Archive for the 'people and places in the news' Category

the cruel scams of ‘orphanage volunteering’

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Kate Stefanko interviewed by BBC1’s “Fake Britain” – about 35 minutes into the programme

The programme was first aired in May 2014 and repeated again this morning … sadly, so much of the content is still relevant … and not only in Cambodia.

The cruel scams of ‘orphanage volunteering’ are exposed – cruel to children & scamming naive & well-meaning volunteers !

at people and places we support organisations and projects which focus on keeping children in families

check out childsafe  and Better Care Network

'orphanage volunteering' - please don't do it !

‘orphanage volunteering’ – please don’t do it !

–  please do your research and don’t allow yourselves to be scammed by fake orphanages !

children belong in families – not in institutions

“gap years for grown ups” – the value of older volunteers

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

“Highly skilled people … are looking for career break activities” writes Matthew Jenkin in today’s Guardian newspaper.

At ‘people and places‘, we know that each volunteer has valuable skills to share – whatever their age. The key is to put the right people in the right places, and that’s something we work hard to achieve.

As Sallie says in The Guardian article: “… older volunteers can bring huge value … they are generally more patient and better prepared for voluntary work, not only professionally but also culturally.”


South Africa - school outing with volunteer Shan

South Africa – school outing with volunteer Shan

India - teacher training with volunteer Dianne

India – teacher training with volunteer Dianne

should I volunteer abroad ?

Thursday, November 12th, 2015
just re-read an article about ‘voluntourism’ (a word I do not like!) in the World Travel Guide … actually rather proud …
“Kate Stefanko, Placement Director at People and Places, … thinks volunteering abroad can be beneficial to all concerned if it is done right. We believe that a carefully placed, thoroughly screened, well-prepared, skilled volunteer can – and does – have a positive impact,” says Stefanko.
in it together
“All volunteers through People and Places have to apply for a position. Then, if accepted, the volunteer is matched with an upcoming project that can benefit from their skill set.
“Well-run efforts can absolutely develop a level of social interaction and understanding that is profound,” Stefanko adds. “The whole process can give a real face to poverty and vulnerability, and shift consciousness toward the understanding of a shared humanity.”

Sallie and Adama talk about being changemakers

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Sallie and Adama ( our partner in The Gambia) were asked to talk about their  experience of and advice for change  at a recent conference.

( Adama goes first and Sallie is last at about 43 minutes in)

Watch it here


Sallie and Adama

Sallie and Adama

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?”

“meaningful volunteer experiences”

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Great to see 3 of our volunteer programmes featured in The World Travel Guide

 12 Ethical Experiences for 2015

– and pleased to say that we are in great company!

“Despite the market being swamped with capitalist ventures masquerading as morally sound institutions, there are a number of ethically conscious organisations out there offering both beneficial trips and meaningful volunteer placements.”



Click here to read the full article.

You can read an article Kate was interviewed for

“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

LOVE receiving volunteers’ questions … and answering them!

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

At people and places, we always encourage volunteers to ask questions

Some people find asking questions easier than others … but asking the questions and assessing the answers is VITAL when starting to think about options to volunteer abroad, and helps volunteers to make informed decisions.

Q&A may be in person, by phone or in writing …

So, to show what I mean, I’m going to share some recent email questions with you – AND – my answers !

ask the questions - get the answers

ask the questions – get the answers