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The Pros And Cons Of Volunteerism

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5. Conclusion

With this thesis I wanted to create a broader view on the systems behind all the critiques on volunteerism projects in order to contribute to projects that are both beneficial for volunteers as well as for host communities. The theoretical aim of this thesis was to contribute to the scientific debate on how volunteerism projects impact volunteers and host communities, through showing how this impact is influenced by processes of liminality and Othering. On top of that, I wanted to question the notion of “giving aid” as the starting point of volunteerism projects. The story represented two groups; volunteers and host communities, who joined volunteerism projects with good intentions. Some, however, unaware of the unintended consequences and how their expectations would work out.

5.1 The unintended consequences of the desire to help

It all started with one group of volunteers who had a specific interest in improving the waste-management in Bandung and another group of volunteers that wanted to teach English to children in the same region. They both found volunteering project from AIESEC that focussed on these interests and made their way to Indonesia. But, despite the focus of these projects on waste management and teaching English on paper, the projects turn out to be focussed on something as well in reality; the
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Both volunteers as well as host communities have to become aware of the Self in relation to the Other and let go of the connotations they have attached to each other, in order to create space for cultural understanding through entering a liminal world between cultures (Rabinow 1977). This creation of cultural understanding is, next to one of the aims of most volunteerism project, necessary for the creation of a volunteerism project that benefits host communities and volunteers at the same
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