28 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MARCH 14-20, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com FILM Carmel Valley is home to many interesting people with largerthan-life stories. One of them is Barak Laub, an economist and filmmaker who grew up in the valley and returned to settle down again in 2013. In between, Laub spent months in India and Nepal riding a motorcycle. Along the way, he met a woman from Australia who first told him about Nepal’s orphanages acting as a cover for child trafficking. “It was crazy,” Laub says. “It wasn’t covered by the media and it was a major problem—not only in Nepal, but all over the world.” Laub interviewed the children and also volunteers, workers for nongovernmental organizations and experts in the field. Conditions were appalling at some homes. There were no activities, food was often spoiled and necessities—such as blankets or toiletries— were non-existent. Countless NGOs advertise online and Westerners are ready to pay thousands of dollars to be able to volunteer. Global “voluntourism” is a $3 billion industry. But few of these volunteers are vetted. There’s no background check when the volunteers arrive. The information Laub gathered gave him an idea. Taking a break to get a degree in political science and linguistics at Goethe Universitat, he returned to South Asia with a film project in mind. Laub produced and directed a 36-minute documentary, Volunteers Needed, that came out in 2023. On this trip, he was accompanied by Raymond Steege, co-director and co-producer. In the film, Laub focused on the people, trying to get as many voices as possible into the documentary short. People make the issue real. But, Laub says, “Awareness is not enough.” Still, a solution begins with awareness. Laub has already convinced the City of Carmel to issue a proclamation supporting the rights of children, which was approved by City Council in November 2023. His goal is for every town to issue such a proclamation so that Americans know the dangers of voluntourism. Laub also hopes to find more spaces and occasions to screen his film. He already presented the documentary in Carmel Valley and is working with the Rotary Club of Carmel to do another local showing. Barak Laub will be the guest for Mic’d Up at The Press Club at 12:30pm on Thursday, June 6 at the Creperie Cafe, 1123 Fremont Blvd., Seaside. More information at 901-3900, volunteersneededthefilm.com. COURTESY OF BARAK LAUB Traffic Pattern Carmel Valley man directs a documentary on Nepal’s fake orphanages and the problem of ‘voluntourism.’ By Agata Pop˛eda Barak Laub, a filmmaker and resident of Carmel Valley, talking to children from one of the fake orphanages in Nepal. Foreign volunteers pay thousands to work there. Monterey WEDDING EXPO EMBASSY SUITES in SEASIDE MARCH 24 | 12 -4PM Get 10% OFF your tickets Use QR link with code “MW-21” PHOTO BY: BALLESTEROS PHOTOGRAPHY Discount WIN PRIZES GET DISCOUNTS TRY SAMPLES BE INSPIRED 831.200.9700 • www.gocatrescue.org THANK YOU! Thanks to you, we raised $90,466 from 456 donors during the 2023 Monterey County Gives! fundraising campaign. And with the campaign match, our total check from Monterey County Gives! Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County was $101,292.89! You are awesome! Your generosity enables us to continue to help cats like Ivy who are 6 and older from Monterey County. If you would like to sponsor our next ad, please give us a call or email goldenoldiescats@gmail.com Neptune Want to meet Neptune? Please fill out our online adoption questionnaire. Things to love: approx. 6 years old 56 pounds - male - Labrador Retriever mix Neptune is your dream blend of a playful outdoor buddy and an indoor snuggler. Praised for his trust, manners and quick learning, he’s the perfect pal for active souls. He thrives in cat-free homes and is ready for your love! If you’d like sponsor our next ad, please give us a call. 831-718-9122 | www.PeaceOfMindDogRescue.org P.O. Box 51554, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 Ad sponsored by M.B.W.W.C. www.GoWhales.com