Q&A: "Older volunteers often have skills that can be used and are greatly valued"

Posted on 22nd May 2017 in Kaya, Q&A, Volunteering Abroad

In the final part of our Q&A with Kaya, they talk about career gappers, older gappers and those volunteering on their honeymoon


Are you finding an increase in the number of over 50s taking a gap year?

At Kaya we are seeing a great surge in older volunteers. Particularly for those who have retired, whose families have left home or who have more flexible working lives, volunteering is becoming more popular because of the cultural immersion it can provide, and because it is a great option for the single traveller as well. Older volunteers often have skills that can be used and are greatly valued by – and it is even more important to find a projects that is the right match for those.

What kinds of travel activities are career breakers and older gappers opting for?

Older gappers are often either fulfilling a lifelong dream (like working with lions, visiting the Amazon or living in a rural community) or they have a skill that they want to share – teachers, healthcare workers, business people and those who have brought up families, for example. At Kaya the fact that we work individually to place all our participants in the right place, means we can discuss any concerns that older volunteers have and address those – such as locations that have more private accommodation, or locations and times of the year where there are fewer youngsters.

What should gappers remember when taking their children away with them?

At Kaya we have great success with our family volunteers. The ages of the children are the most important factor to consider. Teenage children can get stuck in to almost any work alongside their parents, where younger children might require more thought over the type of work we are involved in. Often working in projects where there are children of the same age as the children provide great opportunities for peer-to-peer learning. The children are always the responsibility of the parents and they work together on their projects, which might limit the work that the parent can take part in, but we have had families where one parent is working in a more professional capacity (for example in a hospital) while the other parent works with their children on a more family-friendly initiative (for example, in a child-care facility). What is important to identify is that volunteering together as a family is a great bonding experience that keeps the family busy while helping children better understand the privilege of their home lives. And the feedback we get from the kids is they have a lot of fun and make great new friends in the process.

Why do people choose to spend their honeymoon volunteering? Do they still get luxury and privacy even whilst volunteering?

We have more and more couples volunteering for their honeymoon with Kaya. Often couples have been together many years before getting married and already taken many resort and beach holidays together in that time. Volunteering offers a more memorable way to travel and work towards something that you can be passionate about together. We set up special trips that allow our honeymoon volunteers to upgrade their accommodation for a bit more luxury and privacy and take some time out from their volunteer placement to enjoy local excursions and activities to make the most of their time.

Click here for more information on Kaya Volunteer

Read part 1 of the Q&A here

Read part 2 of the Q&A here