Take Action: Volunteers
Volunteering to help alleviate poverty has a two-fold benefit, the recipients benefit and the volunteer is brought closer to the real issues faced by those in need. The benefit of volunteering is often questioned in the context of depriving someone in the local community of employment, but if care is taken over the choice of project and the kind of help provided, volunteering can make a real difference for good.
Some of the best childcare initiatives are as a result of a volunteer helping in an orphanage and being so horrified by the experience that they become determined to find families for vulnerable children and to do everything possible to ensure children do not get placed into that system.
Many orphanages seem in desperate need of support, but the reality is that all our efforts should be directed to ensuring that the orphanage is not needed, by supporting families.
All travel organisers, especially those who are commercial, have a particular responsibility for promoting only ethical and rights-based projects. Promoting volunteering in orphanages is very controversial as so many governments are moving their childcare systems away from institutional care.
Calling on who plan to volunteer
We call on all potential volunteers to make sure they are aware of the complexities of development and poverty alleviation initiatives. We also ask volunteers to question their travel organiser as to its policies with regards ethical intervention and compliance with rights-based directives.
Calling on all organisers of volunteer trips
We call on all travel organisers involved in promoting volunteer travel to ensure that they select their programmes bearing in mind child rights as laid out in the Convention.
Please support the REPLACE Campaign. Our objective is to get all children who are in orphanages placed into loving families and to prevent those who are at risk, from going into orphanages.