Link Pack: Voluntourism, Photography, and Narratives

Social Suffering by Arthur and Joan Kleinman

“The authorization of action through an appeal for foreign aid, even foreign intervention, begins with an evocation of indigenous absence, an erasure of local voices and acts.”

Voluntourism and Unchecked Privilege by Andrew Legan

“the prevailing of imposition over invitation...”

“...their actions often waste and misuse resources as they proselytize condescending and destructive ideas of "development" and "charity.” This mindset takes the dignity and power out of the hands of the people affected by the issue. It is important to use our resources to work with organizations that recognize the dignity and authority of the affected individuals.”

Instagramming Africa: The Narcissism of Global Voluntourism

"Voluntourism is ultimately about the fulfillment of the volunteers themselves, not necessarily what they bring to the communities they visit. ... In the end, the Africa we voluntourists photograph isn’t a real place at all. It is an imaginary geography whose landscapes are forged by colonialism, as well as a good deal of narcissism."

FRAMED: A Documentary Film

“What's behind the West's fascination with ‘saving’ Africa?”

“It’s also about how we create difference, how we unconsciously make some people more powerful and others weaker, and how it’s often easier to do that than to take a hard look at ourselves.”

“Why is it easier to engage online or overseas rather than in our own communities?”

“When you see celebrity activists in Darfur or elsewhere, you'd think there were no African think tanks, no African universities, no African human rights lawyers working on this issue”..... “it's not that we cannot engage with an African crisis, it is how we engage, and how we partner that determine the outcome.” - Zine Magubane

HuffPo: The Problem with Little White Girls and Boys and Voluntourism by Pippa Biddle

“I don’t want a little girl in Ghana, or Sri Lanka, or Indonesia to think of me when she wakes up each morning. I don’t want her to thank me for her education or medical care or new clothes. Even if I am providing the funds to get the ball rolling, I want her to think of her teacher, community leader, or mother. I want her to have a hero she can relate to - who looks like her, is part of her culture, speaks her language, and who she might bump into on the way to school one morning.”

“Sadly, taking part in international aid where you aren’t particularly helpful is not benign. It’s detrimental... and perpetuates ‘white savior’ complex that for hundreds of years has haunted both the countries we are trying to ‘save’ and our (more recently) own psyches.”