Alternative Greek tourism has grown in popularity over the past few years, as more and more travelers choose authentic Greek experiences, holidays and tours catered to their own interests and lifestyle.
Meanwhile, one of the positive phenomena to come out of the Greek crisis has been the creation of volunteer organizations both large and small, and with a variety of missions - from supporting the underprivileged and creating alternative economies, to promoting conservation, culture and the exchange of knowledge and ideas. Nowadays in Greece, an energetic and talented generation of new NGOs and NPOs are working to bring best practices from around the world to Greece, even establishing new ones themselves.
The growth of alternative tourism and NGO/NPOs in Greece can be linked by another kind of niche tourism called voluntourism. Already popular in many countries, voluntourism is now finding its way into Greece as more people look to make a difference while they travel.
It's a good time to open up towards voluntourism activities in Greece, as a good number of local NGO/NPOs are experienced and staffed by professionals who have successfully accommodated volunteers into their operations.
Voluntourists are able to come to Greece for their holidays and, depending on the amount of time and type of activity they want to engage in, they will be able to participate in volunteering activities. Volunteers can dedicate anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks of their time - there's no upper limit!
While volunteer programs will be available to all voluntourists, some of the positions will only be open to the Greek speaking diaspora, as working knowledge of the Greek language may be necessary.
Work is currently being done to offer life changing volunteer experiences and flexible accommodation all in one package. With more being planned every day, the current voluntourism programs on offer are:
Support Social Street Work in Athens: Volunteers can spend two weeks or more working with the Emfasis Foundation in its mission to help vulnerable and socially excluded groups in need of social, psychological and family support during the unprecedented socio-economic crisis.
Fight food waste in Greece: Greek speaking volunteers can spend from one to several weeks working with BOROUME, a NPO that fights food waste by establishing food distribution networks throughout Greece. By communicating with donors, volunteers will be expanding the non-profit's food network and increasing food security for welfare institutions, soup-kitchens and municipal social services.
It’s not all work for voluntourists however. In their spare time, volunteers will go on tours, attend workshops and social evenings with other like-minded volunteers where they'll discover Athens in the most authentic ways. This way, volunteers will have a truly immersive and life-changing Greek experience that will stay with them forever.
Text provided by Combadi, we help you find innovative travel ideas to learn, grow and change.