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I am a former middle and high school science teacher pursuing a doctorate in Science Ed. at George Mason University, with a concentration in cognitive science and the evolution of cognition and learning. Postings on this blog represent my own views, not those of my employer or school. All writing displayed on this page is original work unless otherwise noted, and thus copyrighted.

19 October 2009

Sham Charity...


An organisation called Orphan Outreach runs volunteer trips to the Dominican Republic, many of which are taken by public schools. This, at first glance, sounds like a wonderful idea. The issue I derive from this is that the founders of O.O. are not only religious (that's immaterial), but that they require the orphans to attend Pentecostal Church services nightly, according to their volunteer guide. Volunteers, of course, aren't mandated to attend, but then again they aren't the target here. On top of that, the volunteers are required to not only pay for the trip ($1600 for a week) and their own airfare, they're expected to bring a 50lb. suitcase of food to donate and give any flight coupons that might be received if they're bumped on a flight. Hmm... not that I have a problem with supporting the orphanage, but if I chose to go and volunteer, what would I have to pay $1600 for a week's worth of beans and rice and a place to sleep under a mosquito net in an open air building? What exactly does that money cover? Not to mention that fact that I would then get to pass through customs in a third world nation with 50lbs of food, and then identify myself as an American for a nice trip through an area where we're advised by the State Department not to travel alone or after dark. It sounds to me like, under the guise of a good cause, those who run this programme are financially exploiting the charitably minded and seeking to convert young children to their religion.

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