Thursday, September 22, 2011

International Volunteering Grows Up

From the latest issue of Verge Magazine:

International Volunteering Grows Up 
As volunteering overseas takes off, growing pains lead to new challenges for the field and for volunteers. by Jessica Lockhart.

"'There have been questions about the actual impact that voluntourists are making,' says Ezaki. 'Is it really for the community--or is it to satisfy the needs of volunteers?'

The concerns raised by the influx of short-term 'poverty tourists' seem endless: Children's rights groups warn travellers that visits to orgphanages are a literal guilt trip; abandoned children form bonds with volunteers, who in turn abandon them by returning home. On online message boards, volunteers complain of 'make busy' work projects. (In one scenario, volunteers were asked to repaint a wall that had been painted by a previous group of volunteers--and the one before that.)" 

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