“ It’s a time for change –
absolutely it’s a time for change –
we have to start questioning how and what we are
selling as volunteer experiences..........
This is not about selling a beach package –
it creates a shared humanity
or it destroys the more vulnerable.
The understanding of the needs for strong local
partners with good community and ethics is something
that seems to be missed by a lot of the sending
Paul Miedema – Calabash Tours, South Africa – speaker at WTM 2012
Have we seen
in the last 12 months?
Do you have child protection policies in place?*
90 volunteer organisations asked
26 responded - 29%
15 declared they have them - 17%
5 make them publicly available or sent proof - 6%
*Question asked of organisations offering opportunities to volunteer in orphanages
and childcare centres on twitter – by @bettrvolunteer
volunteers are starting to report bad experiences
“I went to Uganda. The orphanage where I was volunteering was ultimately closed while I was there.
The shit hit the fan. I was unsafe. The children were unsafe ...
I travelled to Uganda in June and was shocked by our placement.
Not vetted, not legal, corrupt and a pitiful state in which to keep children.” letter to a provider –
if provider doesn't take action it will be made public
“The most vivid memory of my first staff meeting as a volunteer coordinator is the knot in my throat.
The problem being discussed that day was the lack of projects/placements to place everyone
that had been accepted to come. The main office had decided to accept all the requests
and was demanding that we find projects.” a volunteer turned volunteer coordinator –
published on a blog
“Orphanages are not places to visit or volunteer, nor do they help children.
Evidently the message was not clear enough to you when CUCO orphanage in Cambodia was closed
Now, the director of AOEO orphanage, where you also send young volunteers fresh out of high
school, has been charged with the sexual assault of young girls. When will you learn?” on facebook
a series of posts on facebook by a volunteer
publicly calling the sending agency to account
leading organisations are still “getting away with it”
“I had called the office ... while in country to ask for help, regarding the orphanage, and **(local
partner) but was not returned.
I received an e-mail from YY but it did not offer any help and merely pointed me back to **.
Our lives were in danger and this did not matter to the organization.
The greatest complaint I have is with the placement I was given.
It is policy that the organization carefully examines and assesses the project site for a minimum
time frame of six months to one year before volunteers are placed.
This was not the case for us. ** had discovered XXXXX Orphanage the Friday before I arrived ...
and placed us there the following Monday.
The orphanage, located in the slums, was a sham.
We learned that the orphanage was in fact illegal. I have never been so stressed and upset
regarding my time overseas. There is no way I can ever escape the torment of my six weeks
in ?? because I know these innocent children are still at risk.
I know that the man and organization who says they are trying to help them are only furthering
written very recently to a leading organisation that claims to
send “well over 4000 volunteers a year”
young volunteers can find good advice
young unskilled people are still being led to believe they can change the world
HIGH SCHOOL VOLUNTEER ABROAD
CCS teen summer service trips are for high school
students ages 15-17.
“Join the adventure of a lifetime for
a chance to effect some real social change”
there is lots and lots of advice on what is responsible volunteering
Responsible Volunteering facebook page
Better Volunteering facebook page
lots of help
to know WHAT to look for
but still little help
on HOW to find it
that’s about to change!
honest and fair information about
responsible and ethical
volunteer travel opportunities
we can still do this
let’s mend it - not end it!