from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A tourist who takes part in voluntourism.


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • Voluntourists come for a week or two for a “project” — a temporary medical clinic, an orphanage visit or a school construction. A few are celebrities supporting their cause du jour, who drop in to meet locals and witness a project that often bears their name. Others come to teach English during high school, college vacations or during a gap year. Others are sun-seeking vacationers who stay at beachside resorts. Many voluntourists are religious — the sort of people who cite passages from the Bible, the Torah or the Quran that encourage followers to help those in need. There are some volunteers who possess specialized, sought-after skills like ophthalmology, but most do not. Sometimes volunteers do more harm than good.

    Unsatisfying as it may be, many voluntourists ought to acknowledge the truth that they, as amateurs, often don’t have much to offer. Perhaps they ought to abandon the assumption that they, simply by being privileged enough to travel the world, are somehow qualified to help ease the world’s ills. Easing global poverty is an enormously complex task. To make so much as a dent requires hard, sustained work, and expertise. Even the experts sometimes get it wrong. If smart, dedicated professionals can fail to achieve lasting progress over a period of years, how then is an untrained vacationer supposed to do so in a matter of days?

    March 28, 2016