child protection – we make no apologies for our passionate campaigning

child protection – we make no apologies for our passionate campaigning

Sallie recently made a presentation about child protection at a responsible tourism event – watch it here (about 14 minutes in ) – there were lots of tweets and a couple of articles afterwards which used the word passion


to describe her presentation. …. dead right – we are passionate and we are not going to stop campaigning and raising awareness.

Kate was interviewed on the BBC in May about “Orphanage Volunteering – watch it here

Does this mean we are against volunteer opportunities where volunteers engage with children?

NO – it doesn’t

There are well-run and well-managed programmes, doing important and worthwhile work – but there are still too many ill-conceived or down right exploitative programmes out there – and there are still way too many ill-informed travellers.

… there are  well-run child care organisations – but they are so difficult for the ordinary traveller / donor to find. If you have the skills and want to volunteer in a children’s home please read this advice too – please do your research.

We at people and places actively support programmes which seek to support families so that the children can remain within those families – take a look at our programme in Cambodia for example.



Our Chair, Professor Harold Goodwin, recently attended a workshop where many “agencies” working in Child Protection or promoting volunteer travel met to plan a way forward.


Here is his blog – it doesn’t make easy reading – but it is an essential read for anyone thinking about volunteering in an orphanage or children’s home. The problems exist not just in Nepal and Cambodia – to our knowledge they exist in Uganda, Kenya, Indonesia, India, Haiti ……..





Funding, donating to or visiting orphanages is fraught with real risks of unintended consequences, reputational damage and the funding of those with evil intent.

I have just spent two days at a Better Volunteering, Better Care “inter-agency workshop” addressing the  question  “within the field of child rights how might we redirect the efforts from orphanage “visits” to ethical alternatives that have positive outcomes?

The campaign against orphanage volunteering by which was sparked by the panel on Responsible Volunteering at WTM in 2012 when the issue was raised again by Michael Horton, Chairman and Founder of Cambodia based ConCERT. Watch the video

In Nepal there are 800 registered orphanages holding 15,000 children, two thirds of whom are NOT orphans. 90% of orphanages are in 5 districts, those which are visited by tourists – there are 75 districts in Nepal,  90% of the orphanages are in just 5 of them. Demand for visits to, and volunteering in, orphanages, creates supply.

People in the industry need to think hard about their role in creating the incentives for the unscrupulous to develop orphanages and make orphans. Families are often tricked into allowing their children go to what they are told is a good boarding school –when they try to visit what is in fact an orphanage they are turned away – parents are denied access to their children. Read the rest of the blog here.

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