HOW MANY/FEW PEOPLE CAN GO?
Often we’ll recommend a group size of around 8 people for a trip.
It’s a size that is manageable for most partners and also means that everyone going will be able to interact with the people you’re visiting; after all, you want to build relationships and be able to have conversations with the people you meet.
Please note that if you are expecting a team size of 4 people or less we may well ask you to combine your trip with another church. Otherwise it may not be possible to go ahead as we have to limit the number of trips partners host each year and so need to make sure trips have enough travellers on them.
HOW LONG SHOULD WE GO FOR?
With all the travel involved in visiting with one of our partners (who are often in remote locations) a trip length of around 8-10 days away from the UK is usually a good length of time for a first visit to understand your partner’s work and to start building friendships with them.
WHAT WILL WE DO WHEN WE’RE THERE?
By far the most valuable thing you’ll do whilst you’re on your trip will be to listen.
To spend time with your partner and the people that they are helping is an incredible thing. You’ll be amazed not just by the difference your financial support has made in people’s lives; but also by the impact that you, travelling round the world to come and hear their stories, will make to people’s lives by taking the time to listen to them.
Often a first visit to your partner will be all about understanding their work and gathering stories so you can inspire people when you return home. You might want to think about having a team photographer or even making a video of your trip or the stories of some people that you meet.
Returning trips sometimes do the same thing as often there are completely different people on the trips, but we’re also really open to exploring how you might be able to offer some practical support or somehow get involved with your partner’s work overseas. Just talk to us about your ideas!
WHAT DO TEARFUND ARRANGE AND WHAT DO I DO?
When we arrange a trip for you, whilst we can’t do everything for you, we will talk you through everything we need you to do!
Step 1 - Make a plan: First we’ll check that it’s ok for you to visit and get an idea of what your time overseas will look like from your Partner, including a rough budget. We’ll chat with you about who might lead the trip and if appropriate, talk about any skills travellers have that they might be able to offer in support of the partners ongoing work.
Step 2 - Book some flights: We’ll arrange for a quote for flights from our travel agent which you can pay for directly, or you can see if you can find your own online for less.
Step 3 - Get prepared: About three months before you travel, we’ll send you a little trip booklet telling you everything you need to do to prepare and the things you might want to pack too.
Step 4 - Get trained: We’ll also arrange an orientation for your trip (usually a month or so before you go) when we’ll do some training and tell you a bit more about the trip and how we’ll be looking after your safety and security whilst you’re overseas.
Step 5 - Get going: Just before the trip goes, we’ll give your trip leader a briefing on their role and will make sure they have everything you’ll need; then you’ll go and have a fab time!
Step 6 - Paying and Pressing on: When you come back from your trip, you’ll be fired up and we’re here to help you plan for how you can get your whole church and perhaps even your wider community involved in supporting your partner. Finally, a month or two after the trip (when the final costs have come in), we’ll arrange for you to reimburse us.
HOW OFTEN WILL I HEAR FROM TEARFUND?
If you are leading the trip and are our main point of contact, we will be in touch with questions and updates whenever we have them.
In general, we'll be in touch with all the team members (sometimes via your trip leader) at the outset to get some of your basic details so we can book your flights.
After that, you may well not hear from us for a few months as there's nothing else we need you to do for a while. Please do feel free to get in touch with any questions you have during that time though.
About three months or so before you travel we will send you your trip booklet (which amongst other things, will tell you what vaccinations you need and what to pack) and we'll give you a little update on how things are going too.
We'll then be in regular contact with your trip leader up to your departure date; to prepare them to lead the trip and to keep them informed of any developments or things we may need from your team before you go.
About a month after your trip we should have the final costs of the visit back from your hosts and will be able to let you know how much we'll be asking you to contribute towards your travel.
In all this, please know that you can contact us at any time. We are always here to help!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The cost of travelling varies from country to country and depends on many factors; from travelling in holidays/high seasons and how remote your partner's location is, to basic things like how long you're going for and if a vehicle needs to be hired to cart you all around!
Including your flights, a reasonable rough estimate could be around £1,500 per person for a group of 8 going for a week or so.
