The idea of responsible and aware volunteering contines to grow – more and more organizations and media question the real impact on voluntourism. Check out the articles about the movement.
The Corporate Volunteer: What Motivates YOU?
Realized Worth 2014
“Just like a good cup of coffee motivates the average adult to get out of bed in the morning, there are quite a few fundamental motives that get employees into the volunteering mood. Are you the friendly next door neighbour that is in it for prosocial* reasons? Or are you the ambitious go-getter set on figuratively (or literally!) dominating the professional world through your career?.”
Avoiding Disappointment on Your Volunteer Trip
International Volunteer Card 2014
“On volunteer trips especially, no matter how much research you’ve done or how organized the volunteer organization is, it’s difficult to imagine a place you’ve never been, tasks you’ve never completed, and people you’ve never met. It’s easy to develop unrealistic expectations that can cause disappointment once reality sets in.”
Actually Making a Difference: Avoiding Voluntourism Traps
The Toast 2014
“You need to fit the project. The project needs to exist and you need to make a real contribution to it – often projects are created specifically for volunteers. A position can be filled by a volunteer; but a position shouldn’t exist to make sure a volunteer slots into it.”
How will the voluntary sector change? Not much really
The Guardian 2014
“For most charities, how the sector is funded will not change much, if at all. People will still donate; trusts and foundations will still give grants. Most charities will continue to operate with next to no money. There may be change for the very small number of bigger charities or those that rely heavily (often for good reason) on public-sector money. For the rest of us, it will be more of the same. ”
Why Would Overseas NGOs Want International Volunteers?
Verge Magazine 2014
“Research conducted by Dr. Erin Barnhart examines the impact of international volunteers overseas—but rather than speaking with volunteer-sending organizations based in North America or Europe, she surveyed nearly 250 organizations in over 50 countries – organizations on the receiving end of international volunteerism.”
Hey Voluntourist, Take A Back Seat!
New Matilda 2014
“When I raised my concerns about the effectiveness and dangers of this program, the organiser’s response was to say that she was inspiring people from developed nations to care. She was “lighting a fire” underneath them, so that they would do more good in their lives in the future. My response to this was “what is the point of this, if you don’t make a difference to people’s lives in Cambodia?””
Volunteer tourism: ‘the more expensive, the less responsible’, study concludes
Leeds Metropolitan University 2014
“The study, published in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, led by Victoria Smith and Dr Xavier Font, suggests that price and responsibility display an inverse relationship when considering comparable volunteer tourism products, on a price-per-day basis. The product or content that communicated the least how it was responsible tended to be the most expensive. In the study, the researchers also suggest that volunteer tourism organisations should be taking their responsibility more seriously especially in marketing their programs to potential volunteers. ”
Volunteer holidays: how to find an ethical project”
The Guardian 2014
“How does a potential volunteer know which organisations are getting it right and which ones are, at best, misguided, and, at worst, positively unhelpful to the very communities they claim to help? We asked Smith and Dr Xavier Font, reader at Leeds Metropolitan University and an expert in responsible tourism who supported her study, to share their top five tips for potential voluntourists. ”
The Problem With Little White Girls (and Boys): Why I Stopped Being a Voluntourist
Pippa Biddle 2014
“Turns out that we, a group of highly educated private boarding school students were so bad at the most basic construction work that each night the men had to take down the structurally unsound bricks we had laid and rebuild the structure so that, when we woke up in the morning, we would be unaware of our failure. It is likely that this was a daily ritual. ”
The boom of Cambodia’s orphanage tourism
Thomas Cristofoletti 2014
“A group of tourists from Norway take pictures and play with some of the kids who live in Acodo, one of the largest and most visited orphanage in Siem Reap. Playing with and hugging the children may make a tremendous impact on the tourists – and a great photo opportunity – but does little to support the needs of the children.”
The Faux Pas of the Well-Intentioned Westerner
A peek into the realities of “helping those less privileged”
“We realized, quickly, that we possessed neither the vocational and language skills, nor the knowledge of local circumstances, nor the amount of time to give necessary to affect positive change on any level greater than the interpersonal. We learned that sometimes, the best way to “do good” is to do nothing at all. ”
Orphanage Tourism: Tackling the Trend
Tourism Concern 2014
“If you bring up volunteering abroad in a conversation more often than not you’ll get a response like, “Volunteering is great! I’ve always wanted to work in an orphanage.” While traveling in developing countries it’s hard to ignore the countless signs held by impoverished-looking children begging you to visit or donate to their orphanage. Do a quick search for international volunteer placements and half of them will offer opportunities to “play with children”.”
