Frequently Asked Questions

How do I volunteer for a Project Helping Hands Medical Team ?

The first step is to review the teams that are currently available.  You will find them listed on the "Home Page" of our website.  As you begin to read about each of the volunteer opportunities you will discover that we offer a variety of experiences.  These opportunities range from what we rate as "Mild" to "Extreme" teams.   

The "Extreme" teams are the ultimate in the area of "Adventure With Heart".  Typically traveling teams do not stay in the same location each night, and offer very few amenities in regard to electricity, running water, showers etc...   An example of an extreme team would be the "Jungle" teams that we offer in Bolivia.  The areas reached by these types of teams will take you into regions of the world that are seen by very few people, and the need for assistance by residents of these areas are tremendous.  This type of travel can include any number of modes of transportation!   ie...  Plane, Bus, 4wd Suv's, Boats, Rafts, Canoes, and of course your own two legs with a pack on your back!      Here is a VIDEO LINK of a Bolivia Extreme team in action!

A "Moderdate" team would not have such a high level/degree of travel and you typically stay several nights in the same location.  An example of a Moderate level team would be our "Oyugis Kenya" teams.   With the Oyugis trip the team stays in the same location each night and does have amenities such as electricity and running water where they stay.  This team does have a high level of physical activity condisering that it is a three mile hike each to reach the clinic location each day.  Here is a PHOTO LINK showing photos from a previous trip to Oyugis Kenya!

A "Mild" level team typically stays at the same location each day and has minimal travel once they are at their destination.  An example of a Mild team would be the "Kampala Uganda" team.  This team stays at a very nice Hotel in Kampala and are transported each day to "Kawempe" which is a slum region on the outskirts of Kampala.   The need is extreme for the residents of Kawempe and you will be very busy with clinical activities from the moment you arrive at the clinic site to the end of each day.  This team typically treats upwards of 2,000 patients during their two week mission trip. Here is a PHOTO LINK showing photos from a previous trip to Kampala Uganda!

Once you have made your decision on the "Level" of team that you wish to participate in, and the particular team that you wish to apply to you will need to complete our on-line volunteer application form and pay the $300.00 trip deposit fee.

If selected the deposit is applied toward the total cost of your trip.  If not selected you have three options. 

  1. Donate the funds to the Project Helping Hands General Fund
  2. Apply the funds as a deposit toward another trip
  3. Request a refund

Once you have submitted your application you will be contacted by a PHH staff person letting you know we have received it. Once the posted deadline for team applications has passed, the team leader will contact you and let you know whether or not you will be accepted to participate on that team. Volunteers chosen must be willing to provide a current medical license (health care providers only), provide basic health and medical information about themselves and sign/submit a medical consent form, and sign a trip participant consent form.  Once you have been accepted to a team you are not eligible for a refund of the Deposit fee or any other payments that you have made toward the cost of your trip.

What is the cancellation/refund policy in the event that I have to withdraw from a team?

 You are required to submit a $300.00 deposit when you apply for a team.   This deposit is only refundable if you are not chosen as a team member for the team in wich you applied.   In the event that you are accepted to the team and you decide to withdraw from the team the deposit is not refundable.   You do have the option to transfer the deposit funds to another team within one year from the original deposit payment date.

Once accepted for a team any/all funds paid toward your trip are non-refundable in the event that you decide to withdraw from the team.   If the funds are un-encumbered at the time of withdrawal (Meaning airline tickets are not yet purchased and in-country funds not yet distributed) you have the option to transfer funds to another trip/team within one year of your original team acceptance date.  After that point in time the funds will roll into the PHH general fund.

Any and all funds that are applied to your account above and beyond your trip price will be applied toward your team's contingency fund.  These overpayment funds can not be re-imbursed back to the team members. 

What is the cost of joining a Medical Team ?

Each trip is unique and has its own associated expenses.  Please review the trip description page for the team that you are interested in.  You will find links to the current teams under the "Medical Teams" tab on main menu bar of our website.

What is included in the trip price ?
  • Round trip Domestic Airfare (from a major international airport)
  • Round trip International Airfare (From USA departure point to destination country)
  • All in-country air and ground transportation (All transportation while in our host country)
  • All applicable VISA fees
  • Airport departure taxes
  • Travel Insurance (Does not include trip cancellation insurance)
  • All meals and drinking water while in our host country
  • Housing while in our host country (Varies depending on specific trip from Hotels to School House floors to camping)
  • Project Helping Hands team shirt
  • Transportation, meals and any fees associated with the one day sightseeing activity on the teams day off

What is not included in the trip price?

  • Airline baggage fees
  • Meals or lodging in the USA due to a forced layover
  • Passport Fees
  • Fees associated with vaccinations
  • Personal Gear
  • Personal choice food or snacks either home or abroad
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance (PHH recommends that you purchase a trip cancellation insurance policy)

We strongly encourage all team members to take responsibility for the finances of the trip.  If you cannot finance the trip personally, we ask you to undertake some fundraising activities.

What types of tasks are volunteers asked to do when serving on a medical team?

Besides examining patients who come to the clinics, duties can include everything from organizing and maintaining a clinic or organizing and staffing the pharmacy, to assessing and triaging patients who pour into the clinics every day. Volunteers without medical training help set up clinics and manage lines, run between providers and the pharmacy, hand out glasses, help with health education, play with kids, or take photos.

Do I have to be medically trained in order to volunteer for a team with Project Helping Hands (PHH)?
No. Anyone who is over age 18 can apply to volunteer on a medical team with PHH. However, because our mission is to provide medical services, we focus on recruiting medical providers. On average, 80% of our teams are medical providers.
How challenging are the trips?

Our trips vary greatly in terms of both physical and mental challenges. Each trip and location is different and will pose different types and levels of challenges, which are described on the website under the trip descriptions. Therefore it is important that when you apply to join a team you apply for a trip that you think will be a good fit for your personal physical and mental condition.

Because we send teams to remote areas of the world where there are potential health hazards and risks, varying levels of physical and emotional demands, limited hygiene facilities, extreme weather and very basic living conditions, it is critical that all members on any team are in appropriate physical and mental condition to handle the level of challenge present in the trip applied for. This is why it is important that we know about the health and medical conditions of each team member.

Does Project Helping Hands try to match volunteers and their backgrounds to certain teams?

PHH doesn’t necessarily match people and backgrounds with specific teams, BUT we do tailor teams to the backgrounds of people.  If you bring special skills to a team, you should make those known to your team leader and s/he can work with our in-country hosts to plan events and locations that will maximize the potential of those skills. If for example, we have a respiratory therapist sign up for a team, we can advertise that in the community and let people know we have a specialist in breathing to attract those types of patients. 

Does Project Helping Hands provide scholarships for medical students or other volunteers who may need financial assistance to participate?

PHH has a policy to provide student scholarships when funds are available to do so. Currently we have no money in a scholarship fund, but this can vary from year to year. Again, we encourage all team members to raise funds not only to cover the costs of their own trip but to provide a contingency fund to pay for patient medical care beyond what can be provided in our clinics.