Over recent years the darker side to voluntourism has started to come to light. Beloved writer, J.K. Rowling, among many others has tried to take down the facade of this industry. In particular making people aware of the truth behind many orphanages abroad. Which is that they are businesses first and provoke, and then use, the break-up of families as a means of gaining financially from volunteers and donations.
Voluntourism is becoming blacklisted more and more as revelations of ‘charity’ organisations being far from good-willed surface time and time again. Unfortunately the voices of criticism tend to target the volunteers specifically for being fooled by this industry and tear away at their morality, whilst ignoring the true source of these horrendous activities.
Some international orphanages have caught onto the high-profit outcome that can be milked from the volunteering industry. Many even go to the extent of enforcing the division of kids from their families with a small cash incentive just to create a surplus of vulnerable children. Yet these children are not actually orphaned as it is estimated that out of the two million plus living in institutional care, four out of five have at least one living parents.
Many academics have found in their research that the children are negatively impacted by volunteers interference in orphanages abroad. This interaction can have a detrimental psychological and emotional impact on the child. More often than not, the volunteers although wanting to help are unqualified, untrained and lack any relevant background or experience. The welfare of the children is disregarded as they are used in a seedy transaction for volunteer donations.
But what does this mean for those just wanting to help? Let’s not forget that this whole issue, although tragic, has originated from a good place and good intentions. Unfortunately, others have seen it as a means for profit and this willingness to help has become eclipsed by these inhumane and vile groups. “Voluntourism” is not black or white, there is more to it and the whole concept should not be demeaned entirely. There are many organisations abroad created with a non-profit drive and an incentive to help others and those who are interested in being a part of this should do so.
Before going abroad to volunteer it is essential you fully research and be sure that the company you are giving your time and money to is funding a good cause and not aiding an immoral one; which leaves those in need even more victimised. Well having an adventure is incredible, it should never come at the expense of someone else.
Safe and happy travelling, for yourself and others!
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