Currently around 2 million Christians travel on international short-term missions trips each year. Motivations for these trips vary. Among those making the trips are individuals who are passionate to make a difference, organizations seeking to cultivate relationships with supporters, and students seeking to learn about the world and increase their experience.
In recent years, more and more travelers and short-term mission groups are volunteering in residential care facilities with children. Although good intentions underlie this response, there are significant concerns with sending and receiving volunteers to interact with vulnerable children.
The Faith to Action Initiative recognizes short-term missions and global volunteering as an important means for participating in God’s good work around the world. We encourage volunteer participation in activities that support local caregivers and strengthening the community to support children.
An important first step to supporting long-term, sustainable care for orphans and vulnerable children through short-term volunteering is to be informed. The resources below are helpful for those who are passionate about improving care for vulnerable children and families, are committed to excellence, and seek to respond in ways that are aligned with biblical principles. Although the views and opinions expressed in these resources do not necessarily reflect those of Faith to Action, they provide an introduction to the topics at hand.
Protecting Children in Short-Term Missions: A Guidance Manual and Toolkit for Churches and Christian Organizations (ACCI International Missions and Relief)
Caring for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Session 5: Short-Term Missions (Faith to Action Initiative)
Better Volunteering Better Care (Better Care Network and Save the Children UK)
Be a ChildSafe Volunteer (ChildSafe Movement)
Are Good Intentions Good Enough? Protecting Children in Short-Term Missions (Rebecca Nhep, ACCI’s CEO of International Programs, and an Advisory Group member of Faith to Action)
Orphanage Volunteering – Why to Say No (Better Volunteer Network)
Orphanage tourism: help or hindrance? (The Telegraph)