyhead Sat 09-Mar-19 07:28:32

The World Vet Service looks good, various opportunities of varying lengths all over the place.

Thanks to all

OP’s posts: |

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in