Orphanage Tourism in Nepal

Orphanage Tourism in Nepal

Poverty, Childhood, and the Rescue Industry

By Dr. Esther Bott

This book describes the social, cultural and economic backdrop of the growing phenomenon of orphanage tourism in Nepal.

EPUB, 250 Pages


January 2025

£25.00, $35.00

PDF, 250 Pages


January 2025

£25.00, $35.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links
  • Podcasts

About This Book

This book tackles, for the first time, the complex issues surrounding the phenomenon of orphanage tourism, which is a growing and highly lucrative tourism niche in Nepal and several other economically developing countries. The book explores the occurrence of orphanage tourism in Nepal – how it is experienced, understood, sustained, opposed and, crucially, how it shapes the lives of the children involved. Rather than exploring the motives of tourists who engage in volunteering in orphanages while on holiday as so much extant literature does, the book examines the factors that contribute to the emergence of commercial orphanages and the experiences of the children involved. A central concern is to illustrate the inadequate ways in which orphanage tourism is understood, framed and politicised, especially in terms of who is blamed for its prevalence and how various Western entities position themselves as agents of rescue. By examining Nepal’s socioeconomic and geopolitical landscape, as well as the role of Western international development and structural adjustment and the impacts of tourism, the book presents a deeper and more complete picture of the emergence of orphanage tourism and other forms of child labour.
Furthermore, by examining the everyday realities of life in Nepal, especially for children and young adults who grew up in contact with Western volunteers in commercial orphanages, the simplistic depiction of orphans as victims, who need saving from villains by heroes, is dismantled. The book is especially focused on showing how the historical and everyday realities of life for children compelled to work are all too often ignored, obscured and distorted in the interventionist discourse that is beginning to surround orphanage tourism. I will argue that common orphan tropes, imbued with desperation and vulnerability, are circulated, in no small way, towards predominantly fulfilling the agendas of various Western parties.


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Author Information

Esther Bott is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham.


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Table of Contents


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