OUT NOW: Learning Service

Want to help? First you must be willing to learn.

This year, over ten million people will go abroad, eager to find the perfect blend of adventure and altruism. Volunteer travel can help you find your place in the world-and find out what you’re made of. So why do so many international volunteer programs fail to make an impact? Why do some do more harm than good?

Learning Service offers a powerful new approach that invites volunteers to learn from host communities before trying to ‘help’ them. It’s also a thoughtful critique of the sinister side of volunteer travel; a guide for turning good intentions into effective results; and essential advice on how to make the most of your experience.

This book is for volunteers and educators alike. If you’re wondering if volunteer travel is right for you; if you’re getting on the plane tomorrow; or if you’re trying to adjust to life as a returned volunteer-this is the book you need in your bag.



Meet Karuna and her Bajai

Reuniting families makes us proud.

Karuna’s mother remarried after her husband disappeared and Karuna was left with her grandmother. In desperation Karuna’s grandmother admitted her sweet 9 year-old grandchild into an orphanage in Lalitpur believing the child would be much better cared for.

Thankfully the Nepal Government shut down ‘Friendship Nepal Orphanage’ in July 2017 and Karuna was one of 14 children rescued from despair and exploitation.

Karuna was 14 years old when she was finally rescued and reunified with her grandmother. Things didn’t go entirely to plan and she ran away back to Kathmandu. Her grandmother let us know immediately and we collected Karuna from the bus station, bringing her to our transit home Shakti Ghar for counseling and assessment.

For two weeks Karuna was given the space and support to make some decisions about her future and family life. Years of separation and orphanage life had taken its toll on this troubled teenager. She felt overwhelmed by the love and care she was experiencing from her family and village.

Despite family life adjustment challenges, Karuna is a shining example of the adage: love conquers all.

The team sees the devastating harms institutionalisation has on children and this is why we are working so hard to end the orphanage era and get kids home to family as soon as possible.

You can help by sharing stories to help get the message out to family and friends that visiting or donating to orphanages means operators need more orphans to keep up with demand.

Donations bring our rescue and reunification stories to life.

Voluntourism for a Better World

Check out this recent article published in The Australian:

Combining good works with your overseas travel seems like a perfectly altruistic adventure. Alas “voluntourism” is a road with twists and shocking turns, the worst being the discovery that tourists’ generous empathy for orph­ans created a child-trafficking racket in several countries. It’s now recognised that volunteering in orph­anages feeds exploit­­ation of children. It has been abolished by many organisations, is discouraged by the Australian government and soon may be banned…



A practical resource for schools online now

Check out these Curriculum Modules developed to support Australian schools in teaching about the complex issues of institutionalisation, voluntourism and orphanage tourism. These modules are mapped to the Victorian Government Curriculum and are aimed at the Year 10 level.

You can access, and download the modules by clicking the link!



Humans of Lismore love Matt!

“I wanted to travel across borders without flying so I flew from Brisbane to Singapore and travelled through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China all by buses and cars. Crossing from Thailand across the Mekong River into Northern Laos was an eye opener, going from a developed country to little houses with dirt floors. When I crossed some back wood border from Vietnam into China they x-rayed my bags and confiscated my guide books…


VERY LIMITED TIX REMAIN – if you don’t want to miss out on this spectacular Indian FEAST fundraising for projectHELP & the Brighter Futures Study Centres hosted by this pedal-powered hero, you need to get in quick!!



Children in Families: Global Meeting

FMN is one of 25 organisations participating in ‘Children in Families’ Global Meeting at London Business School 16-18 August. Andrea Nave and Anju Pun have made the trip to join forces with other like-minded change-makers. Collaboration is most certainly the key to ensuring all children are raised in safe families by 2040. Watch this space for some exciting collaborations!

Indian FEAST in Clunes

Got your tickets yet? Matt Brice’s annual Indian FEAST is renowned as the yummiest fundraiser in Northern Rivers – no word of a lie!

Come and sample Indian street food with friends. Listen to live music & soaking in the afternoon setting sun. Followed by a 3 course Indian FEAST including sweets and Matt’s famous masala chai!

The FEAST will help us provide education and brighter futures to over 2000 children living in some of India’s poorest slums.