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    Volunteerism: The Beginners Guide to International Volunteering

    Price: $25

    Voluntourism is a new way of traveling that is becoming increasingly popular around the world. It is similar to “eco-tourism” in a way because the objective of improving lives is still present. But unlike eco-tourism, voluntourism is aimed at helping other people rather than helping the environment.

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    Volunteering: Why Doing Good is Good For You

    The WHO, WHAT, WHERE of Volunteering

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    Beware of this! Why There’s A Global Outcry Over Volunteering At Orphanages

    There’s a growing global campaign which may seem harsh and heartless. The message: Don’t visit orphanages.

    Last year, the British government updated its travel advice to discourage tourists from visiting or volunteering in orphanages, saying it could have “serious unintended consequences.” In April, the Dutch parliament held a debate on the practice and its connection to human trafficking.

    Read more

    VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS

    ARTICLES AND PAGES

    • Volunteer to Help Ukraine – Help Save and Change Lives
      by sageadmin on September 15, 2022 at 8:48 pm

      This situation is quickly becoming the largest humanitarian crisis in decades. As of 27 March 2022, around 3.9 million refugees had crossed from Ukraine to some seven neighboring countries. Most of those fleeing Ukraine are women and children.

    • Argentina
      by sageadmin on June 20, 2022 at 3:09 pm

      This page contains download links for mission information specific to the country you are traveling to.

    • Himalayan Expedition | March 26-April 10, 2022
      by sageadmin on April 15, 2022 at 4:31 pm

      Our IMR team physician, Dr. Lisa, did a wonderful job of summarizing our 2022 Himalayan Expedition medical mission trip. The … Himalayan Expedition | March 26-April 10, 2022 Read More »

    • Volunteer to Help Ukraine – Help Save and Change Lives
      by sageadmin on March 30, 2022 at 8:58 pm

      This situation is quickly becoming the largest humanitarian crisis in decades. As of 27 March 2022, around 3.9 million refugees had crossed from Ukraine to some seven neighboring countries. Most of those fleeing Ukraine are women and children.

    • Guatemala | March 20-26, 2022
      by sageadmin on March 28, 2022 at 6:37 pm

      Our long-term commitment in Guatemala is so rewarding! With team after team serving so many, we have a great opportunity … Guatemala | March 20-26, 2022 Read More »

    • Tanzania | March 12-20, 2022
      by sageadmin on March 22, 2022 at 6:55 pm

      In Tanzania, 25 volunteers came together from four countries – Zambia, Canada, Tanzania and USA. The team included six doctors, … Tanzania | March 12-20, 2022 Read More »

    • Honduras | March 12-19, 2022
      by sageadmin on March 21, 2022 at 8:08 pm

      During our service in Honduras, a mother came to clinic with her child who had a poor appetite, was losing … Honduras | March 12-19, 2022 Read More »

    • Peru | March 6-12, 2022
      by sageadmin on March 14, 2022 at 9:19 pm

      Our team had the pleasure of serving the gracious people of Pitumarca. It is small, warm town about a three-hour … Peru | March 6-12, 2022 Read More »

    • Join Us in Cusco, Peru
      by sageadmin on January 25, 2022 at 7:17 pm

      PERU IS CALLING YOU! Join IMR on a Medical Mission to Peru: Weeklong, Signature, and Mini Missions are Available to … Join Us in Cusco, Peru Read More »

    • Belize
      by sageadmin on December 17, 2021 at 3:06 pm

      This page contains download links for mission information specific to the country you are traveling to.

    • Volunteer to Help Ukraine – Help Save and Change Lives
      by sageadmin on September 15, 2022 at 8:48 pm

      This situation is quickly becoming the largest humanitarian crisis in decades. As of 27 March 2022, around 3.9 million refugees had crossed from Ukraine to some seven neighboring countries. Most of those fleeing Ukraine are women and children.

    • Argentina
      by sageadmin on June 20, 2022 at 3:09 pm

      This page contains download links for mission information specific to the country you are traveling to.

    • Himalayan Expedition | March 26-April 10, 2022
      by sageadmin on April 15, 2022 at 4:31 pm

      Our IMR team physician, Dr. Lisa, did a wonderful job of summarizing our 2022 Himalayan Expedition medical mission trip. The … Himalayan Expedition | March 26-April 10, 2022 Read More »

    • Volunteer to Help Ukraine – Help Save and Change Lives
      by sageadmin on March 30, 2022 at 8:58 pm

      This situation is quickly becoming the largest humanitarian crisis in decades. As of 27 March 2022, around 3.9 million refugees had crossed from Ukraine to some seven neighboring countries. Most of those fleeing Ukraine are women and children.

