Voluntourism’ has emerged as an exciting and popular way to travel. While a lot of people are doing a lot of good around the world, there are those who want to take advantage of this trend and scam people in the name of donations. Establishing fake orphanages and tricking tourists into funding them has become common these days. If you are planning to visit India and volunteer here, you should know how to spot a scam and how to identify a legitimate volunteer program.

So, what are the deciding factors in this regard? Read the details and find out.

Cultural Differences and Context of the Term- ‘Orphanage’

Different cultures comprehend the term ‘orphanage’ differently, that is to say, that an orphanage does not necessarily enrolls children without family or parents. In order to give their children easy access to a quality living, people in the rural areas often send their children to orphanages.

Mentally and physically challenged children, incapable of taking care of themselves, are often part of these orphanages. Enrolling underprivileged children into these orphanages by no means is a wrong practice. But, a few organizations pay the families to give up their children to them. They use these children to ask for donations, and end up keeping most of the gathered funds for themselves.

Since you are travelling to India and you will most probably be working with an organization here, you would want to know about the legitimacy of the business you are getting involved in. You can start by reading online reviews and reading about the volunteering programs being arranged by the organization.

A well-run orphanage demonstrates commitment and informs the volunteers about their duties at the very beginning. Moreover, they have a system in place to feed and protect the children.

One of the other ways to identify a scam orphanage is to look for the priorities that it has for the development of children. A good organization would define your roles and outline the expectations that it has from you.

Signs of a Scam Volunteer Program
  1. The organization is not transparent in its finances: If you visit an orphanage and they ask you for money, without telling you where and how it will be used, you should be alarmed. A not-for-profit organization should be transparent about its spending. If they are hesitant to show you their financial reports, you should neither work with them nor make any donations to them.
  2. The organization is open for every tourist petitioners: Unplanned enrollments, requiring no paper work or document submission is a great sign of a fake NGO.

Fake volunteer programs are unfortunately rampant in different parts of the world and India is no exception. As a volunteer worker, you want to make all the difference you can, and for that to happen, you need to work with the right people so that your efforts do not go in vain. So the next time you plan to enroll in some voluntary project in India, make sure you keep an eye on all these aspects. To avoid such problems, enroll in a trusted program, such as iSpiice.

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