By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: Over the years, my husband and I have taken vacations for rest and relaxation. I'd like to try something very different like volunteering overseas for a couple of weeks. My friends have never done anything like this before so I'm hoping you can suggest a company or organization that coordinates things of this nature. It'll be a vacation but I see it more with a cause and purpose.

A: Volunteer adventures are available through a variety of organizations. One group that I spotted with upcoming volunteer trips is Habitat for Humanitity International's Global Village Program. Around since 1976, the non-profit group focuses on building homes for families in need. To date, the organization has constructed over 125,000 homes around the world. Volunteers dig footers, cut blocks, mix mortar while they experience life in another part of the world. It's also a great opportunity to meet with likeminded individuals. Who knows at the end of the day you'll most likely have a few more friends too.

Organizations like HHI have managed to mix the serious with some R&R, so you'll encounter both. Schedules and itineraries vary but all will include a wonderful opportunity to meet the locals and share stories and culture. Depending on your country of interest, you'll find this non-profit group has a full schedule available at its web site.

Some upcoming volunteer adventure trips include the Fiji Islands (March 6-20, 2004), June 24-July 10, 2004, July 10-July 27, 2004 and South Africa, February 2-23, 2004. There are also several volunteer trips scheduled for Europe, the Caribbean as well as the United States.

For schedules, program descriptions and cost, visit To find out what is going on across Canada, you can reach Habitat for Humanity Canada at toll-free: 800-667-5137 or write to them at: Habitat for Humanity Canada, 40 Albert Street, Waterloo, ON N2L 3S2 or reach them online at


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All text & photos 2004.