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FAQ's

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Simply click on a frequently asked question to view the answer

 

Who Volunteers in Azma International Missions?

People of all ages, race, religion, gender and backgrounds, with a love of serving the less fortunate, around the world.

 

You don’t need to have a background in healthcare to volunteer in our missions. Mission teams are comprised of people in both the healthcare and non-health care work force, students, retirees and people who just love giving back. We invite all people with a passion to make a difference to join us in service.

Is it Safe to volunteer in Azma International missions?

Your safety is our top priority. Azma International has developed a network of partners and host families in the host countries, which allows us to conduct clinics in safe neighborhoods. During your volunteer orientation, we will provide you with useful information regarding safety precautions we recommend you take during your trip. In addition to these precautions, you can call us anytime here at Azma International and we will help you with anything you need. Remember, the staff at Azma are here to make your trip safe, so don’t be afraid to ask us questions!
Why do I have to pay to volunteer in missions?

Good question. As a volunteer you are already giving up your time and skills to help those in need, therefore many fail to see why they should ‘volunteer’ their money as well.

 

Volunteers pay a fee to Azma International, that covers the costs associated with their volunteer experience during mission trips. Costs from housing, meals, ground transportation during the mission, pre-trip planning and management by skilled mission coordinators and any planned tours/ excursions are included in your project fee.

Azma International missions and all our local partners in host countries are funded almost entirely by volunteer fees and therefore in order for the missions to take place, it is imperative we charge volunteers a fee. Local partners include local health providers, interpreters and other local staff assisting in different capacities in our mission clinics.

 

Therefore, your fee is actually a contribution that covers a wide variety of costs that are necessary to successfully run each mission.

What is the cost of volunteering in missions?

The project fee varies based on the mission trip you choose and country. Volunteers pay for the cost of travel and a project fee. We subsidize this rate to make it as low as possible.

To look at the fees for each country, go to our Booking Process and Cost page

What additional costs will I have?

The placement fee does NOT cover the following costs;

    • Airfare
    • Visa Fee
    • Vaccinations
    • Internet
    • Phone Calls
    • Daily Transport
    • Safaris and Tours

Do I need a visa to travel to a foreign country?

Every situation is different and depends on the country you are traveling to and your home nationality.However, in the large majority of cases you will have to get some type of visa. More country-specific information is provided on this when you sign up for a mission trip.

In most cases, you can purchase a visa at the airport on arrival. We will give you more information about this once we receive your application to volunteer with us, with country of choice.

Can I volunteer with a friend or partner?

Yes. Azma International can ensure you are placed in the same accommodation,if you are traveling with a spouse, friend, colleague or family member as a friend or partner. All we ask is that when you apply you make a note on the application form or email to us with your friend’s name stating you are volunteering together.

Can we volunteer as a group?

Yes. Azma International accepts group booking and can even organize custom projects and discount rates, please email us to find out more about a specific country.

Do I need specific skills or qualifications to volunteer?

Generally the most important skills needed are an open mind, hard working and a willingness to be a team player.  All volunteers will be trained in Azma International’s model of care before your trip, during orientation at the beginning of the mission trip and supported throughout the mission.

Medical professionals (Doctors, Dentists etc) should send us a copy of their license. Documentation attesting to this must be presented to us after applying for a medical missions.

Do I need to speak the local language to volunteer in a foreign country?

Only on some of our South and Central America placements. In these placements, the local staff will provide or organize basic language courses to assist you in your day to day activities and you will pick up a lot of phrases and terms over your volunteering period. It is always great to be able to converse in the local language!

In all the other placements, English is the only language you require.

Should I purchase travel insurance for my trip?

Although it is not mandatory to purchase insurance when participating in one of our volunteer programs, you might consider purchasing travel insurance. While Azma does everything it can to ensure that your trips goes smoothly, we recommend that you purchase a travel insurance policy just in case you get sick, your bags are lost, or something is stolen.

Is it safe to volunteer in these countries?

Yes, the vast majority of cities in these countries are safe to visit. We do our best to have our programs in towns that are safe for volunteers. Just like any other country, you have to use common sense and take appropriate precautions. There are tourist police officers whose work is to take care of you, the visitor. For example, make sure that your valuables are kept in a safe place. Always remember that while locals are generally very friendly, you are far richer and more fortunate than most local people you will meet, making you a tempting target for pickpockets. It is important to keep in mind that most tourists in these countries never experience any trouble. We will provide you with detailed information about security during your volunteer orientation.

Do I need any vaccinations before traveling?

Generally the only vaccination REQUIRED is Yellow Fever when you volunteer in Africa or visit the jungle in Peru, however we will send you a list of recommended immunizations when you sign up to your particular program. We recommend that all volunteers consult with their personal physician before travelling abroad, about immunizations and any prescription medicine you should be on.

