CIVS Kenya
CIVS Kenya
CIVS Kenya

The Pros And Cons Of Volunteering In Orphanages Abroad

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Category: Blog
Written by Sophie Atieno

In our last post, we highlighted the few things you need to know about volunteering in orphanages abroad with a promise to talk about the pros and cons of volunteering in orphanages

Should I volunteer at an orphanage abroad?

You may be asking yourself this question, so here are the pros and cons of volunteering at orphanages that should definitely help you get the answer to that.

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The pros of volunteering in an orphanage

It gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young, vulnerable children who need to feel wanted and appreciated.

Most of these children in orphanages understand that their situation is different from that of most other children and they often need the tenderness and sense of acceptance and love that they feel from volunteers. When you volunteer at an orphanage, you give the children much needed encouragement.

It enables you to make a difference in the community as a whole

Children are generally part of the community and use the community facilities. For example, they could go to the local school, local church among others. Therefore, when you come in as a volunteer at an orphanage, you might have to teach at the local school which includes other children in the community; serve in the local church that is attended by the members of the community, e.t.c.

It is a way for you as the volunteer to build your confidence

It is generally not the easiest thing to leave your country and travel to another with no idea as to whether or not you will be accepted. You might meet children who might have issues trusting new people as a result of rejection or abandonment. Managing to get past this stage and winning their trust gives you a sense of confidence and understanding of different people while just giving back.

It enables you to develop your skills further

Amazing just how much you can learn from teaching or interacting with just one child. Orphanages present an opportunity for you interact with quite a number of them and through activities like teaching, cooking and other activities undertaken during this period, you get better and also learn to look at the world from other people’s perspective.

It builds a foundation for the future, both yours and that of the children

In our last post, we emphasized the importance of recognizing that every single move you make at the orphanages should be made with the long term in mind because every one of them has an impact in the future of the children.

It can also shape the direction you as a volunteer will take in terms of career and the decisions you make in future having received a better understanding throughout the entire process, of the world and issues that affect different people regardless of their ages and origin.

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So what are the cons of volunteering in orphanages?

The whole idea of institutionalizing children is exactly what brought about the difference in opinion on whether or not it is a good idea to even have orphanages, with some arguing that better options like finding foster families for the children is a better idea as it keeps the children in that much needed family unit.

Well, here are some cons of volunteering in orphanages.

It brings about an emotional attachment between the volunteers and the children

This wouldn’t be such a bad thing except, the volunteers are often around for just a while and would have to leave at some point. This often leaves the children suffering emotionally from the effects of the separation as they have to go back to a life without the volunteers they were used to or to adjust to a new set of volunteers.

Some volunteer organizations only operate with the intention of making money

It is highly likely that you will prefer to travel overseas as a volunteer with the help of a volunteer organization. They will often appear as wanting nothing but to make a positive change in the lives of young orphaned and vulnerable children but actually have alterior motives, making extra coins.

In other words, they just take advantage of the popularity of volunteer tourism.

You might , as a volunteer, not be able to finish up what you started

Due to the timed periods that a volunteer can be around, some projects you start might actually end up not being completed .

It is quite possible to be in situations where you run out of time before finishing something you started and in some cases, it is difficult for another set of volunteers to carry on with it exactly according to what you envisioned.

Volunteering abroad can orphanages can be expensive

In a case where you are working with a nonprofit organization, you will find yourself having to pay some participation fees because they depend on this to keep the projects running. So this becomes an additional expense to what the volunteer would have to pay for their flights, certain items they might need while they get to their volunteer destination.

We hope this post on the pros and cons assist you in making a decision.

We at CIVS would love to hear from you whether it is through inquiries or whether you have made your decision.

For more information, email us or visit our website,