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Affluent Kids, Voluntourism and the Abuse and Exploitation of African Children

Voluntourism is when primarily western, privileged do-gooders pay for the experience of doing charity work abroad. But according to this ex-voluntourist, the orphanage she thought she was building was actually disassembled and remade throughout the night. Not only that but children were dirtied up to make them look poorer to add to the voluntourists’ experience. Children were made to sing and dance for them – and worse. We give an inside glimpse into this sham world, where people pay for the experience of charity without actually helping locals – and often even making their lives worse. Vice World News Reports

I keep saying nobody came into Africa to do African people any good.

John Henrik Clark

Blafrokan Commentary: 

  • White savior complex is a term used to describe white people who consider themselves awesome helpers to African/Original peoples and people. Those needing help are often in described as living in “third world” or “underdeveloped” nations and communities. The motivations to “help” may be unintentionally harmful, self-serving, self-aggrandizing, or even nefarious. False notions of white superiority may engender feelings of inferiority by those being “helped.” White hegemony is reinforced by the “helpers,” meanwhile white hegemonic expansion is the principal contributor to the infringement of human rights and the disadvantaged circumstances for those in need of help.
  • White Paternalism/Maternalism is the idea that white people have the duty, burden and authority to lead other races towards deemed western standards of “civilization” and “progress.” A white paternalist/maternalist assumes based on false notions of white superiority, they know what is best for non-white racial groups of people. This behavior is passive-aggressive expressed racist ideology rooted in a white inferiority complex, masked by projections of white racial power and dominance, and  exercised in the presence of those whom are relegated by white institutions to a position of powerlessness or disenfranchisement.

Blafrokan Reflections:

  • When considering the often adversarial relationship white people have with African “Black” people in western nations and historically via Africa’s colonization, the question is begged: Why are unvetted, unqualified and white foreigners allowed access to “help” Africa’s most vulnerable population, children?
  • Can Africans reasonably trust white, western led organizations to self police and prevent nuanced indirect and direct exploitation and abuse of African children?
  • If there is minimal to no governmental oversight for these orphanages, the volunteers, nor regulations and protections to ensure foreign help is actually safe and helpful, what policy measures or barriers can Africans in the diaspora erect to protect African children from “voluntourism” abuses and exploitation?
  • What roles can continental and diaspora Africans  play to eliminate the need for orphanages to exist? Is this a task Africans are willing tackle? 
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