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"I learned that service truly knows no borders! I learned that the world is broken, divided, and unjust, but that service and solidarity allow us to find hope, compassion, faith, and love in the most adverse situations."

College Student, Loyola University


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Community Development | Community Voluntourism


Voluntourism as a Development Tool


In the 35 years of trial and error working in grass-roots community development, Via International learned as an organization about the power of programs that were responsive to locally defined needs and called for the leadership of local residents. During this era, the programs were always accompanied by visiting volunteers who brought much-needed resources and labor to the local initiatives.


After many years of experience in the US/Mexico border region engaging local community with visiting volunteers, Via International is partnering with additional communities and organizations to support the development of volunteer travel in new locations through Voluntours.


Via International has identified specific principles for designing integrated Voluntours in order to support improved quality of life for local communities and engaging visitors in meaningful community-defined initiatives:

  • Mutuality
  • Dignity
  • Respect
  • Solidarity
  • Collaboration
  • Subsidiarity
  • Participation


Elements of a balanced Voluntour program include:

  • Community-defined service
  • Education in community development
  • Awareness of current issues local communities are engaged with
  • Cultural experiences and immersion
  • Adequate orientation, facilitated experience, and follow-up


Via International welcomes communities who are interested in developing a VolunTour program to contact us


Visit Voluntours to learn more about how you and your organization can participate in a Voluntour and visit the communities we work with including Tijuana, Tecate, and Mexicali, Mexico, as well as San Diego, New Mexico, and Guatemala.