As “voluntourism” has grown in popularity so have criticisms against it. Questions have been raised regarding who actually benefits when young untrained people travel abroad to help impoverished communities. Voluntourism has been described as being ineffectual at best and harmful at worst.

 

The Instagram account Savior Barbie is the most recent thing to call out voluntourism. Created a month ago, Savior Barbie has gone viral and the account now has over 87,000 followers. “Jesus. Adventures. Africa. Two worlds. One love. Babies. Beauty. Not qualified. Called. 20 years young. It’s not about me…but it kind of is.” reads the Savior Barbie’s bio. Through photos, the account tells the story of a Barbie running an NGO somewhere in Africa. Even though the NGO provides drinking water to locals, Savior Barbie spends most of her time taking photos stylized in posed that have come to be associated with voluntourism.

 

The anonymous women behind the account have had experience working in East Africa and are self-professed “former white saviors.” They draw from their own experience as inspiration for Savior Barbie. Satire can be a powerful tool in getting people to view things critically; here are five of Savior Barbie’s most poignant posts.

  1. Africa is a country

The people living in the country of Africa are some of the MOST beautiful humans I have ever laid eyes on. I feel so insignificant next to my new friend Promise. She has no running water, no makeup, no clothes but the ones she herself has sewn, and no strict diet to follow – her figure is kept flawless because she is in a constant state of malnutrition. She has nothing, but she still has raw beauty and Jesus – and now me! #newfriends #soulsister #loveothers #called #change #soul #africa #whitesavior #hero #reddirt #orphans #blessed #povertyporn #twoworlds #oneheart #greatwhitehope #disciplethestreets #likes #forlikes #followme #mission #hereiamlord #blessed #purpose #thirdworld #stayprayedup #God #africa #barbiesavior

A photo posted by Barbie Savior (@barbiesavior) on

  1. Taking photos with orphans

  1. Can you believe they have coffee here?!?

  1. The $100,000 donation

We are SO thankful for our recent $100,000 donation! We thought it most prudent to spent 60% of it on this baby! I truly believe the designer pink will propel our ministry forward in a way a typical drab color could not. SO blessed!!!! Now we can collect those tears faster then ever! Or was it teach? Or give out shoes? Whatevs. We can do what we feel is necessary faster than ever!!! #4wheelfashion #cruzinforabruisin #zoomaluyah #driven4him #fourwheeldrivesavior #cruisincrusader #wheelinanddealin #dealinlovethatis #allidoiswinwinwin #iwouldwalk500miles #butletsberealidratherdrive #blessed #lowridinsavin #givemethattoottoot #givemethatbeepbeep #myremixtoignition #hotNfreshonmymission #itsthefreakinweekendbabyimabouttosavemesomechildren #bouncebouncebounce

A photo posted by Barbie Savior (@barbiesavior) on

  1. I’m from the West, so it all works out

  1. Tears for Africa

  1. When Barbie caught malaria

 

What do you think of Savior Barbie? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or telling me on Twitter @rafeeeeta