Give the Gift of Empowerment

In Nepal, orphanages attract countless voluntourists and their donations each year. While good-intentioned, donors are unknowingly supporting the ‘orphanage trade’: an industry removing children from their homes with the promise of a better life and profiting from fee-paying volunteers. As well as reuniting children with their families, Forget Me Not empowers young people with skills to earn an income in the tourism industry. The gift of empowerment – Nepal

This gift reunites youth in Kathmandu with their families, supports them to meaningful employment and educates travellers about the dangers of orphanage tourism. 

Global Gifts invest in communities rather than packaging. 100% of your gift goes straight to the project. Plus, The Intrepid Foundation match all donations. Double the giving, double the impact. 

There are about eight million kids living in orphanages around the world, but it’s estimated 80 per cent of them aren’t orphans at all. Forget Me Not wants that to change and The Intrepid Foundation are backing us!

The Ethical Tourism Collective is working on five sustainable alternatives to voluntourism. Each member of the project team has first-had experience of orphanage tourism and now will be the ones to co-design and deliver an ethical alternative. Something that rewards the generosity of travellers, rather than exploiting it.


Modern Day Slavery and Orphanage Tourism

Orphanage tourism is where tourist interactions with ‘orphaned’ children are central to traveller itineraries and experience making in less-developed contexts.

While appealing to the desire of tourists and volunteers to ‘do good’ while travelling, underlining orphanage tourism is the fact that the vast majority of children (over 80%) in orphanages and allied care institutions are not orphans. Instead, children are often placed in institutions due to poverty and hardship, and as victims of human trafficking.

In some cases, orphanages can be for-profit enterprises, where the commodification of good intentions begins and becomes embedded in the tourism supply chain. Children are becoming tourist attractions and the focus of tourist consumption, leading to orphanages as sites of tourism production and consumption.

The first of its kind, this book highlights exploratory research that examines the links between modern slavery practices and orphanage tourism.
Contributors include academics and practitioners with a long engagement in advocacy for the rights and protection of children and research into sustainable and responsible tourism. Written in an accessible manner that appeals to a broad audience.

This book will appeal to researchers interested in the areas of tourism, human geography, development studies, childhood studies, law and social justice, as well as those interested in responsible and sustainable travel. Practitioners, policy makers and civil society groups working at the vanguard of tourism expansion and communities in less-developed contexts – particularly where labour rights transgressions, human exploitation and trafficking are prevalent – will also find the book insightful.

Edited by: 
Joseph M Cheer, Wakayama University, Japan
Leigh Mathews, ALTO Consulting, Australia
Kathryn E. van Doore, Griffith University, Australia
Karen Flanagan, Save the Children, Australia

November 2019 | Hardback | 184 Pages | 9781789240795


Amika is happy at home!

We 💛 Facebook memories!!

Amika has been home for 3 years now and is enjoying Yr 8 at a local school which is just a five minute walk from home!

She’s learning life skills with her family that we often take for granted like cooking family meals, cutting the grass and washing clothes.

Her case was officially closed in October this year.

Amika is thriving, vibrant and connected to family, community and opportunity!

Thanks mighty Herd 🙏

A message of freedom from Sita

A message of freedom – from Sita

“November 18…!!!

Don’t know where to start?

7 years back we started a beautiful journey to free ourselves from the orphanage. We fought back for our rights to family, love and above all we asked for our freedom from the abusive orphanage…

And here we are today standing on our own with the supportive hands. We went through a lot during the stay at the orphanage and had to experience 8-9 years being orphan but those difficult times made us who we are and where we are today.

Now we all are independent, some sister are about to graduate. Some are working as Change Agents to bring awareness about orphanage trafficking and some of us are still on our way to graduate. We are always grateful to each one of you who really helped us during our journey. Without you all it wouldn’t have been possible.

We are so fortunate to all the brothers and sisters of Forget Me Not and The Himalayan Innovative Society for being on our journey. Without your support, love and care, this would not have been possible.

Sincere thanks to our family in Australia and to Eva dee for being on this journey at the start. It’s a great honour to have you all in our lives. We are the luckiest daughters.

We would also like to thank the Nepal Government (Central Child Welfare Board) for rescuing children from abusive orphanages and giving their identity and biological family back.



Why not celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month?

Here’s a thoughtful and personal perspective from someone with firsthand experience of adoption who is thriving and courageous to share her story with us. 🙏

As an adoptee, everyone asks Stephanie Drenka how she’ll be celebrating National Adoption Awareness Month. Even the name irks her.

“… to me, this month feels like being at a wild party and losing something in the crowd. You try calling for help – asking others to join in your search – but the music and festivities drown out your voice. Your interruption is not only unwanted; it is unacknowledged. This party is not for you.” 


Nederlands say NO to orphanage voluntrourism


In March this year FMN Co Founder and Griffith Academic Dr Kate van Doore and Dr Kristen Cheney gave expert evidence at a Dutch Parliamentary Roundtable on orphanage tourism examining what should be done to curb funding and tourism from the Netherlands into orphanages.

The Dutch government has now introduced new travel advice strongly discouraging orphanage volunteering and warning of dangers of orphanage tourism and trafficking.

They have introduced specific advice for 13 countries, including Nepal, Cambodia, Kenya and Uganda. The work is continuing with research on funding streams and Dutch nationals’ participation in such activities!


