This post is part of the Better Volunteering Better Care Initiative’s month-long spread of articles aimed at raising awareness around the issues of orphanage volunteering, under the hashtag #StopOrphanTrips. The campaign ends on June 1st, International Children’s Day, with a call to volunteer travel organisations to remove orphanage trips from their product offerings. Authors of these blog posts and articles urge people to sign the petition to put an end to orphanage volunteering. You can sign the petition here.
This post, by Becky Smith of Save the Children UK, highlights the potential harms of orphanage volunteering and the research that points to many of the terrible impacts of institutionalization on children. The author explains that, around the world, many orphanages are being run, not by government, but by church groups and individuals who start as volunteers. “The institutions are poorly regulated and they’re doing a job that could be done by the children’s families, with the right support,” says Smith.