Rising awareness of orphanage voluntourism A decade ago very few people had heard of the term ‘orphanage voluntourism’, but now barely a week goes past without the media covering it. For anyone who is unaware of what orphanage voluntourism is, it involves well-intentioned volunteers who give their time and money to orphanages in the belief they are helping vulnerable children
What springs to mind when you hear ‘volunteering abroad’? For many, it is Western teenagers taking selfies with smiling children in ‘Africa’, enjoying the fact that they’re having an ‘authentic’ cultural experience and improving the lives of the less fortunate. My first experience of this was in Ecuador. I was sixteen, and had signed up to a month-long World Challenge expedition, which mixed tourism with volunteering in a local community. I’d had to fundraise to pay the (significant) costs involved – two years’ worth of bake sales, tea and coffee events, and any odd jobs I could get my hands on.
If you were on campus over the past few months, you might have seen lime-green flyers for Growth International Volunteer Excursions (GIVE) — an international volunteer organization with programs in multiple countries — in bathrooms, classrooms and academic buildings. UNC has 400 study abroad programs across 70 different countries, but that number doesn’t include the countless non-University affiliated programs advertised across campus.
Some people enjoy touring other countries in order to participate in volunteer work — this trend has become known as “voluntourism.” Although voluntourism seems helpful on the surface, it can actually be very harmful in the long run because of the unintended consequences it can inflict on international communities.
Kenya has taken significant steps to place family-based care at the centre of its child protection system. This is a break from the decades-old practice of privately-run institutions providing institutional care for disadvantaged children. These institutions largely fed off the effects of poverty, lack of access to services and education, disability and family breakdown.
NGN Statistics from February 2007 to August 2019
NGN has assisted the Nepali police and the Government of Nepal in the rescue of 18 girls between the ages of 6 and 18 who had been working illegally in the craft industry. They were not attending school and were being used as child labor.
This is a guest post from Rishi Bhandari, a Nepali who grew up surrounded by international volunteers.
According to Save the Children Australia, popular voluntourism destinations for Australians such as Bali, Thailand and Cambodia have seen the number of orphanages increase by up to 500 per cent since the trend began.
Head of Bal Mandir, nation’s oldest non-profit for children, arrested on charges of child trafficking
The director of the organisation has been accused of abetting a British national in unlawfully procuring a Nepali child and assisting in obtaining fraudulent documents to claim the baby.
In middle school, I remember hearing about the local church visiting a rural town in Mexico with a group of volunteers for a week to build houses. At the time, I was impressed. Not only did I not know how to find these sort of opportunities on my own, but I remember thinking how noble it was to put yourself outside your comfort zone in such a productive way.
As a child, Teresia was forced to work at a Kenyan orphanage, where well-meaning donors and tourists paid to visit with the children.