Voluntourism – Helpful Aid Or Just A Warm Fuzzie?

So true. This blog asks many great and uncomfortable questions.
For us our project http://www.studioeverywhere.org is about so many things. To a large degree it is about forcing us out of our safe little comfort zones and helping us to in gage with the larger world populace, children specifically. The warm fuzzies are a huge bonus! Whether or not we actually change any lives besides our own we may never know, but I think just interacting with and showing love, in our case through art, is worth the effort every time. – Michael Orwick

Master of Something I'm Yet To Discover

(Source: Google images)

There has been something of an explosion in the travel industry of a new form of travel dubbed “voluntourism”. Part community service, part holiday, participants agree to help out as volunteers as part of their holiday package. The range of opportunities on offer and the number of companies getting in on the action has expanded dramatically over the last ten years.

But is it a good thing?

Most of us would react positively to the idea of helping our fellow members of the human race in some capacity and if we can combine it with a holiday, all the better. And the community we work in benefits from our efforts. It’s a win-win, right?

Except that not all volunteering is created equal. Some offerings are more about providing that “warm fuzzie” moment for the traveller than of providing any lasting benefit to the recipient. Spending a week playing…

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