Be a volunteer or a tourist, but never a voluntourist.
Voluntourism reached an industry value of $173 Billion in 2017. Voluntour organizations that package volunteer opportunities with tourist and leisure attractions that cater to students, religious groups and well-meaning individuals.
On its surface, a trip that pairs leisure and service together into a convenient timeframe may not sound bad. However, this project explores the ill effects of turning a service trip into a vacation.
From trips offering medical experience overseas to unlicensed students to damaging children's relationship development abilities in orphanages and much more, these voluntour experiences remove potential benefit to and even cause harm to the communities they claim to help.
Voluntourism is the commodification of at-risk communities and social issues that require empathetic, comprehensive and professional help to steer them toward solutions and self-sustainability.
Journey through this project to see the difference between what it means to be a volunteer and a voluntourist, and use these tools to make a choice:
What do you consider yourself?
A volunteer is community-centric. Volunteers use their unique skills to improve the environment, community, or social issues and expect no payment in return.
A voluntourist takes a trip and attempts to help the communities in the area.
Voluntourists can pay large program fees to both serve and explore a place of interest to them.
A tourist seeks fun and adventure. They chose their location and activities. There is often an element of relaxation and rejuvenation.