ME to WE Trips: a one-of-a-kind volunteer travel program with lasting impact
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 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!
You will come away from a ME to WE Trip with a deeper understanding of social justice and development issues that will change the way you understand the needs of marginalized communities throughout the world. You will take home these lessons, along with an action plan to make a difference. WE Charity is there to support your continued volunteer efforts with campaigns that impact the global and local causes you care about.
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. A ME to WE Trip is one-of-a-kind because:
Each ME to WE Trip takes place in a community where our renowned charity partner, WE Charity, puts its 20-year history of holistic, sustainable development to work.
WE Charity has been honoured with numerous awards, including the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child; the Roosevelt Freedom From Fear Medal and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.
The impact of WE Charity’s development model has been externally validated by the U.S.-based social-impact consulting firm Mission Measurement.
ME WE Trips gives travellers a unique opportunity to engage in activities that directly contribute to WE Charity’s sustainable development model.
WE Charity believes that for children to break free from poverty, we must meet the basic needs of all members of a community and eliminate the obstacles preventing children from accessing education.
WE Charity’s sustainable model is made up of five core pillars: education, clean water and sanitation, health, alternative income and livelihood and agriculture and food security. Each pillar provides crucial support that enables the community to break down the barriers to education and lift itself out of poverty. Learn more about 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.
When you participate in a ME to WE Trip, you contribute to WE Charity’s renowned sustainable development model by contributing to one or more of the model’s five pillars—clean water and sanitation, agriculture and food security, education, health or alternative income and livelihood.
The community and its needs determine your volunteer efforts. We work in close collaboration with community members and development experts to develop holistic solutions that have lasting impacts.
Alongside locals, you might lay foundations or bricks for schools, run summer camps for children, or support workers digging fields and planting trees. Your efforts contribute to the many important steps needed to establish the five pillars, which eliminate the obstacles to education.
Your efforts do not take jobs away from locals. In fact, WE Charity’s development projects create jobs for supervisors, skilled engineers and project managers. A ME to WE Trip participant’s volunteer work is essential to completing the numerous and ongoing projects that benefit the communities where WE Charity works.
Half of ME to WE’s net 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.
You will gain perspective and a deeper understanding of the lives of women in developing communities when you sit under the shade of a tree with mamas learning to make handcrafted beaded accessories or hauling a jerry can of water along a stony path.
Participants meet and work with community members from another culture and understand their joys and challenges. Participants talk to learners different WE Charity schools and meet community leaders, who are proud, equal partners in these holistic initiatives.
ME to WE Trips promote dialogue and cultivate relationships by giving participants a unique opportunity to spend time with local community members and put real faces, names and stories to the impact of their volunteer work.
Participants experience and embrace the sights and sounds of a new culture, by tasting the unique flavours of local cuisines, taking part in traditional activities and learning new languages.
We believe that the world is the best classroom, and ME to WE Trips offer the opportunity for participants to gain a first-hand understanding of social justice issues, discover a new perspective to understand the world and find the inspiration to lead change.
You will also find adventure on a ME to WE Trip, whether you’re searching the Big Five on safari in Kenya; being trained by a Maasai warrior to throw a traditional rungu; or participating in a traditional Hindu prayer ceremony in northern India.
Each adventure puts participants side-by-side with community members who teach you skills or deepen your experience through participation.
A ME to WE Trip kick-starts a life-long journey.
Under the guidance of highly trained and experienced facilitators, participants 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.
With interactive modules based on proven best practices, our trips empower youth with the skills, confidence and understanding to take action in their local and global communities.
Participants leave a ME to WE Trip with a deeper understanding of sustainability and development issues, while gaining a new perspective.
Trip facilitators continue to stay in touch with participants and make personal suggestions for opportunities to stay engaged with the organization.
ME to WE organizes alumni events to offer past participants the opportunity to reconnect with fellow trip participants, meet other like-minded individuals who have also travelled with ME to WE Trips and to check in on what everyone has accomplished since their trips.
Once home from a ME to WE Trip, students have many opportunities to live their passion and take action with WE Charity, including campaigns, WE Schools and WE Day.
WE Charity’s Educational Partner Coordinators work with student participants to support them as they transition home and look for ways to make an impact, whether globally or locally, on many of the important issues in a participant’s own backyard.
WE Day is an annual series of stadium-sized events that brings together world-renowned speakers and performers—from Malala Yousafzai and Martin Sheen to Demi Lovato—with tens of thousands of youth to kick-start a year of action through WE Schools. You can’t buy a ticket to WE Day—you earn it by taking on one local and one global action.
Student participants can get involved in WE Schools, a yearlong educational program that empowers young people to become active local, national and global citizens.
WE Charity also has a series of campaigns that enable people of all ages to make a difference in their local communities. The campaigns to get involved I issues from local hunger to water issues to marginalization and Aboriginal issues include WE Scare Hunger, WE Create Change, WE Bake for Change, WE Stand Together and WE Are Silent.
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
Since 2002, over 15,000 youth and adults have travelled safely with our organization across the world.
ME to WE Trips have 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.
We are committed to ensuring the quality and expertise of our facilitators; many are certified teachers or have degrees in development.
After participating in training “boot camps,” all facilitator candidates must pass an extensive screening program in order to qualify to lead a trip. Thousands apply every year; only the top individuals are selected.
Facilitators not only receive first aid and emergency-response training, but also are also equipped with a thorough understanding of group dynamics and cultural sensitivity to ensure a seamless experience for all participants.
We work with partners who have reviewed our extensive risk-management procedures, including: YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization); Virgin Atlantic; School board districts; Top universities and colleges and EF Educational Tours.
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.
We live in the world where most westerners, especially young westerners, are more connected than ever before. Travel overseas, whether it’s a beach or backpacking vacation is on their bucket list. A ME to WE Trip is a chance to quench that travel bug and have an impact.
On a ME to WE Trip participants enjoy meaningful experiences and connections with different cultures. ME to WE Trips create lasting change for participants—and the communities visited. It’s a win-win.
Want to learn more? Check out the ME to WE Trip FAQs.