ME to WE provides meaningful, life-changing volunteer trips for travellers of all ages. ME to WE Trips are unlike any other volunteer travel program, and we are proud to share and celebrate the one-of-a-kind experiences and program elements that ME to WE Trips offer. Learn more about what makes ME to WE Trips different.

See the world and make a positive impact

Dig deep into a developing community; enjoy meaningful experiences and connections with different cultures. ME to WE Trips create lasting change for you—and the communities you travel to.

Support celebrated sustainable development

Each ME to WE volunteer trip takes place in a community where our charity partner, WE Charity, puts its 20-year history of holistic, sustainable development to work. And half of our profits are donated to WE Charity—helping you make an even bigger impact on the place you visit. The other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and its social mission.

Make An Impact

When you volunteer on a WE Charity development project you support one of five pillars—Education, Water, Health, Food, or Opportunity—that eliminate the obstacles to education, eliminate poverty and empower women in a community. Your volunteer work is driven by the community and its needs. Alongside locals, you will dig trenches for water systems, lay foundations for schools, plow farmland or plant crops.

Connect with learners and leaders from a different culture

Meet and work with community members from another culture and understand their joys and challenges. Talk to learners and community leaders, who are proud, equal partners in these holistic initiatives. Expand your worldview by experiencing different culture, language and customs. Through hands-on work experience, gain empathy, compassion and understanding for different cultures and environments.

Be part of the solution

Under the guidance of highly trained and experienced facilitators, engage in leadership training, skill-building workshops and action planning so when you return home, you have the tools to give back to your community. Leave a ME to WE Trip with a deeper understanding of sustainability and development issues, while gaining a new perspective.

Travel with a record of safety

Since 2002, over 15,000 youth and adults have travelled safely with our organization across the world. ME to WE Trips has numerous proactive safety measures, protocols and training in place, with all trips supported by an in-country team responsible for communications and decision-making in case of emergency (more on safety at metowe.com/safety). ME to WE Trips have extensive risk-management procedures.

Travel available to everyone

ME to WE Trips are available to everyone. ME to WE offers scholarship and financial aid options for youth and with this support, more than 150 youth travel on ME to WE Trips each year either free of charge or with a significant reduced cost. There is a dedicated fundraising program to help youth raise support so they can have a ME to WE Trip experience.

Be the change; and be changed

Me to We Trips have a proven impact on all travellers. In 2014, independent third-party research by U.S.-based social impact consulting firm Mission Measurement found that trip participants were even more motivated to make change when they returned home:

  • 88% believe it’s cool to care about social problems
  • 89% feel empowered to make a positive difference in the world
  • 73% have become a strong leader
  • 78% discovered a subject or issue they are passionate about
  • 77% have a greater respect for their school
  • 73% are motivated more than ever to go to college

WE Charity is ME to WE’s charity partner. Each ME to WE Trip takes place in a community where WE Charity puts its 20-year history of holistic, sustainable development to work. And half of ME to WE’s net profits are donated to WE Charity—helping participants make an even bigger impact on the place they visit. The other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and its social mission. Learn more about the relationship between WE Charity and ME to WE

Youth around the world fundraise to support this model and their funds help support the core pillars (Education, Water, Health, Food, Opportunity) in the communities where WE Charity has long-standing programs and partnerships with local leaders and community members.

Alongside community members, participants might lay foundations or bricks for schools, run summer camps for children, or support workers digging fields and plan trees. These volunteer efforts contribute to the many important steps needed to establish the five pillars of WE Charity’s sustainable development model, which eliminate the obstacles to education.

WE Charity’s development model is called Free The Children’s WE Villages, and it focuses on five pillars that are crucial to sustainable development. They are Education, Water, Health, Food, and Opportunity.

WE Villages embodies WE Charity’s 20-year history of holistic, sustainable development work. It empowers entire communities to break the cycle of poverty by implementing sustainable solutions to issues that they identify as barriers to education.

