Yes you can visit!
We welcome individuals, families, and teams. You can hold babies, play with kids, lead kids' programs, do painting or maintenance, teach in church or small groups, visit the garbage dump, or something completely different! The possibilities are endless so come and participate with us.
To have a great experience during your visit, be sure you are flexible and ready to serve! Our agendas are constantly interrupted so each day can be an adventure of its own. Many daily tasks seem menial, but remember that anything you do with love will make an impact and every second you spend with a child is an investment of love they would not have otherwise received.
To help you as you consider your visit, we have listed a few FAQs below and answered many more in the downloads at the right. If you don't see what you're looking for, get in touch with us and we will help you!
FAQs for Visiting
The process for visiting is:
- Initial Contact
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you want to come!
Submit an application and picture of yourself, and have your pastor send in the pastoral reference form. These forms are available at right for download. (Group leaders also complete the group information form included at the end of the application.)
- Wait for Response
We will review your application and contact you, usually in 7-10 days.
- Purchase Tickets
Please do NOT purchase tickets until after your visit has been approved. After you have purchased them, send us a copy of your itinerary.
- Prepare and come!
We'll see you at the airport! You might find the Practical Information Packet helpful as a reference during your preparation (at right for download).
Visitors can get tourist visas for up to 30 days, and most of our visitors come for 2-3 weeks. If you apply to come for longer than 30 days you will need to have a different visa and have that approved by Iris Madagascar first.
All visitors require visas they cost $37 and can only be paid in USD or Euros.
NOTE: To receive the visa you must have proof of a round trip ticket. You must also have passport valid for at least six months after the duration of your visit, and you must have an empty page in your passport.
All visitors are required to have basic travel insurance that will at minimum cover emergency medical evacuation, even if they come only for a couple days. This is for their protection, since unexpected things can happen and visitors are responsible for all costs incurred.
If you are unsure where to find such insurance, one recommended source is through www.sevencorners.com. They can give you immediate coverage with a virtual ID card.
You should be up to date on all regular vaccines recommended in your home country. In addition, we ask that you consult with your doctor to explore what other vaccinations might be appropriate for you.
If your flight itinerary takes you through a country at risk of Yellow Fever you will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination. Otherwise, it will be unlikely that you will have to show proof of any vaccinations on your arrival.
Please note that disease is common throughout the third world and Madagascar is no exception. To make the most of your trip and avoid sickness, be sure that you complete your vaccines early (some are not effective immediately) and that you practice good hygiene, especially hand washing, while visiting.
Malaria does exist in Madagascar but thankfully it is very rare in our city, possibly due to the high elevation. Iris long term staff and children do not take malaria pills or use mosquito nets.
Nonetheless, we recommend that you do take malaria pills when visiting. Often our visitors are able to visit the bush or see the rainforest, where malaria is much more common. Although it can be treated easily once identified, being sick with malaria can ruin a short term trip and taking the pills can help avoid that. Various malaria pills exist and you can consult with your doctor to see which one is best for you.
Missionaries rent their own homes and Iris rents homes for the children. We make varying arrangements for visitors depending on the number of people coming and our current circumstances. Please feel free to contact us to discuss the current arrangements for your visit! Thanks for your understanding and flexibility.
We do not have a set charge for visitors, although we do rely on donations from visitors in order to pay for visitor accommodations. A suggested donation amount is $8-$10 per person per day, but we ask you to prayerfully consider what God would have you give. What we do our best to provide through these donations is dormitory style housing that includes utilities, guards, a laundry lady, and a furnished kitchen. We also provide lunch at the center with the children.
You are responsible to buy groceries locally (we will show you where) and prepare your own breakfast and dinner, and you are responsible for any additional costs associated with your activities during your stay (such as going to the craft market or rain forest, or putting on a special activity for the kids). As you budget for your visit, visitors coming from the west usually budget about the same for meals here as they do in their home country.
Important Note: Because we are serving in underdeveloped countries and unpredictable conditions, Iris Global cannot and does not guarantee your safety, health or comfort. You will be joining us in trusting God as provider and protector.