Volunteering can be an extremely rewarding experience. Our small missions offer a unique opportunity for both medical professionals and people with no medical background who simply want to help. Read through the information below. More detailed description of our missions is available in the “Past Missions” section, and concrete information about future missions can be found in the “Future Missions” section.
1. Who Can Volunteer?
Our mission is to provide medical and eye-care to indigenous populations of Africa, Asia and South America, and to promote volunteerism amongst young people and health care providers. Volunteers should be mature, self-motivated, and have a strong desire to broaden their horizons while helping those in need.
Medical and eye-care professionals (doctors, nurses, especially OR nurses, optometrists, opticians, EMT’s, paramedics, and PA’s) are needed. All of your skills, and some that you did not know you had, will be utilized. The medicine you will practice will be considerably different and more challenging compared to what you are used to in the US: Much less equipment and personnel, much more and sicker patients, much less administration, just to name a few.
Non-medical volunteers serve a variety of important functions: You might work as a circulating nurse in the OR, at the clinic controlling patient flow and doing triage, might be responsible for acquiring supplies/repairing equipment, might help with the distribution of eyeglasses and medicine or with other logistical aspects of the work, etc. Your help will allow the care providers to treat many more patients than they could without your being there.
Young people, high school age and older, are encouraged to consider to spend a week or two on one of our missions, but you must be realistic as to what you’re getting yourself into. You are expected to work along with adults, follow instructions and work at least 8-10 hours a day. The work can be exhausting, frustrating and depressing, because of the huge patient load and also because there are always many people whom we cannot help. You must be a strong, mature and independent person who sincerely wishes to serve the indigenous people. The circumstances can also be difficult: Hot weather, no A/C, simple accommodation without hot water or other luxuries, long travel on plane/car, etc. If your motivation is mainly to put something on your resume which looks good, please, do not come.
2. What does the commitment entail?
The mission trips usually last for 2 weeks. It can take up to 4 days to arrive to our destination. We usually work every day except Sunday and we do have only one or half a day for tourism. If you wish to extend your stay beyond the 2 weeks, you are welcome to do so. The accommodation is usually very basic. The food is prepared for us by the locals. We drink bottled water.
Group members should make their decision to join as early as possible, mostly to ensure availability of airline seats at a reasonable price. We buy our tickets 3 months prior to departure. Volunteers are responsible for preparing themselves for the trip (having proper vaccinations, documentation, clothing, medications, etc.)
3. Do I have to pay for anything?
Yes. Volunteers pay all of the costs relating to their time of service. The airfare to Africa is 1500-1800$. Vaccinations are around 500$ or more, but most insurances pay for it. The land portion (food, transportation and accommodation) is 300-500$ for the 2 weeks.
Donations given to Right to Sight and Health are all used for the benefit of the indigenous people served. There are no administrative expenses and therefore each volunteer is fully responsible for his/her own expenses. All expenses are tax-deductible.