10 Steps to Ensure Safe Volunteering Abroad for Women
Traveling for volunteer work has grown in popularity in the last few years, and many women are getting into the spirit of travel and charity.
We have all heard the adage “safety in numbers”. However, there are many reasons to stay vigilant despite the growing number of women traveling to foreign countries for this purpose. For one, despite more women fearlessly getting on to a flight to far flung locations to extend their help and kindness, it does not change some pre-existing cultural notions that some of these countries have. Women are far more conservative and are treated differently in some countries that are receiving volunteers. It is a matter of safety and respect that women carry themselves with proper demeanor at all times.
Here are ten important things to remember when volunteering abroad as a woman.
Don’t Romanticize Volunteer Work. Be Smart About Picking Your Program.
Not all volunteer organizations are the same, and you need to be very practical about which organization to go with. Make sure that you are part of an organization that does a complete background check, not just for your safety but for the integrity of your efforts. Read up on everything there is to know about the program – from their activities to the experience of people who have previously joined the activities of the organization. You want to know everything about the mission and processes of the organization before jumping in.
Report to your volunteer organization at all times.
Whether going out for volunteer work or for fun, it is better to let someone from your volunteer organization know where you are headed. A lot of these organization differ in leniency based on their locations. It is best to heed their advice at all times and let them know what you’re up to.
Stay in constant communication with family and friends.
One tip I always give my friends who are traveling for whatever purpose it is, is to set a schedule to call or communicate with a family member. A text, email, or call at a designated time can help them keep a peace of mind about your status and can be a good indicator if you are in danger. Always let them know ahead if you are not able to make the schedule so you don’t worry them.
Pick Your Battles
In some cases, you may come across disrespectful glares and remarks from people who are averse to you being in their locality. Sometimes it can even happen for no apparent reason. Resist the urge to fight back, you will need to hold your emotions and think logically.
Always be in Familiar Company
Whether taking blood pressure or taking a night off with friends, make sure to practice kindness to everyone, but also be wary of your company. Always stick to people you know, and don’t go running off with unfamiliar company no matter how nice they are. While turning strangers into friends is a promising adventure, it can also be a very dangerous one.
Know the Ins and Outs of Your Travel Insurance Policy
Every traveler knows that getting a travel medical insurance is probably the most important thing in your travel checklist. Ensure that you are covered for any health or accident issues that can arise, and make sure that you understand how it works.
Many of these countries that require volunteer work have much warmer climate. This may lead a lot of women to think that it is fine to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. While comfortable tank tops and shorts are easier to move in, it may also raise some eyebrows from the locals and attract unwanted attention. Instead of cutting the coverage, go for light fabric that would still cover you but keep you cool. It is best to do your research on the acceptable clothing before packing, so that you do not find yourself needing to do some unnecessary shopping.
Get Some Rest
While the temptation to make the most out of being in a foreign land is strong, know that your body needs rest. So if you are looking to explore the country on your free time, make sure to schedule them wisely – allowing for proper rest and recuperation for your body.
Do Not Wander Alone Especially At Night
Understand that the security measures of other countries can be very different to your own. Do not simply wander off at night alone, and if you should, bring a friend and ask where the safe places are to do so would be.
Keep to Your Budget, and Save Some for Emergencies
Be wise about your spending. Money is a security that a lot of traveling women forget, especially because it is so exciting to spend more when the currency exchange allows you to. Save some extra cash at all times to be able to manage should it ever be needed unexpectedly.
Voluntourism is a great opportunity to travel and do good, but in order to keep going, be sure to keep your safety at all times. Volunteer tourism safety is something you can understand better by checking out websites that provide people’s experiences and advice. Make sure you do everything you can do to be ready and informed. Safe travels!