Baby Boomer voluntourists giving it back to the community

Baby boomers don’t just want travel, they want to give their fortune back to the community through voluntourism, as Miji Kang reports.

Reporter: The number of Baby Boomers is increasing in voluntourism, accounting for about a half of the volunteers. Jennifer Dagg who experienced volunteering in Nepal tells her travel story, Miji Kang reports.

Jennifer Dagg: He was a very quietly spoken very interesting young man.

Reporter: Jennifer Dagg recalls her first encounter with Ng Shearing Sherpa during the holiday with her husband in Nepal.

Jennifer Dagg: My husband and I had wonderful holidays in overseas. We love travelling. In 2007, we went to Nepal for an introductory trip, which was wonderful time in Nepal. Our leader at that time was a young Sherpa man called Ng Shearing Sherpa. Over the course of two week track, he told us about his village in the Himalayan region called Junbesi.

Reporter: From what the Sherpa said, Mrs Dagg found that people in Junbesi were in poor medical condition and they needed help.

Jennifer Dagg: He was horrified when he went back few times after trekking to discover how some people who were ill had to be carried a walk from five hours to the nearest hospital. And he explained how funds were very limited and how it was hard to get government funding for anything but he was determined to make it success.

Reporter: When she came back home, she kept contacting the Sherpa and noticed that she had a heart for the people in Junbesi. Mr Shearing was the inspiration for her to make the second journey to Nepal as a volunteer.

Jennfier Dagg: I discovered that there was a community worked based trip organised by one of Australia’s leading travel company and I decided to go. I went without my husband because I knew that I will be with the company and with a group of likeminded people. I was there just the month I turned 60.

Reporter: Donna Lawrence, Responsible Travel Manager at the World Expeditions says that there is a growth of volunteers in Baby Boomer age bracket who look for a travel involving volunteering.

Donna Lawrence: The notion of they travel quite a lot and they are quite discerning travelers. They are 50s or sometimes 60s. They are looking for something different but they are also feeling like it’s time to give it back and to contribute to some of the countries they’ve visited through their life time and voluntourism allows to do that.

Reporter: The main job Mrs Dagg was doing in Junbesi involved physical work for maintenance of building such as paving and painting. As a retired librarian, Mrs Dagg could handle the physical work quite well.

Jennifer Dagg: It was good physical exercise it was outdoors and we had lovely weather. We work constantly supplied with food and urged to take breaks whenever we felt like it. The actual work element of the trip was not that difficult. We had wonderful trek afterwards and it was really a real bonding experience to do something like this.

Reporter: Ms Lawrence says that Baby Boomers account for 60 percent of volunteers in the World Expeditions and they are such a productive volunteer in their projects.

Donna Lawrence: I think the Baby Boomers many of them have done it tough in their childhood and maybe they have had a hard upbringing and they know how to work hard so they are often the most productive people in our project where hard work is required. Our participants need no skill. They just need to be willing to work. Anybody can do one of our trips. The work that has done is just hard work. It’s physical hard work.

Reporter: Stephen Wearing, a voluntourism specialist at the University of Technology Sydney says the Baby Boomers look for a connection with the community from voluntourism.

Stephen Wearing: Wanting to give a little bit back, they don’t want a just travel. A lot of them had enough money to travel in that general way. And they are looking for different sorts of travel and different sorts of experiences where they may be connecting more with the community so staying for longer periods of time.

Reporter: Mr Wearing alarmed that they should be careful when they choose the organisation to be involved and make sure its sustainability of the projects.

Stephen Wearing: So the organisation you might pay to go with might not be the organisation that actually providing for the projects. So they need to be careful to have a look at what sorts of projects were being provided. Does the organisation you are paying your money to actually run those projects? Because I think there are some problems there if that is disconnect?

Reporter: He says that Ecotourism Society’s experts including Wearing will release the best guideline for voluntourism this year. Miji Kang, reporting for Baby Zoomers.

Find more about Junbesi Medical Centre Project at the World Expeditions

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One response to “Baby Boomer voluntourists giving it back to the community

  1. Pingback: Trendy travellers | Baby Zoomers·

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