Caring for children in orphanages or building classrooms has become a rite of passage for thousands of young people.

Buying the feeling of doing good

Teaching English to schoolchildren in India or building a community restaurant in Peru have become part of a fashionable – and expensive – rite of passage for thousands of young people each year.

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Giving back: Megan Speer, from Newcastle, is preparing to volunteer in a children's shelter in the Philippines for two months.

The rise of the voluntourist

Teaching English to school children in India or building a community restaurant in Peru have become part of a fashionable rite of passage for thousands of young people each year, but critics argue the commercialisation of volunteering is doing more harm than good to the communities they seek to help.

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The 'restored' Ecce Hommo painting.

Scorned artist behind 'Ecco Homo' turns celebrity

After an 83-year-old widow and amateur painter tried her hand at restoring a nearly century-old fresco of Jesus crowned with thorns in her local church here, she faced nothing but scorn and ridicule.

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