Short-Term Ghana Volunteering: How To Apply, Program Requirements, and Costs

This page refers to the 1-week Ghana Program. For more information on the Global Impact Corps volunteer opportunity, click here.

How To Enroll


Program Requirements

Our research, experience, and evaluation has enabled us to develop a highly successful orientation process that ensures that volunteers are fully prepared to contribute to the success of the Unite For Sight programs.

  • Ghana Program Orientation: Volunteers review an orientation training manual that includes comprehensive details about how the Unite For Sight programs work, and how the volunteers participate in the field.
  • Insurance: It is important for anyone traveling abroad to have security, medical assistance, and medical expense reimbursement insurance coverage. All volunteers are required to purchase security and medical assistance insurance, as well as medical expense reimbursement insurance, through International SOS.
  • Passport, VISA, Vaccinations: Receive a Passport and VISA, and get vaccinations and a physical exam. All participants are required to receive all necessary vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis for travel in accordance with The Travelers' Health Report from the National Center of Infectious Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control
  • Transport Eyeglasses: Global Impact Fellows obtain at least 600 reading glasses or sunglasses for donation to the partner eye clinic in the destination country. Most volunteers simply order eyeglasses from organizations such as RestoringVision (U.S.-based volunteers), New Eyes For The Needy (U.S.-based volunteers), Lion's Club (U.S.-based, Canada-based, Australia-based, and other volunteers), and other similar organizations worldwide. These organizations will ship the supply of eyeglasses directly to the Global Impact Fellow by postal mail. The highest quality eyeglasses come from RestoringVision, which receives overstocked glasses that would otherwise be discarded by eyeglass companies. The cost for the glasses varies by the supplier. Eyeglasses from the Lion's Club are usually shipped free of charge ($0), while RestoringVision charges 45 cents per eyeglass pair (including shipping), and New Eyes For The Needy charges a minimal shipping cost. After receiving the reading glasses and sunglasses in the mail, Global Impact Fellows pack the collection into their suitcase to transport to the eye clinic abroad. These reading glasses and sunglasses are distributed to patients by the eye clinic where the volunteer participates. Upon acceptance to the Unite For Sight program, fellows receive detailed instructions and contact information for obtaining reading glasses and sunglasses.
  • Required Donation (100% provides eye care to patients): Volunteers donate at least $1,800 for Unite For Sight's international eye care programs, except professionals (fully licensed, fully trained and practicing optometrists and ophthalmologists who provide skills transfer to local eye care professionals, as well as professional filmmakers and photographers who are participating in a professional capacity), who donate at least $600 for the eye care programs. This tax-deductible donation is an essential part of a volunteer's contribution to patients living in extreme poverty, and this donation is in lieu of any administrative program fees. In contrast to all other volunteer abroad organizations, Unite For Sight does not have an administrative program fee. Unite For Sight operates in a very cost-effective manner so that the organization does not need to pass along typical administrative and volunteer coordination expenses to its volunteers. We have other sources of funding for the expenses associated with ensuring safety and preparing, training, managing, and supervising volunteers in a quality manner. 

    Can I fundraise instead? Yes! While volunteers are welcome to pay the $1,800 donation, many volunteers instead choose to fundraise, which we strongly encourage. This is a great opportunity to engage your family and friends in your upcoming experience abroad, and volunteers often far exceed the $1,800 minimum. 100% of the fundraising efforts by Unite For Sight's fellows provide impoverished patients with free eye care and sight-restoring surgeries. Each cataract surgery costs $50 on average, so every dollar that you fundraise or donate has a tremendous impact on the lives of children and adults.

    Easy-To-Use Personalized Fundraising Page: To facilitate the fundraising process, Unite For Sight creates a personal donation fundraising page for all Global Impact Fellows and provides a Fundraising Toolkit. Unite For Sight's Global Impact Fellows are very successful with their fundraising initiatives, and fundraising often requires very little of a volunteer's time since they only need to email their fundraising website link to friends and family. As donations are submitted, Unite For Sight records the donations and notifies the volunteer. All donors receive a receipt for tax purposes, and the donations are tax-deductible to the full extent provided by U.S. law.

