Gap Year Programs Challenge Widely Accepted Perceptions on Volunteer Tourism with Tangible Projects

18-Apr-2012 | News-Press Release

Cambridge, UK ( prsafe ) April 12, 2012 - Volunteer tourism as a niche market has come under criticism from people who claim that they have done more harm than good to the local community and their economy. But one company aims to be different from these widely accepted perceptions about volunteer tourism. Gap Year South Africa arranges 'Gap Year Programs' that are volunteer-driven, but responsible, and in no way cause a negative impact to the local community or their economy.

Every tour is focused on helping local communities develop their economy. In fact, whenever possible Gap Year ensures that help is sought from local tour guides, people are made to stay in local homes, so that the money stays with the locals. Rather than creating a mindset of dependency, Gap Year Programs build self-sustainability within the community.

"The beneficiaries of our projects are people who have been provided with little or no opportunity to learn essential life-skills to add value to their community. Our volunteers work with them to empower them with these skills. But, the local community is in no way distanced from these projects. In fact, the projects are 'owned' by the local people and organizations, to ensure a TWO WAY commitment; from locals as well as the volunteers," says the spokesperson for Gap Year South Africa.

Volunteer vacations were designed during the 1990's, as an alternative for the mass tourism madness that smothered the local culture and its environment. But somewhere down the line, it lost its essence and become just another niche for luxury voluntarism (or rather extreme voluntarism). Gap Year Programs have strived to ensure that they stand apart from this crowd through their tangible projects. For instance, the Student Tutoring and Mentoring Programme help school students with after school work besides instilling self confidence in them.

"It's the small deeds that count the most. A job as simple as explaining the basics of a law in Physics or helping a child with his/her Math homework can mean a lot to an orphaned child who has no one to turn to for help. And sometimes our volunteers help the tutors themselves," adds the spokesperson.

About Gap Year South Africa: Gap Year South Africa provides an opportunity for tourists who would like to add value to their vacations by truly helping their host countries. Tourists can not only explore and experience adventure in South Africa but also make a difference by serving the people in the local community.

To know more, visit,


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