Social Impact Journeys: 3 Elements Redefining Volunteerism
Tribes for GOOD is an online platform and travel organization connecting people around the world with innovative grassroots and social impact in India.
Tribes for GOOD is an online platform and impact travel organization connecting people around the world with innovative grassroots and social impact in India. The platform provides two opportunities for locals and foreigners: social impact journeys and volunteer placements.
Their Social Impact Journeys immerse local and international travelers with social impact organizations in Mumbai, engaging participants in opportunities to connect with founders and beneficiaries.
Their volunteer placements provide a unique opportunity to people who don’t have funds to give back in destination by connecting them digitally to organizations in need of volunteer assistance. Volunteer opportunities range from marketing, to strategy, to content creation.
In November, I participated in the first Social Impact Journey and am still vibrating on the week’s positive energy after engaging with such impactful organizations.
TribesforGOOD’s Social Impact Journeys encompass three elements:
Learn. Travel. Giveback.
The 7-day journey focuses on empowering participants to be changemakers in their communities, and engages them in workshops that challenge and inspire. While experiencing this transformation, participants also get an opportunity to explore Mumbai (and beyond!) and try their hand at utilizing their unique skills to help TribeforGOOD’s partnered organizations thrive.
So, what does this look like on the ground?
To be honest – you’re continuously learning as you take in every sight, sound, and inspirational leader you meet. The intended learning element of the journey includes workshops with some of Mumbai’s most innovative social entrepreneurs and business coaches. Workshops educate you on social impact on the ground in Mumbai making massive positive change, and challenges you to look to how you can make a career in social impact attainable (teaser: a huge part of it is mindset and identifying how you can use your skills for good!). The learnings from these journeys are extremely valuable for entrepreneurs both new to the space and looking to clarify their goals and vision. The journey is also suitable for individuals looking to travel and giveback but nervous about exploring the chaos of volunteering abroad.
During the week, I was introduced to the following changemakers:
Rohit Potdar used his photography and videography skills to share the stories of inspiring social entrepreneurs and organizations bringing social, economic and environmental grassroots development to India.
This social enterprise works with upcycled saris to create unique, European.style fashion. They train and employ underserved women in the slums of Mumbai to craft their beautiful, small batch collections.
This social enterprise is bridging the gaps between urban and rural education in Maharashtra by raising funds to implement educational resources needed to build sustainable futures for children in rural areas. This includes connecting them to technology, and alternative forms of learning.
This awesomes tourism organization employs and trains young female students to be tour guides, so they can earn a living while attending school. A large portion of their funds are also used to implement grassroots development projects focused on education, agriculture and water conservation across India.
This social enterprise tour company leads travelers through the infamous Dharavi slum. All tours are led by students who have grown up in the community. Travelers get to experience Dharavi through the eyes of a local, learning to see beyond the word “slum”, and empowers underserved youth to continue their studies with access to fair employment to help them pay school fees.
The Tribes for GOOD team implements creative ways to explore infamous areas of Mumbai, including a photo scavenger hunt in Kala Ghoda (exploring the incredible arts scene!), and meeting with Be the Local Tours inside Dharavi to experience their slum tour and learn about the innovation (and circular economy!) thriving within the community. My favorite day was meeting the actual beneficiaries of Think Sharp Foundation, onsite at a rural school two hours outside of Mumbai. Hopping on a train and travelling the local way to see youth development right before your eyes – priceless. Talking with the teachers, young students and community to learn about the impact the organization is making on youth development was inspiring. We often don’t get to connect one-on-one with the beneficiaries and leaders of nonprofit organizations. This experience really brought to light the goodness we can do as communities for underserved individuals.
Stepping away from the status quo of volunteering abroad and exploring how a traveler or foreigner can make a sustainable and positive change on an organization is what I was most excited about for the Social Impact Journey. Yes, a donation went to each organization we met with, but the real impact we was participating in the journey’s “hackathon”.
Participants were split into small groups for two mornings to observe and evaluate the challenges of one of the organizations we met with during the week, and utilize our skills to increase their capacity and improve a lacking area of the organization. Depending on your unique skills as a participant, you had the opportunity to assist with their marketing, visual and written content, outreach strategies and more.
For Tribes for GOOD, I was able to assist them with their B2B strategy for the new year and website content.
When an organization is able to have that kind of global, third party perspective from outsiders (and who are usually their target market!) the impact is immense, and can propel these organizations towards incredible and sustainable growth.
I still seem to be reflecting on my journey with TribesforGOOD and the goodness I was able to experience and take away with me. The organization is really changing the status quo of organization’s focused on volunteering abroad and approaching the topic in an ethical and sustainable way: understand the strengths and goals of participants, and the weaknesses and needs of organization’s in Mumbai focused on social impact.
So, how do you get involved?
TribesforGOOD has just opened registration for their January journey and you can apply by clicking here!
Each journey is unique and curated to match participants with organizations (and vice versa) to ensure maximum value and growth for everyone involved.
The article was originally published on CauseArtist.