If you have been on numerous volunteer trips abroad, you might have experienced and been exposed to a wide range of cultures. This will open your eyes to those differences and make you appreciate or respect those differences more. But if you want to take on a new kind of volunteer experience, you need to be extra cautious when you choose to enter orphanage volunteering. No matter how experienced you are as a volunteer, there are things that should be approached at differently. In fact, there have been a lot of ethical questions raised about this type of volunteering program.
To help you deliver a more effective volunteer work in an orphanage, there are a few things you need to know. The more you know going in, the more you should be effective with your volunteering stint.
You Must Be Extra Sensitive
You need to have a high level of empathy if you want to become successful with orphanage volunteering. You will be dealing with children that are not only from a different culture but also from various backgrounds. Some of these children might even require special care because of physical and health conditions. However, these children also require every help they can get since most of them come from poor families that are unable to supply their basic needs, such as food and clothing.
Your ability to become empathic to their needs will help you identify issues that need to be addressed. Furthermore, it will fuel your commitment to deliver more volunteer work in an overseas orphanage knowing that if you don’t, they will be faced with poverty.
Choose a Sustainable Program
One of the biggest issues faced by volunteers with an orphanage volunteering program is the lack of sustainability. This is also where volunteers receive the most backlash since this type of volunteering effort is often linked with voluntourism. To prevent this kind of backlash, it is important to build a sustainable program that will provide the children long-term benefits rather than immediate ones.
For example, focus on teaching children how to read or write and develop skills they can use to find work or build a sustainable livelihood later on. It is not enough that you are providing them with food to eat at the moment. With the latter approach, you are only teaching them to become more independent to volunteer work. But maintaining a volunteer program requires a lot of money and volunteers to get done; hence, the sooner you can teach kids to become independent and skilled, the more effective the program will become.
It is Unpredictable
Children will always be unpredictable. It depends on what specific age group you are working with; however, there is simply no way to prepare when you are planning to do volunteer work for an orphanage. You have to throw everything that you anticipated from your previous volunteer stints out the door. In some cases, it is better to come in with an open mind. This will allow you to become more empathic to their needs and respond to issues that matter in their lives. For more detailed information check out http://www.volunteering.org.au/volunteer-abroad/childcare-orphanages/