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
This blog post is part of a two-part series sharing some perspectives and experiences of Dork Silong, a Cambodian who has grown up surrounded by NGO culture. My name is Dork Silong, I am a Cambodian educator and tour guide with a passion for helping people. I was...read more
It is almost inevitable that during any time spent volunteering overseas that you will have to manage your own feelings of frustration. Communication problems, cultural stereotypes, and differing norms can all result in you feeling irritated, and the most important...read more
This is a guest post by Georgia Rodgers, who changed her own perspectives so much after volunteering that she wondered if other volunteers had been similarly impacted. The post is being simultaneously shared on her own blog, Use Your Privilege for Good. “Action...read more