Voluntourism is one way travelers can make an impact on fighting poverty while on holiday. There are a number of ways to volunteer while on vacation, such as helping maintain US National Parks, working with animals, or even traveling with Airline Ambassadors International to help fight poverty.
Airline Ambassadors International was founded in 1997 by Nancy Rivard, a San Francisco-based flight attendant. She started this organization after experiencing numerous layovers in parts of the world that are poverty stricken. She realized that as an airline employee, she was in a position to be more focused in her charitable contributions, and realized this dream with AAI.
The organization initially began as flight attendants using pass privileges to help children, but has grown through the years to 6,000 members. AAI organizes numerous trips each month to various countries in need. Members hand-deliver aid to poverty-stricken areas, they escort children to the US in need of medical assistance, and also has a youth program, that allows children as early as age 7 (accompanied by an adult) to become involved in humanitarian efforts and educational activities.
So how can you get involved? First, start by joining as a member. For each dollar donated to Airline Ambassadors International, more than $45 in aid is distributed around the world to those in need. Then, find a mission you would like to attend and send a small mission fee to AAI. Members are responsible for the cost of their escorted or member-led trips, but the benefits and rewards of helping others is worth more than the price of the trip. Not all of these trips are international; there are areas of the U.S. in need.
If this just isn’t the right time in your life for you to travel, consider making a donation to Five & Alive or other outlets such as Kiva and The Global Fund, which help poverty-stricken areas around the globe. – #bad08