Consuming Poverty: Volunteer Tourism in an Orphanage in Nepal

Amira Benali, Michel Oris

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This paper is about volunteer tourism in orphanages, more specifically in Nepal. While well-known for its mountainous landscapes, this country is one of the most popular destinations for this activity where business and humanitarianism contract a paradoxical union that is illustrative of the neo-liberal time. The commoditization of orphanages has increasingly raised serious ethical concerns, especially about the use of children as a tourist attraction. We seek to contribute to a critical approach and join the debate on orphanage tourism. We shed the light on an implicit and fundamental manifestation of domination in orphanage tourism: the business of poverty. Our critical perspective, however, also targets the assumption that orphanage business and some use of children as attractions are necessarily negative and always represents a form of modern slavery. Through the case study of an orphanage in Nepal and the triangulation of various data, we demonstrate that ambivalent situations exist
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModern Day Slavery and Orphanage Tourism
EditorsJoseph M. Cheer, Leigh Mathews, Kathryn E. van Doore, Karen Flanagan
Number of pages13
Place of PublicationWallingford
PublisherCABI Publishing
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9781789240795
ISBN (Electronic)9781789240801, 9781789240818
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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