FAQ’s

REGISTRATION PROCESS

Can anyone volunteer with Solidarity in Action?

Anyone who is interested in volunteering with Solidarity in Action is welcome to travel with us. We have had volunteers from 15 years old to volunteers eighty years old. We welcome you to the Solidarity in Action program!

What is included in the price of the program?

The price of the Solidarity in Action program includes all of your expenses while you are in Peru. The cost includes all accommodation in Lima and Cuzco, most meals, in-country transportation, visit to Machu Picchu and other cultural excursions. Be sure to bring your own spending money to cover incidental expenses, snacks and any souvenirs that you wish to purchase.

How do I register for a program?

You have made a great decision! You can register through the Register Now page. You will need to provide a bit of information about yourself and place a USD$150 deposit to secure your space.

What happens once I register and pay the deposit?

A member of the Solidarity in Action team will contact you to welcome you to the program and to provide you with an introductory package, information about important dates, including pre-departure meetings, and payment dates. Visit our Register Now page to learn more about the process.

Do I need to purchase my own flight?

Yes, participants are invited to work alongside Solidarity in Action’s preferred travel agent to coordinate all of your travel arrangements. Please visit our Programs page to contact our preferred travel agent.

Is Solidarity in Action a religiously affiliated organization?

Solidarity in Action has no religious affiliations. We work alongside local project partners who provide important support to members of the community. We partner with both public and religious schools, institutions, and local non-governmental organizations. All participants are expected to show respect for the beliefs of other participants and local people at all times.

Does Solidarity in Action conduct all program operations in USD (US Dollars)?

Yes, Solidarity in Action performs all program operations in US Dollars. Participants should conduct all program expenses in US Dollars.

How can I pay for my Solidarity in Action program?

You can pay for your Solidarity in Action program through these methods:

  • Online: You may pay online through the Solidarity in Action website, www.solidarityinaction.ca
  • Bank draft or Money Order: Visit your bank branch to request a bank draft or money order to be made out to Solidarity in Action. The bank may charge a fee for the service. Major Canadian banks charge between $7.50 to $7.75 for the service.
  • Direct deposit: You may complete a direct deposit into Solidarity in Action’s TD Account.
  • Cheque: To pay Solidarity in Action in US Dollars by cheque, clearly write US FUNDS below the Numeric dollar amount on the right side of the cheque. Banks may charge a fee for the service of about CAD$20.

Who do I make the cheque payable to?

All cheques should be made payable to Solidarity in Action, Inc.

PRE-DEPARTURE PREPARATION

Will I need to get any vaccinations before the program?

You should meet with your family doctor or a travel doctor before your program to discuss any vaccinations that are required for your travel destination. You may also want to ask doctor about medication to ease traveler’s diarrhea and altitude sickness (depending on your destination). Since some vaccinations need to be taken several weeks before your departure, do not wait until the last minute to visit a doctor.

What if I have to cancel my program prior to departure?

In the event of cancellation, you will not be reimbursed the USD$150 registration deposit and there may be additional penalties which prevent you from being reimbursed the rest of the cost of the program.

Do I need a passport and visa?

All participants traveling out of Canada require a passport valid for six months after the scheduled date of return from the Solidarity in Action program. Ensure that your passport is signed. Visas are not required for Canadian citizens for any of the countries to which Solidarity in Action travels. However, non-Canadian citizens are to speak to a member of the Solidarity in Action team to determine whether they need a visa.

How much luggage can I take?

Each airline has different luggage weight or size restrictions so you will receive detailed information about this at your pre-departure meetings (dates for pre-departure meetings are posted on the Calendar as soon as they are available).

I don’t speak Spanish. Will it be beneficial if I learn a little bit before the program?

It is not necessary to be able to speak Spanish in order for you to have an amazing experience. However, many past participants have expressed that they would have liked to have learned more Spanish before traveling with Solidarity in Action.

Will anyone who donates to my program be eligible for a tax credit?

Yes, all donors from Canada will be eligible to receive a tax credit. For more information donors can visit the Canadian Revenue Agency’s website.

THE PROGRAM IN PERU

What will I be doing while I’m away?

The Solidarity in Action program includes an active and varied two week program. Click here to see an outline of the Daily Program Itinerary.

How many people usually participate in each program?

Between 10 to 20 participants participate in each program.

Can I participate in an Solidarity in Action program if I have a health condition?

If you have a health condition, talk to your doctor to see if it is safe for you to travel and participate in a Solidarity in Action program. Activities can be physically and emotionally demanding at times and all participants should be prepared for this. It is important to find out whether travel insurance will provide coverage for your condition in the case of an emergency or a relapse of a pre-existing condition.

What if I have special dietary requirements?

If you have special dietary requirements (vegetarian, lactose intolerance, allergies, religious requirements), please inform a member of the Solidarity in Action staff. We will try to accommodate these requirements during the program. However, Peruvians have a different diet and it may not be possible for you to access the same foods that you are used to from home. We recommend that you to bring non-perishable snacks or other food items with you to Peru, and be prepared to buy a few food items when you get to your destination.

What if I do not speak Spanish?

