Are we witnessing the death of orphanage tourism?

Claire Bennett is the co-founder of Learning Service and the co-author of new book Learning Service: The Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad. In this article she asks readers to:

  • Stop supporting, donating to, or sending volunteers to orphanages or residential care institutions for children.
  • Actively campaign for your government to bring in legislation around modern slavery in the travel industry.
  • Raise awareness about this issue.



Why does it keep happening?

The orphanage business continues to harm the children it is supposed to protect. WHY DOES IT KEEP HAPPENING?

:: Donations give orphanage owners financial incentives to stay open and to find new recipients.

:: Many people still believe that orphanages are necessary and provide adequate care for children.

:: Local systems are slow to change in response to new studies on the harm of institutions.

Funding to orphanages in Nepal could be better used elsewhere.

90% of orphanages receive funding solely from outside Nepal. When investment goes into orphanages, the result can be a lack of funding for developing family-based alternatives and preventing separation.

Research shows the cost of orphanages can be 11x the cost of social services provided to vulnerable families and 3x the cost of professional foster care.

Funding orphanages is often harming the children it aims to help.


:: Expose children to serious harm, neglect and abuse.

:: Children have a lack of access to health, sanitation, nutrition and education.

:: Can seriously impact a child’s physical and psychological development.

:: Lead to higher rates of homelessness, suicide and crime.

:: Greatly increase the mortality rate of children with disabilities.

:: Are often much more expensive than family or community-based care.

:: Recruitment for orphanages can often involve removing children from families or even result in trafficking.

There are better ways to help vulnerable children than funding orphanages.

Family & community support programs:

:: Have been shown to cost less money per child while achieving better outcomes.

:: Prevent family separation and protect vulnerable families.

:: Provide children with a loving home and continuous care from an adult caregiver.

:: Address barriers and stigma that affect the care of children with special needs.

:: Moving children from institutions and into family care before age 2, resulted in dramatic developmental gains.

* Thanks for the info & images Elevate Children


Hope is on the horizon

Hope is on the horizon for tackling orphanage trafficking
By Chloe Setter | Lumos Foundation

‘It’s hard to believe there are people in the world who deliberately recruit children into orphanages in order to make money. Yet running an orphanage can be a lucrative trade. Vulnerable ‘orphans’ attract funding, donations and international volunteers.’


Best of luck & good wishes to our SEE students

Best wishes to everyone completing their Secondary Education Examination this week – especially Krishna, Mukesh, Sangeeta, Anita, Abinash, Sarita, Rashila and Homnath! SEE is the final examination for secondary school in Nepal.

We’re thinking of you & sending lots of love…

“May your dreams be larger than mountains and may you have the courage to scale their summits.” ~ Harley King

Share Dal Bhat with friends

It’s Harmony Day! Keep spreading kindness and love one another. Share delicious Dal Bhat with friends. Enjoy your day Herd. We love you!

Share Dal Bhat with friends…

Wash and soak 2 cups of Basmati or Long Grain rice for 5 minutes. Drain rice then boil in 4 cups of water over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Add butter and fluff with a fork. Cook covered on low heat for further 5 minutes. Set aside. Your Bhat (rice) is done!

Your Dal (lentils) need to be washed and soaked for 10 minutes. Drain lentils then bring to the boil in 4-5 cups of water – add fragrant spices & delicious flavours: ½ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp asafoetida, ¼ tsp jimbu and 1 tbs ginger paste. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

In another pan fry ¾ cup of sliced onions with 1 tsp minced garlic and 2 chillies (to taste) in butter. Stir through lentils before serving.

Serve Dal with Bhat and you have Dal Bhat!

NOTE: Jimbu is the dried leaves of a local Nepali onion species and chives can be substituted. Asafetida (also known as Devil’s Dung or Stinking Gum) is a gum that comes from giant fennel sap. It stinks! You can use onion or garlic powder as a substitute.

How to talk to kids about world trauma

The world is such a small place now. When bad things happen the news can easily and quickly travel to our children, wherever they are. This article by Karen Young on Hey Sigmund offers some ideas for conversations that can help them feel safe, and to trust that the world is full of good people who want them to grow up feeling part of a humanity that is loving and good, despite the few that might make the world feel scary sometimes.


Better the balance – better the world!

Women’s participation in decision-making, leadership and peace-building is essential for Forget Me Not to fulfil our mission to raise children to be thriving, vibrant and connected to family, community and opportunity. We are proud of our work, our team and each other. Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.

Better the balance, better the world.

2019 Colour Stampede tix online now

Tickets are on sale now for our 3rd Annual Colour Stampede!

Forget Me Not Change Agents Olivia Hay and Thomas Biden are once again hosting an awesome community fundraiser full of colour, good vibes, live music, yummy food and lots of laughs!

10am Sunday 2 June 2019
Susan River Homestead Adventure Resort, Hervey Bay

We would love you to be there & bring your favourite people!

Early Bird $25 until 30 April
General Admission $35 available online until 31 May
$45 General Admission tickets may be available on the gate 2 June

Group Bookings
A group discount may be available for this event. To make a group booking, please email ​

Donations $2 & over are Tax Deductible. Thank you for your generous support.

For more information and FAQs visit ​

NZ lawyer describes voluntourism as a ‘colonial mentality’

Aukland lawyer Hannah Reid describes voluntourism as a ‘colonial mentality’ reports Brittany Keogh at stuff.

“Reid’s concerns about New Zealand school groups volunteering overseas are in the same vein as critics’: it relies on a lack of qualified locals, and instead of teaching a man to fish – so to speak – the volunteer industry is built on communities not being self-reliant. 

​She says schools should ask two questions: “could the students do this in New Zealand, and would the students do this in New Zealand?”

If the answer to both those questions is no, why would going overseas make it suddenly ethical?”


Why I became an advocate against orphanage care

Australian blogger Isabella Da Ruos, aka The Ethical Wanderer shares her awakening and whole-hearted embodiment of Maya Angelou’s inspiring: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

“Whilst not all orphanages are corrupt, the one thing all orphanages have in common is the inevitable and inherit psychological and emotional impacts that are placed on children… The truth is exactly that, that despite the intentions of orphanage directors, whether they be kind or corrupt, child-family separation causes significant harm to a child’s welfare and future.”