All programs put in place under the WE Villages model are designed to be owned and maintained by the community, within the five-year period after the project is implemented.

WE Charity empowers community sustainability by:

  • Collaborating with local community members at the start of a development project to address issues that community members identify
  • Developing and nurturing the capacity of community members to be leaders and manage the implemented projects, such as water systems
  • Empowering families (especially women) with opportunities to participate in alternative income and micro-credit programs
  • Equipping community members with the skills and tools—such as financial literacy training, business planning workshops and leadership seminars—to be entrepreneurs, who give back to their community
  • Tackling local environmental issues, and working in partnership to provide solutions based on local knowledge to ensure programs are truly sustainable
  • Learn more about WE Charity’s sustainable development model.

When you take a volunteer ME to WE Trip, you not only work in partnership with local community members, you also take a journey that has enriched the lives of more than 15,000 participants from around the world. Students, teachers, leading business figures, celebrities, world leaders and members of the Royal Family have taken a ME to WE Trip. ME to WE Trips have been profiled by publications and media around the world, including a feature on 60 Minutes!

On the trip participants volunteer on a WE Charity development project that supports one of five pillars—Education, Water, Health, Food, or Opportunity—that eliminate the obstacles to education, eliminate poverty and empower women in a community. Volunteer efforts are driven by the community and its needs. Alongside community members, participants will dig trenches for water systems, lay foundations for schools, plow farmland or plant crops.

Trip participants have the opportunity to meet and work with community members from another culture and understand their joys and challenges. Talk to learners and community leaders, who are proud, equal partners in these holistic initiatives. Expand their worldview by experiencing different culture, language and customs. Through hands-on work experience, gain empathy, compassion and understanding for different cultures and environments.

Under the guidance of highly trained and experienced facilitators, travellers also participate in leadership training, skill-building workshops and action planning so when they return home, they have the tools to give back to social causes they care about.

Success for our non-profit partner, WE Charity, is when people no longer need charity.

WE Charity empowers people to be partners in identifying solutions that are barriers to transformation, to help them implement solutions, and then to educate and empower them so they can be independent.

That is WE Charity’s definition of sustainable development.

Trip participants volunteer alongside community members. Whether it’s helping to lay the foundation for a new school, or planting crops or digging trenches for water systems, they contribute towards the goals of WE Charity’s sustainable development model. Sustainability and community ownership is the goal of all of WE Charity’s development projects. WE Charity strives to leave after five years, when the community takes ownership over the maintenance and sustainability of these projects.

We ask participants not to bring donations or gifts because the goal is to empower communities to be independent through sustainable development work. We believe in giving a helping hand, not a hand-out.

WE Charity’s sustainable development model is not about implementing stop-gap measures and temporary fixes.

Sustainability and community ownership is the goal of all of WE Charity’s development projects. WE Charity strives to leave after five years, when the community takes ownership over the maintenance and sustainability of these projects.

Work is carried out all year by local contractors and construction workers who WE Charity employs. Work schedules and logistics are overseen by on-the-ground, local staff who ensure projects run smoothly and donations are being used effectively in communities that need them most.

Furthermore, participants’ volunteer efforts help pre-planned projects move along more quickly.

No, they do not. In fact, WE Charity’s sustainable development model creates local jobs.

The main objective of WE Charity’s model is to ensure sustainable development. WE Charity empowers local community members to become key contributors to the health of their community. With WE Charity, they find jobs as engineers, project managers, supervisors, support staff, among many other roles—all in communities where work is incredibly difficult to find.

ME to WE Trip participants volunteer on pre-planned projects. They volunteer alongside community members and paid local WE Charity employees. Participants’ efforts do not determine which projects we start or work on, rather they get projects completed more quickly. WE Charity employs many local people who work on its projects year round, both when trip participants are on and off-site.

We prepare participants for the culture shock they may experience before they land in a WE Charity community, and for possible “reverse culture shock” they may experience when they return home.

