Viewpoint: Is volunteer tourism a bad thing?
Volunteering abroad to build schools or dig wells might make people feel good about themselves - but it can be detrimental to those who are supposed to be helped, writes tour company founder Daniela Papi. I've volunteered all over the world - building homes in Papua New Guinea, doing post-tsunami work in Sri Lanka, helping paint a school in Thailand - and I used to think it was the best way to travel. In 2005 I even organised my own volunteer trip - a bike ride across Cambodia with five friends. We were going to raise funds to build a school, and teach students we met along the way about the environment and health. There turned out to be more than one small problem. We didn't really know that much about the environment or health - or Cambodia for that matter. Much of the money we had raised for other small projects had been wasted, or landed in corrupt hands. I decided to stay in Cambodia a bit longer to see how we could better use our time and money.
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