J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter book series, arguably the world's most famous fictional orphan. The writer is all for charity work, but she had some advice for people who were thinking about volunteering at orphanages overseas: don't.
While Rowling is all for helping orphans, she warns people to avoid volunteer experiences offered in poor countries known as 'Voluntourism.' This is a type of vacation experience more and more companies offer. Instead of going away and spending a small fortune in tourist traps, people arrange to spend a period of time pitching to do something more meaningful. A compassionate human being may feel the rewards of helping the less fortunate, and the experience of making a difference in the world, is far more appealing than museums and restaurants.
According to Rowling, most kids in orphanages in poor countries are not actually orphans. They're kids who end up in facilities that break families apart when kids have disabilities, or when parents are extremely impoverished. Kids might even be placed in an orphanage because they belong to a marginalized ethic group or gender.
The orphanages actually profit from keeping children in their residence, or from trafficking children. Voluntourism is now a big money-maker for many for-profit facilities. A desire for profits is only increasing the number of children being placed in orphanages.
Experts say that strangers coming in and out of these kid's lives only exacerbates their emotional problems. What the kids really need is to form lasting attachments to people who can be stable fixtures in their lives.
"The #voluntourism charity tells volunteers that they will be able to 'play and interact' with children 'in desperate need of affection.'" said Rowling in a stream of tweets. "Willingness to cling to strangers is a sign of the profound damage institutions do to children #voluntourism."
Rowling tweeted about her personal charity, ‘Lumos.’ The organization serves 8 million children and strives to work with governments and communities to change outdated laws. The goal is to place kids with families or communities who can give them a real home life and the ongoing care they need.
Source: The Huffington Post
Photo: Her Campus