Sometimes Christmas here can just feel a little too commercial for my liking. We’ve all forgotten it’s true meaning and with 3 ‘what I want for Xmas’ lists to go through and seeing my neighbours have started to put up trees in very obvious windows onto the street the pressure is starting.
That got me thinking about leaving it all behind and asking the family if they would swap it all to go away for xmas. After a bit of Googling I discovered the rise in voluntourism companies and one especially called Hands Up Holidays .
Hands Up specialise in authentic and rich travel experiences for individuals or whole families of any age. If you want your kids to develop a desire to give back to those less fortunate ( that would be financial, not necessarily spiritual ) they could do a lot worse than participate in one of these community development programs that aim to give you a real sense of achievement and maximise the amount of money retained by the local community.
As well as building and renovation projects where younger children are encouraged to play with the village children and understand their way of life, older children can become English reading or teaching partners to kids needing to practise basic conversational English or in Buenos Aires run short computer classes in the cities ‘hogares’ ( childrens homes).Other examples are joining teams to rehabilitate working elephants in Thailand who have suffered at human hands.
Along with this sort of work they also offer tours of the country you are staying in to jungles, volcanoes, different tribes, beaches and much more.
These are not cheap holidays, but I feel, from reading their reviews, that customers return with not just great memories but with changed values and ideals.