What's your idea of the perfect vacation? Is it lying on a beach, tanning and gazing at the lapping waves? Or skiing through fresh powder on a snowy mountain? Or might it, instead, involve digging a well in a poor village, teaching English to a group of foreign schoolkids or lugging bales of hay to feed elephants at an animal rescue shelter? If you lean more toward the latter, you might just be a voluntourist (a mashup of volunteer and tourist)
When young college students are asked why they volunteer, the answer is usually something along the lines of “I just want to help people,” or “I want to make a difference in the world.” While these answers may reflect good intentions, the actual work that they do tells a different story, and the negative results are seen in the aftermath of this work.
Prevention Project: Street Dramas NGN's Prevention Project team goes deep into rural Nepal to present anti-trafficking street dramas. All our actors are locally selected and trained, and know first-hand the story of "trafficking" of children. Entire villages show up to learn what signs to look for. Help us keep children from ever knowing the trauma of trafficking and family separation!
"I was looking for a way to give back while I was traveling. I have always loved being around children so volunteering in an orphanage made sense to me. I found a place very close to the tourist district where I was staying and the cost of staying there seemed quite reasonable, especially since I was happy to give money to help kids anyway. I also bought fruits and vegetables for the children while I was there, but their diet never seemed to change."
This year, nearly 20 million people will pack their bags to volunteer overseas—yet far too many are failing to make an impact, and some are even doing more harm than good. So how can we change the way we make positive change in the world?
We hope that our infographic will make it easier to understand how child trafficking happens, not only in Nepal, but worldwide. You can help us raise awareness for this problem by sharing this graphic with your friends, family, and with anyone you know who may be considering volunteering in an orphanage.
After several violations and what had clearly become a harmful situation for the children, the Nepali government has recently initiated a rescue to bring a group of children home from an "orphanage" in a tourist district of Nepal.
Gap year students who volunteer at orphanages overseas are propping up a system that “irreparably harms children”, JK Rowling has said. The author, who founded children’s welfare charity Lumos, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that while students may have the “best of intentions”, they could be funding orphanages that abuse vulnerable children and sell them into sex work.
Read the latest dispatch from Nepal here. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (if you're not already)!
A Child's Voice: Living in a remote district of Nepal, you have known that your family has struggled with growing barely enough food on the steep mountainside to feed your family, and no medical treatments when you are sick or injured, as well as very little knowledge of the outside world. .
What’s your idea of a break? Whether you’re in college, or working a monotonous 9 to 5, some time off is always welcome to shake yourself and give your brain some new stimuli. If you're considering a sabbatical or looking forward to summer, you're probably looking to make some cheap travel plans. We’re all wistfully sighing at blogs and vlogs of solo travelers who ventured into a community far away to make a world of difference.
Hit the road and save the world! It’s a brilliant idea… but just how easy is it to actually make a difference whilst traveling? I have a confession to make… I have extremely mixed feelings about people volunteering abroad for a week here or a week there and then filling their Facebook page with pictures of them and beaming crowds of children. Do they have any child-care experience? Are they really able to make a difference to a child’s life in just one week or do they risk forming a connection with an at-risk individual and then, simply, leaving?