    • Guatemala | March 20-26, 2022
      by sageadmin on March 28, 2022 at 6:37 pm

      Our long-term commitment in Guatemala is so rewarding! With team after team serving so many, we have a great opportunity … Guatemala | March 20-26, 2022 Read More »

    • Tanzania | March 12-20, 2022
      by sageadmin on March 22, 2022 at 6:55 pm

      In Tanzania, 25 volunteers came together from four countries – Zambia, Canada, Tanzania and USA. The team included six doctors, … Tanzania | March 12-20, 2022 Read More »

    • Honduras | March 12-19, 2022
      by sageadmin on March 21, 2022 at 8:08 pm

      During our service in Honduras, a mother came to clinic with her child who had a poor appetite, was losing … Honduras | March 12-19, 2022 Read More »

    • Peru | March 6-12, 2022
      by sageadmin on March 14, 2022 at 9:19 pm

      Our team had the pleasure of serving the gracious people of Pitumarca. It is small, warm town about a three-hour … Peru | March 6-12, 2022 Read More »

    • Join Us in Cusco, Peru
      by sageadmin on January 25, 2022 at 7:17 pm

      PERU IS CALLING YOU! Join IMR on a Medical Mission to Peru: Weeklong, Signature, and Mini Missions are Available to … Join Us in Cusco, Peru Read More »

    • Belize
      by sageadmin on December 17, 2021 at 3:06 pm

      This page contains download links for mission information specific to the country you are traveling to.

    One To The Other Ministries World Missions Through Medical Clinics and Drama

    • May is here! Mother’s Day, Graduations! A time for closures and new beginnings!
      by gvalverde@valverdefinancial.com on May 8, 2019 at 5:09 pm

      For our family it is just that! Our youngest, Victoria, is graduating from high school and a chapter will close. Yet, a new one will open this coming August as she will start her college career at Oral Roberts University here in our city of Tulsa. She has been accepted to the College of Nursing [...]

    • March arrived, said hello, and now it’s gone! April, wow!
      by gvalverde@valverdefinancial.com on April 7, 2019 at 4:43 am

      A quarter of 2019 is “in the books” and as we look back as a ministry, I want to ask myself, what have we done with what God has entrusted us to do in these 90 days? Looking back, January and February found us very busy with planning and re-organizing and fine-tuning some already established [...]

    • Greetings from San Juan, Puerto Rico!
      by gvalverde@valverdefinancial.com on February 28, 2019 at 12:22 am

      As I sit here in my uncle’s mountain-top home with a spectacular view of the metro area of this capital city, I am thankful in my heart for LIFE! I look around and I see life! Life in a place that was so devastated just 17 months ago. A place that is not totally recovered [...]

    • 2019 is Here!
      by gvalverde@valverdefinancial.com on January 28, 2019 at 2:36 am

      A time to rejoice and a time to re-CHARGE for what is coming! We have plenty to rejoice, especially after the year we had in 2018 with 9 international trips and breaking ground events in several areas of the ministry. A year of seeing a lot of changes in the people we ministered to and [...]

    • What a year! What an amazing year!
      by gvalverde@valverdefinancial.com on December 30, 2018 at 5:47 am

      Record-Breaking Year in Ministry and New Horizons Established 2018 was a year full of amazing accomplishments, breakthrough encounters and heartbreaking events. As One to the Other Ministries entered its 32ndyear of touching lives and impacting communities around the world, we had no idea this year would be so different from our previous history. This year [...]

    • January Prayer Calendar
      by fame on January 1, 2023 at 1:40 am

      Dear Prayer Partner, It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone. What a blessing it has been ...

    • Two Tales of Unlikely Impact
      by fame on December 31, 2022 at 1:37 am

      In 2022 your impact was deep and wide! –       Short- Term Trips are back and increasing –       Shipping Medical Equipment and ...

    • O Little Town of…..
      by fame on December 23, 2022 at 7:00 am

      Five Hundred residents or less, maybe up to 1,000 lived there; but it was a “little” town.  Not little in importance ...

    • E in FAME = Good News That Will Cause Great Joy!
      by fame on December 16, 2022 at 6:19 pm

      Guravamma was a sweet, but illiterate woman who brought a number of family members to a FAME partner clinic over a ...

