'Voluntourism' Feeds Profits, Not Mouths

Gap-year travelers waste their time and money, charity claims
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2007 7:55 AM CDT
'Voluntourism' Feeds Profits, Not Mouths
Prince Harry working on a field in Lesotho.   (Daily Mail)

A leading British charity has blasted the new "voluntourism" industry as an amateurish scam, writes the Times of London. The vogue for gap-year travel to developing countries, where young volunteers pay for the privilege of teaching children or building homes does little good and enriches nobody but the travel companies, according to Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

Voluntourism has become more fashionable in Britain—Prince William went to Chile to build a school and Prince Harry taught kids in Lesotho—and costs young do-gooders thousands of pounds. But the director of VSO has advised students to reconsider: Instead of "wasting time on projects that have no impact," young people should just pack a bag and have fun. (More charity stories.)

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