Voluntourism: Are you really helping?

http://www.travelmole.com/news_feature.php?news_id=2010188&c=setreg&region=2

I recently came across this article and found it incredibly interesting and something worth addressing. Whilst I completely believe in equality, education and helping those less fortunate, it was interesting to read that in some cases, can have negative impacts on individuals and communities that they are trying to help.

“No one is saying volunteering is a bad thing, but people need to be really well informed … and know which skills they bring to the table”

I think responsibility and the main focus of volunteering shoul be at the core of a project. Not advertising things as a package and all the amazing/once in a life time things you get to experience, when the main purpose of your presence is to improve the lives of others. And that improvement should not be short lived. Strategies need to be implemented to guarantee longevity of projects and overall profit to the local community and people that volunteers work with.

I also never quite understood young adults travelling to some countries in Africa to build houses or schools when they have little or no construction skills. Are you really going to benefit a community who basically has nothing by building a ‘house’ when you have no knowledge or experience in doing so?

120402-Voluntourism-Cambodia-400x269 (1)
Poverty tourism

The article below suggests that before embarking on a volunteering experience overseas, one should first look at themselves and see what skills they really bring to the table. By volunteering in your local community first, you can gain experience and knowledge of what you’re good at doing and improve your skills before taking them overseas.

I have volunteered in my local community in many different ways and would love to do the same one day overseas. I believe my skills and strengths lie in talking, listening, understanding and taking the time to get to know people and would therefore love to teach english overseas. However, I would only do it with a program whose intentions are true to their practises and genuinely want to make a positive difference in the world.

http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/gap-year-the-pros-and-cons-of-voluntourism-20141220-1282f6.html

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4 thoughts on “Voluntourism: Are you really helping?

  1. Hi Miss Adelaide, my name is Reinier Vriend, one of the founders of the Volunteer Correct foundation. It is really good to see that you are concerned about a topic that so many people take for granted. I would like to invite you to have a look at the video’s that we made earlier this year in Cape Town, South Africa, warning about the pitfalls of volunteering. Please contact us if you have any questions. http://volunteercorrect.org/en/category/videos/

    1. Thank you so much. It is an issue that I am concerned about, to ensure that everyone involved is getting the most out of the whole experience.
      I’ll be sure to check your videos out.
      Thank you 🙂

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