We see this trip in its wider context of journeying with you as you and your church connect more deeply with local and global holistic mission. Because of this, we don’t charge you the actual cost of the time spent in arranging the trip and some of the associated costs; we aim to make a contribution of £50 per person towards Tearfund's costs in the amount we charge you but will always try to manage it to ensure that a trip is not prohibitively costly.
This contribution towards Tearfund's costs includes: Tearfund's staff time in arranging your trip both here in the UK and overseas, support for any orientation and or debrief event for your team as well as our insurance cover (which does not cover holidays - you'll need your own if you tag on a holiday) and 24hr emergency support whilst you are away.
These trips are still expensive sometimes, and we appreciate it can be a financial sacrifice for you to travel, so we try to keep costs as low as possible without putting a financial burden on our partners, who are often volunteering their time to us as they travel with us overseas.
As well as the contribution towards Tearfund’s costs, the costs of the trip generally consist of visas (unless you need to get them yourselves in advance of travel), any medical or security checks that are occasionally required, the hire of vehicles and fuel in country, as well as your accommodation and food while you are on the trip. Do contact us if you have any detailed questions about costs.
The cost we charge you does not cover flights, immunisations and anti-malarials where required, travel to and from any orientation or debrief events, any day trips (and associated required insurance) or gifts bought while in country.
Please note that all costs are subject to change; this is due to the variable nature of overseas travel expenses.
DO WE HAVE TO GET OUR OWN FLIGHTS & VISAS?
Because Tearfund are a charity and not a travel agent, we are not legally allowed to provide a full package to you in supporting your trip.
Basically, we’re not legally allowed to buy flights, arrange holidays or provide a visas service and then sell them on to you.
BOOKING YOUR FLIGHTS
Tearfund has an excellent relationship with the travel company Diversity Travel. We will get a quote from them for flights for your visit that we would suggest you purchase.
You’re completely free to then see if you can find something cheaper online that fits your needs, it’s Diversity’s job to win your business after all - they are a travel agent!
You may be staying on in country after the Tearfund arranged part of your visit in which case you’ll need to change your flights. If you do so, we ask that you ensure that we do not inconvenience your partner with multiple trips to and from the airport due to different flight times of your team members.
DIVERSITY TRAVEL’S DETAILS
phone: 0161 235 5400
OBTAINING YOUR VISA
You are responsible for obtaining your visa but the good new is that often the simplest thing is to get them on arrival in country.
We will let you know if you need to get a visa in advance and Diversity Travel also provide a support service for Visa applications that you’re welcome to make use of.
Tearfund will of course provide any necessary supporting documentation (e.g. contact details and a letter of invitation).
If you do a group visa booking through Diversity 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, you can check with the UK government’s foreign travel advice online 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).
YOUR CONDUCT AND RESPONSIBILITIES
On your trip you will be representing Tearfund to our partners and beneficiaries and so we ask that your conduct be in line with our Partnership Values which are available to read in our Trips FAQs.
Please defer to the leaders of your trip and the partners that you are visiting as the final authority on all matters.
All travellers with Tearfund must ensure that their behaviour promotes and encourages everyone to live free from exploitation, harm, abuse, neglect and discrimination.
Tearfund sign up to the Global Connections Code of Good Practice and are bonded to ABTOT. This means your Tearfund-arranged travel is covered by these policies as well as Tearfund’s travel insurance policy.
In the unlikely event that your behaviour results in a need for Tearfund to end your visit early, please note that you will be liable for any costs incurred.
TEARFUND’S SAFEGUARDING PROTOCOL
Tearfund is committed to ensuring that children and vulnerable adults are protected from all forms of harm and abuse, and are able to live with dignity, respect and security.
Every traveller is therefore asked to sign a declaration confirming:
You have read, understood, and agree to adhere to the Safeguarding Protocol.
You understand that any inappropriate behaviour or failure to follow the Protocol or the team leader’s instructions will give Tearfund or the Partner the right to stop the visit and take any other necessary action as appropriate.
You understand that, if it is found that you have withheld information or included any false or misleading information, this will render you ineligible for travel or if already on a trip, liable for immediate return.
