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Neesha Bremner: The harm in trying to help - Travel. Good intentions are being abused in voluntourism, says Neesha Bremner.

Neesha Bremner: The harm in trying to help - Travel

Arriving in Nepal one can be overcome by the heady mix of poverty, friendly generous people and the sheer damn overwhelming beauty of the place. 20 MIllion US Voluntourists. Henry Harteveldt is a name you don’t forget.

20 MIllion US Voluntourists

I remember the first time I read his name associated with a report on voluntourism from Forrester Research back in 2007. Entitled “Go Away And Do Good: Voluntourism the Noble Niche,” Harteveldt found that approximately 3.5 million Americans, or roughly 3% of the U.S. leisure travel market were, to use the words in the report, “voluntourists.” Fast forward to 2014, and a recent article from NBC – “Travelers Inspired to Do Good While Seeing the World” – and Harteveldt’s latest research suggests that the percentage has almost tripled!

Six years, triple the percentage of voluntourists. Here is what Tracy Mohn inked in her article for An online survey of 5,000 U.S. leisure travelers conducted in the first quarter of 2014 by Harteveldt’s firm, not yet released, indicated that nearly 9 percent said they engaged in some volunteer community service work while on a trip within the past 12 months. Voluntourism– Who Is It For? So imagine a group of perky, and optimistic kids fresh out of high school from say, South Korea decide to go volunteer in an impoverished elementary school in inner-city Chicago for a few weeks.

Voluntourism– Who Is It For?

The idea sounds relatively absurd– but that’s the gist of it. Voluntourism in impoverished communities is increasingly popular. A lot of great articles have been buzzing around the internet on this idea of ‘voluntourism’– what does it even mean, anyways? And who is actually benefitting from it? For four months in 2013, I went to live in a village in rural Ghana and volunteer at an elementary school. Poverty as a Tourist Attraction. Rafia Zakaria is a columnist for Dawn, a Pakistan English-language newspaper, and the author of the forthcoming "The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan.

Poverty as a Tourist Attraction

" She is on Twitter. Vacations are intended as a contrast to our daily lives, when the routine-bound rituals of the everyday can be shed for something different. The practice of “voluntourism,” where Westerners travel to developing countries to undertake projects like visiting orphanages and building schools, offers another kind of extrication from the humdrum. But unlike the short-term hedonism of a cruise or a beach getaway, voluntourism capitalizes on another Western yearning — the search for meaning.

Who really benefits from “voluntourism”? As the summer draws nearer, students are beginning to solidify summer plans.

Who really benefits from “voluntourism”?

Some will work, some are gearing up for summer courses and some are making a firm commitment to daytime television and poolside lounging. Some students choose to spend their time a little differently by volunteering overseas, working to build schools or playing with children at orphanages in underdeveloped countries. This “voluntourism” seems to be a noble way to spend a summer changing the world, but is it actually benefitting the people in the developing communities?

Voluntourism – What’s Not To Hate? Image from “” Confounding neologism that it is, and utterly repulsive to the non-self-indulgent of our planet, it is difficult to find anything of merit when it comes to intersecting voluntary service and travel.

Voluntourism – What’s Not To Hate?

At every turn, there is ample ammunition to maintain the functionality of even the most inaccurate of firing squads. Sometimes, it appears that the greatest service voluntourism has to offer the world is as a punching bag for our collective self-loathing. The Reality of Voluntourism: Change Takes More Than Good Intentions. A much-needed debate about voluntourism is taking off on the web.

The Reality of Voluntourism: Change Takes More Than Good Intentions

It includes voices from the industry, academics, travel professionals, and volunteers themselves. From “The White Tourist’s Burden” to “Lions, Zebras, and African Children,” at the heart of these stories is the notion of inexperienced volunteers who use their privilege to go abroad for their own egos, and who are doing more harm than good on the ground. Some NGOs in Nepal do more harm than good say experts. Trafficked children, mostly under the age of 14, queue for medical examination after being rescued from a sari embroidery factory near Kathmandu on July 4, 2012.

Some NGOs in Nepal do more harm than good say experts

REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar TORONTO (Thomson Reuters Foundation)–When anti-trafficking group Next Generation Nepal received a tip that children were being abused in an orphanage on the outskirts of Kathmandu, its staff went undercover to investigate. They discovered 18 children living in a small room. Who really benefits from “voluntourism”? Why NOT to Stop Being a "Voluntourist" A friend of mine pos­ted an in­ter­est­ing art­icle on Face­book.

