Program Facts

Why do I have to pay to volunteer?

Your trip fee provides the funds by which we are able to purchase building materials, pay the wages of the on-site crew (most of whom come from within the community) and provide your lodging, food and activities. More than 85% of your trip fee remains in-country, with 50% going directly to the project. For US residents, your trip fee is considered a charitable deduction along with some associated travel costs.

Do I need any special skills?

Anyone can join a Restoration Works International trip. No previous construction or building experience is required – just a desire to make a difference in the lives of the local community.

What kind of work will I be doing?

The tasks vary depending on the project, its need and the work progress. Generally, the mornings begin with a group gathering in which the architect, project manager or Group Leader will update everyone on the goals for the day, and make work assignments. You will always find a variety of jobs available. You may find yourself laying a slate courtyard, building a rooftop parapet, shoveling and sifting dirt for plaster, cleaning wooden sculpture and carvings or repairing ancient temple wall paintings.

Should I be concerned about safety issues on site?

No RWI participant has encountered a serious safety or medical situation. However, we require that all participants have medical insurance and an emergency evacuation policy. Our Group Leaders have undergone first aid training. You should be aware, however, that construction sites operating in developing countries often lack the safety standards that you may be used to in your own country. When you are on site, it’s wise to stay alert. You should not participate in any work or activity in which you do not feel safe.

What types of people come on RWI trips?

We get everyone from experienced globetrotters – Peace Corps members and journalists – to first-time travelers. Past volunteers have included groups (university classes, families, yoga aficionados) and individuals. Sometimes we are fortunate to be joined by experienced carpenters and stone masons but often our volunteers are working or retired professionals with no construction experience.

What age range is appropriate?

We have had volunteers from age 5 to age 70+. Please note that all volunteers 18 and under must provide a waiver form with parental signature, even when accompanied by that parent.

Can I contact past volunteers?

Yes! We have many volunteers who are happy to provide their views and information. Some prefer email contact but others are happy to talk by phone. Please enquire, and we will provide contact details.

Do you do custom trips if I bring my own group?

Groups of four or more can choose customized dates and activities. Please email us for information.

Can I do a shorter trip or longer trip than the dates posted?

For reasons of safety, logistics and cost, RWI requires that all trip participants travel together on the scheduled dates. If this presents a problem regarding your personal arrangements, please contact us.

Preparation FAQs

Can you help me with travel arrangements?

We can refer you to a travel agent who has handled many participants’ air fares in the past. You can also check Fly for Good online at http://www.flyforgood.net

What sort of insurance do I need? Medical? Travel? Emergency evacuation?

RWI requires all participants to purchase travel health insurance that includes emergency evacuations. We also recommend you consider travel insurance. Policies are inexpensive and vary– look for one that includes reimbursement of cancellation fees in the event of trip cancellation or delay. No RWI volunteer has ever missed an international departure but it is possible that domestic airline delays or cancellations could affect your onward journey. Most policies also cover loss of baggage, and expenses related to accidents and illness.