1. Is the Philippines Safe?
The Philippines is one of the most beautiful and friendliest countries you will ever visit. There have been isolated incidents in some parts of the country but it is generally safe for travelers. And as with any other country, tourists and visitors must always take precautions when traveling abroad.
2. Can I extend my Visa?
Yes! If you decide to lengthen your stay, you can easily extend your visa for up to 59 days. Please visit www.immigration.gov.ph for more information.
3. What Vaccinations do I need for the Philippines?
We advise that all our volunteers have a travel consultation a few months prior to traveling to the Philippines, to assess what vaccinations you are up to date with and which ones you will need for the Philippines. Malaria is not a concern in Leyte, but if you plan on traveling to other areas of the Philippines, you may want to bring some anti-malarial tablets for your travels. We recommend that our volunteers be up to date with Typhoid, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B.
1. What are the living arrangements like for volunteers?
Volunteers will be placed with ordinary Filipino families that we have carefully selected to host our international volunteers. Living arrangements will be simple. Volunteers will have their own room (or a shared room with another volunteer) but most houses only have one “C.R.” (bathroom) for the family.
2. Is it ok if i’m vegetarian?
Filipinos eat a lot of meat and fish in their diet. It may be more challenging for vegetarians to live in the Philippines but it’s easy to find fruits, vegetables, rice, and eggs. Our homestay families have extensive experience in accommodating volunteers with special dietary restrictions.
3. Can I volunteer with a friend?
We can accommodate friends or partners that want to volunteer together. We can’t guarantee that we’ll place you in the same homestay but you will live in close vicinity from one another.
4. Will I be met at the airport?
Our local staff will greet you at the airport when you arrive. Make sure you send us your flight itinerary before you leave so we know when you will arrive.
5. How long can I volunteer for?
We can accommodate volunteers from 2 weeks to 6 months. For longer placements, it will be necessary to extend your visa once you are here.
6. Will I be able to communicate with locals at my volunteer project?
Waray-Waray is the local dialect of northern Leyte. English is taught in the schools starting in grade one, so most people can understand and speak English very well.
7. What is your age policy?
Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. Volunteers younger than 18 must present a letter of parental consent.
8. Can I bring my laptop?
Some volunteers do opt to bring their laptops, however we do ask volunteers to be conscious of their electricity consumption in homestays.
1. How much does it cost to sponsor a child?
You can sponsor a child for $25 a month ($300 annually), payable in 6-month installments.
2. Will the sponsorship fee increase in the future?
We will do our best to maintain the sponsorship fee at the current rate by continuing our careful financial planning and by working on a lean budget. If an increase is needed in the future to keep up with inflationary costs or devalued exchange rates, we will allow sponsors to continue sponsorship at current rates until they feel they can increase their contribution. Please note that the only administrative cost included in the sponsorship program budget is the cost incurred by our sponsorship staff during monitoring visits. All other administrative costs are covered through our other programs.
3. Why don’t you put pictures and details of children waiting for sponsors on your webpage like other Sponsor-A-Child providers?
We do not openly advertise the details of our children waiting to be sponsored because as an organization we value the privacy of our clientele. Rest assured, once you show an interest in sponsoring a child, our staff will send you a profile of a child who is deserving privacy. Aside from this it is also against local social welfare regulations to publish individual pictures of our clientele. As a responsible social welfare agency, we value such rules.
4. I can’t commit to sponsoring a child right now but I want to help in some way. Could I make a one-time donation or occasional donations?
Yes, your donation will help immensely. We will place your donation in a Sponsorship Program Special Fund, which is used to support children who have special needs or who are waiting for a regular sponsor. A donation of $50 will provide three malnourished children with vitamins for a full year. $75 will provide three families with medical insurance for a year and $100 will maintain a child in the program until a sponsor is located. We often feature the activities of our children on our website and social networking channels, so you can see how your money has been put to good use.
5. Are the sponsorship fees and any other financial contributions I make taxdeductible?
Yes, the GoAbroad Foundation, which is based in the United States provides us with administrative support. Send your contributions to the GoAbroad foundation, which is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt charity. GoAbroad will cover all costs related to transfer of funds.
6. How will the sponsorship fee be used?
50% of the annual payment goes directly to daily feeding programs and monthly grocery supplement, 20% of the payment contributes to medical support, a further 20% to educational materials, school fees and school supplies. The final 10% is used for educational trips, recreational activities, Christmas gifts, and travel expenses incurred by our volunteer staff during monitoring visits.
The children also receive additional benefits such as after-school tutorials conducted by staff and local and international volunteers; involvement in our volunteer program, including activities and outings to places of cultural and historical significance, close social welfare monitoring for the whole family and scheduled meetings and awareness presentations for parents.
7. What children are eligible to participate in the sponsorship program? How long does sponsorship last?
The children come from impoverished families that need help to keep their children in school. We select children most in need, based on an extensive assessment process. At least one of the parents must participate in ongoing family-strengthening sessions, and the child must continue to attend school and fulfill academic requirements.
