I recently spent 3 months Volunteering in Ghana at the Amber program with IVHQ. Simply put my time there was amazing. When I first decided to take the leap to volunteer in Africa I was really nervous as It was going to be my first time traveling alone. But I soon realized the amount of support that you receive from not only IVHQ staff but past, current and future volunteers you are never alone. The staff become some of your best friends and the vomunteers become like family to you... It sounds cliche but I really did make life long friends that I am so happy to have had the chance to experience this with. Evans, the project coordinator for the green and Amber program is amazing, he is such a genuine guy and will remain a friend of mine for ever. If you ever needed anything at all he was there.. just a phone call away... Even if it was something as silly as "what tro do I take to get to accra" hahaha. As for your placements... what you get out of the experience is what you are willing to give. If you walk in with no expectations and a complete open heart What ever program you will be placed in I can guarantee you will have an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to volunteer at both the green and Amber program and can not express how much I loved every second of it. Falling in love with those kids take all of five minutes and leaving them will be the hardest thing you'll ever have to do... Well at least for me if was. The only thing I would encourage IVHQ to do would be to send more volunteers to the programs that don't get as many long term volunteers... Like the Amber program. It's frustrating knowing that other programs could have 8 volunteers while you only have 2. Although it gave you more time to spend with the kids one on one it makes it very difficult to start up long term projects like other programs do because there is not a constant flow of volunteers to keep the projects up. Even sometching as simple as taking time to help one kid with his reading proved to be nearly impossible with only two volunteers because you have 40 other kids wanting your help just as much and with just two of us it could be overwhelming. But that said I would not chnage anything about my experience for the world. There wasn't a single day I was in Ghana that I didn't feel at home. I never felt unhappy or unsafe or unsettled. Ghana truly is an amazing country that will grab ahold of your heart forever. Yes you live simple, and basic and won't have the luxuries that you would elsewhere but honestly it's worth it and you start to realize that you don't need those luxuries to be happy. The locals there live with next to nothing yet they are some of the happiest people I have ever met in my life. Anyways, overall I would say without a doubt that if you are considering volunteering in Ghana with IVHQ... DO IT. It is a great way to travel to a country like Ghana for the first time. IVHQ looks after you very well, the accommodations are comfortable, the food is fine, the placements are amazing, and you are given plenty of time to yourself to travel and see the country. The program is affordable and the staff go the extra mile to make sure you are comfortable. So do it... Take the leap!! The experimeve is amazing and you will come out a completly different person.
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International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is the trusted volunteer organization, providing safe, quality and extremely affordable volunteering placements developing countries all over the world. Each year they place over 5000 volunteers abroad and have a wide range of volunteering opportunities in Argentina, Bali, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Colombia - Bogota and Cartagena, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, Ghana, Guatemala, India - Delhi & Dharamsala, Kenya - Nairobi & Maasai, Laos, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Peru - Cusco & Lima, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Victoria Falls, Vietnam - Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City and Zambia.
I just recently returned home from volunteering with IVHQ in Ghana doing childcare work. If I had to describe my entire experience in one word, that word would be amazing. I had no idea what kind of program IVHQ was going to offer me but they were terrific. The local staff at the main volunteer house in Accra were always so helpful, friendly, and nice to volunteers. The volunteer coordinator for my childcare program, Evans, was great and always made sure we were doing well at our placement. By the end of my trip the local staff felt more like friends than staff members. At my placement program I always felt welcomed and well taken care of. The food was excellent and if there was something we did not care for on our menu, our cook was always willing to change it and make something we did enjoy. We had two cooks while I was there, Ike and Mina, and both were really great. Volunteering is truly what you make it, and if you are someone who travels to another country with an open mind and put in the effort, you will definitely have a wonderful time. IVHQ is extremely affordable and definitely worthwhile. If I volunteer abroad again I know that I will go through IVHQ. I have only been home for a few days but I am already missing the beautiful children and friends that I made in Ghana. Ghana itself is a beautiful country with great beaches, landscapes, and people. I would recommend IVHQ and volunteering abroad to anyone.
A girl I used to go to school with randomly messaged me about halfway through my trip; she said shed seen my Facebook posts and always wanted to do something similar, she was asking for advice.. So I told her what I tell everyone, and weirdly I even said it to myself before I left: "I don't totally regret going through a company first time, but I will never do it again".
I was placed at GREEN from June - October 2014. I was at scarlet a couple if weeks but it was badly run and when Eddie offered I could switch back to my original colour I jumped.
