We get a LOT of questions from both volunteers and their parents about the safety aspect of travel, project sites, and excursions that volunteers experience while with FIMRC. We absolutely put safety first for our volunteers, project site staff, and community members. Even knowing our commitment to safety, sometimes the only thing that can help that worried feeling is a first hand testimonial. We decided to share the perspective of Kamsela, a parent of a recent volunteer, on how FIMRC handled safety for her son during his FIMRC experience.
Q: What was your first reaction when Seth shared the opportunity of volunteering with FIMRC?
A: Seth had participated with Amigos de las Americas last summer for 6 weeks in Nicaragua, so we were so excited that he wanted to return to Central America and volunteer with FIMRC. We especially loved that this was an opportunity for him to gain hands on experience working in the field of global health. He's a high schooler interested in pursuing a major in GH in college.
Q: What were your main concerns with Seth traveling to Costa Rica?
A: Though he's traveled for the past 2 summers with groups to get to Central America, this was the first time for him to travel solo. We were concerned about typical health issues like travelers diarrhea and now Zika.
Q: Were you able to communicate with Seth while he was with FIMRC? How?
A: We communicated primarily via text messaging and email. A phone was also available at his home stay if needed.
Q: Was FIMRC helpful in putting your mind at ease while Seth was volunteering? How?
A: Maghan, Rita, and the rest of FIMRC's staff were wonderful about responding to all of my questions promptly and thoroughly. We were given in depth info about where Seth was going to be, what he needed, what he would be doing, the logistics of getting to and from the airport, etc.
Q: Would you allow Seth to travel with FIMRC again?
A: Definitely! From the moment Seth left we felt that he would be well taken care of and that FIMRC would provide an amazing experience for him in Cost Rica.
Q: Do you think this experience was valuable for Seth?
A: It was a wonderful experience for Seth. He had the opportunity to be an extremely active participant in the clinic and was given the opportunity to learn about all aspects of working in a real world environment and felt like he gained a true understanding of what a career in global health would be like.
Q: What's one piece of wisdom you'd pass on to parents who have children traveling with FIMRC?
A: It's a big commitment and it's natural to be nervous about sending your child abroad, FIMRC is a fantastic experience that's safe and definitely worthwhile.
To sum it up, can FIMRC prevent anything from happening to our volunteers who travel abroad? NO. But FIMRC will do everything possible to prepare all volunteers for their experience and keep them safe. This is why we require things like medical evacuation insurance for all volunteers who travel with FIMRC, include pieces like safety orientation upon arrival, and provide cell phone access for volunteers to communicate with families and FOMs while on site. It's why we put safety above all else, to make sure everyone's experience is as pleasant as possible. If you have more questions about safety, please feel free to contact us at HQ!