Projects Abroad volunteer on BBC News 24
British volunteer Georgina-Kate Adams last night gave a live television interview on BBC News 24 to counter recent media reports that have questioned the merit of gap-years.
An article in Tuesday's Times newspaper claims that in some cases students who take part in voluntary work overseas during their gap year can 'cause more harm than good'. A spokeswoman from VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), states that 'whilst we don't want to curb anyone's enthusiasm and the personal gain that comes from taking a gap year, volunteers have to be aware that whatever they do has an impact on the country they go to'.
Georgina-Kate, who spent one month working at a care home for orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa, followed by three months working in a Liberian refugee camp in Ghana, last night protested against these current claims. She said:
'How can it be said that volunteer placements don't benefit the communities they work in? I, along with fellow volunteers helped to refurbish an orphanage, worked alongside local volunteers to educate orphaned children about the risks and prevention of HIV/AIDS as well as writing for a human rights newspaper, to help liberate the Liberian refugee's by allowing them their basic human right to access the truth'.
In comeback to the VSO spokesperson's view that 'it is naïve of teenagers to think they can make a difference abroad', Georgina went on to say
'My gap year has taught me so much. I can now competently debate African politics and capably defend misconceptions about refugees and third world civilians. On a personal note, I have grown up a lot and my world outlook is now so much wider. I intend to continue to travel around the world and this trip has begun to give me the tools, understanding and empathy to do that'.
This news story includes references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.