What's this about voluntourism?

Voluntourism a term used to describe the combination of volunteering with exotic travel that idealistic, socially-minded people tend to pursue— is quite controversial.

In it’s worst form, it imports inexperienced volunteers to impoverished areas to carry out work that should be done by community members. These volunteers can take away jobs from locals, perpetuate stereotypes that people in poverty need to be rescued by people in the west and overall, can do more harm than good.

When it's done right, international volunteering can create relationships that transcend barriers. It can be a way to support sustainable, locally-led projects and act as an entry point to learning about social issues, history and culture.

At New Lens Travel, we’re just as committed to educating people about the pitfalls of voluntourism as we are to offering an ethical alternative. 

We believe people who know better, do better.

That’s why we’re interested in engaging people in conversation. And you've made it this far— so here's a fist pump.

Asking questions and being open to learning is the first step in determining what role you can play when it comes to supporting community development of a community that isn’t your own.

At New Lens Travel, we prioritize learning. As a participant, you'll go through training to understand concepts like power, privilege and oppression- and the role they’ll play in your overseas experience. 

When you’re abroad on one of our trips, that’s when much of the real learning will happen. And we’ll be right there to support you.

The Good Stuff

Poor People Are Not Props For Our Philanthropic Photos

Africans Take to Social Media to Combat Negative Cultural Stereotypes

Little White Girls Aren’t the Problem With Voluntourism; Privilege Is

Stop Trying to Save the World: Big ideas are destroying international development

CBC Doc Zone: Volunteers Unleashed

Want more? Drop us a line. We’d be happy to send additional resources your way.