Vulnerable Adult definition:
Any person aged 18 or over who has particular needs because of their age, disability, physical or mental ability, or who is an expectant or nursing mother, or is reliant on others for the provision of basic services (e.g. water, food, shelter etc.), such as in a refugee camp or as a recipient of an NGO relief distribution and are potentially vulnerable to exploitation or abuse as a result of their status or their lack of power and control.
All travellers are expected to assist Tearfund in protecting children and vulnerable adults by adhering to the following protocol at all times:
I will only travel to Tearfund or Partner locations when I am accompanied by a Tearfund or Partner staff member, and will conduct myself in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner in all my interactions. If I am unsure of the appropriate behaviour, I will seek guidance from my accompanying staff member.
I will not revisit locations and individuals without prior permission from Tearfund or the Partner, and with an authorised staff member.
I will not be alone with a child or vulnerable adult, whether in the home or elsewhere, nor engage in any inappropriate / unwanted physical conduct with children or vulnerable adults, but demonstrate compassion and care both in action and speech.
I will not share any of my contact details with a child or vulnerable adult or their family, nor disclose any of their personal information (names, addresses, or locations) to any other party without the prior permission of Tearfund.
I will not provide cash gifts directly to a child or vulnerable adult or their family.
I will not collect any photos, video or stories without the consent of Tearfund or the Partner, and the consent of the child or vulnerable adult (Tearfund has a standard consent procedure). Photos or video can only be taken when the child or vulnerable adult is appropriately dressed. Material gathered must respect the subject’s dignity and their right to privacy.
TEARFUND’S PARTNERSHIP VALUES
Partnership between Tearfund and its Partners is founded on the shared belief that as individual leaders and staff of those organisations we are united in Jesus Christ and equal under the fatherhood of God, and in our common purpose of bringing good news to the poor.
We enter into partnership in a spirit of mutual respect for each other's mission, values, culture and working practices as well as the practical circumstances and regulatory framework under which each organisation operates.
Experience has taught us that effective, healthy, respectful and mutually beneficial partnerships require the consistent application of values that are integral to our faith. We look to practise these values in all we do, embracing servant leadership and rejecting the misuse of power and control. We confess our inconsistency in this, and look to one another and the Holy Spirit for help in applying these values in our personal and partnership relationships.
God is love, and love is from God. Jesus was the full expression of this, and he urges us to love one another in the same way he loves us (1 John 4.7-12, John 15.12). Indeed, as we do this God’s love becomes complete in us (1 John 4.12), and we become attractive and persuasive evidence of that love. We are committed to strive for a quality of relationships in our partnerships which expresses God’s love, affirms the God-given dignity of all and proves the reality of our discipleship.
GRACE AND FORGIVENESS
Jesus was “full of grace and truth” (John 1.14), and our experience of this is fundamental to who and what we are. We know that we are called to reflect his grace, bursting with love, forgiveness and patience, in our service to one another (1 Peter 4.10). Inevitably, hurt and offence occur in our organisational relationships. Acknowledging this, we aspire to be more grace-full and forgiving in the way we relate to each other in our partnerships, knowing that this would do much to enrich those partnerships, and the outcomes we are working for.
Human relationships and godly endeavour flourish in the presence of truth. We worship the God of truth (Ps 31.5), and are called to love in truth and in action (1 John 3.18). Therefore, we aspire to truthfulness in our partnerships, acknowledging the need for transparency and humility in all our dealings and communications with one another. Our prayer is that by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4.15), we will encourage one another to excellence for the sake of the poor (Proverbs 27.17).
Humility, nurtured by a proper appreciation and understanding of God, self and others, is critical to Godly partnerships (1 Peter 5.5). We aspire to humility in our partnership relationships that will enable us to learn from each other and value our different yet complementary roles. Such humility liberates us from the need to dominate and own, in order that we might serve one another in love (Philippians 2.1-8).
The God we worship is “faithful in all his words and gracious in all his deeds” (Ps.145.13). So we will strive to treat with the utmost seriousness the commitments we make to one another in our partnership arrangements, in good times and bad.