You are not alone! Many participants on Solidarity in Action programs do not speak Spanish or other local languages. Although it is not necessary, you may want to pick up some basic Spanish books or CDs before your progarm, or even take a class for beginners to try to learn some simple words or sentences. During the Solidarity in Action program, you will participate in Spanish classes to help you learn basic language skills and further expose you to the culture. Local interpreters may also be available at your volunteer placements to help you.

How politically stable is Peru?

Peru is a stable country. Peru is a Presidential representative democratic republic, which has been stable for more than 15 years.

How safe will I be while in Peru?

The safety of our participants is our number one concern. Solidarity in Action takes safety precautions in order to ensure your safety. We have arranged for you to stay in safe residences and you will be required to travel in groups at all times. While it is always best to leave valuables such as ipods, expensive jewelry and smartphones at home, you will have the opportunity to lock up your valuables (including your passport if needed) within the accommodation. As is the case with travel to any destination, there are safety risks associated. However, it best to be aware of your surroundings and always follow the safety rules that have been established by Solidarity in Action.

Where will we be staying during our time away?

You will be staying in safe and comfortable retreat houses and hostels. Breakfast and dinner are served onsite. You will spend the majority of your time in Lima, and a few days in Cuzco. In Lima, the rooms are double or triple occupancy and bathrooms are shared. In Cuzco, most rooms are double or triple occupancy. Some of the large rooms can accommodate up to five people per room. You will be given the address and the contact information for all lodging before your departure.

What will the weather be like?

Weather conditions vary depending on the country, city and the time of year. Weather information will be provided at your pre-departure meetings. Feel free to check out the current weather in your destination country anytime at www.theweathernetwork.com or other weather websites.

Do we work all the time during our stay?

The Solidarity in Action program is filled with amazing learning experiences. Volunteering is a major component of Solidarity in Action, but this work is balanced with cultural activities that allow you to engage with the community beyond your designated volunteer work. Solidarity in Action also offers downtime where participants have time to reflect on their experiences within the community. Due to the busy placement days, participants will have more downtime during the visit to Cuzco.

POST-PROGRAM

Will Solidarity in Action communicate with me after I return home from my trip?

Solidarity in Action views you as an important member of Solidarity in Action, and as a past participant you will enter the Solidarity in Action Alumni Community. We will send you regular updates and let you know about opportunities available and upcoming events.

How can I continue to stay involved with the Solidarity in Action community upon my return?

As a member of the Solidarity in Action you will be entering into a community of people who want to travel and make a difference. We love to remain connected to our past participants. You can remain involved from Canada. If you would like to remain involved message Larry Shuttleworth at l.shuttleworth@solidarityinaction.ca and he would be happy to discuss the different ways for you to remain involved.

Can I come back to Peru as a member of the Solidarity in Action program staff?

Yes, many participants return to Peru as participants or as members of the program staff. As a member of the program staff you will be able to develop unique experiences for volunteers, and support our local partners. For more information please visit the Program Leaders page.

OTHER

I’m a (faculty member/university staff/ teacher) and I am interested in running a program with Solidarity in Action. How can I do this?

Solidarity in Action works alongside universities and schools to coordinate group programs. Please contact Avantika Mathur at a.mathur@solidarityinaction.ca to discuss group programs.

Can small children join a program?

Yes, this is possible for some of our programs. Please contact our office, or send an email to info@solidarityianction.ca for more information.

Do you ever give program refunds?

All program costs, except for the $150 non-refundable deposit could be refundable if a person is forced to cancel. Solidarity in Action looks at each person’s situation independently to determine if he or she would be eligible to receive a refund.

I live in Peru, how can my community benefit from Solidarity in Action’s volunteers?

We are always interested in making new friends, so feel free to stay engaged in our work! You can send an email to Solidarity in Action’s Project Manager Maria Avalos at oficinaperu@solidarityinaction.ca. Maria Avalos will be looking forward to discussing ways that we can work together.

I love Solidarity in Action. Can I work or intern in your main offices?

There are currently no full time positions available with Solidarity in Action in Burlington, or in Lima. However, Solidarity in Action annually provides internship and volunteer opportunities in our Burlington, Ontario, Canada and Lima, Peru offices.

How can I donate to Solidarity in Action?

We understand that your schedule may not allow you to travel to Peru, and that you would still like to support the meaningful projects. If you would like to support Solidarity in Action you can become a monthly or one time donor. Solidarity in Action is a registered Canadian charity. All donors are eligible to receive a tax credit. Our generous donors allow us to provide our local partners with the support that they require to continue the amazing work locally. Visit our Donate Now page to learn about the different ways to donate.

Solidarity in Action explains that it is an organization “with me in Canada and in Peru”, what does this mean?

By “with you in your home country and in Peru”, we are with you every step of the way during your experience. While other organizations support you from your home country, when you arrive in a foreign country, they give you to a third party, who you have had nothing to do with before. In contrast, Solidarity in Action coordinates all of your arrangements while you are in your home country and when you arrive in Peru, we remain with you for the duration of the program to guide and direct you through the program.

What is the benefit of having one organization oversee my full experience, both while I am preparing in my home country and during my time in Peru, rather than being handed over to a third party once I arrive in Peru?

Having Solidarity in Action oversee your full experience ensures that you receive the necessary support that you require and that the same people who you interact with before leaving for Peru will be the same individuals supporting you while you are in Peru.