In voluntourism there are unequal power relation involved between voluntourism companies and paying volunteers on one side as well as the receiving target groups (placements) on the other side. That is why we see it with concern how most companies advertise their voluntourism products and how many volunteers communicate their trip to their friends and relatives. Many expressions and pictures which are used rather cement racial prejudice, stereotypes and cultural assumptions about other people and groups far beyond the Voluntourism community. These cultural assumptions and prejudice are transferred into practices. Here we can see that language is fundamental to the way we interpret reality and can influence our surroundings and behaviour.
We try to influence this:
– by experimenting with language and wording
– by using expressions and language that is not affiliated with prejudice and power relations.
Responsible Volunteering means for us also using our words wisely and carefully to avoid any negative impact through what we write and say. We are trying our best to do it better than most companies and advertising platforms. This is why we hope that you will let us know if we fail to do so! We all interpret meanings and wordings through our unique understanding and hope you join the discussion.
We are working on how to express ourselves: Please be welcome to help us with suggestions and hints. Please also check out our glossary.