volunteering responsibly with children
Volunteering with children is one of the most popular ways to volunteer – however there are many pitfalls to be avoided. Traditionally, volunteering to help children in orphanages was considered a very worthwhile thing to do. In recent years, awareness is growing that this type of volunteering actually makes things worse rather than better. people and places made the decision about 10 years ago to stop supporting orphanages and instead to support programmes designed to keep children in their families.
Why did we make this decision?
because research shows that more than 80% of the estimated 8 million children living in ‘orphanages’ are not in fact orphans.
because research shows that being brought up in an institution seriously harms children’s health, development and future life chances.
because children in residential care aren’t helped by a constant influx of short-term volunteers
because children in orphanages are not helped by unqualified foreigners
because the demand for volunteer placements in orphanages is creating demand –ie child trafficking for “orphanages”
because parents are being encouraged to send their children for a ‘better life’
Read more here
We believe it is far more worthwhile and ethical to support community programmes designed to keep families together, where families can be given help and training to enable them to become and remain self-supporting.
We offer a number of different opportunities to volunteer in programmes supporting children in community centres and schools. In all cases our volunteer placements are designed to ensure that a volunteer works alongside a local person who is responsible for the children in their care, and who the children know and trust.
If you are volunteering with children try to bear in mind the way children are treated in your own country – we would not allow strangers to look after our own children unsupervised, and children in developing countries should not be treated any differently.
In recent years we have been very active in the campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of “orphanage tourism”.
We know that volunteers want to avoid doing harm – our goal is to help and advise – please contact us
for more information.
Read our child protection policy here.
We have signed #HELPINGNOTHELPING pledge
In recognition of the harm caused by institutional care for children (such as so-called ‘orphanages’), and the emerging evidence of children being trafficked to and from such institutions, we commit to the following:
Actively support causes that strengthen families and build local communities
Ensure that we do not promote or engage in volunteering and/or visits to institutions for children
If relevant, we commit to carefully plan and safely redirect existing support to institutions into alternatives that support families and communities
Educate our key stakeholders, staff and board about this organisational stance, and the harms of so-called ‘orphanage tourism’ and institutional care
Expert Tours People and Places Ltd trading as people and places - Company Number 03805796 - Registered in England at: 1 Naboth's Nursery, Canterbury Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8AX