Phoebe Everingham, RHD student* - University of Newcastle
Volunteer tourism is steeped within a development framework of helping those less fortunate. Volunteers typically come from developed countries and 'help' less off communities in the developing world. These development aims and objectives promoted by the industry of volunteer tourism leads to unrealistic expectations of the volunteers and perpetuate the binaries of the modernization development discourse. Not all volunteer organizations however are pushing this development agenda. This paper is based on empirical research conducted at La Bibloteca -a small scale volunteer organization in Ecuador which runs an interactive library for local children of various socio-economic backgrounds. Encouraging children to read for pleasure and creative play is integral to the program. Volunteers 'host' a space where local people and volunteers can participate in intercultural communication. Yet alleviating poverty is so embedded within the expectations of volunteers that that other community development and learning objectives become sidelined and thus devalued by the volunteers.
Keywords: Volunteer Tourism, modernization discourse, volunteer expectations, poverty alleviation