Why NOT to Stop Being a "Voluntourist"

It’s called “The Prob­lem with Little White Girls (and Boys).” Cer­tainly a pro­voc­at­ive title which got me read­ing…and that is what a good title should do, after all. But I con­tin­ued to read be­cause the au­thor, Pippa Biddle, was writ­ing about the pros and – mostly – cons of vo­lun­teer­ing in de­vel­op­ing parts of the world. Critiquing the Criticisms of Voluntourism. Jane Bhan Recently there has been much criticism regarding the nature of “voluntourism”.

Critiquing the Criticisms of Voluntourism

Some have stated it is the “new form of colonialism” (UK Think Tank Demos, 2014), nothing more than “the global north assuaging the guilt of their privileged [background]” (Deo, 2013), drilling the “white mans’ burden” and is where little white boys and girls go off to third world countries do to do “more harm than good” to communities (Biddle, 2014). The Reality of Voluntourism: Change Takes More Than Good Intentions. A much-needed debate about voluntourism is taking off on the web. It includes voices from the industry, academics, travel professionals, and volunteers themselves. From “The White Tourist’s Burden” to “Lions, Zebras, and African Children,” at the heart of these stories is the notion of inexperienced volunteers who use their privilege to go abroad for their own egos, and who are doing more harm than good on the ground. The critiques are valid: I’ve seen many of the examples cited in the debate too many times in the field.

From crumbling libraries to brothel rescues gone wrong, good intentions can create a lot of problems for communities. In fact, I can list many times where things went wrong and far fewer times when things actually worked out the way we initially planned. It’s Not Just a Western Problem At an English camp in Thailand run by international schools, students from the city travel to small villages to teach rural people English language skills. Can I vent about this "voluntourism" crap for a moment? [x-posted from r/twoxchromosomes] : travel. IVHQ/NVS and META META ORPHANAGE Kenya - Truth be told!

How to Volunteer Abroad Ethically (and Avoid Scams) Posted April 23, 2014 by Sarah Vandenberg 0 Comments 1: “The Problem with Little White Girls, Boys and Voluntourism” This spring, an article by Pippa Biddle took the Internet by storm, highlighting common yet largely ignored issues in volunteer travel. In The Problem With Little White Girls, Boys and Voluntourism, Pippa discusses two volunteer trips she took in high school, and how at best, her efforts made no impact on the host communities in the Dominican Republic and Tanzania. How to Volunteer Abroad Ethically (and Avoid Scams) Is "Voluntourism" Itself Being Exploited?  Voluntourism is under fire. I know, because I have been a part of pointing out the unintended negative consequences of our good intentions for some time.

Recently, blogs about "the problem of little white girls and boys" and other rants about voluntourism are starting to get more and more popular. But maybe it's time to look further into this criticism. In a piece on his new Voluntourism Institute blog, David Clemmons recently released an article exploring the exploitation of voluntourism itself. It resonated with me, as over the last few months I have read a number of "anti-voluntourism" pieces that people have sent me thinking I'd love them, but instead they made me really worried that these arguments are moving off point. Lions, Zebras, and African Children: Voluntourism in the Age of Social Media. I never meant to make anybody cry.

I wanted the students at the small Quaker high school in Brooklyn to question themselves and the institutions that they are a part of, but I didn’t want to make them cry. Soon after walking off stage, a teacher pulled me aside to let me know that one of his students had left in tears. I gave him my email and offered to talk to her, knowing that I was probably the last person she wanted to see. Over the next 24 hours, I pieced together that she’d worked in Africa; she’d done trips and created service projects, she’d been on the cover of magazines and received awards. She’d just gotten into a top tier college that rejected me, and there she was having an existential crisis at 17 in the middle of a crowded auditorium. She hadn’t been warned that I was coming, and I was not told that she was there. The white tourist’s burden. My friend Jack likes to tell his favorite story about a summer he spent volunteering in Colombia.

He recounts that story anytime he’s handed the opportunity, at parties, lunch meetings and airports. He highlights varying facets of the story on different occasions — the snake he found in his tent, his camaraderie with the locals and his skills at haggling. The message to his audience is clear: I chose hardship and survived it. If designer clothes and fancy cars signal material status, his story of a deliberate embrace of poverty and its discomforts signals superiority of character. As summer looms, many Americans — college students, retirees and others who stand at the cusp of life changes — will make similar choices in search of transformational experiences.

Voluntourism - Who Is Responsible? Last week a Blog Post on volunteering appeared in my Facebook feed which has had me thinking. The Truth behind Voluntourism. The basic idea behind voluntourism is to go abroad and volunteer in an underdeveloped community. February – March 2014 Update: Community dynamics and volunteering. On a recent trip to Mombasa I was lucky enough to meet and work with members of the Volunteers In Action (VIA) Network – an umbrella group for volunteers on the coast.

