Momentum is building in Australia to end orphanage volunteering overseas as the voices of advocates presenting the research on institutionalization become more prevalent in the media and big businesses from the tourism industry begin to follow suit.
Orphanage volunteers often travel abroad with good intentions, but their "help" is contributing to the growing business of orphanage voluntourism, which profits by offering opportunities to meet the demand of Westerners hoping to help children abroad. In turn, children are being separated from their families, receiving improper care, and even exploited in the process.
In this radio interview, Kate van Doore explains why institutional care is harmful to children and how orphanage volunteering perpetuates and contributes to the harm children experience in institutions.
In this radio interview, Leigh Mathews of ReThink Orphanages discusses why orphanage volunteering is harmful to the development of children and provides tips for those seeking international volunteering opportunities.
Overseas volunteering in orphanages has become a trend for tourists from Australia and other Western countries; this trend has fueled the recruitment and trafficking of poor children to fill orphanages as a means to profit off the donations of tourists.
A letter to Australia's Attorney General and Justice Minister is being drafted by the foreign affairs and aid subcommittee to recommend an immediate ban on Australia's involvement in orphanage tourism.