Vacations are all about tanning, sightseeing, shopping and dining, right? Not always. Next time you jet off to another destination with the cuties, consider volunteering as a family! There are many Asian destinations where you can enjoy a fun holiday and make a difference at the same time – and the trip will make a lifelong impression on your kids! Little Steps brings your our top picks for voluntourism holidays for families in Asia. Get packing!
Whether you’ve got younger tots that you want to get started on giving back, or older teens looking for a bit of adventure with your travel, Kaya specializes in tailoring their family volunteer trips to any age. Each project has an underlying element of education and ensures every member of the family can be involved differently. Kaya offers programs in Nepal, Thailand, India, and the Philippines, as well as other programs in Africa and Latin America.
Are your little ones interested in saving sea turtles? Or maybe elephant rehabilitation is more up their alley. Or perhaps you’re looking for some community and cultural involvement for your trip. No matter your family’s interest, GoEco has you covered. They have a variety of volunteer opportunities across Asia, Africa, and Latin America so you can find the perfect opportunity for you and your crew.
Spanning the globe with opportunities across the Americas, Africa, and Asia, Cross-Cultural Solutions lets you find a destination that supports your family’s interests and passions. If you want to stay close by, check out the program in Thailand. You and your family can lead to engaging lessons at schools in Nan Province, or helping with hygiene programs at the schools where many children from the Hill Tribe communities end up living. During your free time, you can engage in cultural activities, so you and your bubs can immerse yourself in the communities who benefit from your efforts.
Cross-Cultural Solutions, www.crossculturalsolutions.org
Open your mind and hearts to a range of humanitarian efforts with Openmind Project. The organization has family-focused holidays across Southeast Asia offering a range of projects based on your specific interests and skills. You can teach and volunteer at a local school in Thailand, or support conservation projects in Laos. Choose from initiatives that positively impact refugees in Burma and volunteer for health care programs in Nepal – there are limitless options.
Open Mind Projects, www.openmindprojects.org
Your young city slickers will get a lot out of this cross-cultural adventure to rural communities around the world. Crooked Trails offers home-stays where your entire family will stay and share meals with your hosts and engage in everyday tasks. There are destinations worldwide including Nepal and Bhutan, as well as further afield in Africa and South America.
Crooked Trails, www.crookedtrails.org
The Global Village Project offers an experience like no other. One of the most recognizable charity and non-profit organizations on the planet, Habitat for Humanity has built millions of homes around the world. Get your whole family involved in building homes for the needy, all the while learning how others around the world live. There are programs in Nepal, Thailand and China, as well as locations further afield.
Habitat for Humanity, www.habitat.org
You don’t have to go far to lend a helping hand! Room To Read invites entire families to participate in all of their projects, including constructing schools, establishing libraries, and distributing books. Bring your tykes to visit one of its schools in China. The cost of a visit is just US$25, which benefits this outstanding program that will impact the lives of 10 million children worldwide by 2015.
Room To Read, www.roomtoread.org
Start teaching your children the spirit of giving back at a young age with a family vacation with Globe Aware. They organize outings to locations around the globe, including numerous destinations in Asia such as Cambodia, Vietnam, China, India and Nepal. Areas of need vary according to the destination, but can cover health, education, environment and children. Find a place and cause that suits you and your kids.
Globe Aware, www.globeaware.org/volunteers
Located just a short tuk tuk ride away from Angkor Wat, the stylish hotel and sister resort is bettering the lives of locals. The Shinta Mani organization gives grants to locals for start-up businesses; it also runs a free hospitality school funded by part of the proceeds from hotel stays. You can arrange a family tour to visit rural communities and take part in their monthly Khmer artisan market.
Shinta Mani, Junction of Oum Khun Street 14th, Mondul 2, DE-99423, Cambodia, +855 63 761 998, www.shintamani.com