Volunteer with the Batey Relief Alliance

volunteerBatey Relief Alliance is apolitical and about improving human conditions. Volunteer professionals come from diverse backgrounds, and they work in situations, which challenge them to use their skills and knowledge of cultural sensitivities to the fullest. BRA regularly has overseas volunteer positions in the Dominican Republic, Haiti or Peru for qualified candidates willing to work in: 1) fund and organizational development, 2) health and HIV/AIDS and education, 3) food security and agricultural development, 4) women empowerment, 5) microcredit, 6) disaster relief, 7) project implementation and coordination, 8) office management and administration, 9) community organizing, 10) research, 11) water and sanitation, 12) public relations, etc. But we also evaluate and accept a volunteer’s proposed work for BRA in the event we judge it would  help advance the organization’s mission.

What it means to be a volunteer with BRA

An application for a Batey Relief Alliance volunteer placement means more than simply applying for a job in another country. Your decision reflects a commitment to live, work, learn and share under very different expectations, conditions and levels of support than you may have ever faced before. It will be an experience that will challenge your personal as well as your professional resources. As such, the BRA selection process is thorough, and can be lengthy. It is important that you are as forthcoming and as comprehensive as possible in the information you provide, so that the overseas BRA staff who cannot meet and interview applicants, can get an idea of what you are like as a person, as well as understand your professional abilities.

Steps to apply for a volunteer position with BRA

Step 1 – Application

  • Contact us at bra@bateyrelief.org with a letter of intent addressed to Ulrick Gaillard, CEO about the specific work you wish to do as volunteer with the BRA and for how long.
  • If there is a need for the work you wish to apply, we will let you know and instruct you to follow the instructions provided in the placement description. We encourage you to send all application information via email to us at bra@bateyrelief.org.
  • Be sure to be thorough with your application.
  • Attach a copy of your current résumé. BRA will be looking for detailed information about your work experience, education, volunteer experience, life skills and hobbies.

Step 2 – References, Personal Statement, and Documentation

Batey Relief Alliance will review your qualifications, and if appropriate, you will be invited to continue with the application process, including provision of the following information:

  • Three references, at least one from your current or most recent employer.
  • Personal Statement, which states clearly the reasons for volunteering, what you wish to accomplish, and how your work will help advance BRA’s humanitarian mission.
  • Photocopies of diplomas, certificates or professional licenses – any documents that qualify you to work in your job.

Step 3 – Interview

Once all documentation is received and reviewed, an interview may be arranged. When possible, applicants are interviewed in person, but many interviews for applicants living at a distance from BRA in the United States or the Dominican Republic are done by telephone or skype. The interview provides you with an opportunity to explore questions you may have about the placement. The purpose of the interview is also to give overseas staff or partner organizations, that will not have the opportunity to meet you, an assessment of your professional strengths, and an idea of what you are like as a person.

The hiring committee will make a recommendation through an interview report. The decision to offer you a posting will be made by BRA in conjunction with the field staff.

Unlike typical jobs, a posting with BRA requires personal adjustments beyond the actual work you will be doing. Because of this, the BRA interview will cover areas not usually discussed in interviews for regular jobs. BRA will ask you for examples from your past experience to illustrate what you tell us. These examples may come from your volunteer or community involvement, or from incidents in your personal life as well as from your professional history.

Step 4 – Approval

  • Arrangements for the overseas placement can be finalized once the successful candidate is interviewed and recommended, approved by the overseas partner organization, and medically cleared by BRA. The Batey Relief Alliance will keep in touch with you and will advise you when approval is received.
  • Once we determine that you have been accepted into the program, we will send you further details about our rules and policies, work and lodging definitions, and travel and safety arrangements.

Healthcare Volunteers

BRA’s healthcare volunteers are multilingual and composed of licensed/experienced professionals, medical students and residents in the fields of general medicines, HIV/AIDS, pediatrics, optometry/ophthalmology, dentistry, podiatry, gynecology, and parasitic/infectious/bacterial disease control. Click on BRA Policies for more details.

If you are a licensed health care professional, medical student or resident with a strong desire to serve overseas, BRA’s Volunteer Program will match you with a challenging assignment in a setting where you can fulfill your personal goals and use your professional skills to make a meaningful difference.

The work of volunteers is an important component in BRA’s mission to improving the quality and increase the accessibility of healthcare in countries where it works. For example, volunteers travel to the Dominican Republic, Haiti or Peru and address immediate health needs through direct patient care, and/or provide medical training to help upgrade existing skills of local health care providers or to students interested in participating in the humanitarian effort. The ultimate goals of our health volunteer placement are to providing basic health care — and to assist local personnel assuming the role of educator and provider, thus continuing the learning process.

