Nola Lee Kelsey recently put together a really cool blog article you guys should read – A Survival Kit for the Voluntary Traveler. It has some interesting answers to the common naysayer complaints about voluntourism – most I agree with, some I dont. I still believe firmly that without critics then the field will never improve, those that focus solely on the positive are kidding themselves – there needs to be a good balance.
For example, just got back from Kenya and yet another orphanage manager told me she doesnt want volunteers in her orphanage – she knows it damages the kids but at the same time she needs to feed them so sacrifices for the funds. If we dont point out these issues how can we find a reasonable way to solve them?
Anyway, its worth a read whether you agree with it or not: http://nolakelsey.wordpress.com/v-traveler-blog/
The Negatives… We all have them in our lives: Neighbors, Cousins, Uncles, even Facebook friends, those people who could find heinous fault in a sleeping kitten if others felt good about it. Of course, voluntourism/volunteer travel will always have its detractors. While sometimes it is easier to just allow them to believe as they will, attempting to educate them from time to time is a necessity – or at least jolly good sport. Here are a few quick responses to help arm you against the most common negatives.