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The Trouble with Orphanage Volunteering

The Trouble with Orphanage Volunteering

Date Posted: 18/05/2016
Are you considering volunteering in an orphanage? If so, take a moment to read this Guardian Article which discusses some of the ethical challenges orphanage volunteering presents and the reasons why VWA does not offer orphanage volunteering placements.

VWA is part of a small but growing group of commentators attempting to raise awareness regarding the often negative impact associated with the popular practice of 'orphanage volunteering'. 


As emotionally compelling as meeting and assisting orphaned children might be - for the thousands of well meaning volunteers who visit and support West African orphanages each and every year - the practice is filled with serious ethical dilemmas, which, if poorly navigated, can result in those with the best of intentions doing more harm than good. This Guardian Article provides a useful and informed study of such dilemmas and impacts in Ugandan orphanages.


If you are considering volunteering or funding orphanages in the developing world, please read the article, do your due diligence, and ensure your generosity and good intentions will not cause unnecessary and unintentional harm. 


And to learn more about the range of ethical opportunities VWA provides for prospective volunteers to support vulnerable children while also encouraging the placement of those children in safe and healthy family environments, please visit our Volunteer Programmes Page.


Thank you.

Author: Volunteer West Africa

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