Another Must See Documentary:
This is a timely documentary that needs to be shown to volunteers going overseas and the agencies that support them. There is a vital need to provide adequate safety and sensitivity training for volunteers to create a better and safer experience for all.
Volunteers Unleashed shows the stark reality of supposed “do good projects” and deeds that have another underbelly of incompetence and a lack of up front and specific training which puts volunteers and the people they are working with at risk. In Costa Rica, where I grew up, there was ample opportunity to see some of the problems that arose from mostly well meaning, poorly trained volunteers who made a number of cultural and even safety mistakes.
Others came with a lack of sensitivity and had preconceived prejudices. The effect on the Costa Ricans with whom they came in contact with were long lasting and made a unpleasant situation for other groups coming in later. I would like to congratulate the Producer Brad Quenville and the others featured and involved in Volunteers Unleashed as well as CBC Doc Zone for making and promoting this important documentary. Be sure to watch the Broadcast Premiere of Volunteers Unleashed on CBC TV’s Doc Zone :
Thursday, March 19 at 9 pm/9:30 pm NT “Once the domain of international NGO’s, like CUSO or Peace Corps, overseas volunteering has privatized and gone mainstream, attracting millions of young travelers. Volunteers Unleashed follows volunteers to South America, Southeast Asia and Africa, showing how “voluntourism” has become the fastest growing and the most contentious travel sector.
Leading this story is 22-year-old Pippa Biddle, who after a series of voluntourism experiences over 6 years, posted a critical blog. It went viral, with over 15 million hits, and instantly launched her as the poster child against privileged young white women volunteering overseas. In Tanzania we follow a new intake of western volunteers as they travel, party and volunteer.
Among them are untrained medical volunteers, eager for experience, who tackle procedures beyond their training or ability, and potentially put a patient’s life at risk. In Cambodia, a former UK Police Detective Eric Meldrum, and investigative reporter Juliana Ruhfus, show the link between the volunteers working in orphanages, and the exploitation of the very children they have come to help.
In an Ecuador animal refuge, we see a profit-driven voluntourism company prey on volunteers’ good intentions. Volunteers Unleashed shows dramatically that going overseas with good intentions, does not guarantee good will be done. Inspired by his daughter Jennica’s life changing experience as a volunteer in Tanzania in 2012, Vancouver filmmaker Brad Quenville (The Dolphin Dealer, Ice Pilots, Pyros, Highway Thru Hell) went back to Africa with his daughter and DOP Kyle Sandilands to shoot and develop the documentary.
Volunteers Unleashed is directed, produced and written by Brad Quenville, Line Produced by Patti Poskitt, and Narrated by Ann-Marie MacDonald.”
Source for preview and photos Helen Yagi