The giving and receiving of trust is essential to the development of mutually beneficial partnerships. Amazingly, God has entrusted The Group with the awesome responsibility of emulating Christ’s love in a deeply damaged, yet still wonderful world (1 Peter 2.1-12). God’s willingness to place such trust in us is both our model and our motivation in being willing to trust one another in our partnership relationships. We recognise that such trust involves risk, profound mutual accountability, and amazing grace.
God loves justice, and urges us to be a people of justice (Ps.11.7, Amos 5.24). This is what motivates us to work for a more just world. Therefore, we will strive to deal justly with one another in our partnership relationships, seeking to avoid the pitfalls of both dominance and manipulation.
There is one Creator, and one Owner (Ps.24.1). It is he who has delegated to us the responsibility to be wise and honest managers of creation. So we will strive to remember this fundamental truth as we transfer funds and resources from one context to another. We do not accept the lie that we are owners rather than managers, and will resist the power of money and position to weaken and distort our partnerships.
We recognise that we are primarily and fundamentally accountable to God for all our actions and thoughts, and it is in this context that we are also accountable to one another (Romans 14.7-12). Therefore, in our partnerships we cannot treat lightly our mutual accountability, nor can we divorce it from humility, patience and grace. So we aspire to a fulsome and transparent accountability, and to making what we do consistent with what we say.
We have experienced the profound joy of fellowship and interdependence in Christ that transcends the divisions of race, culture, gender, economics, geography and history. Such joy is at the heart of Jesus’ vision for his disciples and a profound sign of the character and love of God (John 17.20-32). We acknowledge the seriousness of the call to make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit (Eph 4.2) in our fellowship for the sake of the Gospel.
Jesus taught us to pray (Matt 6.5-15), and experience has taught us that prayer is vital, especially in addressing the many difficult situations that confront us in partnership. We commit ourselves to pray for each other, recognising that this is an invaluable means of mutual support (Col 4.2-4).
WHAT IF WE WANT TO ADD A HOLIDAY ON TO THE END OF OUR TRIP?
It’s fine for you to do that. You’ll be organising it yourself of course but please do let us know if you are planning something so that we are aware. We’re not experts on overseas holiday destinations but do feel free to ask us if you have questions or get stuck with something!
Once you finish the Tearfund organised part of your trip, you should really be making your own way onwards. Please plan to be dropped off with the rest of your team at the departure airport before you make your way onwards for your holiday. This will minimise the extra work for your partner so is a really helpful way for you to plan if possible.
If you need to change your flights, we ask that you ensure that we do not inconvenience your partner with multiple trips to and from the airport due to different flight times of your team members.
IS OUR HOLIDAY COVERED ON TEARFUND’S INSURANCE?
Tearfund's insurance covers us for our work. As a church visiting one of our partners, you would be effectively travelling with Tearfund as volunteers.
If you were to have "a rest day(s)" in and around the area you are in as part of your trip doing touristy things, it would be covered under our insurance as you are not straying too far from the original purpose of the trip (to visit one of our partners).
If you are visiting somewhere a distance from your trip route or taking part in activities significantly different from the trip (adventure activities, going on safari etc.), these are significantly different from the main purpose of the trip and therefore you would need to use separate insurance.
Generally, if you combine your Tearfund trip with other travel, you will need to arrange your own insurance cover.
Please note there will be no financial benefit to yourselves regarding the trip cost if you do need to purchase additional cover.
WHAT IF I CAN’T GO ANYMORE?
Tearfund's insurance (subject to an excess) will cover the cost of cancellation if the reason for the cancellation is considered valid by the insurer e.g. the person became sick and medically can not travel, there is a death in the family.
The cost of cancellation will not be covered if you simply decide not to travel.
CAN UNDER 18S TRAVEL?
Yes absolutely; whether its having a 17 year old come with you or a youth group trip - many permutations are possible.
The balance of adults to under 18s will vary depending on the individuals involved and we’ll discuss this with you when considering your trip.
Under 18s will need to travel with an adult willing to act as a guardian and we’ll arrange for parental consent forms to be signed.
AM I TOO OLD TO TRAVEL?
There’s no upper age limit on who can go, although those over 80 require their own insurance cover as Tearfund’s policy only covers those up to the age of 80.
We’d also ask that those over 80 to provide a letter from their doctor confirming their ability to travel.
