Volunteer tourism, or “voluntourism” is one of the fastest growing trends in travel today.
Many people are realizing the enormous potential to effect very real and positive change in the world through volunteer travel. One of the great things about volunteer vacations is having a chance to get to know the people in the country you are visiting and learning about their lives.
It was an add in the San Pedro Sun newspaper 8 years ago that inspired me to get tacogirl and I am into the volunteer world. Little did I know at the time, my education at Holy Cross School was going to be a huge help when the Belize Red Cross found me through my blog and asked for help on re-activating the San Pedro Branch and fundraising. Not an easy task but well worth it and very rewarding.
I would encourage every one to volunteer travel, it can be as simple as bring down school supplies or donating time towards a community project.
Find an incredible volunteer project anywhere in Belize. Here are a few good organizations I have blogged over the years. These groups can always use help be it in person or bringing down wish list items that will help them operate.
The San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross (BRCSP) was re-activated in March 2013. Since then the branch has worked hard to build the first aid program with the help of many local businesses sending staff to monthly First Aid trainings. They also do quarterly blood drives. Please consider frequenting businesses that support the Belize Red Cross and helping make the country a safer place. If you would like to support the San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross please consider joining as a volunteer or a member.
Come Dive and Explore Belize with the San Pedro Belize Red Cross
We offer you the Volunteer Vacation experience of a lifetime. A chance to get up close and personal with nature and assist San Pedro Red Cross in building a stronger capacity on Ambergris Caye (pronounced “Key”).
Belize offers world class diving with an incredible array of marine wildlife finding protection in Belize’s barrier reef. San Pedro Red Cross offers you a chance to get to know the community you are vacationing in.
Belize is an English speaking country located just south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in Central America. Belize is 8,867 square miles but for its small size the country offers endless adventures by air, land and sea.
Hop on one of Tropic Air’s several daily flights and within in 17 minutes you will land at one of the most popular destinations in Belize, Ambergris Caye. The colorful island, offers intriguing Caribbean history, delicious food, friendly easy-going people and some fantastic sight-seeing.
A Volunteer Vacation with the San Pedro Belize Red Cross is one you will treasure always. We cater groups from teens to adults and blend a mix of volunteering within the community. We promote learning about the country of Belize; its wonderful customs, people, food and the magnificent nature and rich history.
Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef but is quickly becoming the largest living reef in the world. The diving options are nearly endless on the thousands of finger canyons that go from the northern to the southern, tip of this beautiful country. With average depth visibility in excess of 100 feet a wide array of fish, turtles, rays and coral life awaits you. San Pedro is the most popular dive destination in Belize. With 39 named dive sites along the coastline of Belize’s remarkable barrier reef that runs less than a mile offshore, you will be sure to get your fill of marine life viewing. Divers will see remarkable coral formations including canyons, grottos and tunnels that are teeming with abundant colorful sea life. Underwater photographers looking for that “National Geographic” shot are sure to be satisfied. Larger day trips are also available to the Blue Hole and Turneffe Atoll.
Your group can also enjoy a historical Belize adventure and explore breathtaking ancient Maya ruins. San Pedro Red Cross can arrange for your choice of Maya ruins tours. Most are on the mainland, but Ambergris Caye does have one official ruin. Located at the southern end of the island is Marco Gonzalez Maya Site, the only one of 18 sites that is recognized to have protected status on the 25 mile long island.
After a day of volunteering in the community, there is nothing like a sunset cruise with breathtaking views of the island as you sail along the reef. Watch as the sun sets on the waters behind Ambergris Caye, and again the photo opportunities of beautiful Belize are almost endless.
Email tacogirlbelize[at]gmail[dot]com for more information. Please help support this wonderful organization by liking our San Pedro Belize Red Cross Facebook page.
