sally hetherington

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Voluntourism

Cambodia, Thoughts, Voluntourism

What I wish I knew when I was 25

In September 2011, I packed up my bags and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia. I was determined to ‘make a difference’. My intentions for moving there were good, but as I soon realised, good intentions aren’t good enough. I can’t change the past, but what I can do is share the lessons I learnt, and what I wish I had known when I was 25, to help others from making the same mistakes. You need to respect the culture I often assumed I was the exception to the rule. That  ...

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Voluntourism

Essential Reading on Voluntourism

With international travel from Australia still a year away, now is the perfect time to educate yourself on why you shouldn’t spend your next trip volunteering overseas. Picking up a hammer, piece of chalk or spade to help people in the countries you visit shouldn’t be an option in our post-pandemic world. There is enough evidence out there and people with lived experiences to recognise that locals are best placed to solve the issues in their communities. They are the  ...

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Voluntourism

“But voluntourism isn’t all bad, is it?”

I am passionate about sharing my stories and the consequences of voluntourism. Some people get it. Some don’t. Most of the time, the people who don’t get it are the ones who participate in voluntourism on an ongoing basis. I recently shared my journey with a club. The format of these short presentations is to speak about how I ended up in Cambodia, discovering that voluntourism was causing all sorts of issues, then doing everything in my power to rectify the issue by developing Human and  ...

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Voluntourism

A Quick Guide: Why I Don’t Support Voluntourism

I was recently chatting with someone about why I don’t support voluntourism. This person wanted me to explain it to her through Instagram, and it was in that moment that I realised I didn’t have my answer written down in the one place, so anyone can quickly understand the basics.  Voluntourism is short-term volunteering overseas. It can involve painting houses, teaching English, making meals for street children or planting vegetables, amongst so many other tasks. Helping people  ...

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Voluntourism

It’s Time to Change How We Change the World

“If we can understand how complex it is to solve issues in our own country, why do we feel we can go to another country, one we often know very little about, and solve their problems on a short-term trip?” – Rebecca Klaassen If you only watch one TEDx talk this year, make it this one from Rebecca Klaassen. A few months ago, Rebecca wrote an opinion piece about WE’s voluntourism model  and how society chooses to selectively view and contribute to local and global issue. Rebecca  ...

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Cambodia, Voluntourism

The Silver Lining of COVID-19

We have to look at the silver linings, don’t we? I was naive when COVID-19 hit. I assumed it would be a short-term problem; that it would be over in a few months and we could all continue as normal. But of course, that isn’t the case. I have no answers to when it will end, and all I can do is act responsibly  and help people who are doing it tough. The major way I am helping is in my role as CEO of Human and Hope. For those of you who have followed me for awhile, you would know  ...

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Voluntourism

Resources on voluntourism

Voluntourism (short-term volunteering overseas), at first glance, is a wonderful thing. But when we delve further, things aren’t as they seem. If you want to know more about the unintended consequences of voluntourism, and why it isn’t the best way to support people living in low-income countries, check out this list of resources I have compiled. Videos The Voluntourist “Voluntourism, the intersection of volunteering and tourism, is often criticised as doing more harm than good  ...

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Voluntourism

It’s time to rethink voluntourism

Reposted from Thrive Global. What keeps you awake at night tossing and turning? Is it worrying about your children, that upcoming work presentation or the incoming bills? For me, it is voluntourism [short-term overseas volunteering]. I know what you are thinking. How could people helping overseas possibly make me break out in sweats and give me headaches? I used to think that voluntourism was a brilliant way to help those living in poverty. In 2010 I volunteered at a residential centre for  ...

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Voluntourism

That school trip to volunteer overseas isn’t ethical

I was recently a guest on the ABC Radio Sydney Focus show. I had been invited on as a recent recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia to talk about voluntourism. Voluntourism is short-term or one-off volunteering overseas, and it has many benefits. People often say it gives them a sense of meaning, and they feel wanted and appreciated. For others, it meets their need of wanting to volunteer and travel. It can also help you develop your experience, and it looks great on your C.V. You  ...

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