    Click To View Examples of Volunteer Fundraising Pages

How easy is it to fundraise with the online fundraising page? You will find that your family and friends are excited to support your fundraising efforts for a cause and organization that are important to you. You will likely find that it takes no more than one month to reach the $1,800 minimum fundraising amount, and some volunteers even reach the fundraising minimum within one week. College student Daniel Yeboah-Kordieh, for example, anticipated that fundraising would be difficult, but he ultimately raised $1981 within a few weeks. He explains: "The learning experience of the Global Impact Corps Program began way before I actually arrived in Ghana. I initially flinched when I was told that fundraising was a prerequisite to participating in the program. Given that I was a freshman international student, who barely knew anyone in the United States, I sincerely thought this amount would be impossible to raise. However, this turned out to be a life lesson of ‘tenacity in the face of challenges’ that this program would teach me. I had the immense support of officials at Unite For Sight’s office, who would call me, and discuss innovative fundraising techniques with me. In addition I was given a fundraising webpage that streamlined the process. Within a few weeks, I had raised way more than the minimum requirement; I was forced to think outside the box, push myself, persist and overcome a challenge I thought was impossible."

  • Upon enrollment in the program, volunteers are required to submit a reimbursable deposit to confirm their commitment and to hold their place in the program. The deposit is fully reimbursed after a volunteer successfully completes the Unite For Sight program. Therefore, after completing the Unite For Sight program, volunteers will have submitted no personal funds to Unite For Sight, unless they choose to personally donate. The reimbursable deposit insures that all confirmed volunteers will follow through with their commitment to Unite For Sight by participating in the program as planned, and that they will complete their pre-departure requirements.

Costs

  • The exact cost of your program will vary based on the location and dates. 
    • Required fundraising/donation: As explained above, all volunteers must pay or fundraise $1,800, and 100% provides sight-restoring surgeries for patients living in poverty. This tax-deductible donation is an essential part of a volunteer's contribution to patients living in extreme poverty, and this donation is in lieu of any administrative program fees. In contrast to all other volunteer abroad organizations, Unite For Sight does not have an administrative program fee.
    • Airfare: Airfare varies based on your starting location, destination location, and the time of year. You can determine the flight cost by going to a travel website such as FlyForGood, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, or FlyCheapAbroad or by going directly to airline websites.
    • Living and Lodging Costs: Unite For Sight coordinates housing for all volunteers, and volunteers pay the lodging providers directly. The specific cost varies by location and trip duration. For specific details, visit Program Locations, then select your preferred program location to see all of the program details, including the living and lodging costs.
    • International SOS Security, Medical Assistance, and Medical Expense Reimbursement Costs: The exact cost depends on the amount of time that you spend abroad. You may coordinate a cost estimate at http://buymembership.internationalsos.com/. For example, a 10-day period of security insurance coverage costs $84.
    • Visa: You will need a visa to enter Ghana. You may review the costs on the Ghana Consulate website in your country. Your visa will likely cost approximately $60.

Alumni Reflections

"I am very impressed with how Unite For Sight prepares their volunteers and has such a good rapport with their organizations that they work with. I like how Unite For Sight is very professional and prepared to help you in every way possible. They thought of almost everything and anything that could affect you while on your trip and prepared you for every situation (through readings, online videos, and other training). In turn, this made for such a wonderful experience during my two weeks."

Alumni Reflections

"My overall experience was excellent because not only did I gain a cultural experience and meet wonderful people and make friendships, but I also have also gained an academic and hands on experience into the field my interest. The modules, preparations, training, fundraising and eyeglass collection have brought me so much closer to my family, friends, and community...I am certain that I will contribute some of my time and skill to community development in developing countries in the future...I learned so much about the role of NGOs through reading the modules and the importance of having an effective and organized organization in order to have a positive impact rather than a negative one."


Alumni Reflections

"In the surgery room, people were prepped and operated on at amazing efficiency, as the surgery itself took but seven minutes. Seven miraculous minutes was all it took for people to get their sight back. A miracle not only for them, but an eye opener for me, for I had fundraised enough money for 57 of these people to have this chance to regain their sight, a chance they would not have had without the financial support of Unite For Sight. My experience in Ghana was nothing short of amazing. Not only did I get a hands-on experience in the medical field as an undergraduate, but I realized how preventable blindness can be in many developing countries; so preventable that I, a mere college student, could change 57 lives."

Alumni Reflections

"I loved how the Unite For Sight program guided you through the whole process of becoming a volunteer. I appreciated the deadlines, for it gave me solid timeline with which to work. On top of that, I was glad that there were readings on cultural competency, health care, the anatomy and physiology of the eye, and the numerous pathologies of the eye. Without all these required readings and videos, I would have gone in blind to Patna. However, because I was able to get a general understanding of what my stay in Patna would be like, what work was required of me, and how to interact with patients, I felt more at ease while I was actually volunteering. My favorite requirement was the one where I had to go and shadow an ophthalmologist. I learned so much more about the eye than I could have just from reading and watching videos. I was able to attain actual experience on how to establish a relationship with the patient and how to proceed in taking down a patient's history and visual acuity. Without the requirements, I would not have been as effective of a volunteer as I was because of all the knowledge I gained beforehand."