Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Volunteering ain't always such a great idea

So I'm running around the internet, trying to figure out how to get to Cambodia this year, a fact that is evident if you've been checking out my Twitter today - and I came across this piece, about why "voluntourism" is a potentially really harmful practice in the developing world.

I wanted to put it up here, as a really well thought-out piece that speaks to some of the issues with economically sustainable tourism, which I have written about previously. Also, I wrote a chapter for an upcoming book on voluntourism (more on that as the publication date nears...!), talking about my experience as a college-age volunteer in Tanzania*, and I was certainly lukewarm on the experience. In fact, I am so lukewarm (tepid, nearing chilly) about volunteering abroad most of the time, that I left the entire international development industry.* I just really, truly believe that positive community change comes from within that community.

So check this out, and get in touch if you want to have a spirited debate or mutual head-hanging. I love hearing from you all!

*no photos, sorry - this was a full year before I owned a digital camera, and I can't be buggered to scan photos
**which is what the original career plan had been, before I realized I was really just in love with art and travel

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