FAQs ABOUT SAFETY
At Travellers we recognise that your son or daughter’s placement in a far away country
may be a worrying time for you, and you may feel concerned about their safety. We
take your child's safety extremely seriously and do all we can to ensure that our
projects are safe and that 24 hour assistance is available to all our volunteers.
Greetings Travelers! Jackie and Alexis are back and we are having a South Africa party tonight to celebrate! Thank you for making it such a special and safe experience ... Thank you so much! Feel free to list me as a reference. Warmly, Linda
To help put your mind at rest we have compiled the Parent’s Safety Zone, dedicated
to YOU, our Travellers volunteers’ parents and guardians, with the most common questions
and answers listed below. It will hopefully answer some common safety questions
and give you some guidance on what you can do to help ensure your child has a safe,
worthwhile and enjoyable experience on their placement with us.
Risk Assessments: Before offering any of our projects, we do risk assessments of
the country and the project that cover safety, transport, accommodation and much
more. No-one can guarantee safety anywhere in the world, including on one's own
residential area, but we do try to minimise risk as much as possible. Neither can
we guarantee that the safety risks might not change between assessments, and change
quickly, but in the vast majority of our projects we have staff on the ground who
can and will react immediately to any changing safety scenario.
Travellers In-Country Staff: Unfortunately, sometimes people fall and sprain a muscle
or break a bone, sometimes they get mugged or have their possessions stolen. Sometimes
there are Tsunamis or a surge of civil unrest. All of these can be frightening,
and more so if you're in a foreign country. We have teams of Travellers staff in
all our destinations so that they can look after our volunteers in any and all situations.
In the one or two destinations where we don't have our own staff, we partner with
a local project organisation who delegates someone to look after the volunteers.
If you have any questions that have not been covered below, please don't hesitate
to contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone (+44 (0)1903 502595) - we are always happy to talk to you.
WHAT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS ARE TAKEN WHEN ARRANGING
We make sure all our volunteers have extensive information available to them before
they leave for their placement. Before they go we do the following:
- Discuss their Programme with them at length to ensure as far as possible that they've
made the right choice.
- Discuss their chosen country and what the cultural differences and social climates
- Provide them with an impressive array of information so that they have an in-depth
awareness of what's expected of them, the culture that they're going to, the facilities
that are available and those that may not be available, and much, much more.
- Provide them with a Safety Book that we have put together in-house. This has general
common-sense safety tips as well as some safety information on their specific destination country.
- Require that all volunteers have suitable travel insurance, before finalising flights or placements.
- Ask for records of vaccinations.
- Ensure that all volunteers complete medical and placement questionnaires before
they go. This is again to try to ensure that they've chosen the right Projects and
right Country - that their choices will fulfil what they are looking to gain from
doing the Programme.
- We inform relevant members of our overseas staff of any allergies or medical issues
that he/she may have.
- On arrival, our local teams give our volunteers an Induction and Introduction to
their new home. These Inductions include familiarising our volunteers with the local
culture, the how-to-do's, like using local transport, how to use the banks and ATMs,
how to use the phones, etc. The Induction also includes safety issues specific to
the region and also to the country.
The placement is well thought out
- even very detailed information on how to get
to the school and the mini-bus run given by Natalia. It made me feel more comfortable,
which is obviously very important when you start a placement in a foreign country
on your own.
(Kim, SA volunteer)
WHAT SAFETY INFORMATION DO YOU PROVIDE?
- During the arrangement of your child's programme, we allocate unique usernames and
passwords for our Extranet site. On this site they can access and download a safety
manual that has information about safety when travelling as well as a country manual.
- This gives details of their chosen country’s background, culture and customs. It
gives common-sense advice on what to do or not do to ensure that they minimise any
safety risks. It also provides advice on what to wear, local cuisine, traditions
and religions. We recommend a thorough reading of this manual for both the volunteer
and yourself as this information will help you grasp more of an understanding of
what your son/daughter will be experiencing.
- All volunteers receive a detailed Induction on arrival in their destination. The
Induction covers safety in the area as well as cultural norms and useful information
on living in their new temporary home.
- We also have safety advice in the Placement Guide and Country Factfile documents
which are also given to all our volunteers. Our information documents can't guarantee
safety, but they can help your child to take sensible precautions.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY CHILD ARRIVES IN THE COUNTRY?
- In most cases they will be met at the airport by a member of our staff and taken
to their accommodation.
- Your son/daughter will have been given a contact number in case of problems. Any
different arrangements would have been discussed with our office before departure.