"Yes the food is fine" "the lightbulb is broken" "we're putting up mosquito nets" ~ oh the memories of "meetings"... Respect the staff, they're epic people with that true Ghana-heart to help .. But my biggest tip? DON'T BE AFRAID TO DO LIFE YOURSELF
IVHQ is mostly what you make it, which is good.. That's a good life lesson. & i used it to get me to Ghana- a country I am now completely in love with.. The staff (to me at least) were good, lovely people and I'm very grateful for the things they did for me and the laughs we had.. But if nothing else travelling with a company taught me how I can travel without them.. Which is also a good thing. I learned I'm a traveller, not a thrown-into-a-house-of-people-not-native & just replacing another face before someone replaces mine.
Don't get me wrong; the kids are great kids and there's a few that truly touched my heart and their fingerprints will stay there forever, but I mean honestly give it a year and it's nobodies single fault but you're just another obroni. & you can be amazing or average, it is up to you.. Which is good.
Before I got my program, I read sometimes you get put with a local family and sometimes in a "volunteer house" .. I remember thinking how I so wanted the latter. I met some great people, but I wouldn't do it again in a hurry.. (I don't need to be surrounded by people in a country for six weeks constantly dragging the "group" to the expensive western style restaurants cus they totally craved pasta.... Example; 40cedi on their pasta, 1.50 on my banku & peanut soup... Uhhh.. I know what id buy first given the choice again!)
I've actually got 6 weeks left that I paid for.. (Btw once you live in country you will feel you overpaid but I knew that going in) so I am hoping to use them.. But I'm just gonna use it as my base in all honesty.. I made some amazing friends the times I did wander off, and I'm desperate to proper-travel north (you're always near the capital which is nice cus I love Accra but not as helpful for travelling)
Evans, Eddie & Mina (greens cook) were all great helps and friends during my 18 weeks.. & for every "fault" of Ghana (as with ALL countries !!) I fell in love with something else ten times more.
If you want to go to Ghana, go. If you want to go via IVHQ - do. For what it is, it works.. Just know that once you find your feet and balls you can do it a lot cheaper & for me at least, you'll get a much more "truly-traveller" experience !
Get connected, get involved, don't watch the clock ever & have the patience of an azonto-dancing-saint... You're gonna love it :)
I was lucky enough to volunteer in Ghana for 3 weeks. I was involved in the turquoise programme (medical), which also allowed me to help with the children at the orphanage we stayed at. My trip to ghana was one that can only be described as amazing. I learnt so much about the amazing culture that ghana has, each day I learnt something from the people and children I was involved with. The ivhq staff were an amazing support and teaching aid ( they helped teach us some ghanian words....Awkwaba), Mr Seth who runs the orphanage is an unbelievable man than shows only greatness for what can be achieved when able to. This experience has only left me wanting to do more for people and enabled me to know I can do so. While I was there I was involved in a local clinic, it was there we were able to work with the Chief, maternity unit and general concerns such as malaria and sickness. The staff there were lovely, couldn't do more to make us feel welcome and show us the way in which they work. With working with Mr Seth and the local clinic we were able to achieve a free screening clinic for children for malaria, this was truely an amazing experience to be involved in. The turquoise programme also allows us to work with an orphanage known as Beckys House. The children there are children that have left a print on my heart and will never be forgotten. From teaching me how to dance Azonto style, to the way they cook there food. The children there have the biggest hearts that only make you open your heart more. My time in ghana was one that was truely great and has left me wanting to return, the turquoise programme is an amazing programme to be involved in.
I spent 6 weeks volunteering in Ghana, Africa with International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ) at the beginning of this year and it changed my life forever. It was an absolutely amazing experience and I owe it all to the ease of the program getting me prepared for the trip, picking me up from the airport, transitioning us from arriving in Ghana to our program placement, and all throughout the length of my stay I saw an IVHQ employee at least once a week if not more who just came to check up on us and see how we were doing. IVHQ really cares about their volunteers and their experience. I had the misfortune to end up in the hospital for a few days due to an infection and my IVHQ placement guide was by my side within hours, he came to sit with me, to see how I was doing, communicated with my family back home, they really care about your wellbeing and safety. I felt so comfortable volunteering with IVHQ and extremely cared for and protected. I fell in love with the amazing children I got to spend my 6 weeks in Africa with and I long for the day that I can see their sweet faces again. I highly recommend IVHQ volunteering!
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