AVIVA Volunteers Break the Mould in South Africa

New study reveals hidden benefits of volunteering in South Africa with more than 95% of AVIVA volunteers returning home happier and more confident with major gains in areas of personal growth.

Cape Town, South Africa, February 06, 2010 --(PR.com)-- Results of an independent two year study into the personal impact of volunteering overseas have far reaching implications for voluntourism, the largest growth area in youth travel and responsible tourism.

Volunteers from a variety of countries, including the UK and USA, booked their experience with AVIVA, a Cape Town based organisation that specialises in coordinating wildlife and community volunteer projects in South Africa.

Researcher Zoë Alexander of Buckinghamshire New University commented, “The international volunteering experience significantly benefits the volunteers. Once they return home, they are happier, more positive, adventurous and confident, and certainly more in touch with their feelings than they were before their trip.”

According to AVIVA Director Ed Scott, many volunteers sign up for projects without thinking about what they will gain personally from the experience, but there is no doubt that self-growth, new-found confidence and new friends can be ranked amongst the many benefits that volunteers take home.

One volunteer remarked “My confidence has grown dramatically and I take up every single opportunity now”, while another summed up her experience by saying that “Living and working abroad has helped me develop personally and professionally. I know I have become a more confident and caring person and finally know what career I want to go into.”

AVIVA volunteers play a role in a wide range of grass roots projects in South Africa, and make a significant contribution to the South African economy each year. AVIVA’s volunteers also address some of the key challenges put forward by South African Tourism, by taking part in projects, cultural experiences and adventurous activities in areas outside the traditional tourism routes.

Zoë will be presenting her findings to international travel conferences and major tourism authorities during 2010.

Ed Scott
Zoƫ Alexander, Researcher -