Voluntourism in Focus
Voluntourism has been described as a 'nasty new noun' but in reality it is a much needed new word which makes it obvious that there is a clear difference between being a volunteer and being a tourist. As was clearly shown in 'The Great Big Volunteer Rip Off' a volunteer is not someone who pays to perform a task for someone else. Volunteers give their services free of charge and should expect thanks in return. The odd perk or two would not hurt either, but the idea that they should pay is somewhere between ludicrous and ridiculous.
We should then welcome this new word 'Voluntourism' with open arms because it describes exactly what the so called 'volunteers' have been up to for quite some time. Tourists pay out and then volunteer. They are in fact paying for a different sort of holiday and one not so very different to a stay on a health farm where a 'work' regime is implemented and paid through the nose for.
There really is nothing wrong with paying to 'volunteer' especially where there is a need for aid and assistance. That's great. Financial input and hands on help can be extremely beneficial. There are a huge number of activities, both humantarian and otherwise where people really are needed.
Where it goes wrong is when it is dressed up in a tissue of lies and the reality is that company does not need the manpower at all. They are simply calling for volunteers for cash.
A Voluntourism Holiday is definitely different and can offer rewards in life experiences, something to tell friends and family. It can change people and make them aware of strengths they did not know they had. It can also do a lot for ones employment prospects by adding to a Curriculum Vitae.
The time has come however to promote, not the activity of Voluntourism but the word Voluntourism. We need to phase out and then stop using the word 'Volunteer' for someone who pays someone to work for them. That is the work of a 'Voluntourist'.
Below is an introductory video from a company which does not hide behind the 'Volunteer' word and promotes Voluntourism.