A forthcoming documentary critically examines the “voluntourism” industry, and its effect (or lack thereof) on the communities it purports to help.
When Cassandra Herrman first visited East Africa as a volunteer in her twenties, she was enamored. Because of this, she understands the impulse that has fueled the so-called voluntourism industry, which is now valued at $2 billion and has attracted 1.6 million volunteers/tourists last year.
These days, Herrman is part of a growing number of voices that are critical of the voluntourist phenomenon and the general victim-savior imagery of Africa that pervades Western culture. Her forthcoming documentary Framed is an indictment of this perception of Africa, which Herman says fails to give the supposed recipients of this goodwill any agency in finding their own solutions.