Volunteer tourism, or voluntourism, is an emerging trend of travel linked to "doing good". Yet these efforts to help people and the environment have come under heavy criticism — for good reason. Voluntourists’ ability to change systems, alleviate poverty or provide support for vulnerable children is limited. They simply don’t have the skills. And they can inadvertently perpetuate patronising and unhelpful ideas about the places they visit. The trend of voluntourism has come about partly through initiatives by well-established organisations such as the UN Children’s Fund, Save the Children, CARE International and World Vision. They raise money for programmes they have developed for orphans and vulnerable children. Their appeals have been effective because needy children tend to arouse compassion and because modern communication technology makes it easy to share the call to help. But there are dangers in these appeals, which are mostly aimed at western audiences. For example, singer M...

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