Researchers found almost a quarter (22%) of Brits said they may consider having a voluntourism experience in a poor community overseas, according to a new survey, commissioned by ICM.
The ICM poll questioned 2,005 people across different ages and backgrounds and found taking a year out is not just a pursuit for younger generations. This is reflected in Hands Up’s finding that family volunteer trips and honeymoon volunteer trips as well as seniors volunteering holidays are our most popular adventures that count.
The ITM study revealed 31% of 55 to 64-year-olds might consider taking a UK-based gap year and 22% would think about one overseas. Only 10% of all participants think age is a barrier.
Pollsters found the public think Bob Geldof is the UK-based entrepreneur who has done most to make the world a better place, with 22% of votes, ahead of Sir Richard Branson (13%) and Jamie Oliver (9%).
The people, questioned between November 3 and 5, said volunteer gap years are beneficial to personal development (49%) and a valuable way of giving something back to poorer communities (37%).
I founded Hands Up Holidays to give you the opportunity to not only see amazing sights, but also to have authentic interaction with local people and give something back in a “hands on” way to local communities through a taste of volunteering.
In my life I have been blessed to have had some incredible travel experiences in over 50 countries, from African sunsets on safari, to swimming with dolphins, to hiking up volcanoes and even gasping for breath in the Himalayas.
But as amazing as those experiences are, my most enduring memories are the times when I have engaged in meaningful ways with the local people: becoming the official photographer at a village wedding in a remote section of North-East Vietnam, sharing chai with Indian farmers, sheeshah with Touareg nomads or copious brandies with gracious Serbian hosts are memories I cherish.
Moreover, when these interactions are overlaid with giving back through volunteering, they became incredibly fulfilling, inspiring…and life changing. Experiences such as helping build a house in South Africa and teaching English to my host family in a home-stay in Guatemala are great examples, and the lifelong friends I have made as a result and the lives changed were the catalyst for leaving my job in the City in London and setting up Hands Up Holidays.
Through volunteering, and the consequent meaningful interaction with local people, I gained an insight into peoples’ lives, and was blown away by how whilst they had little materially but were incredibly rich culturally and socially.
I was both challenged and inspired by this, and I decided to adopt a simpler, more contented attitude to life – being grateful for what I have, rather than striving for more and more possessions.
I started working on Hands Up Holidays in 2003 to make it easy for you, fellow travellers, to have incredible voluntourism experiences and dig a little deeper into a community and give back in ways that enable you to make a positive impact in 3-5 days with a taste of volunteering.
I am passionate about you having amazing travel experiences through Hands Up Holidays. Expect to have a meaningful holiday with us, while at the same time being challenged to look at the world in a new light.”