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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nh2489 View Post
    Thanks for your honest and informed advice. What I didn't want was people just giving advice based on no personal experience just their own opinion. I find that most things that you would initially think are good things to do are plagued with negativity and you realise that your actions could do more harm than good. (For example before we started IVF we looked into the possibility of intercountry adoption and boy that was eye opening!)
    I just find it so frustrating that there are so many situations that rely on volunteers and although we could find work in our profession that would indirectly help people in the community (we are vets), we both felt that it would be more rewarding to help people rather than animals. I also see what you mean about volunteers standing around not helping. After I finished uni I went to India with a friend to help in an animal charity and we soon realised all we were doing was standing around watching operations, not being allowed to take part as they felt we were inexperienced and when we suggested our skills could be used elsewhere in the shelter they were unable to find us anything to do. We ended up leaving a week into a planned month stay. So that's the main reason I didn't want to go through a large organisation where the charities actually don't need your help but also realise that we don't have the skills to help out in a meaningful way either. I know it's idealistic and reading your reply makes me appreciate that but I just feel that I need to do something in my life that makes a real difference to people. Maybe we just need to put things on hold and go back to our original idea of doing a longer term project and spending the time researching things thoroughly.
    I totally understand the feeling of actually caring and wanting to 'do something'. Because a lot of people couldn't give two hoots about poverty, civil war and the products of this and the massive impact of HIV/AIDS across Africa.
    It was truly serendipitous after your thread that this morning I woke to an email from a family in Namibia (our favourite place in the world!) that we met on our last trip. So happy to hear from them except now I have massively itchy feet to get back there asap.
    I'll share the story as an example of how money from tourism can help (and lead to bigger things). They own a small guest house up on the Angolan border (very remote) which they built just a few years ago and we were lucky enough to stay there and get to know them. They employ people from the local village (and truly care about the village as family) and the village has a share of the profits of the guesthouse with a committee to decide how funds from the guesthouse are spent to better the village (eg they have built a new church, community library). We were so taken with what was happening there as the best example of community integration into enterprise so we support them by sending packages of educational items in need (eg last time we sent teaching clocks for the village school as they were struggling to teach the kids to tell the time also 500 pens as the kids don't get pens etc), and hopefully next time also medical items.
    If you make a visit you might come across a community like that that you can directly support. But even the tourist dollars going into small ventures like this helps the local community and country enormously.
    On our last trip to southern Africa we drove over 7000km, 5000km of this in remote areas. We stocked our car up with non-perishable food and shared food with people along the way - some himba women who asked for food for their little kids, some guys selling rocks at a shipwreck site etc. We also bought some soft baby blankets and gave them to women with small babies walking by the road. Simple things that weren't going to change the world but helped those people that day.
    There's a charity called world families Australia that do amazing projects in Ethiopia (and other places) and also support individual children and families, real action on the ground.

    I hope you find a reputable project that might need an extra pair of hands but if not then don't discount investing money into the local economy by taking a holiday and falling in love with whatever region you visit and come home and sing the praises to everyone who'll listen 😀 tourism is such a big part of the economies and government revenue in many African countries and supports so many communities too. A country like Rwanda for example is so poor and recovering from an unimaginable history and a big chunk of government revenue comes from selling permits to trek to see the mountain gorillas. They'd rather you spend $$ purchasing a permit, hiring a guide for a week, tipping rangers and spending money in the country (and then raving about it so other people go) than spending a week helping in a school or something.
    Sorry for raving on so much 😁

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to gingermillie For This Useful Post:

    Kaybaby  (28-02-2016),nh2489  (28-02-2016)

  3. #12
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    Thanks a lot @gingermillie. I'll probably pm you if that's ok for some more info as I've been thinking a lot since your post. I've realised that a couple week stint is not feasible for volunteer work for the various reasons you've described so I thought maybe a better option would be to do some fundraising and try and get donations from friends of baby clothes, blankets, nappies etc and see if there are any charities that would benefit from those types of things that would be happy for us to visit so we can take them directly and know they are getting to where they are needed. That way we can start some contacts and by visiting for a holiday they would also benefit from the tourism as you've discussed. I'll pm you when I get a chance to see if you can give some recommendations. Thanks again for your honestly.

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to nh2489 For This Useful Post:

    bezzy  (28-02-2016)


 

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