“Orphanage Tourism” tackled by JK Rowling’s charity via social media

The Harry Potter author says people are unwittingly fuelling the exploitation of children by volunteering and visiting orphanages abroad.

Joe Lepper | 4th Nov 19
Volunteers with a child from an orphanage

JK Rowling’s charity Lumos has launched an online campaign to warn the public about the problem of “orphanage tourism”, which affects vulnerable young children globally.

The campaign is called #helpingnothelping and includes social media, video and web promotion to target gap year students in particular.

Young people are being warned that volunteering in orghanages in the developed world is not helping children. Instead “it fuels an industry where children are used as tourist attractions and, in some cases, trafficked and exploited”, according to JK Rowling’s charity.

Lumos said: “There are some places you should never be a tourist. Orphanages are one of them.”

The campaign is focusing heavily on using social media to urge people to share the campaign’s messages with the hashtags #HelpingNotHelping and #EndOrphanageTourism.

A dedicated Helping Not Helping website has been created offering a range of ways the public can raise awareness of the cause. This includes providing an email template to be sent to schools, colleges and universities calling for a ban on promoting “orphanage tourism”. Links to share the campaign’s messages via Twitter and Instagram are also provided via the campaign’s website.

Youtube promotion

In addition, a short Youtube film has been produced showing the impact of orphanages on children.

“Decades of research show that children placed in orphanages suffer emotionally, educationally and developmentally compared to children raised in families,” said the charity.

“Sadly, the very presence of volunteers in orphanages contributes to these factrs and is driving the unnecessary separation of children from their families.”

Lumos started supporting children in 2006 after its founder, Harry Potter author JK Rowling becoming increasingly concerned at the treatment of children in institutions globally.