Voluntourism – The Good, The Great and The Snake Oil: Conor Murphy takes a look at the pitfalls of foreign volunteering
The University Times 2014
“The subtleties of what is good/bad charity work are often borderline. There is one freak beast that is easy to recognise though, and must be avoided at all costs. The charity company. A huge amount of friends going abroad are going through private companies. Do so if you will but understand that they have no intention of doing good sustainable work. Their goal is making the superficial “good western” feeling grow as much as possible in their customers, you. ”
Nepal: Escaping the Orphanage
Unreported World 2014
“This is an industry that has been created around foreign donors and volunteers who go out to places like Nepal with the best intentions but fail to ask the right questions. Why are these children here? Do they really not have parents or extended family to stay with? Why perpetuate a system that institutionalizes children who should be encouraged to stay with their wider family in most cases even if they are orphans?”
‘Voluntourism’: Mixing vacations with charity work can harm as much as it helps
National Post 2013
““When I got started in 1995, the number of organizations offering international volunteer placements was so few I could count them on one hand,” said Steve Rosenthal, founder of Cross-Cultural Solutions, an international volunteering nonprofit. “Now, literally every time I search on the Internet I’ll find multiple new organizations that I’ve never heard of.””
Something To Declare: Why it’s vital that volunteering is done in the right way
The Independent 2013
“Perhaps not surprisingly, a volunteer’s first instinct is to provide as much love and attention to the children as they can. However, Unicef reports indicate the revolving door of volunteers contributes to further emotional turmoil, through what’s known as “ repeated abandonment”. ”
How To Help The Philippines After Typhoon Haiyan As A Volunteer Or Tourist
International Business Time 2013
“The worst thing someone could do is show up and add to the problem by not being prepared and getting into a situation they will need help getting out of,” White said. “Going with a group is the only way I suggest volunteering in this type of disaster.”
Orphanage volunteering ‘part of the problem’
The Telegraph 2013
“We are concerned that orphanage volunteers, despite their best intentions, are part of the problem rather than the solution for children living in poverty throughout the world,”
The tragic rise of Gap year voluntourism
The Independent 2013
My own village in East India has been visited by gap-year travellers. Last year I saw an unskilled 17-year-old digging trenches in my village, dressed in a marigold garland and a red vermilion tikka. His arrival had consigned the local labourer to a footnote. An unsatisfactory half-dug trench was left to be worked on by the next batch of fresh faced volunteers.
Volunteer travel holidays – Orphanage volunteering campaign
Responsible Travel 2013
We now have comprehensive guidelines in place for the promotion of volunteering trips that involve any interaction with vulnerable children. (…) The new guidelines have been implemented to protect the children at the centre of volunteering projects that work with orphanages and other similar settings.
Is Voluntourism only an expensive ego booster?
The University Times 2013
In Vietnam, the language barrier and inevitable red tape of a Communist country make it impossible for a foreigner to walk in and instantly work on developing the business end of a project. (…) Many problems seem to get lost in translation, and only appear when a volunteer reaches their destination.
Fake orphanages. Bogus animal sanctuaries. And crooks growing rich on Western gullibility… why do-gooding gap year holidays may be a horrifyingly callous con
Daily Mail 2013
But within days of starting the placement, Caroline sensed that something was seriously wrong. ‘I was pretty shocked at the conditions,’ she says. ‘The children slept on the floor – although there wasn’t even a floor, just carpet underlay – with no beds or blankets. The youngest was only two years old.
Voluntourism – are the extra hands helping?
More than Footprints 2013
“Are you thinking of volunteering on your travels? Volunteering can be a positive way to serve a community, but there are far too many unethical voluntourism organisations out there who are more interested in your money than benefiting the communities they’ll send you to work with. On this page you’ll find a wealth of information from various organisations and media so that if you are thinking of volunteering, you’ll know which questions you need to ask the placement organisation.”
Volunteer tourism: no good deed goes unpunished
Quite aside from the problems surrounding clearly disabled children in an unsuitable environment, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the money that these volunteers raised, as it clearly wasn’t going anywhere near these children.
Avoid Orphanage Scams When Volunteering Abroad
Whatever your opinion on voluntourism, there is no denying its growth as a new and popular way to travel while at the same time giving back. Unfortunately, some imitators have found a way to profit from altruistic tourists by running legitimate looking operations that are actually scams – such as the fake orphanages that dupe tourists into paying to participate in this popular voluntourism project.
Travel Weekly 2013
Volunteer tourism is a positive movement that often comes from a well-meaning place and travelers’ desire to forge deeper, stronger connections to the places and people they visit. But as the amount of willing volunteer travelers increases exponentially, the quality of projects and causes being built around that demand has in many cases declined.
