Volunteering is many things to many people, but it is definitely not a holiday. It can be satisfying and frustrating, rewarding and challenging, life affirming and exhausting in equal quantities, so your decision to participate requires careful consideration and commitment. Teamwork is essential and the ability to share your skills, while also learning from others, requires mutual respect.
How it all began
It was the feedback we received from Saga holidaymakers that inspired us to set up our own volunteering programme in 2007. Rather than simply relax and sightsee whilst abroad, our customers wanted to spend time within local communities and to learn of their customs whilst at the same time sharing their own life skills, knowledge and experience.
We worked closely with the Saga Charitable Trust to develop a programme that offered help to underprivileged communities in developing countries in places where we felt we could make a positive impact
What sets us apart?
We are unique in that our volunteers are all aged 50 or over. This means they have a wide variety of experiences and qualifications and that their help is of genuine lasting benefit. We spend time matching each project’s needs with the skills of our volunteers, and aim to place volunteers so that each is able to pick up where others have left off.
Our overriding principle is that the local projects must have the final say in whether a volunteer is suitable, and what the placement will consist of. We are driven by the needs of the projects and communities as well as the demands and skills of our volunteers.
We also have a minimum placement of 28 nights, as it takes time for each volunteer to familiarise themselves with the project and the local culture, and to understand the project and community’s needs. Likewise the staff and children at these projects also need time to understand the volunteers role and get to know them properly.
There are many ways in which you can help - perhaps you’ve been a sports coach or have a flair for art or music? Alternatively you might have vocational qualifications in teaching or counselling. Whatever your skills or knowledge, and whether you’re travelling with your partner, a friend or on your own, we will be able to match you with a project that can really make use of your time.
Once you’ve read more about the projects we support, we hope you'll be inspired to take the next step in making a real difference to the lives of those much less fortunate than ourselves.