You know the situation well. You arrive in a new place, whether a remote village or a popular urban tourist site, and suddenly you notice the children. They confidently approach you, sometimes in groups, selling chewing gum or fruit or simply holding out a plastic beaker for your coins, begging. It is confronting to see both their tenacity and their poverty in the same moment. It is so difficult to know how to respond to these situations, particularly when you are unprepared. I have been there too, many times.Read more
Our actions impact the lives of children working and living in tourist areas.
No matter where we are in the world, we each have a responsibility towards children; especially in keeping them safe from abuse. Children in tourist areas are especially vulnerable to physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Sometimes without realising it, we may do things that inadvertently keep children exposed to a cycle of abuse. So it’s important we know how to take simple actions to minimise harm to children and help create a Child Safe Tourism environment. The Child Safe Tourism campaign aims to arm us with knowledge and information on the simple things each of us can do in order to be a child safe traveller.
Make the Pledge
I understand that dedicated small actions combined can make a big difference to children. I pledge to be a Child Safe Traveller and make conscious choices that help children in tourism destinations.
You have committed to being a Child Safe Traveller and joined the movement of responsible travellers. Thank you for standing up for children and driving changes in tourism areas. Please continue to learn, share and act to ensure that children are kept safe.Share your pledge on Facebook Close this window
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make a difference.
Be part of the change. Commit to being a Child Safe Traveller.Make the Pledge
An estimated 8 to 10 million children live in residential or institutional care around the world. And those born with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to being locked away and forgotten – many from birth. In some countries, doctors encourage parents to give up their child with a disability and in others, a child born with a disability is looked upon as a curse or punishment to the family. But in many cases, families would keep their children at home if there was adequate support. Up to 95% of children in residential care reportedly have at least one living parent or extended family. It is disability, social exclusion and poverty that push most children into these facilities.Read more
Somehow I’ve become the bearer of bad news. Due to my TEDx talk on the problems with volunteer travel and much of my prior writing on the subject, I now frequently get asked to write about issues in the voluntourism sector. I’d like to start with a disclaimer: I don’t think volunteering is bad. I don’t think “voluntourists” are bad. And I don’t think volunteer travel companies are bad. In fact, I’ve been and done all of the above: taken volunteer trips around the world, founded a volunteer travel company which we later transitioned to a development education company, and continue to support the employment of interns on a volunteer bases in some of the projects I work with.Read more