Today I wanted to point out an interesting documentary film, “Changing The World on Vacation: NGOs and The Politics of Compassion.”  Check out the trailer here.

CTW explores the “Volun-Tourism” industry, and the merger of adventure travel and humanitarian aid work.  Focusing on PEPY, a Cambodian based NGO doing very interesting educational development work, the documentary provides a fascinating overview of the incredible impact that a grassroots organization can have on a developing country, as well as some of the challenges and roadblocks that such groups face, especially in the political realm.

As a member of the LanguageCorps team, I found the documentary particularly relatable.  One of the best aspects Teaching English Abroad is the mutually beneficial nature of the experience.  Our teachers get to enjoy a unique adventure in another part of the world, while at the same helping people to acquire an important new skill, often in a disadvantaged community.  By helping people to Teach English in Cambodia and other developing regions, I believe that LanguageCorps is making a positive impact on the communities where our teachers work, as learning English is one of the simplest and most effective ways a person can break the poverty cycle.  Partially because of our work with organizations like the Cambodian Childrens Fund and New Day Cambodia and Cambodian ThreadsCambodia has always been particularly close to the heart of LanguageCorps, so it’s great to hear about other organizations that are doing good work in a region with such incredible potential.

For more information on “Changing The World on Vacation: NGOs and The Politics of Compassion” check out

EDITORS NOTE  7/26/12: Thoughts and reactions from Daniela Papi, one of the founders of PEPY, on some of the negative effects of short term volunteerism.

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