An ex-volunteer’s perspective on improving the Australian Volunteers program
It is very difficult for returned volunteers to critique the volunteer program. For starters, when you mention you volunteered abroad, people very wrongly start to treat you as if you were some kind of martyr – it’s very awkward to complain when you feel you probably got more out of the experience than the host organisation and when ‘volunteering’ actually meant living on a reasonable allowance and getting a pretty incredible personal experience out of the deal.
Orphanage tourism: help or hindrance?
The Telegraph 2013
As the popularity of visiting and volunteering at orphanages continues to rise, so does the controversy surrounding it. Some say it is an excellent way to make a positive contribution to the country. Others fear that well meaning voluntourists may be doing more harm than good.
Beware the ‘voluntourists’ doing good
The Guardian 2013
I couldn’t help feeling ashamed at the excessive praise and thanks we received from locals and those on the trip alike. I cringed as we took complimentary photos with African children whose names we didn’t know. We couldn’t even take full credit for building the houses because most of the work had already been done by community members. In fact, if anything we slowed down the process with our inexperience and clumsiness. And how many schools in the west would allow amateur college students to run their English classes for a day? What had I really done besides inflate my own ego and spruce up my resume?
THINK before giving money to begging children
Friends International 2013
Many children drop out from school or are forced to leave school to beg. Avoid giving money directly to children to reduce this risk. Instead find and support services in your idea that help these children stay at school.
Cambodia’s Booming New Industry: Orphanage Tourism
It’s the end of your three week vacation in Southeast Asia. You did good. You managed to hit all the locations on the backpacker’s circuit; lounging on the tropical Islands off the Thai Peninsula, experiencing the street food of Bangkok, exploring the temples of Siem Reap, and shopping on the floating markets of the Mekong River. Now, with just a few days left before your flight home, you’d like to do something selfless, something worthwhile. You decide to volunteer in one of Cambodia’s orphanages.
The problem is finding one that isn’t a scam.
How to Ethically Volunteer Anywhere in the World
Nomadic Matt 2013
I know what it’s like to want to volunteer and travel, but to be confused by the sometimes huge fees, the equivocal ethics, and the sheer number of options. With that in mind, I jumped at the opportunity Matt gave me to share five clear steps that show how to find and vet good-fit volunteer projects.
2012 Official Volunteer Abroad Report
Go Overseas 2012
There is no question that the volunteer abroad industry is constantly growing. With the many options available, we wanted to take a closer look at the most popular countries to volunteer in. Instead of doing a survey, we decided to rank every country in terms of how many people are searching for volunteer opportunities in that location via Google Search. Report was compiled by Go Overseas.
Trips with Benefits: Does Voluntourism Do More Harm Than Good?
CN Traveler 2012
A growing number of travelers are volunteering on their vacations, but they sometimes end up doing more harm than good. Dorinda Elliott report builds a house in Haiti and reports on the rewards—and risks—of lending a hand away from home
Guidelines for voluntourists
Al Jazeera 2012
Erin LaCroix, the Cambodia country director for South East Asia Investigations into Social and Humanitarian Activities (SISHA), offers guidance on what to do if you suspect exploitation or abuse in an orphanage: SISHA, an anti-human trafficking organisation based in Cambodia, has received numerous reports of abuse and trafficking in orphanages.
Voluntourism: Who Is it Benefitting Exactly?
Building a school is a wonderful ideal that helps to empower and educate, and allows you to ‘find yourself’ whilst learning from those in abject poverty. But let’s dig a little deeper. If you weren’t building the school, who would be?
When Travelling, Be Very Careful Where You Volunteer
Inspiring Travellers 2012
Armed with lofty notions about doing good and giving back to the world, the buzzwords of sustainability and community embedded in their thoughts, many volunteers head out into the world without a second thought about their actions and intentions.
Bali’s Orphanage Scam
Bali Advertiser 2010
Orphanages in developing countries are often run as profit centres, and Bali is sadly no exception to this evil practice. (…) Most of the orphanages here operate under religious banners; sadly, even a clerical collar is no guarantee that donations will not be misappropriated. How to tell the good ones from the bad?
With the Best Intentions: A Study of Attitudes Towards Residential Care in Cambodia 2011
World Changing 2009
In 2006, when David Clemmons added a 150-word blurb on voluntourism to Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century, it was a concept that had yet to take off, even in sustainability circles. We couldn’t have guessed that a few years later, voluntourism — planning a vacation to include short-term charitable work — would be featured in luxury travel magazines, or have a buzz worthy of its own backlash. Now lawyers on furlough head out into the world with a stack of Lonely Planet guides and a vague mandate to do pro bono work to keep up their resumes. The biggest question is no longer, “Will anyone do this type of trip?” Rather, it’s, “Is all this voluntourism actually doing any good?”