“Cambodians should help themselves and their own people whenever they can. By running their own NGO’s, they can demonstrate the ability to successfully operate organisations on their own. They then become good role models to other organisations that depend on foreigners and give Cambodians confidence in themselves. When Cambodians run their own NGO’s, they eliminate the assumption of some Cambodians and foreigners who say that some jobs can only be undertaken by foreign nationals. It is very good that Human and Hope Association doesn’t accept foreign volunteers as some foreigners just want to experiment, but have no real heart to commit to their roles. There can also be issues with foreigners not respecting the principles of child protection, which will cause issues for the people we are trying to help.”
– Phat Phyrom, Education and Library Assistant, Human and Hope Association
Voluntourism is a 2 billion dollar industry worldwide, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I have written about voluntourism on my blog and many others before, and I will continue to do so. It isn’t something people want to hear, but it is important. By shining a light on a taboo topic, I am determined to help educate and change how Australians use their time and resources to support citizens in developing countries. People incorrectly assume that giving in any way, shape or form is a great thing. However, what they don’t realise, is that voluntourism can have drastic effects, such as a reduction in local employment, dependence on foreigners, disempowerment of local staff and even an increase in child trafficking.
By making Australians rethink their actions, and increase awareness on how they can help developing countries more effectively, it will change the way we interact with developing countries and will lead to more empowered communities like those surrounding Human and Hope Association.