The Face the Challenge Mission for Short-term Volunteers exists to provide free facial surgeries and medical care for people living in the least developed low-income countries of the world. These countries have the lowest life expectancy, the highest infant mortality and population growth rate, the lowest GNP, the lowest access to healthcare, and the lowest number of healthcare workers.
Face the Challenge currently exists mainly to build surgical teams of healthcare volunteers willing to travel abroad for one- to two-week missions. This mission is a noble one, but all volunteers must have realistic expectations about such trips. During these trips communities in developing countries gain from the skills and knowledge of our health specialists. The volunteers, in turn, benefit from their experiences abroad in impoverished settings. Be mindful, however, there are pitfalls in such an approach. FTC teams often go on transoceanic trips, crossing several time zones. Adjustment to new time zones and very different cultures can be hard even for the most fit and prepared team members. A large percentage of the trip time is necessary to acclimate to the new settings. Thus, repeat volunteers can help new FTC volunteers in these transitions.
Short-term volunteers must be aware of the fact that some foreign hosts perceive them as only a hindrance, taking more and giving less. Therefore, even though Western volunteers generally may be more skilled and highly motivated, they must be sensitive to their potential negative impact on the host medical staffs. FTC desires that all volunteers try to keep their demands on the hosts to a minimum. In order to have the most positive outcomes possible, it is, therefore, incumbent upon the volunteers to be well-prepared for their trips, understanding well FTC's scope and purpose as they become an extension of our overall organization.