    • No Room In The……..
      by fame on December 9, 2022 at 8:59 pm

      Expecting their first child, this mother and father traveled over 30 miles on foot to reach the place they expected to ...

    • December Prayer Calendar
      by fame on December 1, 2022 at 8:48 pm

      As 2022 comes to a close, we reflect upon the lives that have been changed around the world through medical evangelism ...

    • Houses Built in One Week
      by fame on November 18, 2022 at 8:41 pm

      You won’t find the term “refugee” in the Bible.  But the Word of God has plenty to say about people called ...

    • No More Eating Rocks!
      by fame on November 11, 2022 at 10:15 pm

      “I’d read about it in textbooks during nursing school, but never thought I’d witness it!” On a short-term medical mission trip ...

    • Lawrence, Who is 7….
      by fame on November 4, 2022 at 10:23 pm

      Lawrence, an active and spirited 7-year-old, fell and seriously cut his arm. The West African village where his family lives traditionally ...

    • November Prayer Calendar
      by fame on November 1, 2022 at 8:00 am

      Thank you for your continued support of the ministry of FAME through prayer. You continue to be a blessing to people ...

    International Volunteer HQ International Volunteer HQ provides affordable, safe and responsible volunteer abroad programs. Discover why we're the world's most trusted volunteer travel company…

    • Alternative Spring Break 2023
      on January 24, 2023 at 12:00 am

      Deciding what to do for spring break in 2023? Volunteer abroad on these top alternative spring break volunteer trips...

    • How To Get Cheap Flights For Your Volunteer Abroad Trip
      on January 16, 2023 at 12:00 am

      Looking for affordable flights? Here's how to book the cheapest airfares for your holidays or volunteer abroad trip, according to the experts!

    • How To Volunteer Abroad For Cheap
      on January 16, 2023 at 12:00 am

      This How To Volunteer Abroad For Cheap guide will set you up with cheap ways to volunteer abroad + budgeting tips to make your affordable travel dreams a reality.

    • My Life-Changing Volunteer Trip to Tanzania As a Teen
      on January 11, 2023 at 12:00 am

      Traveling to a foreign country as a teen, a solo traveler or a young woman can be a scary thought. Luckily for Callie, she chose to volunteer abroad with IVHQ and had the experience of a lifetime that she still looks back on fondly a few years later!

    • Best Medical Mission Trips 2023 & 2024
      on January 11, 2023 at 12:00 am

      Medical mission trips with International Volunteer HQ provide medical volunteer opportunities abroad for pre-meds, medical students, nurses, dentists and other specialities in Africa, Asia, Central America and South America.

    • Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs for 2023 & 2024
      on January 11, 2023 at 12:00 am

      Explore the Top Rated Summer Volunteer Abroad Projects in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. Reviewed by over 124,000 Volunteers Since 2007.

    • Volunteer Vacations for Seniors
      on January 11, 2023 at 12:00 am

      Volunteering abroad can provide senior citizens with a unique, enriching experience whilst exploring the most amazing places...

    • How To Volunteer Abroad As A Nurse
      on January 10, 2023 at 12:00 am

      International Volunteer HQ offers nursing volunteer opportunities for student nurses and registered nurses, enabling you to improve access to healthcare in under-served communities, while gaining hands-on nursing experience abroad.

    • Inexpensive Volunteer Vacations Abroad in 2023 & 2024
      on January 10, 2023 at 12:00 am

      Want to add purpose to your travel, be immersed in a different culture & help communities abroad? Discover the best (and most affordable) volunteer holidays for 2023 & 2024...

    • Peace Corps Alternatives & Programs Like Americorps
      on January 10, 2023 at 12:00 am

      Looking for an alternative to the Peace Corps? IVHQ's short-term volunteer programs enable you to experience new cultures while supporting grass-roots community development projects around the world.

    The Real Uganda Join our ethical, locally-led volunteer programs in Uganda

    Vida Volunteer Travel with Purpose

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    Peace Villages International We promote a Culture of Peace through fostering cross-cultural exchange for people of all races and nationalities and we practice voluntary community service where we provide additional opportunities in education, sports, health care and skill training. We assist our beneficiaries to develop their potential and improve their own lives.

