Kathryn Pisco’s world changed when with her husband she circumnavigated the globe, volunteering along the way.
She realized, “Life was too short to fit back into what I was doing before.” So, rather than go back to work in a regular job, she launched a social enterprise called Unearth the World to help volunteers travel and have real impact.
She notes that there are three big problems in the voluntourism industry that she hoped to fix.
- Cost and transparency: First, she notes that some volunteer trips are unaffordable for many people. Most organizations arranging volunteer trips are not transparent about where the fees go and who is getting the money. At Unearth the World, Kathryn says they charge a small fee for their work in arranging the trip and are completely transparent about the where the money goes.
- Preparation: Second, she says that many volunteers arrive in the field without adequate preparation, not knowing what to expect, sometimes leading to poor outcomes. Unearth the World works to match volunteers’ skills to the needs of an on-the-ground organization abroad and then to prepare the volunteers for the rigors of the work they are expected to complete.
- Traveler-focus: Much of the volunteerism world is built around the traveler rather than the service and the impact. The result is that projects are often of the make-work variety so the traveler feels good about having done something when in fact the impact was marginal. Unearth the World works to get find real projects that need volunteers to that they have meaningful impact.
Kathryn visited with me first almost three years ago. You can see that interview and read that write-up here. My latest visit with Kathryn can be seen at the top of this article.
Her world changed when she traveled the world making a difference. Now you can experience what she did with her help.
Watch the full interview with @devindthorpe here:
More about Unearth the World:
Unearth the World is a social enterprise that plans personalized and meaningful international exchange opportunities for professionals, students, groups, and families. Our unique model improves the volunteer travel industry by promoting cross-cultural learning, fostering reciprocal partnerships and elevating social consciousness through these responsible volunteer exchange programs. Unearth the World pair travelers with our vetted international nonprofit partners to solve real issues in global communities. Our focus on pre and post-trip training, financial transparency and social impact sets us apart. Since 2015, more than 200 global citizens have donated over 3,500 hours of their time. Unearth the World alums have started their own nonprofits, continued to volunteer in their own communities and become more civically engaged to multiply their tremendous impact!
Kathryn Pisco is a social entrepreneur with a passion for travel and giving back. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio and attended Cornell University where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications and Business. After years of working in sales for large corporations, she took a career break with her husband in 2013 and traveled the world doing a mix of personal travel and volunteer work. While she took part in some phenomenal volunteer projects, she also discovered some of the negative aspects about the international volunteering industry: lack of financial transparency, and absence of meaningful volunteer training, and a shortage of community driven projects. So, she returned from the trip inspired to create her own social venture –Unearth the World- that strives to improve the volunteer travel industry by promoting cross-cultural learning, fostering reciprocal partnerships and elevating social consciousness through responsible volunteer exchange programs. She lives in Chicago with her husband and twin daughters.
Devin Thorpe was a finance guy until he realized life wasn’t all about the money. As a new-media journalist and founder of the Your Mark on the World Center, Devin has established himself as a champion of social good. As a Forbes contributor, with 350 bylines and over one million unique visitors, he has become a recognized name in the social impact arena. His YouTube show, featuring over 600 celebrities, CEOs, billionaires, entrepreneurs and others who are out to change the world, has been viewed over 200,000 times.