Learning Service offers a powerful new approach that invites volunteers to learn from host communities before trying to ‘help’ them. It’s also a thoughtful critique of the sinister side of volunteer travel; a guide for turning good intentions into effective results; and essential advice on how to make the most of your experience.
A must read for anyone considering volunteer tourism.Elizabeth Becker
A manifesto for doing good well, this is an indispensable book for anyone volunteering overseas.Noam Chomsky
This is recommended reading for all those considering volunteering in a developing country.Philip Goodwin
The pedagogy of Learning Service is foundational to responsible travel.Reed Harwood
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This year, over ten million people will go abroad, eager to find the perfect blend of adventure and altruism. Volunteer travel can help you find your place in the world–and find out what you’re made of. So why do so many international volunteer programs fail to make an impact? Why do some do more harm than good?
International volunteering has grown in popularity, and with so many people going abroad to “serve”, we worry that we are often forgetting a really important step: we have to learn before we can help. If we don’t research our options thoroughly, understand the context and culture of the communities we visit, and ensure that our skills and experience match the needs, volunteering can be wasteful, and at worst, cause a lot of harm.
We are promoting a movement of learning, designed to better prepare young people about to travel abroad for the first time, and travellers of all ages looking to give back through their time, with the skills and mindsets they need to be of “service”, not just for a few weeks on a volunteer trip, but for the rest of their lives.
From Our Blog
I sat near the window, sipping coffee and observing the workers outside as they loaded all of the luggage onto the plane. I watched intently as a young man in an orange vest heaved my two overweight suitcases onto the conveyor belt. My eyes followed those big, blue...read more
I walked into my first class and saw a room full of girls whose appearances closely resembled mine; dark hair, brown skin, and deep, energetic eyes. I sat down at a table with some of them and didn’t say a word. I noticed their eyes wandering around the room,...read more
This is a guest post from Rishi Bhandari, a Nepali who grew up surrounded by international volunteers. For Part One of this post, see here. Most of my work is with international students who come to Nepal, and the first thing I say to them is: “Please do not make...read more