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    Why do you have to pay an extortionate amount of money to join volunteer projects abroad?
    Perhaps I'm being ignorant, but I've seen some legitimate 'volunteer abroad' sites asking for as much as £1000 for 2 weeks in South Africa to teach orphans English. I understand you have to pay a premium when using an organisation to organise your trip for you as they need to make a profit somehow. But, in some cases these prices don't even include flights. It's not like you'd be staying in a 5* all inclusive hotel. I just don't understand how these companies can charge such high prices for those people (like me) who want to and are willing to spare their time to help others.
    Am I missing something?


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    People do it to feel good about themselves and they will pay for the priviledge. The companies know this so more money for them and the charity.

    Volunteering is free if you stay at home and do it.
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    you are not really helping others - what do you think an untrained teacher can usefully teach in two weeks? - you are, at best, putting some money into the local community. at worst you aren't really helping and some western for profit organisation is benefitting.

    if you really want to help people then there are plenty of places to do that in the uk. they just don't sound as 'glamourous' when you are boring people about your gap yah.
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    As stated above, pretty much.

    South Africa is a country which has English as an official language. Millions of South Africans speak English. Thousands are qualified English teachers. Moreover, a language can't be taught in two weeks. Teaching English in South Africa for two weeks isn't really volunteering- you're not contributing anything useful, in fact arguably you're taking away a job from a qualified local. You will benefit much more from the experience than the people you're supposedly helping- there is a reason why so many of these voluntourism placements are in locations which are conventionally 'attractive' holiday destinations.

    If you really want to help and make a positive impact then I'd say, as a general rule:

    -Do a short term project in the UK. One which isn't taking away someone's livelihood, and has a clear goal and outcome (i.e. building a footpath, building a community garden, helping kids paint a mural).

    -Do long term volunteering in the UK- plenty of opportunities to help at local homeless shelters, charity shops, Samaritans, mentoring schemes etc.

    -Do a long term project abroad- i.e. if teaching, minimum 6 months but only if qualified to do so and having skills to offer which might be in short supply in the local community.

    -If volunteering abroad, make sure your labour isn't taking away an income from a local who could use it much more than you. I.e. there isn't really a need to import unskilled manual labour from the UK- there are plenty of locals who could do the work (and probably faster and better) but while earning a wage.

    In reality, there are very few worthwhile volunteering projects abroad which are not either long-term or require specialist skills- e.g. in engineering, medicine, agriculture, law. That's not to say they don't exist at all. There is also nothing wrong with voluntourism, but accept it for what it is- a holiday with a feel-good factor. And that said, be aware of the negative impact you might be having- in Cambodia for example 'orphanage tourism' is such a big thing now that many children in the orphanages aren't actually orphans at all. Plenty of other horror stories out there.
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    (Original post by standreams)
    As stated above, pretty much.

    South Africa is a country which has English as an official language. Millions of South Africans speak English. Thousands are qualified English teachers. Moreover, a language can't be taught in two weeks. Teaching English in South Africa for two weeks isn't really volunteering- you're not contributing anything useful, in fact arguably you're taking away a job from a qualified local. You will benefit much more from the experience than the people you're supposedly helping- there is a reason why so many of these voluntourism placements are in locations which are conventionally 'attractive' holiday destinations.

    If you really want to help and make a positive impact then I'd say, as a general rule:

    -Do a short term project in the UK. One which isn't taking away someone's livelihood, and has a clear goal and outcome (i.e. building a footpath, building a community garden, helping kids paint a mural).

    -Do long term volunteering in the UK- plenty of opportunities to help at local homeless shelters, charity shops, Samaritans, mentoring schemes etc.

    -Do a long term project abroad- i.e. if teaching, minimum 6 months but only if qualified to do so and having skills to offer which might be in short supply in the local community.

    -If volunteering abroad, make sure your labour isn't taking away an income from a local who could use it much more than you. I.e. there isn't really a need to import unskilled manual labour from the UK- there are plenty of locals who could do the work (and probably faster and better) but while earning a wage.

    In reality, there are very few worthwhile volunteering projects abroad which are not either long-term or require specialist skills- e.g. in engineering, medicine, agriculture, law. That's not to say they don't exist at all. There is also nothing wrong with voluntourism, but accept it for what it is- a holiday with a feel-good factor. And that said, be aware of the negative impact you might be having- in Cambodia for example 'orphanage tourism' is such a big thing now that many children in the orphanages aren't actually orphans at all. Plenty of other horror stories out there.
    Not to mention the emotional harm for the kids especially in the orphanages getting attached to people who then leave. There are plenty of charities in the UK who need volunteers, they won't charge and they usually pay travel expenses.
 
 
 
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