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August 14, 2007

Gap Year Volunteering

Well, quite:

Gap-year volunteers may be better off spending their time travelling than helping out on spurious schemes abroad that do more harm than good, a charity said today.

In fact, in terms of helping those poor people in other countries you'd do rather better staying in Britain at work and sending them the money.

After all, it's not as if their major problem is a shortage of unskilled labour now, is it?

August 14, 2007 in Make Poverty History | Permalink


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I agree. I thought that in 1974 after leaving university. Some people were praised for going overseas to work for a charity. If they had worked on a building site and sent the money instead, the universal reaction would be - "You're daft - what do you get out of that?"

Posted by: Jim Winfield | Aug 14, 2007 8:59:39 AM

During my gap year, I got that most strange of things: a JOB. And I paid rent to my parents.

Tim adds: I made more money in my (three) gap years waiting table and tending bar than I did until about 4/5 years ago. But then the early years/decade of starting a business are notoriously badly paid.

Posted by: David Gillies | Aug 14, 2007 4:36:04 PM

Realistically, how many 18 year-olds are going to spend 10 months working in an office or factory for 40 hours a week, and then feel inspired to send their hard-earned wages across the world to a cause they know nothing about and people they have never met? Very very few. But those who have had personal experiences with people or projects which are in need of funding are infinitely more likely to make big donations to them once they return home. There are endless examples of gapyear students who spend some time working on a project in a developing country, and are so moved by their first-hand experience of inequality that they set up a permanent link with that community and send regular donations. As well as this they also share their experiences with people back home and often inspire them to do something similar.

Posted by: Sarah | Aug 15, 2007 12:02:59 PM

And Jim, did you or anyone you know work on a building site and send money to developing countries???

Posted by: Sarah | Aug 15, 2007 12:04:58 PM