Volunteering abroad and safety
There is rather a less need for volunteers in the US or any other industrialized states as in less developed countries. Governmental aid agencies often have neither sufficient funds nor enough support from the government to fulfill their mission. An unclear legal situation as well as social differences are the main reasons why it is so difficult for private organizations to contribute socially.
The local people are directly confronted with poverty and violence and have to get along with that every day. Knowing that makes us understand the local community better.
You will contribute socially. Most of the local people are aware of that and will welcome you warmly. But there are always exceptions, which we want to make you aware of by providing basic guidelines and rules that will keep you away from dangers.
To make your first days easier, act wisely:
- Observe others, how you should behave in certain situations (dealing with beggars, paying in public).
- Get familiar with your new environment and go on some trips during the day.
- Avoid mentioning critical social issues in discussions.
- Be careful when you meet strangers.
- After arriving in your new country you should exchange contact details with a person of the project you trust and our local contact person from our organization.
- Save numbers of friends & familiar persons, of the local embassy of your origin (British, American etc.), security services in your phone and write them down separately on paper.
- Try to get connection to project participants in order to get new trustful acquaintances and friends.
- Don’t show any high value belongings in public (expensive clothing)
- If you open your wallet make sure, that no cash is obvious
- Try to get in contact with trustworthy locals; they always know more about appropriate behavior on the street and can give you good tips
- Don’t tell strangers your exact address
- Don’t hesitate to call the police in strange situations
- Avoid going out at night, especially when you go out on your own
- It is safer to take the car of a taxi when you go out at night; don’t go by bycicle
- Do regularely contact your relatives and friends when you are abroad: what are your plans for the next days and when you gonna be back
- Pay attention when you withdraw cash: Don’t go alone when you withdraw money from the cash-mashine or take a taxi, which is going to drive you home right away
- Other countries, other customs: don’t expect the police to be as trustworthy in foreign countries as in Germany – it is not uncommon that they are corrupt.
- If you are planning make a trip during your stay abroad, please inform yourself about the security situation of your destination
- Travel in groups, is possible with travel organisations
- Inform friends or relatives about your planned trip
- Make sure that the cars are in a good condition
- Arrive at your destined place during daytime
- Try to get information about your trip from reliable travel companies (hotels, tourist information, embassy)