- Soon after arrival, a member of our staff will give the volunteers a comprehensive
induction about the placement and a physical orientation of the local area. This
allows a smooth transition into their new surroundings and provides vital information
about how to conduct themselves and act appropriately within the community.
IS THE AREA SAFE WHERE MY CHILD WILL BE STAYING?
We monitor our destinations very carefully and make sure that safety is a priority!
Although nowhere on earth is 100% safe, our procedures and documentation are in
to give advice and prevent your son/daughter of being in danger when it can be avoided.
When circumstances in a country do change (which is very rare!), as happened recently
in Kenya with its civil unrest, we have procedures in place to offer our volunteers
alternative placements in another country, as well as procedures to move them out
of the country if we deem it necessary for their safety.
HOW SAFE IS THE ACCOMMODATION?
Our country Managers have checked our accommodations out thoroughly for health and
safety and are on call for our volunteers with any queries or concerns they may
have. Accommodation is often basic in most countries but suitable for the needs
of our volunteers. We also study all feedback from our volunteers to ascertain whether
additions to the existing amenities can or should be provided.
Our volunteers usually stay with host families or in hostels where other Travellers
stay. Sometimes we have houses or apartments that we rent and that are shared by
our volunteers. This gives added security of having other like-minded people around
and sometimes your son/daughter will meet other Travellers, who will be able to
pass on their wisdom and stories about their own adventures.
Nearest Hospital, Police Station?
With all of our projects, we make sure that the best options for emergency contact
are readily available to our volunteers. These are usually provided in the Induction
they receive on arrival and are also on posters which have been hung on boards or
walls in their accommodation. Similar information is also in the documentation they
are provided with during the arrangement process.
HOW WILL MY CHILD GET TO AND FROM HIS/HER PROJECT
- Volunteers may be taken to and from their accommodation and the project with other
volunteers by bus, van or a mini-bus by drivers whom we vet before we employ.
- On many projects our volunteers make use of public transport. If this is the case,
then full instructions are given and volunteers are usually taken on their first
trips by our staff.
- All public transport links used have been thoroughly tried and tested by one of
our staff members for safety.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MY CHILD BEFORE THEY LEAVE?
- Encourage them to read all the documentation supplied by Travellers - this is very
important because it contains lots of vital information that they will need both
before and during their programme. It will also ensure that they are prepared for
the type of culture and life they are about to embark on.
- Encourage them to get organised in advance by sending the UK office all of the information required. We need this information to ensure that your child's project will run smoothly. Some of the information we ask for is to satisfy ourselves that they have, for example, adequate insurance. Some of the information may be required for us to pass on to
our local staff, such as specific medical requirements, like allergies. Again, this
is to ensure that we act in the most effective manner should your child accidentally
consume something they are allergic to.
- Don't do it for them! Encourage them to do all the preparation themselves - this
is all part of gaining experience and independence and one of the many benefits
of doing a structured placement abroad.
- Visa application, vaccinations and insurance sometimes take time and if they need
your help with this, it's best to deal with these as soon as possible, instead of
trying to rush them a few days before your child's departure.
WHAT SUPPORT CAN WE EXPECT FROM TRAVELLERS?
Travellers have been sending volunteers overseas since 1994, which means that we
have a wealth of experience and good practice to draw upon.
We keep a constant watch on worldwide events and inform all of our staff about any
issues that could possibly affect our volunteers or the location they're in. We
are informed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as soon as there is a change to
their advice on our destination countries.
Our staff in the UK also keeps touch via email and our easily contactable local
and representatives will see to any concerns or questions the volunteer may have.
And of course, our UK office is always here if our volunteers have any questions
or concerns that can't be dealt with by our overseas staff.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?<
Our emergency phone number (0771 753 2522) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week, for volunteers and their families.
The overseas Travellers team is always available for help in an emergency and can
provide support and a friendly, comforting face. We have a UK team in the office
Monday to Friday 9.30 to 5.30 to answer any calls from volunteers overseas who have
problems with flights, money etc.
CAN I CONTACT YOU?
Yes, please do. We are very happy to speak with you, so please contact us if
you have any further questions. However, please remember that due to data protection
laws we are only allowed to discuss our volunteer’s details with the volunteer him/herself,
unless he or she gives us their permission to talk to a parent or third party. This
is so that we protect your son/daughter’s personal information!
AND FINALLY ...
The vast majority of our volunteers have a safe and enjoyable placement,
without any problems. However, you may rest assured that should a problem arise,
Travellers Worldwide will do their very best to resolve the issue.