The Volunteers Without Borders Foundation (Reg. No. Chor Mor 353) Sept 2011 in Thailand, was established to address problems resulting from destination based mass tourism, by ensuring better market access and a more equitable revenue share for local businesses and communities:
- Supporting the development of LVBEs (local visitor based economies) owned and operated by local micro and small tourism businesses, and located in areas outside of the destinations, where the customs, culture and lifestyles retain their authenticity and appeal.
- Providing FREE English language training in support of but outside the local school system, to students who want to take advantage of it. Providing training in the development of viable 2nd revenue streams (non-tourism dependent), both of which will allow individuals a livelihood in the area, without the need to leave for work in the city, a practice that destroys the social fabric of the rural areas.
- Building small-scale sustainable agriculture projects in local schools, that (a) provide additional revenue to supplement low school meal budgets, (b) help fund the salaries of part time English teachers, (c) provide training aids for students and families exploring 2nd revenue stream options.
- Working on Track of the Tiger's Travel4Good social enterprise programme, assisting small local businesses to develop their models and establish a presence on T4G's searchable database FREE of charge.
The collaborative model used is fairly unique in that VWB works with selected tourism industry partners who cover the foundation's overheads, and incorporate a dedicated community service component, into their (International schools, corporate team building, and special interest travel - or other - programmes.)The benefits are as follows:
- The Tourism Partner - attracts more clients for its multi-activity programmes - due to the addition of a short CS component.
- VWB - projects receive 100% of all funds donated by volunteers for these programmes.
- Individual VWB Volunteers can verify that their contributions go directly to the CS projects they work on, and are not siphoned off to cover huge salaries and 5 star travel for board members.
- Some key volunteers engaged by VWB are subsidised in part by donors, or T4G Travel Club Members, who donate funds for that specific purpose.
In an era where the non-profit organisations are under the spotlight for excessive salary and expense and overhead payments, it is essential that we retain the trust of our supporters. You the volunteer/the donor can help the non-profit sector by making sure you verify exactly where and on what your contributions and time are being spent. We advocate that you research and ask for an audited summary of accounts - before getting involved.