overseas volunteering - to do or not to do?

  • 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?

  • 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 🙂

  • Tech Admin

    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.

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