Oh dear here we go again – another hastily written article making sweeping statements – this time in The Telegraph. Yet another lost opportunity to help potential volunteers make responsible choices. The concerns about “orphan tourism” are valid and yes there are some inappropriate volunteer opportunities out there – and perhaps most worrying many of these programmes do not require screening of any kind!
We at people and places DO send volunteers to work in orphanages – BUT only skilled volunteers who work alongside local people NOT instead of them and only with the informed consent of the excellent local staff and trustees of the orphanages.We are not alone – there are other volunteer organisations who work ethically and sustainably with local communities to ensure that volunteers do not “do more harm than good.” But there are still way too many who continue to exploit communities and volunteers alike . Please please, if there is to be a rush of articles about “orphan tourism” could someone ensure that at least one is not simply a regurgitated press release but is based on research.There is demand for volunteer travel – fact – so lets help these potential volunteers find ethical organisations – not create more confusion.
I have posted a similar response to the above on all the blogs/ posts that I can….we need to encourage some serious journalismon this subject – soplease post if you can too.