More and more young people from wealthy countries are spending a short time in communities in poorer countries doing unpaid work such as teaching or building houses. Why? Who benefit from this, the community or these young people?
It is true that a growing number of young people from affluent countries are doing temporary jobs without payment in less wealthy countries. Reasons for this vary, and I believe that both these young individuals and the community reap the benefits.
There are several reasons why the youth in rich nations tend to do unpaid work in less affluent countries. Chief among them is the growth of the aviation industry. The emergence of low-cost airlines allows young individuals who are on a tight budget to travel to remote corners of the world. For example, having a voluntary foreign English teacher in Sapa, a mountainous area in Vietnam, used to be far-fetched several decades ago, but cheap carriers such as Tiger Airlines and Jetstar Airlines have made it happen. Another reason is the spread of information. The development of technology has brought images and the living condition of poor communities to the richer world, which creates an urge for the young to take action. Many graduates decide to take a year out to help these inhabitants of poverty-stricken countries partly because of the television programs and the news they watch and read.
Doing unpaid jobs pays dividends for both young volunteers and the community. On the one hand, young people can experience the life of indigenous people, gain hands-on experience and enjoy the breathtaking view of the places where they work. They may then come back to their normal life and decide on the career path that they want to pursue. On the other hand, people in poor countries might benefit from the work of young citizens from rich nations. Knowledge received can have lasting effects on the locals’ future, while housing built will provide a better living condition than before.
In conclusion, various factors contribute to the influx of young volunteers to poor communities. Personally, I believe that this is beneficial to both these young people and the community as a whole.