Great profile of Globe Aware in the May 2014 edition of 'Sky', Delta Air Lines' onboard magazine:
Globe Aware: A voluntourism outfit for time-crunched travelers
BY LISA ROUNDS
While traveling for business in the late 1990s, Kimberly Haley-Coleman o en found herself in foreign countries with free time on her hands and a desire to see beyond the traditional tourist attractions. On one trip to Brazil, she remembers looking for short volunteer opportunities but could only and multiweek options.
“I found that so many people wanted the same thing I did, but once you’ve got kids, a mortgage and a busy lifestyle, you can’t go and take three weeks off,” says the former global strategist and business development officer whose portfolio includes CNBC.com. “Everyone dreams of going into the Peace Corps, but that’s a two-and-a-half-year commitment.”
In 2000, Haley-Coleman founded Globe Aware, a nonprofit specializing in weeklong service-inspired vacations around the world. Since then, the voluntourism movement has taken hold, and many other nonprofit and for-profit companies are offering shorter trips catering to busy Westerners with limited vacation days. Most of Globe Aware’s programs, now available in 15 countries, are built around a predetermined service project that can be finished in seven days. From installing concrete floors in the homes of Guatemalan single mothers to building wheelchairs for Cambodian land mine victims, participants spend 30 to 50 hours working in an immersive environment, with the option of visiting the area’s important attractions in their free time. But even the traditional tourist activities are designed to promote cultural awareness. Coffee-tasting in Costa Rica? Globe Aware arranges it with a family in their private home as opposed to in a factory.
“Our volunteers come away with a real under-standing of both the beauties and the challenges of a culture,” says Haley-Coleman. “I would argue that’s more important than the physical projects we work on—being able to make that human connection and understand each other’s view of the world.”
Globe Aware’s trips start around $1,100; globeaware.org