The two pictures below are from 2 of our recent volunteer groups. Sperro to the left came and helped to do a large island wide food drive to support our local food bank. The group on the right came from Florida to do an assessment of San Mateo neighborhood. It is an area lacking in proper infrastructure and needs help.
We have also had volunteer med students from Texas who gifted the San Pedro Red Cross with a first aid mannequin. Followed by group from Johnstown Colorado, who helped at at Ambergris Caye Elementary School. While here they re-cataloged the library, fix plumbing and build a wheel chair ramp for the special needs students.
Some of the 50+ volunteers
Walking London Bridges
With so much of Belize’s land being in protected status, Belize Community Conservation group saw a need to help San Mateo community by looking into the sanitation issue and finding a viable solution. There have been two reports on the area stating the community is living in a highly toxic area due to fecal contamination. The biggest challenge has been the fact that the community is located directly on the water table and floods up to 3 ft in areas. Common solutions like outdoor latrines and septic systems are not suitable for the area. We know that the current septic system in the area are built without bottoms and have a ‘fill line’ that when they reach this point, they drain into the yard.
Be Kind Belize was started in 2007 to offer humane education to primary schools in San Pedro and it is now being taught in the Cayo district as well. Humane education teaches children the meaning of kindness and empathy, gives them an understanding of responsibility, consequences, helps them to develop reverence and respect for all living things as well as the planet that we live on. It has been well established that children who learn to be kind to animals are also kinder to people, better at communicating and more likely to become helpful and caring members of the community as adults. Humane education also helps children develop better interpersonal skills such as speaking and listening while improving their attitudes towards caring for others. Humane Education promotes empathy and respect for all life.
Holy Cross Anglican School
in San Pedro Belize was founded in 2006 to provide an education to over 425 of the islands poorest children. Before the school was founded, many of these children simply roamed the beaches, sold jewelry to tourists and had little hope of a brighter future. We started with a patch of lagoon and with the help of donations and teams of volunteer have built a school with 16 classrooms, a library, computer lab, dental clinic and a cafeteria. We also have a preschool. The children who come to holy cross are the poorest children on the island. Many come from San Mateo, a suburb where many families cannot access electricity or basic sanitation. Although their parents try to find work, many struggle simply to feed their families each week. Holy Cross Anglican School
Saga Humane Society
mission, promoting kindness and preventing cruelty to all domestic and wild animals. This is achieved first and foremost through the humane education program that Saga is working to implement within the community of San Pedro. Currently, education is spread via brochures, websites, articles in the local newspapers and most importantly; word of mouth. Anyone who comes into the clinic with a new puppy or an old dog that is not current on its preventative medicine such as vaccines or heartworm treatment is educated on the importance of such treatments. Many of these people will pass this valuable information on to neighbors and family members who also have pets. Saga Humane Society
Mainland Charity Efforts
Currently the Belize Red Cross has Headquarters (HQ) in Belize City and 7 Branches throughout the 6 administrative districts of the country. Throughout the years, the organization has been instrumental in looking after the well-being of the communities it serves countrywide. Today the Belize Red Cross
does a wide range of programs: including vulnerability and capacity assessments, forming training and equipping community disaster response teams such as first responders, developing community emergency plans, specialized training for volunteers, education of communities in health and disaster preparedness, certifying home care givers, assessing family needs, providing psychological support, teaching and administering first aid, training staff and volunteers, planning with stakeholders, working with schools and training students in preparedness, strategic pre-stocking of relief items and so much more. Belize Red Cross
Liberty Children’s Home is a sanctuary for children in need, providing in a natural environment, love, nurturing, and a high standard of education. Situated in Ladyville, on the outskirts of Belize City, Belize, Central America. Liberty Children’s Home is unique in its commitment to child-centered care and education. The home’s philosophy has been influenced by the Pikler method of childcare, a well-researched approach developed to prevent the damaging effects of institutionalization on children. Liberty also draws from the Reggio Emilia and Montessori methods that aim for the fullest possible development of the whole child.