overseas volunteering - to do or not to do?
Lin Yanqin last edited by
I would like to spend three months in a developing country volunteering. What precautions should I take to avoid contributing to unethical practices such as the orphanage tourism industry in Cambodia?
lynnchan last edited by
It's great that you're thinking about the unethical side of overseas volunteering, Yanqin!
I think firstly, we need to ask ourselves what skills do we have to contribute during the volunteer trip, that is in-demand in the host village/country and when carried out, will positively impact the community we are trying to help. Why should we spend $7-800 to fly down to build a well, when the locals can do it 10x faster? Instead of teaching the students English, why not plan some sort of curriculum for the teachers, or maybe even partner with a local university to come up with a long-lasting education plan? Keywords here are continuity, longevity & efficient allocation of resources (so that both sides benefit!)
Hope this helped
it sounds like you've got some awareness of such practices, the next thing i'd suggest is to do a lot of reading up about the organisation that you would like to volunteer with. Ask them questions about their impact and their operations to get a sense about how genuine they are in supporting the cause. And then ask the locals when you are there. nothing beats local insights.