Home Lifestyle Looking to help Ukrainian refugees? A guide to ‘voluntourism’

Looking to help Ukrainian refugees? A guide to ‘voluntourism’

by YAR

Finally, we decided to spend two weeks in Krakow with A Drop in the Ocean. The volunteers we worked with came from Norway, Italy, the Republic of Georgia, Germany, Spain, the United States, England, Ireland and Poland. They are currently short on volunteers and desperately need help.

Volunteer tourism may seem like a fairly new phenomenon, but its roots go back to the post-World War II era with the founding of the Voluntary Service Overseas organization in Great Britain in 1958 and President John F. Kennedy founding the Peace Corps. in 1961. Since then, voluntourism has continued to grow in popularity with organizations like Habitat for Humanity raising awareness about it. But as Benjamin Lough, global volunteer researcher and professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work, wrote to me in an email: “Trends in voluntourism, like travel in general, tend to follow patterns expectations that are based on changes in the economy, as well as on social and political issues. He added: “I anticipate that voluntourism anywhere near Ukraine has probably increased several times recently. When the media signal that help is needed, voluntourism responds.”

That seems to be the case in Poland. Like most non-governmental organizations looking for volunteers in Poland, A Drop in the Ocean does not pay for travel, food or accommodation. They do, however, help recommend lodging and negotiated a cheaper rate of about $58 for a double room per night, including breakfast, for volunteers at the nearby Hampton by Hilton.

On any given day there are about 20 foreign volunteers helping out in the free shop, where more than 1,000 people receive some 9,000 items in a single day. Ms. Jacobsen from A Drop in the Ocean told me that her organization is committed to staying in Krakow until the fall.

“But if the war continues, we are prepared to stay longer,” he said.


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