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child welfare and volunteering

We, at people and places, sincerely believe  in the power of well-matched and well-prepared volunteers – we believe the overwhelming majority of people want to do good … but we also see the damage being done in communities where poorly thought out, managed and monitored programmes are being run. We believe volunteers and the communities they seek to serve are often exploited – and they deserve BETTER.

We started people and places because we believe that it is possible to design and manage volunteer programmes that deliver the support needed by communities – at the same time, ensuring safe and worthwhile experiences for volunteers.

Those of you who follow our news will know that our work has attracted awards for both the day to day work we do and our campaigning (in both instances as you read through the winners you can see what amazing company we were in).

None of this work have we done on our own.

We have been working closely with Friends International Childsafe Movement for a number of years and recently on their Global Good Practice Guide Lines to responsible volunteering for businesses – we believe it is a realistic and thought provoking guide – and we would encourage all volunteers to read it – it will help you assess the ethics of any organisation offering volunteer travel- take a look here

We are proud to have been part of such important guidelines – and we want to take this opportunity to thank Friends International – in helping us improve our child protection policies – and thus support volunteers in their search for ethical ways to volunteer for children.

take a look here at our statement about why we do not work with orphanages

orphanages-why are we asking you to rethink volunteering or donating?

We want to start this post by saying very clearly that we know that some of you support orphanages – and we are not, for a moment, suggesting that you should immediately stop supporting those orphanages. We want to encourage people to look at alternatives and encourage the organisations they support to seek alternatives.We want to encourage people who are thinking about supporting an orphanage for the first time to consider the alternatives – we want to warn people that many orphanages – not all- are commercial enterprises where children are trafficked.

We are asking everyone to rethink the way we support children in poverty – children who are very often separated from their families because of poverty.

We at people and places made the decision nearly 10 years ago to work with programmes that work to keep children in their families not in orphanages – why?

Read the rest of this entry »

to campaign or not to campaign …

TO CAMPAIGN OR NOT TO CAMPAIGN – WHY I HAVE DECIDED TO GET INVOLVED

Dianne

Dianne

by volunteer programme advisor Dianne Ashman

As you will know, there are two connecting strands to the work

people and places does.  We send volunteers on placements where their skills and experience have been carefully matched to local needs, and we campaign for responsible practice in volunteer tourism – and both these categories have been reflected in awards people and places have won, for Best Volunteer Organisation and

Best for Responsible Tourism Campaigning.

Up until now I have preferred to focus my time and energy on the volunteering side of things, helping our local partners identify needs and helping to prepare volunteers to do their bit to meet these needs.  I have not wanted to get involved in the campaigning side of our work as I am personally uncomfortable with the rather negative and critical connotations of some forms of campaigning (not necessarily ours) and I prefer to focus on the positives of trying to make our volunteer placements as successful as possible for all concerned.  However I have always taken an interest in the issues raised through our campaigning, particularly those involving children and child protection.  I have therefore followed with interest all the publicity around the negative impact of volunteers working in, and foreigners supporting, children in orphanages.  One of the articles published as part of a recent ‘blogging blitz’ on the dangers of orphanage tourism really made me think.  The writer of the article was talking specifically about student volunteers going to orphanages as part of a gap year experience, and he made the point that we are wrong to criticise these young people for taking part in a misguided form of volunteering because we have never taught them that it’s an inappropriate thing to do.  As a teacher that really struck a chord, and fits in exactly with my views – I don’t want to criticise bad practice but I do want to raise awareness about what some of the issues are and how to make good choices when volunteering or supporting people in developing countries.

 In fact, having once thought this, I now feel it would be irresponsible of me to know something about the issues and not to spread the word.

“The challenge is certainly not to stop supporting children in developing countries – the need has not decreased – but to make sure we are doing this in ways that genuinely help and are not designed simply to make us feel good – and that requires real thought.”

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the cruel scams of ‘orphanage volunteering’

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