How do I choose?
On our Go Overseas page, we've got a handy placement picker to help you explore the options. Are you up for a challenge? Want to use your summer holiday to serve others? Gain experience of life in a developing community? We have some great overseas opportunities for you.
How much does it cost?
The placements vary in price from year to year. The cost includes the following: pre-departure training, insurance, debrief event, a medical package, Tearfund staff time and in-country travel, accommodation and food.
The cost does not cover flights, injections, visas (if required), travel to and from the pre-departure training and reunion events, or any day trips/gifts bought while in country.
Although your placement cost does not include flights, visas or injections, you will receive good advice and support about organising these aspects. As you will need to pay for these yourself, it is important to keep any fundraising for flights, visas and injections separate from the donations you send to Tearfund to pay for the placement (ie this must be done personally and not through JustGiving or an equivalent site, as the fundraising for these elements is not considered to be a charitable donation).
Please note that all costs are subject to change; this is due to the variable nature of overseas travel expenses.
Worried about costs?
When we first meet you at an interview day or at pre-departure training, we will give you some ideas about fundraising. If you would like more inspiration, check out Tearfund's fundraising webzone and Nia’s blog with eight fundraising tips.
We don’t ask you to pay the whole cost all at once!
When you apply you are required to send in a non-refundable deposit. The deposit covers the administrative costs of processing your application, interviewing and/or assigning you to a team.
After we have confirmed your place and selected you, we will ask you to send in a further deposit. This is for administrative, preparatory, in-country and other costs that have to be paid in advance, and again, this is non-refundable.
You will need to pay the final balance a month before you travel.
What happens if I have to withdraw from the placement?
If you feel there are extenuating circumstances causing you to withdraw, you are required to put them in writing and we will consider the appropriate course of action with you.
Both your initial deposit and your second deposit are non-refundable. Any payments over and above this amount that have been paid directly to Tearfund may be refunded if requested by the person who donated them. If you have raised money on JustGiving you will need to contact them directly to discuss refunds.
Due to the nature of our work and partners there can sometimes be changes to the details of our advertised placements. We would always seek to share these with you before departure. If any of these changes are deemed significant*, we would refund you the full amount if you then chose to withdraw.
(*Significant changes could be things like working with a different partner or the dates of your placement moving more than a week from the dates advertised. Please be assured that these changes are rarely required.)
What's on offer?
- 3 - 6 MONTH PLACEMENTS: An opportunity to spend 3 or 6 months working alongside Tearfund’s local partners, tackling a range of issues including climate change, food insecurity, HIV and trafficking. The experience will grow your understanding of God’s heart for His world, equip you with increased knowledge and experience of International Development and develop your teamwork, communication and cross-cultural skills.
- FAMILY PLACEMENTS: An opportunity to take your family overseas for up to 2 weeks to gain a fresh perspective by connecting with community life in the developing world.
- GROUP PLACEMENTS: Up to two weeks. An opportunity for your church, school, student or youth group to travel overseas to support, learn from and be inspired by local communities across the developing world.
- 2 - 4 WEEK PLACEMENTS: An opportunity for individuals to spend 2 - 4 weeks overseas as part of team, working alongside Tearfund’s partners to support local communities. These placements are ideal for students or your annual leave. Be prepared to be stretched, challenged and encouraged!
Why should I go?
Where do we start, there are just so many reasons…
We believe that this is a chance for you to connect meaningfully and personally with issues of poverty, justice and faith; allowing it to become a deeper part of your story.
By going, you will be supporting our incredible partners - people like you who are totally committed to making a difference to their communities. You will have the chance to learn from them, to understand more clearly the root causes of poverty and to see what it looks like to empower a community to lift themselves out of poverty.
You will get to contribute to the long-term development work being done in the countries we operate in. This could look completely different depending on where you chose to go, but ultimately it means going to the places where our partners are requesting help and giving your time and energy to supporting their incredible work.
We pretty much guarantee that your time away will impact you on such a global level that you will feel more connected to the world around you and understand more about how Tearfund is following Jesus where the need is greatest.
This will be an amazing chance for you to grow and develop in your own identity, your walk with God and in your relationship with others, to learn new and transferable skills.
Why go? Because you’ll be challenged, inspired and encouraged!
What will I be doing?
All sorts! It totally depends on which country you chose and which partner you volunteer alongside. But we’re normally correct when we say...
- You’ll be learning loads
- You’ll be supporting our partner to keep up their fantastic work
- You’ll be making new friends
- You’ll be growing in your relationship with God
Here are some recent examples.
In Cambodia: Tearfund’s partner CHO, works closely with children, providing education. Volunteers have brought their personal education experience to help teach english, run sports and lead bible studies. CHO also has an incredible Social Enterprise called Destiny Cafe where the volunteers get an opportunity to work alongside locals and develop new innovative ways to expand business in the area.
In Zambia: Tearfund’s partners have invited teams to join them for two weeks. Volunteers bring their fresh enthusiasm and commitment to prayer, coming alongside partners and beneficiaries, often resulting in a fresh awakening of God’s power at work.