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    Maximo Nivel Work | Study | Travel

    • Exploring the Natural Beauty of Monteverde, Costa Rica
      by luca@maximonivel.com on January 11, 2023 at 2:04 pm

      What could be more dreamy than a trip to the clouds? A mountainous terrain and biological reserve nestled within a cloud forest might do the trick! Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest, just a few hours drive from the Maximo Nivel campus in San Jose, is a dream destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike [...]

    • New Year’s Resolutions: Make Traveling Abroad a Top Priority In 2023
      by luca@maximonivel.com on December 16, 2022 at 3:12 pm

      January 2023 is right around the corner! New Year’s resolutions are an age-old tradition for self-improvement that can be a great way to better our health, learn a new skill, quit bad habits or pick up healthy habits. Beginning the New Year with a goal keeps us focused and energized as we enter a fresh [...]

    • TEFL Certification: What to Expect From Your Practical Teaching Week
      by luca@maximonivel.com on November 29, 2022 at 3:45 pm

      Teaching in front of a group of new students can be nerve-racking. Confidence and preparation are the best tools for success for any teacher, but how do you gain confidence or know what to prepare for? Practical teaching week, the final week of your 4-week TEFL course, offers you hands-on experiences teaching real English [...]

    • The Sacred Valley of the Incas: A Must Stop When in Cusco
      by luca@maximonivel.com on November 11, 2022 at 1:45 pm

      El Valle Sagrado de los Incas, or the Sacred Valley of the Incas, is truly one of the most underrated travel destinations in the world! Many travelers and Peruvian nationals alike choose to live in the nearby city of Cusco. And though the former Inca capital has all the conveniences of a mid-sized city, [...]

    • The Benefits of Living with a Host Family in Latin America
      by luca@maximonivel.com on October 28, 2022 at 9:53 am

      When I landed in Cusco, I had only a hazy idea of what lay ahead. The air was thin and brisk in August. The mountains golden. I’d lost my luggage and missed my original connecting flight in Lima. The sun had barely risen and I was cold, anxious and eager for guidance. Though rewarding, [...]

    • Tips for Solo Female Travelers in Costa Rica
      by luca@maximonivel.com on October 21, 2022 at 5:55 pm

      Do you have a taste for adventure? Are you interested in improving your Spanish? Have you ever considered teaching English as a foreign language? Maybe all three? Whether you’re looking to relocate more permanently or simply hoping to have the time of your life for a few weeks, Costa Rica has a lot to [...]

    • Dining Out Without Breaking the Bank in San Jose, Costa Rica
      by luca@maximonivel.com on October 13, 2022 at 6:01 pm

      Costa Rica is the king of Central American tourist destinations. From the country’s stunning national parks and world-class waves to its laid back “tico” culture, it’s no surprise that Costa Rica is attracting more and more visitors every year. This tropical getaway has also become a hub for expats. Because of its growing popularity, [...]

    • Aguas Calientes: Exploring Machu Picchu Town
      by luca@maximonivel.com on September 27, 2022 at 3:58 pm

      Machu Picchu is enveloped in an air of mystery, making it a bucket-list destination for multiple generations of travelers. The rich history of this Inca marvel is rivaled only by its breathtaking locale. By no means is Machu Picchu the only archeological site that Peru has to offer. However, its draw is magnetic—attracting well [...]

    • Tips for Solo Female Travelers in Antigua, Guatemala
      by luca@maximonivel.com on September 23, 2022 at 9:21 am

      Coffee and corruption? What have you heard about Central America? It’s easy to let headlines and hearsay shape our impressions of entire regions of the world. But easy doesn’t necessarily mean accurate. Before visiting in Guatemala, I knew little about its customs and hadn’t been encouraged to go and see for myself. Even though [...]

    • Dining Out Without Breaking the Bank in Cusco, Peru
      by luca@maximonivel.com on September 15, 2022 at 2:21 pm

      Cusco is a friendly city for travelers on a budget. Empanadas are a great lunch on the go. Street vendors selling tamales, papa rellenas and anticuchos are easy to find. And right around the corner from Maximo Nivel, there’s a row of stalls specializing in pork sandwiches. Rocoto peppers give them a nice kick!Every open-air [...]

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    This organization should be on your radar if you’re new to the world of foreign volunteering. Since 1998, RCDP International Volunteer has served over 18,000 satisfied volunteers. Following a meeting with Troy Peden, the founder of Go Abroad, a young graduate from the United States founded RCDP. The mission of the RCDP is to “encourage foreign volunteers to contribute to sustainable development.”

