Archive for the 'media' Category

“orphanage volunteering” – NO !!!

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

astonishing … just as we clicked ‘publish’ on our previous post about “orphanage volunteering … we received the following enquiry about a placement:

“Citizenship: United States
Category: Volunteer Abroad
Term: Winter
Age: 34
Desired Program: Orphanages
Duration: 2 weeks max this winter”

heavy sigh

We responded politely and fully, explaining why this is a BAD IDEA … Here are some of the links we sent:

orphanage volunteering – the issues

Cambodia campaign site

Better Volunteering on FaceBook

Better Child Protection on FaceBook


but some organisation will no doubt be pleased to take this volunteer’s money and place them somewhere inappropriate … :(

volunteering & ‘voluntourism’ – there’s a difference!

Friday, July 17th, 2015

It’s taken a while, but gradually the media is beginning to recognise and write about the POSITIVE results of volunteering, and how to achieve such results. At ‘people and places‘, we’ve always differentiated between volunteering and ‘voluntourism’ … this understanding is beginning to be expressed in the media … gradually !

people and places‘ was featured in an article in The Guardian in May … with the usual sort of headline, unfortunately … but with a far more positive sub-heading: 


If volunteers are truly to help communities overseas, charities and NGOs must take the time to match their skills with the right projects”

No surprise there for us! Putting the right people in the right places is exactly what we do for each individual volunteer placement … matching is the key for volunteers and projects to benefit from their time together.




The Guardian – positives and negatives of ‘voluntourism’

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Seems to be a ‘media day’ …  this article in The Guardian today asks, yet again, whether ‘voluntourism’ does more harm than good …

“If volunteers are truly to help communities overseas, charities and NGOs must take the time to match their skills with the right projects,” says Matthew Jenkin, editor of Guardian Careers

mutual learning, sharing, hugging!

mutual learning, sharing, hugging!

Key word: “MATCH” …

Our own approach here at ‘people and places is – and always has been – to begin with an understanding of local need in order to match each volunteer’s skills and experience to local need. This matching process – vital in facilitating mutually rewarding and beneficial placements – takes time and is paramount!

Sallie gives a brief synopsis of our approach:

“There are a number of cultural issues – will the local community be comfortable with strangers in their midst? How will they make sure that their culture is protected and respected? They need to make sure that the recruitment organisation has devised a code of conduct and, if there are children present, a child protection policy. A needs assessment must be done.”

Read about our matching process here

volunteering in projects abroad: how to do it well

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Really useful tips, advice and pointers in this article to guide your research when you’re beginning to think about volunteering in projects abroad … how to find the right project for you …

tips & advice



“short-term volunteering – how to do it well”

Begin by asking lots of questions … and expect full answers !

Sallie is quoted, as is Michael, our local partner in Cambodia, where our volunteers work in this community project in Siem Reap.

Michael’s question 1: “Does the project where you’ll be working meet a real need, and is it the appropriate response to that need?”
and from Sallie: “Would I be allowed to do this work in my own country?”

good news from Nepal – ‘ban on new orphanages’

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

An article in the ‘Nepali Times’ yesterday … certainly the right way to go in the wake of the inevitable post-quake disruption …

We know there are some institutions which are well-run, and organisations which concentrate on re-homing children with their extended families and communities … Here are some links to research more thoroughly:

OCCED – Naxal, Kathmandu

ChildSafe Network


Family for Every Child 

check out this Facebook page for recent posts, resources and information about Better Child Protection

“Should I volunteer abroad?” – an article we contributed to

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

people and places placements director, Kate, has been interviewed by World Travel Guide for an article about the plusses and minuses of choosing to volunteer abroad …

Should I volunteer abroad?

Should I volunteer abroad?



“We believe that a carefully placed, thoroughly screened, well-prepared, skilled volunteer can – and does – have a positive impact,” says Stefanko. 

All volunteers through People and Places have to apply for a position. Then, if accepted, the volunteer is matched with a … project that can benefit from their skill set.”


read the full article here

Volunteer publication is a must read and not just because………..

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

……….Sallie contributed.

This publication - Adventures Less Ordinary: How to Travel and Do Good - is  due out in January and promises to be an important read, drawing on the combined expertise of two dozen leading voices advocating for travel that makes a difference. It’s for travellers,volunteers, volunteer sending and receiving organisations and academics. The list of contributors is impressive – people who have a wealth of knowledge about volunteer travel. Register for  a copy on publication here


Here is  Sallie’s contribution -


While You Act: Make Bullied Communities and Disappointed Volunteers Things of the Past

By Sallie Graysonsallie headshotSMALL


While many have celebrated the merging of community service with tourism, others are highly critical and correctly so. Three particular issues need close investigation:


(1) Where does the money go?

(2) Do the negative impacts outweigh the positives for local communities?

(3) How much do the local communities know?


In search of clarity about these issues and more, potential volunteers and fundraising motivators need to ask questions. But they need to be the right questions!


volunteers: Go Overseas announces their “leave-a-review” contest !

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Now here’s an opportunity to write a review of your volunteer placement – this just in from Go Overseas:

volunteer experience? you may win a prize !

volunteer experience? you may win a prize !


5 social networks every volunteer should follow

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Social networks can provide lots of really useful information for potential volunteers simplythebest

Here are our 5 favourites:

outbounding not just important discussions on volunteer travel -great travel articles and advise too.

pearltrees this is where Sallie stores all the links she finds about volunteer travel

better volunteering a page created by us but lots of great contributions from others

@VickySmith a masters in responsible travel – specialising in volunteer travel but lots of insight into travel generally

passenger shaming its funny and cringe rendering at the same time – we all travel … are we guilty?




Fake Britain … fake orphanages …

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

It wasn’t a lie … honest! We’d been misinformed …




So I apologise to everyone who tuned in to Fake Britain last night …

but I’ve found the original programme about the minefield of ‘orphanage volunteering’ – here’s a link: