A Note on Voluntourism

PDA tour appreciates that many overseas organizations or groups of people come to Thailand to help local communities. Some of these types of help come in the form of teaching foreign languages to Thai students or indigenous communities (tribal people).

We are concerned, however, that some of the voluntourists may actually be doing more damage to local culture than helping to preserve or strengthen it.

We feel that it is better if the visitors learned more from the local people rather than having the visitors teaching local people. If visitors come to teach local people, what do they intend to teach?

We feel that there are many things that they can learn from local people. We have many things to teach the visitors. This way, visitors will leave Thailand richer in knowledge and experiences. They will return to their countries knowing that even if local people did not attain high levels of education, there is still room for them to teach highly educated people.

Village people are not uneducated. They are merely educated in a different way. By learning from local people, we will be able to preserve local culture instead of change it.

We prefer benign types of assistance to local communities “ e.g. infrastructure development (painting of schools), installing piped water systems, or the construction of water-sealed toilets to name some examples. These types of activities improve the quality of life of local people.