How should I purchase my plane ticket to a foreign country?

There are several online search engines that offer competitive rates on airfare. We recommend comparing Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, and Booking Buddy.

What should I pack for my trip?

Try not to take too much! Once we confirm your placement in one of our programs, we will give you a list of items that we recommend you pack for your trip. Despite the fact that you are going to a developing country, almost anything you forget can be bought in the local shops and supermarkets. Volunteers often take extra supplies for the people they are working or living with. While we encourage this, it is better to purchase these things in your host country. Most things that can be bought in your home country are available in the major towns and big grocery stores as well. This means not only are you investing in your host country, it also saves you from paying for extra baggage!

How should I dress while in a foreign country?

Casual dressing is OK in most countries. It is, however, considered polite if you put on clothes that do not show too much skin, especially for women. T-Shirts and shorts are fine but tight and short skirts will attract a lot of attention. Loose fitting clothing that covers a reasonable amount of skin is ideal. You can bring a set of official clothes for church (if you attend church) and other such official occasions. Official does not mean that they have to be suits and the like, just tidy, smart clothes. Remember to check the weather in the country you will be in, in the period you will be there so you can pack accordingly.

What currency is used in my host country?

1. The currency for Kenya is the Shilling- US$1 is the equivalent of approximately 85 Kenyan Shillings.

2. . The currency for Peru is the Nuevo Sol – US$1 is the equivalent of approximately 3.05 Nuevo Sols

3. . The currency for Guatemala is the guatemalan quetzales- US$1 is the equivalent of approximately 7.64 guatemalan quetzales

 

There are exchange bureaus where you can change your money. ATMs accepting international DEBIT and CREDIT cards are widely available at the airport and in the town centers. Our recommendation is to take a debit or credit card (such as MasterCard or Visa) and withdraw money from ATMs as needed. This is the easiest and most cost effective way of withdrawing money and much safer than carrying a large amount of cash with you.

What should I expect on a normal volunteering day?

Day 1: On the first day of the volunteering placement, a local staff member will escort you to the project and introduce you to the project staff.

Weekdays

7.00am – Breakfast with the host family

8.00am – Arrive at community project

1.00pm – Lunch break

4.00pm – Work at the project usually ends

Work and hours are dependent on the project and location of the placement

8.00 pm – Dinner with the host family

Weekends

During the weekend, you will have time off to relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of the country. Many volunteers take time off of their work placements to go on tours and  excursions. This is your free time to explore the Wonders of the world! In Africa, go on safaris to one of the various game parks. In Peru, explore Machu Pichu, the most beautiful ancient ruins in the world.

Also, you will have the opportunity to assist in community-outreach initiatives sponsored by AZMA’s community outreach fund . We regularly organize community outreach activities, such as distributing food, medical supplies and clothing to vulnerable populations, hosting medical camps and HIV testing camps. In the past, we have provided assistance to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and residents of Kibera, the largest slum in Africa.We have organized medical camps and dental camps in schools and orphanages

Where will I live while volunteering?

You will be accommodated in a home-stay where you will live with a local family. Living with a host family is an exciting way to learn about the local way of life, meet local people, eat local food and experience the local customs and traditions.

You can expect to share a room with other volunteers.

Regardless of the tribe or culture your host family is from, they will be sure to give you a good treat. Bottled water is readily available and highly recommended. You should budget approximately US$5 per week for this (2 liters per day).

If you have special eating needs, please let us know ahead of time so that we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but also as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.

Let us know if you have any dietary restrictions (e.g., vegetarian), and your host will accommodate you.

NOTE: In rare cases, rural home stays may not have electricity or running water during times of drought. In such cases your host family will ensure access to a fresh water supply.

Will I be able to call home?

Yes. You should bring an unlocked GSM mobile phone if you plan to make phone calls during your stay. The cost of calling depends on the country you are in and calling rates to your home country. Upon arrival in your host country, you can purchase a sim card with a local phone number. You will also be able to use programs such as Skype, which are widely available in internet cafés.

Will I be able to travel during my volunteer program?

Yes. Most volunteers travel to various parts of the country on weekends, when they are not working. You can also take time off of your work placement to travel as long as you give the project staff advanced notice of your departure.

It is important to use your free time to see as much of a country while you are there as possible. Our volunteer program is the most authentic way to experience a country, and tourist activities and in country travel will enhance your experience even more.
The local staff in your host country will recommend tourist organizations and contacts to make this easier for you.

 

If there is any question for which you cannot find the answer, please click here to contact us via our contact form. Thank you.

Start your journey now!

 

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