Long-term volunteers

The duration for our long-term overseas assignments is a minimum of one year – and applies to health and non-health volunteers. To apply, volunteers must submit a copy of their resume and professional license, a letter stating clearly the reasons for applying and what they wish to accomplish, and three recommendation letters. All documents must be emailed to BRA at bra@bateyrelief.org. To qualify, all health volunteers must be in good standing with their local medical practice boards; hold medical degrees from accredited medical schools in the US or Canada; and hold a professional license to practice medicine.

Qualified volunteers will be working primarily at BRA’s medical facilities or at one of its local partner installations. All volunteers may be fluent in Spanish, French or Haitian Kreyol, but must be team players; have ample experience working and living in very poor areas in developing countries; be culturally sensitive; and be willing to work hard in hot temperatures. All volunteers are responsible for their own travel, insurance, lodging and transport expenses.

Short-term volunteers

Throughout the year, BRA recruits healthcare volunteers who wish to work at its medical facilities – or to travel with the organization on ten-day medical relief missions overseas.

BRA generally recruits general practice physicians, dentists, optometrists, pediatricians, gynecologists, nurses and assistants, and other specialists in such areas as tropical medicine, public health and epidemiology. Midwives may also be needed in particular projects. Applicants should have at least two years professional experience in their areas of specialization. Please note that BRA may have field positions for medical students seeking internships or other forms of work experience. Under some other circumstances however, graduating students may be recruited to provide supervised care.

As a BRA volunteer, you will play a pivotal role in bringing lifesaving medical aid to some of the world’s most underprivileged people. The organization’s recipients are generally the batey populations living in extreme poverty. The dynamic, energetic, and culturally sensitive professionals we seek are encouraged to apply by submitting a copy of their resume and professional license along with a cover letter to BRA’s New York address or at bra@bateyrelief.org.

In general, it is an advantage for volunteers to have some experience of living or working in different cultural contexts. BRA operates with international teams, and a good command of English and/or Spanish is useful, as is a second or third language, such as Haitian Kreyol. Please note that humanitarian mission work is professionally demanding. You must be willing to work long hours and perform simultaneous tasks in hot temperatures.

All volunteers are responsible for their own travel expenses. BRA does not cover the costs of air travel, lodging and meals for short-term volunteers. Expenses incurred however are tax-deductible. Partners and families may sometimes accompany a volunteer on an overseas assignment. This is a rare occurrence, however, and depends on the organization’s need. Each request for accompanying dependent is assessed on an individual basis. Sometimes, missions can be found for a couple of which both partners are qualified to work for BRA. Please contact us in advance for more details.

Health Advice for Candidates

Preparing for a healthy experience overseas begins long before you leave home. The challenges encountered during your time overseas will demand high levels of both physical and emotional well-being. Taking care of yourself is important, and it starts with your preparation at home.

Find out all you can about your destination. Health care varies from country to country and between locations within a country. The health facilities may be less sophisticated than those in home land, and medical supplies and skilled doctors may be scarce. Living in a rural area with limited health facilities poses different risks than city living, and therefore takes more preparation. A little common sense, a positive attitude, knowing the health risks, and following precautions are all important steps in staying healthy during your BRA placement. If you have a condition which requires on-going medical treatment, set out your medical needs early so that you and BRA can explore possible accommodations based on your needs.

BRA will work with you to help you plan and prepare for your health needs during your posting. For long-term volunteers, early medical clearance through BRA ensures that you are fit to work overseas and that specific health concerns are considered before you leave your country. Further information on health preparation for both long and short-term volunteers can be found in the Center for Disease Control’s website at www.cdc.gov.

Since you are ultimately responsible for your own health and life, be prepared to take preventive measures. Read the CDC website carefully. Talk to friends and colleagues who have lived overseas. Consult a travel clinic. Read up-to-date health literature and attend a pre-departure briefing. The information will help you make wise choices to reduce your risk of becoming ill.

Non-health Volunteers

BRA invites and welcomes volunteer professionals to share their expertise with the organization in fund and organizational development — or in a particular project that matches their professional background. By clicking on Programs, you will have a general overview of where your skills might be needed.

The information presented on this website does not replace seeking medical advice from a travel medicine expert who will take into consideration specific personal health issues, your country of assignment, age, etc. This information is offered as examples of areas to consider and especially actions that can be taken to prevent illness in the first place. Although we attempt to maintain current information, website updating may not keep pace with information changes.


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