Volunteering Failures

Some things that make me despair:
[Later: OK, maybe despair is too strong a word… make me frustrated, annoyed, irritated, angry, mad:]

  • Volunteers travelling half way round the world to paint a classroom wall
  • Volunteers travelling half way round the world to lay a few bricks
  • Volunteers travelling half way round the world to cuddle a few orphans
  • Volunteers doing a job a paid local could do (a lot better)
  • Volunteers with no discernible skills
  • Volunteers with no respect for local customs and culture
  • Volunteers who spend their time complaining
  • Volunteers who wouldn’t consider volunteering at home
  • Volunteers who don’t understand it’s mainly all about them
  • Volunteers who think themselves unselfish heroes
  • Donated second-hand computers – they’re out of date and difficult to support, cost loads to transport and loads to import. Don’t the kids deserve something new?
  • Donated second-hand books. Would you buy them for _your_ kids?
  • Donated second-hand clothes/shoes. How magnanimous of you. Don’t the kids deserve a treat? And they’ve probably been produced locally in the first place – carting them around the globe comes at a cost!
  • Donated second-hand anything – buy them locally to stimulate local trade and save air-transport’s environmental damage. Give money, not things. (OK, give only essential things that aren’t available locally and are actually requested.)
  • Donated money which MUST only be spent on certain things you’ve decided are needed – don’t you trust locals (the experts) to make decisions? Do you really have any clue or understanding about what is really needed? Like unglamorous running costs and wages?
  • Handed-out pencils, “school-pens”, whatever (give money to the school!)
  • Toms Shoes – give me a break. In fact, yes, I need a break…


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