Children generally are eligible for sponsorship until they graduate from high school, with some exceptions. Since the educational system in the Philippines does not include a middle school, children typically complete high school by age 16. Some of our children, through no fault of their own, have not attended school regularly in the past and will not graduate on schedule. Our goal is to continue sponsorship for these children until they finish high school.
Some of the children in need of sponsorship are older teens who will complete high school within a year or two. Sometimes we may have a teen who needs help for a a year or two on a vocational-training course. Please consider sponsoring one of these older teens if you feel you cannot commit to a larger period of sponsorship.
8. Will I be able to continue sponsorship if my sponsored child goes on to college ortechnical school?
If you have sponsored a child up until graduation, you have helped to provide the child with a solid foundation for future success. You are not expected to continue sponsorship once a child graduates from high school, though we suggest continued sponsorship for a three month transition period.
We do try to help our children obtain posthigh school vocational or professional training, or enroll in college if it is a viable plan. Our sponsor-a-scholar program allows a sponsor to help an individual through college, although it comes at a higher sponsorship fee.
We work closely with the schools and enlist their help with career planning. There are some higher education scholarships and work study grants available in the Philippines, however even if a child qualifies for a full scholarship, the scholarship covers just the tuition and not the costs of books and other educational requirements. Fortunately the cost for public college education and training in the Philippines is low, compared to other countries worldwide. Should your sponsored child desire to attend college or vocational training and and you wish to continue sponsorship, this is possible. You should discuss this with our child sponsorship coordinator.
9. How will I know how my sponsored child is doing?
When you sponsor a child, you will receive additional information on your sponsored child and the child’s family. You will receive email updates and photos at least twice a year.
10. Will I be able to correspond with my sponsored child?
We actively encourage you to write to your sponsored child and send personal photos. Your sponsored child wants to know who is helping him or her, and your letters can often be a source of encouragement. Some children may be eager to write back to sponsors, whilst others might not, especially since English is not their primary language. Whenever possible, our program volunteers will assist children who need help with these letters.We want to ensure that your relationship with your sponsored child gets off to a good start. For this reason the exchange of letters should be conducted through our office. We will provide you with additional guidelines and practical suggestions on corresponding with your sponsored child.
11. Could I send gifts to the child? Am I expected to send gifts to the family?
Your child will be thrilled to receive a card or small gift on special occasions like on birthdays or at Christmas. Gifts, such as games or books, which can be shared with siblings, make the best gifts.The family understands that the child is being sponsored and not the family. However should you chose to do so, you can send a gift to the family. However we recommend that
all gifts be sent through our office. Again sending gifts is not expected; we are addressing this question as it has been asked by our sponsors.
12. Could I visit the child I am sponsoring?
Yes, visiting your sponsored child can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both you and the child. We will arrange for you to meet your sponsored child and the child’s parents at our community center. In most instances, you will then be able to visit with your sponsored child and family members on your own; generally, one of the parents should accompany the child on these visits. For everyone’s protection, all visits with your sponsored child must be authorized and arranged by us. Contact our sponsorship coordinator at least a month in advance if you plan to visit. There are certain busy periods when we may have some difficulty accommodating visits. These periods include May to June, when we are busy with start-ofschool preparations and December to earlyJanuary, when we are tied up with holiday activities. If at all possible, try to visit at other times so that we can offer you more assistance. We will be also be able to give you suggestions on accommodations and places to see.
13. Could I sponsor more than one child at a time?
Yes, some individuals do sponsor more than one child. If you wish to help other children you could also consider contributing to our Group Sponsorship Fund, you may also contribute to other projects featured on our website.
14. Could a group sponsor a child?
Yes, some of our children are sponsored by churches, schools or service groups. These arrangement have worked out well. There should just be one person who serves as the groups liaison, and a single group letter should be sent to the child rather than multiple letters from individual groups members.
15. Could I also sponsor the child’s sibling?
Because there are other children waiting to be sponsored, we try to limit enrollment to one child per family. However we do make exceptions when siblings also are at risk of dropping out of school. We do our best to help families through our other projects, such as the Build-A-Home project. If we determine that a sibling should also be sponsored, we will inform you of this before featuring the sibling in our sponsorship site. Also, should you wish to sponsor a sibling after your sponsored child has completed the sponsorship program, please discuss this with our sponsorship coordinator.
16. Okay, I do want to sponsor a child, what should I do now?
To sponsor a child, please download the sponsorship form (PDF | Word). Send your completed sponsorship form with a check to cover six months of sponsorship ($150) or one year of sponsorship ($300) to the GoAbroad Foundation at the following address:
324 East Oak Street
Fort Collins, Colorado 80524
Please also visit our donations page for additional information on donations. Donations made to us through the GoAbroad Foundations are tax-deductible in the U.S. Donations made directly to us in the Philippines are not.