At the end of last year we began working with World Challenge, one of the world’s largest school-based experiential travel companies, to support their transition away from orphanage volunteer placements. After increasing research showed that trips to orphanages are harmful to vulnerable children, World Challenge announced they would no longer offer visits to residential care institutions, commonly known as orphanages.

In November and December 2017, Ayana Journeys began facilitating half-day workshops on orphanage tourism with their student groups to Cambodia and Vietnam. It was an exciting opportunity to engage more than 500 travellers to learn about the harmful effects of orphanage (volun)tourism, to encourage them to think critically about the ways in which they travel, and explore responsible alternatives.

Throughout July of this year, we’re thrilled to be rolling out another season of educational and eye-opening workshops for around 300 young travellers. In 2018, we’re broadening the scope of these workshops and exploring ways to be a responsible traveller and ethical volunteer traveller. Participants are introduced to the growing phenomenon of volunteer tourism, and learn about examples of how misguided good intentions can sometimes have unintended negative impacts. One specific example that is highlighted, is the potential harms of the institutionalisation of children, and the role which visiting and/or volunteering with children plays in this. It is hoped that students leave the workshops with new ides about ways to ensure their community engagement phase of their trip abroad is more meaningful and enriching.


To learn more about ways in which you can be a responsible volunteer, please visit Learning Service. To educate yourself about the complex orphanage tourism issue, read more at Rethink Orphanages.

If you’re interested in experiencing a similar workshop with Ayana Journeys, please contact us and check out our other consulting services. 

Based in Australia? World Challenge will be presenting this work at the upcoming Orphanage Tourism Conference in Melbourne on 24th August 2018, along with our friends at ALTO Global Consulting.

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