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Voluntourism

Young people would be better off travelling the world than taking part in "spurious" overseas gap-year aid projects said Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

" Young people want to make a difference but they would be better off travelling and experiencing different cultures, rather than wasting time on projects that have no impact and can leave a big hole in their wallet." - Judith Brodie , Director of VSO


"voluntourism" often cost students thousands of pounds and did nothing to help developing countries. The gap-year industry catered for the needs of participants rather than those they claimed to help . VSO said projects offered to students taking a year off were often badly planned and could have a negative impact on participants and the communities they worked with.

"...we are increasingly concerned about the number of badly planned and supported schemes that are spurious - ultimately benefiting no one apart from the travel companies that organise them," said Judith Brodie.

In June, VSO warned "consumer-driven volunteer tourism" was jeopardising the charity's development work in countries most in need. People were increasingly approaching the organisation about volunteering "as if it was a holiday" .
And last year VSO said gap-year programmes risked becoming "outdated and colonial" by focusing on how UK youngsters could help poor communities, rather than what they could learn from them.

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