Volunteer tourism, or ‘voluntourism’, is an emerging trend of travel that’s linked to ‘doing good’. While most volunteer tourism opportunities are paved with good intentions, it’s important to consider all impacts it has on children and their communities - including potential harmful effects.
Truth of Voluntourism
With an estimated 1.6 million people volunteering overseas every year, voluntourism is becoming more and more popular. Despite the growing popularity, many people are unaware of the damaging affects voluntourism can have on local economies and how voluntourism organisations can exploit children without your knowledge.
It’s important to note that if you undertake voluntourism work, it could be doing more harm than good. Potential harmful effects include:
- Untrained volunteers not being equipped to deal with vulnerable children and families
- Unregistered organisations profiting from voluntourism
- Skilled local workers miss out on employment
Learn more on the truth about voluntourism before signing up.
Essential Voluntourism Tips and Advice
Over the past few years, the ReThink Orphanages network (of which Save the Children is a member) has highlighted the harmful effects volunteer tourism can have. Some volunteer tourism destinations are big business for travel companies and unregistered organisations. If you want to volunteer as a tourist, it’s important that you’re not taking the place of skilled locals who could be employed.
Learn how to volunteer responsibly and read our top tips, including doing your research, asking if there’s a participation fee, and if the community will benefit from your work.
Benefits of Volunteering with Save the Children
As an alternative voluntourism, we support people volunteering locally and around Australia. When you volunteer with Save the Children in Australia, you can help us achieve three major breakthroughs for local children:
- That no child dies from preventable causes before their 5th birthday
- Every child gets has access to and learns from a basic quality education
- That all children are safe with no violence against children tolerated
By volunteering with Save the Children you will be supporting our programs, events and op shops throughout Australia. For over 100 years we’ve been doing whatever it takes for children in need. We offer one-time opportunities and ongoing volunteer work opportunities that help change the lives of children everywhere.