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All posts tagged Orphanage Tourism

Last week was the International Volunteer Day which takes place every year on December 5th.

International Volunteer Day : orphanage tourism

“Children are not tourist attractions”

The growing popularity of international volunteering has led to the trend of orphanage tourism: people take time to volunteer at or visit an orphanage while visiting a foreign country. In Cambodia, a visit to an orphanage would include a short performance or dance routine by the children, accompanied with a request for a small donation to assist with orphanage running costs. Another version is for a tourist to volunteer for a few days at the orphanage. An entire industry has grown out of thousands of tourist visits.

A recent report into Cambodian orphanages has revealed that tourist visits, despite tourists’ best intentions, cause more harm than good. Orphanage tourism, often conducted by shady business operators, does more to harm, rather than help child protection, rights and education standards. In Cambodia, as in much of the developing world, orphanages opened for tourists are a problem, not a solution.

What can you do about it?


The help and harm of the $173 billion “voluntourism” industry

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23 July 2015 – Well-intentioned volunteers travel around the world with the purpose of “giving back” to underdeveloped regions. For some, underlying motives of greed and narcissism by both organizations and individuals get in the way of charitable actions. Maya Wesby. Read more.


Why You Should Think Twice before Volunteering at an Orphanage Abroad

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3 August 2015 – It might seem like a good idea to visit an orphanage: there are so many children at those facilities around the world. You have probably heard testimonials from people who have described it as one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of their lives, or something that reminded them about what’s really important in life—family. But visiting an orphanage when you’re abroad is not a good idea. Danielle Walsh Read more.

Photograph: AAP

Children at an orphanage outside the capital, Phnom Penh. Photograph: AAP

Volunteers and visitors urged to stay away, saying their growing presence damages children and allows exploitation.

Child protection and NGO workers are pleading with tourists and volunteers to stay away from orphanages in Cambodia, claiming so-called “orphanage tourism” damages the children and enables exploitation. Read more.


Orphanage Trafficking and Orphanage Voluntourism

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NYU Stern School of Business Dean Connor Grennan’s NGO, Next Generation Nepal (NGN), has put together a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document for orphanage tourism.

NGN receives many enquiries from concerned members of the public and organizations about the phenomenon of orphanage voluntourism and its connection to orphanage trafficking. Can volunteering in an orphanage really cause child trafficking? What ethical volunteering options are available as an alternative? What is being done to stop child trafficking into orphanages? To help answer these questions – and to provide an overview of an understandably confusing topic – NGN has prepared this briefing paper in which we answer the most frequently asked questions we receive about orphanage trafficking and orphanage voluntourism. Read more.


 Earlier this month, at World Travel Mart Responsible Tourism Day, many of the world’s leading travel operators got together to discuss sustainability and impact issues fueled by the travel sector. There were an array of discussions including sessions covering child protection, wildlife tourism, local business development and a heated discussion around volunteer travel. By Daniela Papi. Read more.