Before each trip, participants are given a detailed overview of the community they will visit, as well as a list of books, resources, films, etc. that they may use to get a better sense of their destination.

These materials discuss issues that affect the community, development needs, provide details about current projects, as well as information on cultural and traditional practices.

In addition, all trip facilitators are trained to ensure that participants are prepared to handle the cultural differences they will see and experience. We encourage participants to embrace these differences.

Reverse culture shock may occur when participants come home after a life-changing experience. ME to WE Trip facilitators prepare participants for this possibility and ME to WE staff and past trip participants are available to support travellers who may experience challenges adjusting to life back home.

We also take the trip experience a step further. Trained ME to WE Trip facilitators and staff empower trip participants with tools and tips on how to take their experiences and turn them into long-term activism. This preparation begins while participants are still on the trip.

ME to WE Trips create lasting change for trip participants—and the communities they travel to.

Each ME to WE volunteer trip takes place in a community where our charity partner, WE Charity, puts its 20-year history of holistic, sustainable development to work.

Half of our profits are donated to WE Charity—helping trip participants make an even bigger impact on the place they visit.

When participants volunteer on a WE Charity development project they support one of five pillars of sustainable development in the WE Villages model— Education, Water, Health, Food, and Opportunity.

This means participants know they are helping to eliminate the obstacles to education, eliminate poverty and empower women in a community.

Their volunteer work is driven by the community and its needs. Alongside community members, participants will dig trenches for water systems, lay foundations for schools, plow farmland or plant crops.

In 2013 alone, trip participants contributed almost 80,000 volunteer hours to development projects in WE Charity communities.

Participants have the opportunity to talk to learners and community leaders, who are proud, equal partners in these holistic initiatives. They come to understand their joys and challenges.

Participants expand their worldview by experiencing different culture, language and customs. Through hands-on volunteer experience, they gain empathy, compassion and understanding for different cultures and environments.

ME to WE Trips have a proven impact on all travellers. In 2014, independent third-party research by U.S.-based social-impact consulting firm Mission Measurement found that trip participants were even more motivated to make change when they returned home:

  • 88% believe it’s cool to care about social problems
  • 89% feel empowered to make a positive difference in the world
  • 73% have become a strong leader
  • 78% discovered a subject or issue they are passionate about
  • 77% have a greater respect for their school
  • 73% are motivated more than ever to go to college

ME to WE Trips also offer many benefits for the communities that our charitable partner, WE Charity, carries out its sustainable development work.

ME to WE Trips create jobs for local community members employing translators, drivers, mechanics, cooks and household staff to maintain accommodations, and so many more, in communities where it is extremely difficult to find work.

ME to WE is committed to reducing our ecological footprint as much as possible.

We offset the carbon footprint of each trip by growing organic produce in local gardens. We also have a tree nursery program, which supports reforestation projects.

Since 2008, ME to WE has planted almost 700,000 trees and saved almost 40,000 pounds of pesticide.

In addition, WE Charity ensures all development projects that are part of its sustainable development model take environmental sustainability into account.

All the volunteering that participants do on ME to WE Trips supports our charity partner, WE Charity’s sustainable development model.

WE Charity ensures development projects are driven by the community’s needs. Because community leaders and members are engaged in every step of the development work, they are proud, equal partners in our sustainable initiatives.

Sustainability and community ownership is the goal of all of WE Charity’s development projects. WE Charity strives to leave after five years, when the community takes ownership over the maintenance and sustainability of these projects.

The community’s priorities drive the volunteer efforts. Volunteers help accelerate the implementation of WE Charity’s initiatives, which benefit everyone.

Each trip is led by highly trained and experienced facilitators who help the participants understand the history and politics of the region, the culture of the community they are in and, of course, assist with translation. Everyone in the group takes language lessons while they are in the host country. These lessons are a useful tool for beginners to learn simple phrases and pleasantries so participants can more easily interact with community members.

Furthermore they engage participants in leadership training, skill-building workshops and action planning so when you return home, you have the tools to give back to your community.