This is what happens when academia, NGO’s and government collaborate together to form evidence based policy.

Kudos to Patricia Nieuwenhuizen of Better Care Network Netherlands and Rob Oliver and Michelle Oliel of Stahili Foundation for keeping this on the agenda in the Netherlands! 

Proud as punch to witness Hannah’s fashion showcase!


FMN Project Manager Patrick Ruhweza was proud as punch to be at the recent fashion showcase of Hannah’s awesome original designs! 👏👏👏

Hannah has been studying fashion design at university and will be our first uni grad for our Ugandan cohort thanks to generous donations and loads of love & support from people like YOU! Thank you 🙏

“I was thrilled to attend an exhibition of Hannah’s work. She emerged the overall winner and her lecturers whispered to me that she is going to graduate with a first class degree.

She introduced me as her father and I was a proud father as I joined the team to cheer her up. I am overjoyed by her success and hardworking.

Thank you for supporting her and our strategy of walking with our children through their dream has yielded good results…..I can’t wait to see more.

She has led the way as we wait for our nurses, hoteliers and plumbing technicians to graduate next year.

Hannah will graduate with a CGPA of 4.6 which is a super first class degree. She will make history on her graduation day on 26th October as she becomes the first student in her course to score that much.

Cheers to you our donors and thanks to FMN for translating donations into success for our children❤️❤️❤️

~ Patrick Ruhweza, FMN Project Manager 🇺🇬

Donate today & help more young people achieve their dreams. 

2019 Cycle for Brighter Futures – highlights!

Say ‘Hi!’ to our pedal-powered heroes! This is the awesome crew that cycled from Fort Kochi to Trivandrum and raised money for projectHELP 🚲 🇮🇳 🌴

Day 1 #onyabike Cycle for Brighter Futures 🇮🇳 

From flower crowns & beards to a delicious homemade Indian feast by Puja to Malayalam Kathakali make-up and theatre story-telling to Kerala style jumbo prawns on the waterfront… our first day was magnificently long!!

Everyone was excited to get our two-wheelers the next day & take them for a spin 🚲 

Day 2 #onyabike Cycle for Brighter Futures 🇮🇳 

After delicious brekky our pedal-powered heroes tested their deadly-treadlies on the streets of Kochi and enjoyed another Kerala-style home-cooked feast!

Time was taken to rest up before cycling at sunrise the next day.

If you were in Kerala you may have recognised some of these faces on the evening news bulletin or in the newspaper!

Day 3 #onyabike Cycle for Brighter Futures 🇮🇳

It was an early and flexible start before stopping for chai. Then we stopped for brekky. Then we stopped for coconut water! We certainly knew how to keep hydrated and happy! 🙌👏

Day 4 #onyabike Cycle for Brighter Futures 🇮🇳

We kickstarted our ‘day off’ in Alleppey with a delicious avocado smoothie! We loved the peace and calm chillaxing on our private houseboat cruising the backwaters and filling our bellies with local fresh produce cooked to perfection by our onboard chef👌 Back in the saddle early the next morning!

Day 5 #onyabike Cycle for Brighter Futures 🇮🇳

The crew were up and on the road early (after coffee/chai/lassi!) meandering along beachside streets waving to everyone brushing their teeth on the side of the road 😁 The villages and villagers were delightful! Stopped for chai and had a brekky break with ocean views 🙌 before hitting the highway! We arrived safely in Kollam and enjoyed a delicious home cooked welcome feast 👌 at our accommodation for the night.  Back in the saddle bright’n’early in the morning… 

Day 6 #onyabike Cycle for Brighter Futures 🇮🇳

Today the team cycled from Kollam to Varkala in challenging conditions 🌧 🚲 🌧 with smiles from ear to ear!

“One of the most spectacular days of my life! We rode for hours in the craziest pouring rain over bumpy wet roads that looked like rivers of chai… it was truly outstanding! It wasn’t easy and I did shed a few tears of pride and happiness in the moments where I sped down some hills alone.

I am so lucky to be alive and healthy enough to be able to do this trip with some truly amazing inspirIng and fun people & to have a family who supported me 100%”

Kate Curry, Pedal-Powered Hero 2019

Day 7-8 #onyabike Cycle for Brighter Futures 🇮🇳

We thoroughly enjoyed a couple of days off the bikes in Varkala! There was plenty of good food and juices, shopping and massages, sightseeing and surfing. We even had a surprise party to celebrate Dippy’s birthday 🍰

Day 9 #onyabike Cycle for Brighter Futures 🇮🇳

Our pedal-powered heroes arrived safely in Pallachallor – hot and sweaty and hungry!

This was our longest and last day of riding. We stopped for a few clicks at a beachside Fort and were pleased to report only ONE flat along the way!!

It was a treat to watch this roadside master whipping up a few Kerala Paratha 😋 


Our last dinner together was the perfect opportunity to thank the 2019 Trip Leader Puja who was brilliant and the ever-awesome local Nippy who kept us safe and entertained! 👏👏👏

What a wild and wonderful ride!

Day 10 #onyabike Cycle for Brighter Futures 🇮🇳

Our pedal-powered heroes headed home full of pride and grateful for this unique experience. Every cent raised goes to projectHELP – raising children to be thriving, vibrant and connected to family community and opportunity.

Thank you for your love and support.

Join us in 2020!!

We have a bike with YOUR name on it 😁