I encourage everyone to read the whole document by a leading platform in philanthropy tourism, http://www.travelersphilanthropy.com about the Do’s and Don’ts during travel giving. In reading this article my attention has focused in the section “Let’s visit an orphanage, a school, or a health clinic” and I found it necessary to paraphrase some of the aspects mentioned in the referred article.
We want your intentions, as a Zuvy traveler, to be far away from standing at arms length and ogle, to engage in ‘poverty tourism.’ Your intention is to respectfully investigate other people’s cultures and their responses to adversity, and to learn and grow from the experience. If you agree with this, you’ll have a mutually beneficial time. Do not bring your binoculars, and ensure that respectful leadership is provided by a local person. Ensure you carry the energy of a visitor, not as someone who possesses power over another because of the material things you have.”
“Visits like these, need to be done with sensitivity – poor communities are not zoo animals – They must be arranged through local structures, such as the tribal authority.”
“Children are not pets. Orphanages are not zoos. People are not helping by visiting poverty. Unless they are giving a skill to a place, interacting with kids needs to be monitored and shouldn’t be happening on a regular basis.”
“We work with specific orphanages, and it depends on if they are open to receiving visitors. We only allow this if there’s some sort of contribution the guests are making to the orphanage and the children, and it’s not just going and looking.”
“Visits to schools during school hours, orphanages, or other establishments primarily established to educate or house and care for children, or to a health clinic or hospital, should only be undertaken with prior arrangement through your tour operator or through a local person in appropriate authority that can arrange a suitably managed opportunity.
Zuvy works hand in hand with all our projects and we closely select those ones that are prepared to receive visitors and we shape together with the organization the experiences they are offering. I want to tell the reader that this is the most valuable step the Zuvy adds. Zuvy limits the frequency projects with which projects are opened to the public and ensures daily activities are not disturbed. We strive to shape experiences where the traveler gets involved with the community but if we see a risk of it being intrusive and detrimental to the community, the travelers will either solely interact with the project coordinator or, if this is not possible we won´t work with the organization considered.
I agree with Travelers Philanthropy in their view about random visitation
Random or unplanned visitation should be avoided as:
- It can be disruptive to the daily activities of the organization, particularly in areas where there are many foreign visitors.
- It can be potentially voyeuristic and intrusive to the lives of people working at or using the facility and not lead to any beneficial outcomes.
- It can arouse emotions of pity in travelers who want to help in some way, but a brief visit may lead to inappropriate ‘band-aid’ type assistance or handouts, rather than sustained and truly beneficial support.
- It may not allow the organization the time to ensure appropriate supervision and safety of the children. Sadly, we have to be aware that allowing random visitation can expose children to the greater risk of adults who may have sexual or other exploitation of the kids in mind.
- With schools and orphanages it can encourage a culture of dependency and an understanding in which children learn that if they smile and look cute, it will bring them or their organization gifts and money. Local staff may not be aware of the risks, but we are.
While most tourists are well-meaning and no doubt driven by a desire to help, the cumulative effect of brief visits by many foreigners can be detrimental to the children’s long-term interests.”
“After providing them with a rich background on politics, culture and social structures in Africa, we take our guests to see the projects of our non-profit arm. Through this organization we aim to provide long-term sustained engagement with local communities through educational, economic and community development initiatives.
After they visit one of our non-profit projects, many guests are moved to help. And through our programs, they can. For example, our School Sponsorship Program allows guests to sponsor a needy child’s education; an act that changes the life of a child (as well as the sponsor!).
We feel that this holistic and coordinated approach to giving back—instead of piecemeal gestures, however well-intentioned—is the best way to accomplish the goal of any philanthropic traveler: helping people in need.”
Zuvy also provides the traveler with the necessary mechanisms to follow up with the project. After engaging with the project, if the travelers want to give, we channel potential donations to the project. Also if they are willing to engage in longer term volunteer engagements we facilitate the communication between the project and the interested person.
From Zuvy we believe this is an extraordinary way to get engaged and to raise the awareness of what’s really happening. We feel that in many occasions, people need to see to believe. Zuvy is born to offer the opportunity to get involved responsibly, with the assurance that you are not causing any harm.