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BBC article on ‘gap yah’ volunteering

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[url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22294205 rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22294205[/url]
Saw this and it was an interesting read! What are everyones viewpoints?


I agree with a lot of her points. If we were entirely selfless and just wanted to help we’d donate all our money that instead we spend on paying for flights and accomodation etc to go and volunteer.
I volunteered for 6 weeks in a school last year and whilst I had visions of going over and helping children learn etc. however when I got there I soon burst that illusion. It was really difficult to manage a class of fifty children who don’t speak english well, and with no lesson plan.
I believe volunteers need to assist the curriculum if they are going to be of any assistance, not just teach songs and colouring. This is possible in many places, however where I was the teachers saw it as free time if volunteers came into their classes, when really we wanted to help them.
As with building schools, you’re doing local builders out of a job if you physically go over to build the school.
I am all for volunteering but after my last experience I believe volunteers need to do their homework on the project before going, and volunteer for longer than a week or 2, especially if working with children or vulnerable people


Yup. What Lucy said pretty much echoes my points raised here:


Beat me to the punch! I was away to start this thread.


Interesting article.
I have for a good couple of years really wanted to go volunteer with the penguins in south africa. I found a place – sancoob – and looked it up and was happy with the charges I’d have to pay. When I really thought about my reasons for going there because ‘i like penguins’ is not good enough.
I volunteer on a regular basis with my local guide dog association and can now see that regular volunteering with an organisation is the way forward. I’ve now decided to volunteer with places that could use my skills in healthcare and eventually would love to work and volunteer with places like VSO and MSF in the future. I feel like I’d be making more of a difference then 6 weeks on a short term placement.


[quote-0 author="Andy" date="1368094076"]
I think we'd all agree that people investing their time, effort and money into worthwhile projects anywhere is a good thing.
These people who turn up at African schools for a fortnight to “teach English” do nothing but confuse the kids and put back their education. It’s selfish.
If you want to teach English to foreign children, you need to put in a decent amount of time. They need to get to know you, trust you, understand your accent, and you need to have a chance to see them progress. Otherwise it’s just a never ending string of public school kids teaching them numbers and singing songs; all whilst updating Facebook and their CV about how they’re changing the world.
Volunteering is a great idea, but it’s not always a good thing.


Interestingly, a lot of this was covered recently in [url=http://www.gapyear.com/articles/199196/the-importance-of-ethics-while-volunteering]The Importance of Volunteering[/url].
It specifically goes into some of the assessments that volunteering companies should go through. It even mentions Fair Trade Volunteering Andy!
Lots of really useful info and it’s obviously been researched a lot.
Check it out and let me know what you think.

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