Topic 4 : Keeping learners/volunteers safe

Keeping learners/volunteers safe

Try to commit to the total amount of time an organisation has asked for.

Be flexible and purposeful. Short-term volunteering can be positive if you are happy to carry out important but repetitive tasks in warehouses/workshops. You will find plenty of people like you eager to help.

Don’t underestimate the advantages of good preparation before you go. Ask the organisation for a document that outlines their way of working with volunteers. It should cover what you can expect from the organisation in terms of helping you to prepare, an induction and what to do if things go wrong.

Make sure you take out the right kind of insurance before you go. The organisation or group you work with may recommend a particular kind.

Volunteering in migrant camps requires emotional resilience and endurance, and the ability to adapt to harsh environments among people who have or are suffering trauma. Think about your suitability for this environment.

Talk to someone who has already been to a camp about the highs and lows of volunteering. What did they do to manage their personal safety? What did they take with them? What lessons did they learn?

Avoid being blasé about your safety, even if previous trips have been successful and safe. All visitors to any country should follow the laws of the country they are in. 

Take care about any advice you give. It becomes easy for volunteers to influence the behaviour and actions of vulnerable migrants and this may be done unwittingly.

Use social media responsibly. Respect others; refrain from taking photos or selfies. Children are particularly vulnerable; just like you wouldn’t take photos of other people’s children don’t take photos of unaccompanied children elsewhere. Never post photos online in case they are viewed by criminal networks.