Before You Go
A big part of the process of ensuring that volunteers are prepared to take part in our program happens before they even leave home. It starts with our online registration, helping us to match you with suitable placement options, and providing you with a choice as to the type of placement you will work with.
Is it Safe?
Most volunteering organisations should have strict Risk Assessments, Emergency Action Procedures and insurance policies in place. This means that they should consider your safety a primary concern. Most areas are very safe and people extremely friendly. However, there is a lot of poverty around and people are sometimes starving and opportunistic. You will be safe if you are responsible for your self, if you listen to instructions and don’t go off alone without telling someone where you are going.
It is also important to remember that your health is at risk in a variety of ways and looking after your well being is just as important. Read the information that your trip adviser provides in a booklet emailed to you after booking confirmation and visit a travel clinic to get up to date health information and immunisations before you depart.
We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance, including health & medical and cancellation insurance. Be sure your insurance dates cover you from the date you leave your home country to the date you return home. Our travel partners can provide you with answers to any questions about insurance coverage.
Before leaving for your placement you will need to visit your local Travel Health Clinic or talk to your doctor regarding the suggested immunizations for your host country. Plan ahead for your vaccinations as some are administered over several weeks. Vaccines provide protection against diseases. If you enter countries where immunizations are required by law, you must present a record of vaccinations. The most widely recognized document for this purpose is the yellow World Health Organization booklet, which is available from most doctors and health centres. All vaccinations should be recorded in this booklet. Carry this document with your passport.
You should pack your own personal first aid kit to take with you on your placement. Be prepared for the common cold and for stomach disorders often caused by the change in diet. We provide a basic checklist for medical supplies in the orientation handbook.
Different countries require you to apply for different visas. If you are visiting East Africa for less than 90 days for example, you are required to have a tourist visa. You can get this as you come through at the airport immigration or apply for one before departure. You will need a letter from StayAway as well as proof of a return ticket and your passport (obviously). It is best that you deal directly with your assigned trip advisor on details regarding your requirements.
Generally the rule is the same no matter which passport you hold. The pricing of entrance visas varies from country to country. We recommend that you do all the necessary research before departure from home and try not to just get away with no visa- this could lead to you being deported from the country which is something we would not like you to experience.
Upon a successful booking for a project you will receive a volunteer handbook by email. Included in this kit will be your orientation handbook. This will include any recommended immunizations and other details that must be managed prior to departure. Program information such as currency exchange, access to internet/phone services, embassy contacts and emergency numbers in country are all provided.
It also consists of your orientation week itinerary, details about your host-country, an initial briefing, space to create your Volunteer Work Plan, a head start on language training and a suggested packing list.
We recognize that the task of raising funds will be a new challenge for most of our volunteers. That is why we have developed extensive fundraising support to help our volunteers learn this new skill and achieve their fundraising goals.
Our Fundraising Manual is designed to help volunteers develop and implement their fundraising campaign. It includes a time management tool, sample letters, an event financial planning tool and 25 ideas for fundraising events that have been successful for others in the past.
For many of our volunteers on teaching and social placements, this experience will be the first time that they have had to stand in front of a group and teach. While there are roles for teachers in many areas, by far the most requested are English teachers. We have designed our own manual that helps volunteers to become comfortable with some of the basics of teaching English as a foreign language. All volunteers working on a teaching or social placement will receive our TEFL Field Manual.
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Arranging Your Travel
Planning the travel for your overseas experience should as easy and efficient as possible. By getting in touch with any of online travel websites ( Expedia.com or Skyscanner.com ), you can be assured access to the best value options with a consultant who also understands your needs and the nuances of your program.
After your flights, travel insurance and other travel arrangements are made with please email us the details any changes to your travel plans quickly and effectively communicate to our program staff .
If you are arriving earlier than your booking arrival date and wish to be met at the airport and brought to your accommodation and receive an initial health and safety briefing, let your coordinator know and he/she will make sure all arrangements are made in advance.