I have been saying this for over 15 years now. ‘Voluntourism’ is a fucking sick and evil scam, no less than 99% of the time. Don’t let yourself get suckered.

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The Hidden Dangers of Volunteer Tourism

Death and taxes are frequently said to be the only two things that are certain in life, but I would definitely add the law of unintended consequences to the list. Frequently, our attempts to make the world a better place end up creating new, unforeseen moral and ethical dilemmas.

Single stream recycling, for example, and its method of crushing of contents together began as a way to get more non-recyclers to participate. The ease of turning in all of our recycling using only one bin, however, wreaks havoc on glass, turning one of the most recyclable materials into a contaminate, making recycling less effective, sending more of it to the landfill.

A similar pattern emerges in the industry of voluntourism—travel with the end goal of doing charitable work. The volunteer travel industry comes with noble intentions and (often enough) good results, but as I’ve discovered in looking into opportunities for future trips, choosing the wrong one can also harm in ways the traveler is unaware. Fortunately, recent happenstance also reminded me that while the unintended consequences can sour a thing, focusing on only that can miss the possibly lesser-known benefits.  

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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