For those who dreamt of volunteering internationally in the past year, the pandemic forced a pivot to remote opportunities—and for programs, a deeper focus on in-country participants that may help redeem an industry often criticized as a purveyor of white saviorism.
- For some programs in the $3 billion industry, a lack of paying volunteers guts the business model.
- But others—like Habitat for Humanity’s “virtual builds”—have adapted to offer more accessible, sustainable stay-at-home opportunities that may outlast the pandemic and encourage a priorities rethink.
The Quote: “It's really for people who want to help because they want to help, not because they want to travel,” says Dave Kovac, a veteran Habitat volunteer.
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