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Voluntourism: Who Is It Really Helping?

Children belong in families,
not orphanages
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Voluntourism: Who Is It Really Helping?

Lumos’ CEO Georgette Mulheir was invited to appear on TRT World’s Roundtable programme in October for a segment on voluntourism.

Lumos joined social change advocate Teddy Ruge, author of The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook Shannon O’Donnell and Tom Dallison from Coral Cay Conservation for a wide-ranging discussion on whether voluntourism does more harm than good.

The lively debate was chaired by David Foster, who raised questions over the growing popularity of volunteering abroad and the consequences for local communities.

Georgette Mulheir said: “Whilst most volunteers who go abroad do so with the very best of intentions, we know that hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars a year are poured into the voluntourism industry for people to go to volunteer in orphanages. Around the world there are at least eight million children in orphanages, 80% of them have living parents, most of them are there simply because of poverty and there’s 80 years of evidence that shows it’s severely harmful to put a child in an orphanage and raise them in that way outside a family, which is why we don’t do it in developed countries anymore.”

See below for the full panel discussion.