ME to WE facilitators travel with participants at all times. In the community, participants are also accompanied by local guide(s).

ME to WE has been running volunteer trips for over a decade. ME to WE Trips are impactful, life changing and provide participants with the unique opportunity to volunteer for our charity partner, WE Charity, which has a 20-year history of holistic, sustainable development work.

When you take a volunteer ME to WE Trip, you not only work in partnership with local community members, you also take a journey that has enriched the lives of more than 15,000 participants from around the world. Students, teachers, leading business figures, celebrities, world leaders and members of the Royal Family have taken a ME to WE Trip. ME to WE Trips have been profiled around the world, including on 60 Minutes!

We have a well-developed infrastructure in all the countries and communities we offer volunteer travel in.

The “ground price” (cost after airfare) is competitive and all-inclusive.

It includes all accommodation, travel within the country, three meals a day plus snacks, purified drinking water, ME to WE facilitators, security guards, all in-country materials (language books, etc.) and in-country excursions.

You will not need to purchase anything except for proper documentation (i.e. visa, exit fee).

Some of the experiences you’ll enjoy include:

  • Direct involvement in WE Charity’s sustainable development projects
  • Leadership training
  • Community interaction and cultural education: We have strong ties and a history with all the communities in which we work. Participants get the opportunity to see and experience the communities that WE Charity partners with and meet local citizens
  • Visits to historic landmarks and cultural sites
  • Hands-on volunteering, which allows participants to give back in a meaningful way
  • For young people, certification of participants’ volunteer work for resumes, post-secondary applications, graduation requirements, course credits, etc.
  • Social issues education: Guest speakers, facilitators and in-country staff share their knowledge of the country and the issues it faces
  • Renewed sense of community: Nurturing a sense of empathy, compassion and a full understanding of the power of community to change the world
  • Action planning: All participants learn how to set goals and build personalized action plans for making change happen when they return home

We ask that participants not bring cash or gifts of any kind for local people and children on any ME to WE Trip. Why?

WE Charity works to empower overseas communities and work with them as equal partners. Partnerships are developed with communities to create sustainable solutions, not give hand-outs

Participants’ volunteer efforts are driven by community needs through WE Charity’s holistic development model. It helps to advance the time in which WE Charity and community members can implement programs.

It’s important that trip participants know this is how their volunteer work is a gift to the community they visit.

ME to WE offers trips for adults, corporate groups and families in Ecuador, Kenya and India. Trips for youth and schools are offered in the Amazon and Ecuador, India, rural China, Nicaragua, Kenya and Tanzania, and the Dominican Republic.

Since 2002, over 15,000 youth and adults have travelled safely with our organization across the world. Safety is top priority and we have numerous proactive safety measures, protocols and training in place.

Our safety measures include:

PRE-TRIP

  • ME to WE Trips abides by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs travel advisories and monitors these updates prior to and during travel
  • Canadian and American participants are registered with their respective embassy before departure to ensure accountability in case of emergency. For all other nationalities, ME to WE strongly recommends participants register with their embassy prior to travel
  • Copies of all passports, medical and travel insurance, emergency contact information, and dietary and medical requirements are collected well in advance of the trip
  • Our extensive facilitator training program includes emergency evacuation protocols, standard operating procedures and crisis prevention and risk management. All facilitators are trained in first aid and carry a first-aid kit at all times
  • Emergency communication is available 24 hours a day between our in-country team and our headquarters
    Local hospitals with Western medical standards are aware of our trips and prepared to handle minor or major medical situations

DURING TRIP

  • All accommodations have a 24-hour security system and participants are given an orientation to their accommodations and know where to find resources
  • All transportation is run by our trusted private transportation providers, and all travel occurs under the guidance of ME to WE’s in country team
  • Purified bottled water is available at all times and all food prepared by cooks who are trained in proper food preparation
  • During all building activities, participants are given thorough instructions on the use of equipment and wear protective gear at all times.
    For a more information on ME to WE’s safety procedures, please visit: http://www.metowe.com/volunteer-travel/youth-trips/safety/

No.

