We hear about hundreds of animal projects and believe us, we want to help them all! However, we made the very conscious decision to visit all of our Placement Partners before we send AEI clients to volunteer. This means there can be a few month delay first contact with the organization and being able to send volunteers. But trust us, visiting Placement Partner sites is important for you and the animals.
Why is it important for you?
We need to make sure we are able to speak about all the details of your Experiences.
We have visited all of the AEI Placements so we can tell you based on our experiences how the food is, what a volunteer day looks like, how to get a warm shower when no one else can, and many other hints and tricks. We want to be able to tell you personally about these Experiences so you can know that you are choosing the right place to visit and spend your time. We also want to make sure we are providing our Placement Partners with the very best volunteers who have realistic expectations of the Experiences. We can speak from experience about each Experience so can be completely transparent to everyone (clients and Placement Partners alike).
Why is it important for the animals?
We need to make sure we are only supporting ethical and humane centres and sanctuaries. Only by visiting can we can assure you all of our Placement Partners meet our high standards.
Unfortunately, we have witnessed some sanctuaries who were not operating for the humane treatment of their animals- they were operating for profit. Voluntourism has lead to some very sad lives for people and animals. In Cambodia 72% of the children in ‘orphanages’ still have one or both parents (findings from research conducted by UNICEF Cambodia). These children are brought to these orphanages and exploited, used as a commodity in which they can make money for the owners of the orphanages. This unsustainable and cruel industry is child exploitation and we are committed to not having any part of it. AEI will not support any industry that exploits people or animals. We recognize that not all orphanages are exploiting children, but knowing that happens means we have to be on our guard for people who want to exploit animals in ‘sanctuaries’.
Just as we wouldn’t buy a car without test driving, or shoes without trying them on, so we don’t partner with a group until we visit the field sites and take part in the Experience ourselves. Animals are being stolen from the wild and taken to ‘sanctuaries’ so people can come and volunteer with them. But you can rest assured, none of AEI’s Placement Partners are doing this.
The animals you volunteer with need your help and are receiving the most humane care possible.
THAT is why we have visited all of our Placement Partner sites and that is why we always will.
Nora and Dr. Heather