The Color of Volunteers' Skin Isn't the Problem: It's Their Attitude  The problem with little white girls and boys in the international volunteering community has nothing to do with the color of their skin; it's their attitude. There is absolutely a place for young adult volunteers within international development work, it's just not a place most voluntourists actually go.

Where to volunteer in Nepal? Corrupt NGO's & what to do about it. The Pitfalls of Voluntourism - Just A Platform. Travelling abroad? Keep kids safe  The Exploitation of Voluntourism. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) focused its Encounter program this past weekend (22 March 2014) on voluntourism. The Problem with Ignorant and Delusional Little White Girls (and Boys) By Kyle Burgess Odds are, if you have friends who have served in the Peace Corps or have international do-gooder type jobs, you’ve come across a post by Pippa Biddle in your Facebook news feed called The Problem with Little White Girls (and Boys).

The Storyteller Project. Nepal s Orphan Trade. Is 'voluntourism' the new colonialism? - Encounter. Press Coverage of my Study, ‘Volunteer tourism, greenwashing and understanding responsible marketing’ Volunteering to teach English is the new volunteering in an orphanage. 10 Traits of a Responsible Volunteer Program. On the sticky ethics of voluntourism. No More Orphanages and No More Volunteers The truth about orphanage tourism - Child Safe Tourism - spotlight on orphanages « Responsible Tourism Initiative - Beta. RADION International. Orphanages in Cambodia are Not Tourist Attractions Voluntourism in Cambodia can be. Australian Tara Winkler's Cambodian Children's Trust shifts focus from orphanage to education.

Tourism Concern - News from Tourism Concern. Values & Capitalism » The Case of the Vanishing Orphanage » Values. A Daughter, Her Dad, and the Debate Over Pricey Teen Volunteer Trips. Voluntourism Comment of the Week. Tips for Caring for Orphans. What I Learnt in Nepal – Why A Bad Travel Experience Isn’t The End. Nepal's orphans: fighting child trafficking.

Good Intentions Gone Bad: the Problem with “Voluntourism” Why voluntourism might even just do some good. On Voluntourism. Yes, again. — TMS Ruge. Child protection groups appalled by orphanage safari - News - The Copenhagen Post. Volunteering – Hope for Cambodia. The Missing Smiles. Optimizing Assistance Efforts in the Developing World - Josh Richards. New German volunteering directory starts without orphan projects. The Problem With Little White Girls (and Boys) Volunteer holidays: how to find an ethical project. Volunteering overseas: How to choose the right project? Why Pay to Volunteer Abroad? Dodge city. Know Before You Go: Key Tips for Volunteering Abroad, Part 1. Women's News. Feminized. Journey to Child Safe Tourism. VolunTourism: Addressing The Responsibility-Profitability Paradox. Voluntourism: Helping or Hurting? Volunteer tourism, greenwashing and understanding responsible marketing using market signalling theory - Journal of Sustainable Tourism -

Volunteer tourism, greenwashing and understanding responsible marketing using market signalling theory - Journal of Sustainable Tourism - Helen Suk: Lessons Learned at a Kenyan Orphanage - Passion Passport. Hey Voluntourist, Take A Back Seat! Cambodia's Orphanage Tourism Meet Cambodia's Orphanage Tourism Queen (part two of four) - Why preparation is key to a successful volunteer experience. Why preparation is key to a successful volunteer experience. Packaging Poverty. Packaging Poverty. The Economy of Global Service Learning and the Problem of Silence. Listening to Community Voices in International Service. Campaign in Haiti to Close Orphanages. Learning Service Video Contest. Mixing luxury vacations with charity work can harm as much as it helps.

Time for change volunteer projects abroad. Contrary to Popular Belief: We might be doing more harm than good on our short-term missions trips. Why Would Overseas NGOs Want International Volunteers? Children are not tourist attractions. Volunteer Scams in Cambodia. Volunteer and Voluntour Scams in Nepal. Lies, Lies, Lies (Or, Volunteering in Nepal) Why Volunteer Overseas? Top 10 Reasons. Realgap and I-to-I: Why are Gap Years So Expensive? Orphanage volunteer - Google Search. Learning Service Video Contest. The Pity Industry. Responsible Volunteering Blog. Cambodia: child protection workers call for end to ‘orphanage tourism’

Think before you visit an orphange. American Faces Child Sex Charges in Cambodia, US. Creating Your Own Volunteer Placement. International Volunteer Day: Does voluntourism help or harm children? Voluntourism: Doing It Right Is Not As Simple As It Sounds. The Business Radio Station - Voluntourism. People and places suspend Nepal Volunteer Abroad Programme.