Family volunteering with bears in Romania

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Family volunteering with bears in Romania

Environment

Our placements are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this challenge – a sense of achievement, broader horizons and some wonderful memories. But we make sure that local people, the environment and wildlife benefit too.

Supporting local wildlife- it almost goes without explanation to state how strongly this project supports local wildlife. The staff at the sanctuary can very rarely say no to animals that need to be taken care of, and as such you will find some very happy dogs can also call the sanctuary home. The educational emphasis on the sanctuary is important, as it helps children from this area of the world to understand the importance of caring for wildlife and in particular the bears.

Environment - Our company takes an environmentally responsible attitude towards recycling and reusing of waste products. We also offset carbon emissions in our office (gas, electricity, business mileage) and encourage all participants to offset their flight emissions via a carbon offset scheme run in conjunction with Tree Aid. We also offer the option of traveling there by train to cut down on carbon emissions. Our volunteers are given a pre-departure briefing where they are encouraged to minimise waste and to live in a way that will not have a detrimental effect on the country. This extends to not wasting water or electricity.

About the bear sanctuary - the project is located at a sanctuary, where these bears can live out their days in a location as close to the the wild as possible. Volunteers are not allowed to interact with the bears as this can hinder their rehabilitation. Currently there are 80 bears calling this place home and who have been successfully rehabilitated into the sanctuary.

Community

Meeting local needs - The whole project is geared towards helping the local community. Romania is not wealthy and institutions like the bear sanctuary rely on volunteers. We have been running programmes in this area since 1999 and have long-standing relationships with local people. This means we have a good idea of where help is needed, and can ensure volunteers make a real contribution.

The project also helps the local economy. Our participants spend money on food and leisure; we pay rent and employ a local Romanian as our representative. In addition, we donate money regularly to the various projects in response to their needs.

Cultural sensitivity - Our pre-departure briefing includes a special session entitled ‘Responsible Tourism’ where we discuss cultural differences and sensitivities as well as advising volunteers on appropriate conduct. People a briefed on what is considered polite in terms of eating, greeting and dressing. It is encouraged that all volunteers learn some Romanian prior to departure, and they get a helping hand whilst out there as well.

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