Why do I have to pay to do volunteer work?
Participating in volunteer work is a unique opportunity only possible through the availability of funds for project costs. Starfish uses a combination of your fee, a donation directly from Starfish, and outside funding to create our projects. You as both a donor and a volunteer are able to see your money in action as well as assist in implementation.
What’s included in my fee?
Your fee includes arrival pick-up from the airport, a two-night stay in Bangkok, a city tour, welcome meeting and guided orientation of your projects location, all accommodation and utility usage, daily transportation to and from your volunteer location, daily support of a Starfish coordinator and translator, 24-hour emergency support, and the opportunity to help a community reach its full potential.
Am I too old or too young?
With the exception of the technical volunteer projects, age, experience, qualifications, sex, race, religion, background are not important to be a volunteer. You just need to be physically fit and have the desire to complete your role in the project.
Do I need experience?
Experience is great to have, however, it is not required to take part in our projects. We use trained professionals to oversee all aspects of our projects to ensure quality and efficiency. Those volunteers with relevant skills and experience, are encouraged to take a leadership role and share there skills with both our team and other volunteers.
Do I need a Criminal Records check?
Yes. International volunteering protocols, and often host countries require a certificate of a criminal record check. Please contact your local Police or law enforcement agency for more details of how to obtain this.
When do I book and when do I pay?
Most of our projects are available throughout the year. You can book as far in advance as you wish. All we request is that we have received your booking form and full payment no later than 30 days before you are due to start your project.
Will I need a visa?
Visa laws change quite frequently, so it’s important you find the most updated information. Depending on your country of origin and the destination country, you may need to arrange a visa before arrival. Please visit the embassy/consulate website for exact details. Obtaining the correct visa to cover the duration of a stay is the responsibility of the volunteer. We cannot be responsible for your visa requirements.
Do I need any vaccinations?
Vaccinations are generally recommended for travel abroad, please contact your local disease control website to obtain information about vaccinations.
Do I get a pick up?
Yes, as long as we have all your flight details and it is on the specific arrival date you will be met at the airport by one of our Starfish coordinators who will be wearing a Starfish T-shirt, holding a big Starfish sign and wearing an even bigger smile. If it is not on our arrival dates please contact us directly, we are sure we can work something out.
What happens if I can’t find you?
It happens of course in the confusion of stepping of the plane and getting your bag, going through passport control, the smell and buzz of a new place. People can get confused and disorientated. The best thing to do is not panic, take a step back and breath. You will receive all the arrival information you require as well as the telephone number of our arrivals coordinator who will be close by to find you. If you have lost the number simply go to the information desk at the airport and they will make an announcement. to prevent all of this try not to lose the directions given to you.
I arrive at 1 am will i still get a pick up?
As long as it is on the specific arrival date it is never an issue. If it is not, please contact us directly to try and arrange an alternative.
What do I do on my first day?
The 1st day can be a little confusing at first while you are getting used to the time difference, different temperatures and all the sights and smells. Generally the arrival days are quite busy for everyone as volunteers will be arriving all day so relax at the hostel, drink plenty of water, keep your eye out for our staff and other volunteers, go and explore a little but no need to go to far until your coordinator has given you more information. The big orientation will happen the following day where everything will be explained to you.
Where does my money go?
Understandably you want to know that the money you spend goes to the right places and supports the right communities. Of course we have to spend money to make your stay work, accommodation, staff, transportation are taken from your payment. However over 75% of what you pay is used on the project and all costs connected to it. We are proud of what we do, and once you are here you can speak to our in-country coordinators about how we operate as an organisation.
What about my accommodation?
Volunteers will generally stay in twin share rooms that include beds, bedding, basic storage, fan, and electric sockets. At many of our project locations we rent housing from the local community. Each house has several bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and living space. The houses are located close to amenities including supermarkets, markets, internet cafe’s, ATM’s, medical facilities and so on.
Do I need to speak the local language?
Knowing a few simple words is a great way to show your appreciation to the locals who you will interact with. A simple “hello” or “thank you” in that country’s native language will go a long way to forging new friendships and opening new doors.
What if I want stay longer?
Starfish is extremely flexible when it comes to our projects. We are always in need of funding and volunteers who are ready to help. During your time here, you can speak to your coordinator and discuss the possibility of extending your project work.
What can I do in my free time?
Starfish projects are located in various cities and rural villages. Refer to the volunteer handbook for your location and project for further information about available leisure activities around your project. Our local team can assist you with organizing itineraries, transport, accommodation and booking.
How can I contact Starfish after my trip?
There are many ways we can communicate, by email, our Facebook page or call us up and have a friendly chat.
How can I promote Starfish and their projects when I am home?
Many of our volunteers want to continue to support all our causes. This is the only way we can function and support our many projects by spreading our work through word of mouth. There are literally hundreds of ways to get involved, please send an email to our enquiries department and we will send over an information pack with plenty of ideas on how to spread the word.
How can I donate?
Starfish Volunteers is part of the Starfish group which is the proud founders of the Starfish Foundation and Starfish DREAM Project which helps support our projects at a grass root level. Please look at the links below this page to find out more information about how you can become part of the Starfish family.
Can I come again?
Yes and bring your friends! For special rates and offers for our returnees please contact our enquiries department and mention your name, I am sure we will remember you.