Can anyone apply?
We’re looking for people who are flexible, will contribute to the team, are growing in their relationship with God and are part of a local Christian group that can support them in prayer.
We don’t discriminate against applicants on the grounds of sex, colour, race, ethnic background or disability. However, you do need to be fit and well. We welcome applications from those with disabilities that will not significantly hinder their mobility or ability to care for themselves in the UK or developing world.
Does it matter how old I am?
If you want to go by yourself, you need to be over 18. There’s no upper age limit on who can go, although a small premium may be payable by those over 75 (to cover any increase in insurance costs).
Group trips and family placements can include individuals under the age of 18. Please contact us for more info.
Where will I stay and what will I eat?
This totally varies from team to team, but we can guarantee that you will have a mattress under you and a roof over you! You may be sleeping in a church, house, school, or simple guesthouse. Two-week teams tend to live in a guesthouse with running water. Food will usually be a mixture of local food and English food. It’s hard to predict what you will encounter so you need to expect the unexpected. Our most common complaint from teams is that they are treated too well!
Will I get training and support?
You will receive all the information you’ll need to know to prepare you for your placement, including: in-depth medical and travel advice, travel insurance information, cultural guidelines, fundraising ideas and advice about involving your local church.
Pre-departure training: You must attend our pre-departure training. This will be the first time you meet your team. The course will prepare you to visit a new culture, and help you and your team get to know each other. There are sessions on culture, staying healthy, safety and security, information about where you are going, as well as plenty of time to focus on God. We work in partnership with Interhealth, a medical charity for those travelling and working overseas. We take health and safety very seriously and comply with the Global Connections Code of Best Practice in providing you with adequate insurance cover, 24-hour support whilst overseas and the appropriate equipment.
Follow up: On your return to the UK you will be offered a debrief for your team. This is an excellent opportunity to renew friendships, to review what you’ve experienced, and to thank God for all that he has done and to ensure that it continues to impact your life.
Responsibility: We’re looking for motivated individuals with a heart for leadership and a desire to make a difference to lead our placements. All team leaders are given full Tearfund training. Please apply directly if you're interested in leading a team.
Promotion: If you want to promote your placement with the media, contact our communications manager: email@example.com
How safe will I be?
We take a number of steps to ensure the safety and security of our teams whilst overseas. We consult our Tearfund staff both in the UK and overseas and the latest Foreign Office travel advice, before making decisions about whether a team can travel. In the unlikely event that your chosen placement is cancelled by Tearfund for reasons outside of our control (for instance, if security risks mean that it is no longer safe to travel to that country), we will look to offer you an alternative placement. If we cannot offer you a suitable alternative and you have already paid for flights, visas or vaccinations, we will work with you to access a refund.
Our in-country partner's carry out a risk-assessment before the teams go overseas and all team leaders are required to carry out another risk assessment when they arrive, to be emailed back to us in the office. All team members are briefed on our emergency procedures and are able to contact us 24 hours a day.
Where does the money go?
What about the carbon footprint of my placement?
We know that taking care of our planet is one of the most important things we’re called to do. With the CO2 emissions produced during long distance flights you may be concerned about the environmental impact and carbon footprint of your placement.
Carbon offsetting is one of the ways of reducing your footprint. Offsetting means that for every tonne of CO2 you produce, you invest money in projects that will reduce a tonne.
Sound good? You can have a look at the website we use for carbon offsetting or check out our blog for more information.
What do other people say about the placements?
Don’t be discouraged if you feel you are not making a big difference on your own, it’s a team effort and if everyone makes a small impact together big differences will be made
We also publish placement reviews throughout this website.
Who else will be on my team?
Other members of your team could come from many different walks of life. Like you, they’ll be passionate about growing in their relationships with the world, with each other and with God. They'll be excited to see what God will do through them while they’re overseas.
Who do you work with?
- We Are Tearfund - We Are Tearfund is a whole-life response to global poverty. We are passionate about living out justice through our everyday actions, determined to make a difference in the world. We are taking small, everyday steps to change the way we live and having conversations that help us shape our understanding of what we can do to tackle the problems of poverty and injustice. We believe that together, we can discover what it means to #LiveDifferent.
How do I contact you if I have more questions?
Sometimes it's hard to navigate your way around new sites, so we'd love to chat to you over the phone or email.
What happens if my placement is cancelled?
If we have to cancel your placement we will do our best to find a suitable alternative placement in discussion with you. If this is not possible we will refund all payments made to the person who donated them.
In the unlikely situation that your IVT placement is cancelled in the event of Tearfund’s insolvency, here's the official blurb on what happens…
The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 for Tearfund, and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for the following:
- 1. non-flight packages and
- 2. flight inclusive packages that commence outside of the EU, which are sold to customers outside of the EU.
ABTOT cover provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled or repatriation if you are abroad. Please note that bookings made outside the EU are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with Tearfund.
In the unlikely event that you require assistance whilst abroad due to our financial failure, please call our 24/7 helpline on 01702 811397 and advise you are a customer of an ABTOT protected travel company.
You can access the The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/634/contents/made