Global Volunteering Team

Global Volunteering Team
Frequently Asked Questions

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What is orientation?

This is the exciting part – the first time you meet your team. We take you away for a few days and treat you to a hectic schedule of training, team bonding and challenges to prepare you for what lies ahead.

The orientation will prepare you for visiting a new culture, and will help you and your team get to know each other. There are also sessions on staying healthy, safety and security, information about where you are going, and plenty of time to focus on God.

What should I take with me?

You will be sent a preparation pack either three months before you go overseas or at your orientation and this will tell you everything you need to take with you and also all you need to do before you go. We will also send you a Take Me With You pack the week before you leave.

What about flights, visas & passports?

Tearfund has an excellent relationship with the travel company Flight Centre.

phone: 031 277 5309
For Emergency Assistance outside of office hours, or if you’re travelling within 48 hours, Flight Centre can be contacted on 072 568 8681

You do not have to book flights with Flight Centre, but we find their wealth of knowledge and experience to be invaluable!

Flight Centre will produce info packs for teams. We will provide any necessary supporting documentation (e.g. contact details and a letter of invitation).
Visas can be purchased through Flight Centre (see above) or separately. If you do a group visa booking through Flight Centre it will reduce their fee, and they are experts in getting everything sorted swiftly.

Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your return, has two blank pages and is machine readable. If you’re unsure of what you need, find further information here.
If your passport doesn’t match these criteria, apply for a new passport immediately and let us know that you are doing so. Once you’ve got your new passport, inform us of your passport number.
We recommend that you scan your passport and email a copy of this to your email account, in case you need to access this whilst overseas (e.g. if your passport is lost or stolen during your trip).
Travel advice – what to pack, flights, arrivals etc

Make sure that all items of baggage are labelled with your South African and destination addresses. If any of your baggage goes missing, inform the airline immediately and ask them for a reference number. Whilst lost baggage is covered under Tearfund’s insurance policy, most airlines will pay compensation for this anyway.

Once you have booked your flights, check your baggage allowance; if this isn’t stated on your tickets, check on the airline’s website.

Arrive at the airport ready to check-in at least three hours before your flight. Any team members who are travelling on the same flight should check-in together; however, you are responsible for looking after your ticket, boarding cards and passport.

Keep a note of the physical address of the partner in your hand luggage, as you may have to fill in a disembarkation card on your arrival in country. If asked the reason for your visit, ensure you give the same reason as stated on your visa application.

On arrival, stay alert and don’t allow strangers to carry your luggage. Exchange some money into local currency before leaving the airport.

At some airports, you will be required to declare your foreign currency. If so, make sure that your currency card is properly stamped each time you make an exchange during your trip and that you have it handy for checking when you go back to the airport for your return journey. Some countries will not allow you to take their own currency out of the country, so make sure you check this before departure.

How do I raise support?

The local church is at the heart of Tearfund’s work in fighting global poverty, as our vision is to see 50 million people released from material and spiritual poverty through a worldwide network of 100,000 local churches. You are part of this local church and you will be tapping into a local church in your destination country. You’ve already asked for support from your church by getting a reference from your church leader. You can build on this by asking your minister and church for prayer support. Some ideas are:
• Prepare a prayer letter giving information about the project where you’ll be working and what you’ll be doing
• Ask for a two-minute slot in a Sunday service to explain what the Global Volunteering Programme is about and why you’re getting involved
• Ask your church to commission you just before you leave for the orientation course and the actual trip – a slot in one of the services to pray for you will benefit everyone
• Find one or two people that you can pray with more personally. Discuss the trip with them and be honest about your commitment, abilities and motives.
• Whilst you’re away people will want to know how you are getting on and how their prayers are being answered. A letter or emails to the church will also serve as a reminder to continue to pray for you.
• Ask your church to support your family whilst you’re away.

What you are doing is interesting to your local press, such as your local newspaper or radio station. This is because you are a ‘local person’ choosing to spend your time in a very different way to most people. Just one article in your local newspaper or one interview on your local radio station reaches tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people. It’s not only a fantastic outreach opportunity but it can also encourage others thinking of doing a similar thing. And as if you needed any other reason, it’s also a great opportunity if you’re looking for help with sponsorship!

A press release is the standard way of sending information to the media. Send it off to your local newspaper and radio station. If you need any assistance, email our communications manager or Vicky:, or have a look at our template. Once you’ve sent your press release, a journalist may want to know a bit more about you and your trip, so don’t forget to add your telephone number to the bottom of the press release. The local newspaper might want to come and take a picture of you or they might ask if you have any that you can email to them; a radio station might want you to go in to the studio to interview you.
Follow up with another press release when you’re home.

Fundraising can be carried out for the cost of your trip or for sending money to your partner project, and the latter can be done both before and after your trip.