    IFRE Volunteers is one of the world’s most well-known multinational volunteer organizations. Its headquarters are in Dallas, Texas, but it has volunteer projects all over Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Since 2006, the organization has facilitated the participation of over 22,000 volunteers from all over the world in 200 different projects in 19 different countries, including Bali.

    Global Crossroad is one of the most well-known volunteer abroad organizations in the world, and it is one that you can keep in mind when you do your studies. Since 2003, they’ve provided an impressive array of volunteer abroad programs in 19 different countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America to adventurous and big-hearted people from all over the world.

    Plan My Gap Year (PMGY) is a volunteer abroad organization based in the United Kingdom that was created by volunteers for volunteers. PMGY is committed to delivering some of the most accessible, safest, meaningful, and life-changing volunteer abroad experiences to their foreign volunteers. The programs range in length from one to twenty-four weeks, but you can also take a year off and commit.

    If you’re looking for a medical volunteer opportunity overseas, the services provided by this organization should be on your radar as well. Dan Radcliffe was inspired to found International Volunteer HQ after returning from a volunteer trip to Africa. Since 2007, IVHQ has successfully sent thousands of volunteers around the world, 78,407 to be precise. 

    A Broader View (ABV) is a Pennsylvania-based non-profit charity organization that was founded in 2007. Their goal is to enable compassionate international volunteers to live and work in developing countries and communities all over the world. A Broader View has a knowledgeable and highly seasoned team with expertise in humanitarian assistance, hospitality, and other related fields.

    Jonathan Gilben and Jonathan Tal, high school friends, created Go Eco in 2006. Their passion for travel, adventure, and the world inspired them to create this project. Since 2006, they’ve facilitated over 150 community, environmental, and wildlife initiatives for thousands of caring adventure and volunteer-loving individuals from all over the world.

    Volunteering abroad is available via Go Eco.

    Julian and Kelly, a brother and sister team from New Zealand, decided in June 2009 to start a volunteer abroad organization that didn’t charge exorbitant volunteer fees. They were astounded at how much experience volunteering abroad provided, and they knew there had to be a better way. They wanted to make volunteering abroad affordable and available in a world where caring volunteers are in high demand.

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    Helper's High

    Why There’s A Global Outcry Over Volunteering At Orphanages

    There’s a growing global campaign that may seem harsh and heartless. The message: Don’t visit orphanages.

    Last year, the British government updated its travel advice to discourage tourists from visiting or volunteering in orphanages, saying it could have “serious unintended consequences.” In April, the Dutch parliament held a debate on the practice and its connection to human trafficking.

    And at an October conference for global leaders sponsored by the One Young World group, author J.K. Rowling spoke on the issue: “Despite the best of intentions, the sad truth is that visiting and volunteering in orphanages drives an industry that separates children from their families and puts them at risk of neglect and abuse.”

    There are at least 2.7 million kids in orphanages and institutionalized care around the world, according to UNICEF’s latest estimate from 2017. The actual number is likely far higher, the agency says, because many countries don’t include children living in privately run facilities in their tallies.

    For decades, spending time in orphanages has been a popular voluntourism activity. Critics call it “orphanage tourism.” Sometimes it’s a preplanned trip with a full week at the institution, arranged by an organization, church or travel agency. Other times, a vacationer might just set aside a couple of hours to visit an orphanage and play with the kids.

    Although the unregulated nature of orphanage tourism means there are no reliable numbers on how many volunteers participate each year, the practice is widespread enough that the U.K. and Australia as well as the U.S. have taken public stands.

    These trips can bring a lot of money into orphanages in the form of fees and on-site donations. In addition, visitors often convince family and friends back home to make significant donations as well. Orphanage Support Services Organization (OSSO), for example, has volunteer opportunities in Ecuador and Thailand with a $190 application fee, a requested $100 donation, and a $695 fee for one week to cover living expenses, transportation to the orphanage, and other expenses.

    According to their founder, Rex Head, most of those fees cover the costs of a volunteer’s stay as well as living expenses and additional costs for an on-site volunteer director. Any leftover fees go to the orphanage. Head, who is a doctor, says the staff at his medical practice take care of OSSO’s other administrative duties, and the organization donates an additional $300,000 to $400,000 in goods and cash from other funding streams each year to orphanages.

    Critics say there’s a problem with this type of community service and generosity. All that money has led unscrupulous institutions to promise food, education, or a better life to recruit children from families into the orphanages, according to the U.S. Department of State’s 2018 Trafficking in Persons report. “Child finders,” as the report calls the recruiters, capitalize on parental concerns about poverty, conflicts, natural disasters and a lack of resources for a child with disabilities in order to convince parents to turn over their children, who are then used to attract lucrative international donations and volunteers.

