Staying Safe While Volunteering Abroad

Your Safety Is Our Priority

Did you know that more than 70% of Vocational Impact volunteers are traveling solo and for 90%, it’s their first time volunteering abroad with Vocational Impact?

Safety is our priority. It is one of the greatest concerns for travellers (and often an even greater concern for their parents). Check out our health & safety here. 

Safety is an important thing to consider when travelling, especially internationally, and should not be taken lightly. But this doesn’t mean that worries about safety should keep you from going anywhere you want, only that you should do a little research about safety measures for wherever you’re travelling. 

We wanted to make that a little easier for our volunteers (and give their parents peace of mind)!

So whether you’re going to South Africa, Ghana, or India, we put together some quick tips for you to stay safe on your trip.

And feel free to forward this to your parents when they call you for the hundredth time to tell you to make sure you’re being safe.

We also provide detailed risk assessments and detailed Health & Safety policies ahead of all trips, and you will be introduced to your in-country team ahead of departure.

We have a very comprehensive pre-departure process which includes a pre-departure call, emergency contacts and procedures, as well as on the ground coordinators who will be in constant contact with our UK team. We got you. 

Safety in South Africa

South Africa has a bit of a reputation for not being the safest travel destination. While South Africa does have a high crime rate, the risk of violent crime to travellers is generally low. That being said, it’s still important to keep in mind the following safety tips:

  • Always be sure to have locks on your baggage in the airport
  • Avoid any flashy jewelry, expensive cameras, or large name brands that would bring attention to yourself while you’re out and about
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you and carry your wallet in your front pockets
  • Crime tends to increase in areas with large crowds, so be extra-aware if you’re in an especially crowded area
  • Stay away from dark, isolated areas at night
  • If you need a taxi, ask your hotel or host for a reliable, safe service
  • Keep your doors locked if driving
  • The police are happy to help; don’t be afraid to ask them for help or directions

Volunteer Safety Video

1. In South Africa you should be aware of the risks but not afraid 

2. At the Vocational Impact partner projects you are never left to fend for yourself, you are accompanied by members of staff or other volunteers at all times  

3. Emma felt safe whilst there even in the townships and other areas such as the hospitals and courts 
 
4. The cause is amazing and a huge learning curve. You are never out of reach of modern technology and instant communication. 

Safety in Ghana

Ghana is a developing country that has vastly improved safety over the past several years, and is known as being one of the most stable and friendly countries in West Africa. In fact, in 2010, they created a special unit of the Ghana Police Service to focus on safety for tourists.

They focus on areas frequented by tourists, including beaches, highways, airports, public parks, and markets. However, travellers still need to take certain precautions while in Ghana:

  • Most crimes against travellers occur in popular tourist areas; therefore, when in these areas, make sure to keep an eye on your belongings to avoid theft
  • Ask your hotel or host for safe taxi recommendations
  • Make sure any people you meet who claim to work at the airport or your hotel actually do; legitimate employees usually have identification cards with photographs
  • Be careful of police imposters who demand money from tourists
  • Avoid using credit cards if possible to avoid credit card fraud
  • Avoid dark, isolated areas at night; take cabs instead of walking when going out at night
Safety in India

Safety in India

India is a popular tourist destination, especially in larger cities. Travel tips are similar to other countries, generally involving keeping your wits about you.

However, recent terrorist attacks should increase awareness in major tourist areas in big cities. General tips for travelling are as follows:

  • Women should dress conservatively and avoid taking alcoholic drinks from men
  • Pollution in major cities like Delhi can cause health problems over time; talk to your general practitioner if you know you’ll be in a heavily polluted area for a prolonged time
  • Avoid protests and large demonstrations
  • Avoid dark and isolated areas at night
  • Travel in groups, especially at night and especially for women
  • Be aware of your possessions in crowded areas; keep your wallet and phone in your front pockets and be aware of your belongings
  • Familiarise yourself with local laws and customs

A reminder that Vocational Impact will provide detailed risk assessments and detailed Health & Safety policies ahead of all volunteer trips abroad, and you will be introduced to your in-country team ahead of departure.

Vocational Impact has a very comprehensive pre-departure process which includes a pre-departure call, emergency contacts and procedures, as well as on the ground coordinators who will be in constant contact with our UK team. 

Please feel free to get in contact with one of our team if you have any safety concerns. We have been working with volunteers for many years and we are here to support you. 

We abide by strict regulations and as a registered UK charity, we are governed by the Chairty Commission. 

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