Voluntourism

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Lately, the news keeps us at  Join for Joy on the edge of our seat. Not only do we constantly assess the security situation in Kenia, but also there is a public debate going on about ‘voluntourism’, a form of tourism in which travellers participate in voluntary work.  Last week, two documentary makers were invited at the Humberto Tan late night show to present their work. Both made a critical documentary about ‘Voluntourism’, explaining  the possible negative impact of a continuous flow of short-staying young volunteers on the emotional well-being of kids.  A couple of weeks earlier, the Dutch newspaper Trouw discussed Voluntourism based on the campaign of Unicef, Children are not Tourist Attraction, set up to end what is known as orphanage tourism in Cambodia.

Seen the importance of volunteers for Join for Joy, we follow this discussion closely. The Join for Joy  Summer Camps rely for their success on a fruitful and well-balanced cooperation between local social workers of our partner Macheo, local staff, and the Dutch volunteers. The children who participate in the summer camps know the local teachers well from school. The educational activities,  including Hiv/aids education and professional orientation are conducted by our local partners. We find it extremely important to screen our volunteers well and to do a proper background check. Therefor we plan individual intakes with every single volunteer that will participate in our summer camps. Join for Joy deliberatively select volunteers who are older than 25, that are experienced travelers, and can proof their affinity with sports and with children and their motivation to join the Join for Joy summer camps.

We hope that the current discussions on voluntourism will contribute to more transparency of non-governmental organizations about their policy on volunteers.

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