Want to learn more?
Please visit these websites for more information on ethical volunteering and the dangers of voluntourism.
Better Volunteering, Better Care is an interagency initiative, co-facilitated by Better Care Network and Save the Children UK, aimed at discouraging international volunteering in residential care centres and promoting ethical volunteering alternatives supporting children and families.
Volunteer Correct is a licensed non-profit organisation and was formed out of a common interest in global themes that leave their mark on things close to home. Their website offers a great range of resources on voluntourism.
globalsl.org amasses evidence-based tools and peer-reviewed research to advance best practices in global learning, community-university partnership, & sustainable development. It is edited and and overseen by researchers and practicioners who work with multiple methods and represent diverse fields, all concerned with the question of how to responsibly and ethically grow partnerships between educational institutions and communities.
This campaign was started in April 2015, their founders say: ‘All around us, we see our peers flocking to developing countries to ‘help the needy’ and change the world. Now, volunteering abroad can be awesome, but it also has a very dark side that most volunteers don’t think about. We want to raise awareness and educate people about how to volunteer responsibly, so they can create a beneficial experience for both themselves and their host communities. We believe in a shift from voluntourism to Fair Trade Learning and our goal is simple: to ensure that volunteers are more self-aware and critical when going abroad.’
ThoughtBox is an online learning resource for schools, encouraging critical thinking, empathy and unlearning. Their online (curriculum promotes British Values and is supportive of SMSC education; adaptable for use within PSHE, I.B., Critical Thinking, tutor periods and a wide range of other classes. Their topic for the month of December is ‘voluntourism’ and they have added The Voluntourist as one of the resources.
Orphanages.no is a group of people who live and work in Cambodia, and who are increasingly concerned by the boom in Cambodian orphanages, most of which should not exist. They have seen the number of orphanages increase as a direct result of the boom in tourism. They recognise that most travellers, donors, and volunteers are unaware that they are fuelling this problem or that they may be doing more harm than good. They care passionately about child rights, and are angered by the increasing abuse of those rights in Cambodia, not least through the establishment and practices of orphanages.
Rethink Orphanages Network: better solutions for children is a cross-sector network that aims to prevent the unnecessary institutionalisation of children by shifting the way Australia engages with overseas aid and development.
Responsible Volunteering is an independent, privately owned website not affiliated with any provider of volunteer programs. The objectives of responsible-volunteering.com are: to provide a platform that helps potential volunteers to make good choices, to gather a range of information that helps operators and volunteers, to connect people interested in the field of voluntourism, to bring more transparency to the world of international volunteering and to promote and information in order to enhance a common understanding of the idea and impact of voluntourism.
International volunteering has grown in popularity, and with so many people going abroad to “serve”, Learning Service worries that we are often forgetting a really important step: we have to learn before we can help. If we don’t research our options thoroughly, understand the context and culture of the communities we visit, and ensure that our skills and experience match the needs, volunteering can be wasteful, and at worst, cause a lot of harm.
Learning Service promotes a movement of learning, designed to better prepare young people about to travel abroad for the first time, and travellers of all ages looking to give back through their time, with the skills and mindsets they need to be of “service”, not just for a few weeks on a volunteer trip, but for the rest of their lives.