    Save the Children report published in 2009 estimated that globally, at least four in five children in institutional care have at least one living parent. (The estimate is based on surveys and studies conducted by government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in seven countries plus Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to determine if children in institutions have one or both parents alive.)

    The Trafficking in Persons report says that some institutions force children to perform traditional dances or interact with visitors to encourage more donations. In addition, the report notes, they are sometimes malnourished or not given sufficient medical attention to garner more sympathy — and money from visitors and donors. Between the recruiting and the forced labor, critics are calling these practices modern slavery. In 2018, Australia became the first country to criminalize recruiting children into orphanages as a form of slavery.

    What’s more, some researchers who study child welfare question the role of all orphanages.

    The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child declares that every child has the right to grow up in a family environment, and its Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children states that institutional care should be a temporary “last resort” for the “shortest possible duration.”

    Andrea Freidus, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, says that in her extensive research of orphans and orphanages in southern Africa, she found that extended families and social networks are “very resilient” as an alternative to institutionalization.

    “[Orphans] are just not abandoned in the way people in the West think,” says Freidus. “If there are family networks that these children are willing to go to, then why institutionalize them? We don’t do that in the U.S. anymore, and most [Western] European countries don’t do it anymore, because we know it’s bad for kids.”

    Many studies, going back decades, conclude that children who grow up in institutions have poorer outcomes. For example, a 2006 UNICEF report cited a study in Russia that suggested that “one in three young people who leave residential institutions becomes homeless, one in five ends up with a criminal record, and one in ten commits suicide.” Other studies point to increased rates of mental illness, physical and intellectual underdevelopment as well as a higher risk of being trafficked.

    “If you really want to help them, help their extended families take care of them,” says James Kassaga Arinaitwe, CEO and co-founder of Teach for Uganda and an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow. Arinaitwe was raised by his grandmother after his mother died of cancer and his father of AIDS.

    Even if children in an institution have a positive experience with a short-term volunteer, there’s a potential downside. When the volunteer departs, a child’s feelings of abandonment and emotional stress can be heightened, the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons report warns.

    But some researchers still think the right kind of group setting can be beneficial. Kathryn Whetten, a Duke professor of public policy and director of the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, is one of them. She’s been studying a group of 3,000 orphaned and separated children in Cambodia, India, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania since 2005.

    “We see the same continuum of bad and good care in the group homes as we see in the family settings,” Whetten told NPR last year. “What the kids really seem to need is a home-like environment.”

    Bud Philbrook, CEO, and co-founder of Global Volunteers, an organization that assigns short-term volunteers to various development projects abroad, including a children’s home in Peru, says it’s “irresponsible” to condemn all orphanages.

    “To use a broad brush and say all orphanages are somehow adversely affecting the children is problematic,” Philbrook says. “Ideally, we want children to be with their parents at home, but that requires parents to be able to [feed] their kids and ensure their health care and education.”

    OSSO’s founder, Head, says that in the 24 years he’s worked with orphanages, he’s certainly come across unscrupulous institutions, but he’s worried that the backlash against orphanages will send children into abusive families, either their own or in foster care without sufficient oversight.

    “Good foster care is better than a good orphanage, but bad foster care isn’t,” Head says. “The most important thing for children is that they are loved, and that can happen in many types of settings.”

    Still, more groups are opting to put a stop to orphanage visits. In September, the Association of British Travel Agents partnered with the British charity Hope and Homes for Children to set up a task force that aims to discourage tourists, governments, and travel agencies from supporting orphanage tourism. VSO — which committed in 2016 to no longer send volunteers to orphanages — also helped launch a “Global Standard for Volunteering in Development” in October. Organizations can use these guidelines to design responsible volunteering opportunities, ones that are led by local communities, promote cultural exchange and bring in individuals with skills that aren’t available locally.

    VSO hopes that, as more organizations commit to the “Global Standard,” orphanage tourism can be eradicated.

    “Just because it’s been happening for decades doesn’t mean it’s right,” says Chloe Setter, senior adviser on trafficking, modern slavery, and voluntourism at Lumos, the children’s rights organization founded by Rowling in 2005. The idea isn’t to shame orphanage volunteers, she says, but to start “questioning and challenging our own beliefs.”

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