One of our core values here at i-to-i is to volunteer with the thesis of ‘responsible travel’ in mind. Responsible travel is made up of a multiple attitudes and theories, and we hope by supporting our volunteers in understanding these principals, that they’ll be able to carry out their work a sensitive and sustainable way.
What makes i-to-i different is that we don't actually run our overseas projects. Instead we work in partnership with projects that have already been established in communities and supply them with what they need the most - helping hands. Too often companies start projects solely to satisfy the demands of western travellers rather than for the long term benefit of the communities in which they are based.
Rather than setting up our own, we partner with worthwhile projects that have been established within the communities themselves. We only work with local partners in those countries as they understand the culture and needs of that destination better than anyone else- and this means that when you volunteer through us, your contribution makes a difference to a problem identified by the locals themselves.
You may only be one person but when you volunteer with i-to-i you become part of a larger network of support. Making an isolated contribution to a voluntary project abroad can often leave you unsure of the difference you’ve made, especially if your hard work isn’t continued once you’ve left. Because i-to-i supplies a steady flow of volunteers to projects you’ll be able to hand the baton over to another willing volunteer, so even if you’re only away for a few weeks you’ll know that your contribution is part of a valuable global effort.
It’s all about respect
Having an underlying respect for the location and those involved in your project is one of the key ways you’ll be travelling responsibly. Volunteering is a great way to make a positive contribution to the social and environmental challenges we experience when we travel the world, so having a positive and healthy attitude to the contribution you can make is where it all starts.
Knowledge is power...
...especially when it comes to travelling. By learning about the country you’re going to visit, you’ll be aware of their customs, religion and way of life. We recommend reading travel guides, asking for advice from friends and gathering as much knowledge as possible before you travel. The i-to-i team are a well travelled bunch and have great knowledge about volunteering and are here to support you. We’re only at the other end of the phone line, so if you want some advice about local practise, you can give us a call!
We have signed a pledge of our commitment to volunteer tourism to ABTA, which we as operators take extremely seriously. We believe that volunteer tourism enables people to experience difference cultures and environments whilst making a positive contribution to the local environment, economy, culture and society, and by providing a sustainable travel experience, we strive to create a better place for people to live, and better place for people to visit in the long term.
We’re always looking ahead to the long term effects of our work, and by ensuring that our volunteers act in a culturally sensitive and environment friendly manner, we hope that our volunteers efforts will be able to help our projects in need. We ask all of our volunteers to sign a code of conduct before they depart to ensure that this is the case.
Our Big Giving scheme provides our projects with the sources they need. To find out more, head over to our Big Giving page.
It’s also our aim to increase our volunteer’s knowledge of sustainable travel...
Understandably, we’re frequently asked why a volunteer should pay to give up their time to help a community in need. We are against aid reliance and firmly believe in assisting communities by realising their potential through our volunteers time and effort, without reliance on i to i or ‘drip fed financial aid’. To help you comprehend our aims here at i to i, we’ve put together a page which explains where your money does go, and how that makes our practises at i-to-i sustainable.