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Can you take photos on solidarity trips? Yes, but responsibly!

Can you take photos on solidarity trips? Yes, but responsibly!

a girl from kenya project. The photo is positive and transmits strength.

We visit incredible, exotic places, we meet exciting people and the temptation is great… why not take a photo to remember our trip forever? But, before giving the "click", we must think twice! What seems like a harmless act can have negative consequences for many people and environments. So our position is clear: yes, you can take photos during our solidarity trips, but not in any way!

On your sightseeing tours...

1. Always, always, respect the rules.

Surely you have ever visited a place where photos were prohibited and you have seen people giving everything with their cameras. What if? Well, it's not a responsible attitude. If a museum, site or nature reserve prohibits taking photos, we must respect it without exception. The reasons can be many: prevent works from deteriorating, scaring animals, interrupting religious practices, etc. For example:

  • In the church of San Juan de Chamula, near San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico, you cannot take photos, since special services are held.
  • In Varanasi, the sacred city of India, you cannot photograph the crematoria. 

2. Do not take photos with animals

If you're going on a safari, don't let your guide invade the animals' natural space so tourists can take up-close photos. In towns and cities they may offer you take pictures with exotic animals in exchange for a tip. Never do it. You will be collaborating with their exploitation and mistreatment.

In Bolivia, photos of the animals are only taken on the last day of volunteering.

3. If you want to photograph a person, ask their permission

If he doesn't speak your same language, show him the camera and wait for his answer. Even if he says yes, do not abuse his kindness and, above all, make sure that the photo respects his integrity and does not objectify it as another "tourist attraction". If they tell you no, don't insist!

4. Before shooting, think about what the photo will convey

Can you give a wrong image of the country, its customs or people? If it is about countries of the South, make sure your photos don't victimize, but that they convey a respectful and dignified image of the people who inhabit it.

5. Boys and girls

It is a very sensitive issue. First of all, we must ask their parents or guardians for permission to photograph them. If we want to share the images on networks, we must also notify you and have your consent.

6. Moderate

Photos are a great memory of your trip, but we should not abuse them. Take some photos, yes, but don't spend the 90% of your time taking pictures that you'll probably hardly ever see again. Save your camera or mobile, watch and enjoy.

In the NGO in Peru, photos are only taken on the day of the "show".
In the NGO from Peru, photos are only taken on the day of the "show".

During your volunteering in NGOs…

1. Each NGO has its own rules regarding photos

If they are not explained to you, ask your coordinator for them to avoid falling into irresponsible practices. For example:

  • In the Bolivian animal rescue center They only let you take photos of the animals on the last day of volunteering. In addition, the images They cannot encourage "mascotism", so that volunteers in most cases cannot take photos with the animals in their arms. 
  • In the Solidarity nursery in India with which we collaborate, volunteers cannot take photos. they make them the project coordinators and then share them.
  • In the Little school in Cusco, Peru, Photos can only be taken on Fridays. the day in which children and volunteers participate in an educational and playful event called "show". 

India Nursery: Only coordinator people take photos
indian nursery: Only the coordinators take photos.

2. Ask permission

 To your coordinator or coordinator before taking any photo.

3. A picture is worth a thousand words

Take care of the message they give! Your photos should express commitment, solidarity, camaraderie, respect, etc. Never take photos that could lead to misunderstandings: for example, that express the superiority of the person who comes from the “developed” country over that of the child from the South; or that they give a wrong image of the volunteering you are doing.

4. Show what a solidarity trip is in your networks

A solidarity trip is fun, yes, but make no mistake... it also has a part of important volunteering which, according to the project, involves working for several hours for a cause. Also show that part in your photos! If you only post photos of tourism, with the people you have met, at parties, etc. you will be transmitting a wrong image of what solidarity trips are.

And when in doubt, always, always, ask!

Ask permission before photographing people on the street.
Ask permission before photographing people on the street. photo in Cambodia.

Finally, if you want to collaborate with small NGOs in countries of the South, immerse yourself in their reality and learn as much as possible, take a look at the solidarity travel that offers Tumaini!

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