We work with our charity partner, WE Charity, and travel to communities in which it carries out its 20-year history of holistic and sustainable development programs.

Volunteer efforts include digging trenches that are crucial to water systems, plowing fields, planting crops and laying the foundations for schools to name a few. All these volunteer hours (more than 80,000 in 2013, alone) support one of five WE Villages pillars: Water, Food, Education, Health or Opportunity—that eliminate the obstacles to education.

ME to WE offers Open Youth Trips during the summer, giving young people a chance to volunteer abroad on their own. These trips have pre-scheduled dates, and are usually 14–20 days long and are available to teens ages 13 and older.

ME to WE welcomes participants of all ages and fitness levels.

All participants are encouraged to work at their own pace and take breaks whenever necessary.

If you have any physical conditions that will hinder your participation in any of the activities, please let our staff know and we will be happy to accommodate your needs.

ME to WE suggests a minimum age of participants of four years old. But, we leave it up to you to determine whether the trip will be appropriate for your children.

Our facilities are well equipped to handle kids and our facilitators have extensive experience working with children.

In addition, we offer trips for youth during the summer period that allow them to travel on their own. The minimum age is 13 years-old for travel without a parent or guardian.

Corporate, adult, family and school volunteer adventures run year-round.

Individual youth volunteer adventures take place during school breaks. View all available youth trip travel dates.

Voluntourism is a term that refers to travel which includes volunteering for a charitable cause.

While our trips are overseas and have a volunteer component, they are vastly different from most “voluntourism” experiences. We’re proud of what makes our trips stand out.

They empower socially conscious travellers to make an impact in the very communities where our charity partner, WE Charity, has a 20-year history of sustainable development, working with community leaders and members in a true partnership.

ME to WE Trip participants get a first-hand look at WE Charity’s sustainable development model and make a hands-on contribution to its legacy of community-building.

On ME to WE Trips, participants volunteer alongside community members on projects that support one of the five core pillars of WE Villages: Education, Water, Health, Food, or Opportunity.

These five pillars are designed to provide sustainable solutions and empower communities to be active participants in their transformation, and ensure their sustained well-being.

Trip participants may dig trenches for water systems, lay foundations for schools, plough farmland or plant crops. Again, trip participants volunteer alongside community members and learn about sustainable development from this partnership.

On our trips, volunteer efforts are driven by the community’s needs.

Community leaders and members are empowered, equal partners in WE Charity’s development work. They welcome trip participants’ volunteer contributions, and recognize the value for everyone in the cultural exchange, connections made and opportunity to work together on sustainable development projects.

ME to WE Trips are guided by highly trained and experienced facilitators.

They provide participants with leadership training, skill-building workshops and help them develop action plans. When participants return home, they then have the tools to take action on social causes as well as a deeper understanding of sustainability and development issues.

In addition, ME to WE Trips have a proven impact on all travellers. In 2014, independent third-party research by U.S.-based social-impact consulting firm Mission Measurement found that trip participants were even more motivated to make change when they returned home:

  • 88% believe it’s cool to care about social problems
  • 89% feel empowered to make a positive difference in the world
  • 73% have become a strong leader
  • 78% discovered a subject or issue they are passionate about
  • 77% have a greater respect for their school
  • 73% are motivated more than ever to go to college

What makes ME to WE Trips even more world changing is that half of ME to WE’s net profits are donated to WE Charity—helping you make an even bigger impact on the community you visit. The other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and its social mission.

ME to WE Trips are available to everyone.

We offer scholarship and financial aid options for youth. With this support, more than 150 young people travel on ME to WE Trips each year, either free of charge or with at a significantly reduced cost. Learn more about scholarship and financial aid options.

There is a dedicated fundraising program to help youth raise support so they can have a ME to WE Trip experience. Learn more about fundraising for a ME to WE Trip.


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