Volunteering in orphanages is bad for children!
In the past decade the number of orphan children has declined worldwide, whereas the number of orphanages in many developing countries has risen in response to the demand from tourists wishing to volunteer. Orphanages have become a tourist attraction and a ‘bucket list’ volunteering opportunity.
Unfortunately the resulting rise in the number of tourists volunteering in orphanages is actually fuelling the number of “orphans”, and causing unnecessary separation of children from their families. Whilst we appreciate that aspiring volunteers offer their services for the best of motives, our view is that looking after vulnerable children should be undertaken by local, full-time, professional staff and not by short-term volunteers, no matter how skilled or qualified.
Tour Operators must stop sending unqualified volunteers to orphanages
Google finds 505,000 results for ‘volunteer orphanage abroad’ – most are marketed by holiday companies and tour operators. In the UK there are at least 30 tour operators sending volunteers to orphanages and we have written to them all urgently demanding that they stop sending tourists and unqualified volunteers to orphanages.