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 followed this insightful piece up with a TEDx talk, where she broke down the five questions you should be asking yourself before deciding to undertake a voluntourism trip.

  1. Do I really understand the issue that I’m wanting to help with?
  2. Am I qualified to help with this issue and uniquely positioned to make an impact?
  3. Who is being prioritised – the project beneficiaries or the volunteers?
  4. What is the cost-benefit analysis of the trip?
  5. How can I apply my desire to make an impact to what’s going on in my own backyard?

As an advocate for locally-run organisations, I applaud Rebecca for speaking out and encouraging people to seriously question their intentions and impact. We need to critically look at the ways we are helping people in low-income countries.

You can watch the full TEDx Talk below.