HOW SAFE WILL I BE?
In a word, very! We take a number of steps to ensure the safety and security of our teams whilst overseas.
We consult our Country Representatives who look after Tearfund’s work in each country, the overseas Tearfund Partner that your team is visiting and the latest Foreign Office travel advice, before making decisions about whether a team can travel.
We will always be monitoring things and will cancel a trip if we are not happy with the security situation.
Team leaders are all briefed on our emergency procedures, are able to contact us 24 hours a day and all team members receive a safety and security briefing at their orientation.
SHOULD WE HAVE A TRAINED FIRST AIDER ON THE TEAM?
It’s great if you do, especially for longer visits, but it’s not mandatory.
We know that for many teams it’s not possible to arrange and so we plan for you not to have a trained first aid person.
You’ll get a Safety in Travel briefing before you go which will tell you what you need to know and we have 24hr emergency medical support on hand should you need it.
DO WE NEED SPENDING MONEY?
There won’t necessarily be many opportunities for you to go shopping - that’s not what your trip is about after all! You may have the opportunity to visit a local or tourist market on a rest day or just before you leave though.
So if you're not planning on buying souvenirs, you don't need any spending money. If you would like to buy something, take a few $USD and your team leader will be able to help you get them changed into local currency if necessary.
We recommend that you chat as a team and take money collectively rather than everyone incurring exchange fees.
CAN WE TAKE GIFTS?
You may want to take a gift for those you are visiting. In order for your gift to be a blessing to the community, it is important to do this in a culturally appropriate way.
It might seem odd, but gifts can cause significant problems. For example others in the community might assume that there is always a financial benefit to hosting foreigners, or that your hosts have made a business deal with you.
The partner organisation you are visiting will have to account for any gifts that they receive; financial or otherwise. Usually it would be more straightforward to give through Tearfund. Some of our partners will expressly tell you this - others would consider it rude to do so. To avoid confusion, please do discuss any financial or material giving with us.
Taking interactive presents, like a football or some bubble mixture for children, can be good as they provide a real chance for you to interact with those you are visiting. Avoid giving the gifts directly to the children, unless your partner has suggested you do so. It is much better for your host to look after the football than for it to belong to the biggest child in the group!
If you’re staying with a family for a night or two, consider taking some photos of you with your family and friends. These are a talking point and are also something to leave behind as a reminder of your time with them. It would be wise to not show obvious wealth, instead try and think of areas of similarity or interest – eg a landscape.
It’s also fine to take a gift or two for the family you are staying with, a tea towel with something very British on it can be a good idea, stationery supplies for children for school or one or two items of clothing for the family.
Please ask us if you do want to take gifts and we will try to advise you about what would be appropriate. At the end of the day, your kindness and respect for their lives, your time in visiting and the value you give them by listening to your hosts is always the best gift you can bring.
PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS
Our insurance cover is comprehensive and as with most companies, some pre-existing medical conditions are not covered, but this is regardless of whether they are disclosed or not.
Tearfund's insurance will cover complications arising on a trip due to many pre-existing medical conditions provided the individual has been checked by their doctor and been approved to travel.
Individuals must ensure that they travel with all their required medication.
For example, Tearfund's insurance will only cover sickness as a result of diabetes, but not the medication to treat the current condition.
Even if your condition is not covered you may well still be able to travel with us; please let us know about your condition and we will check with our insurers.
SHOULD WE CONSIDER MEDICAL CHECKS FOR THE TEAM?
Tearfund’s International Volunteering Team use InterHealth for trips when members of the general public are applying for trips. InterHealth have a wealth of experience with the type of trips that we do so are well placed to do a health check for people we don’t know who want to travel with us.
It is not mandatory and we've often found that for churches who know all their travellers, it can be simpler for the trip leader to suggest that those with any concerns visit their GP.
Being checked by InterHealth or cleared by your GP makes no difference to your cover under our insurance.
One of the things we have found is that using InterHealth does give some people greater confidence and peace of mind, knowing they have been fully checked and cleared to travel. People may well get the same peace of mind by being cleared to travel by their GP and someone who is perfectly healthy may be happy doing neither, and that is okay as well.