International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

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9.3 / 10 after 217 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is the trusted volunteer organization, providing safe, quality and extremely affordable volunteering placements in developing countries all over the world. Each year they place over 5000 volunteers abroad and have a wide range of volunteering opportunities in Kenya, Kenya - Maasai, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Nepal, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil, Peru - Lima, Peru - Cusco, Morocco, Ecuador, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Bali and Thailand.

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When I arrived in Ghana I was picked up by an IVHQ coordinator and brought back to the volunteer house in Accra. They were really helpful when it came to my lost luggage and setting up my phone with a new SIM card. I had one of the coordinators show me around Accra with a few other volunteers the next day as I had arrived a day early for my program.

Once I went through orientation, I was brought to the Gold Program where I had signed up for construction and renovation. The other volunteers and the foreman of my program taught me all I needed to know. We worked all morning and some afternoons in one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. It is fulfilling work because you can see each day how much you have accomplished as you make and lay bricks. After work each day children from the nearby school would often come to play at the program grounds so the volunteers had the opportunity to play with them. You will get to know the children so well your lives will forever be changed by talking to the sweetest, happiest kids on earth.

On the weekends I went away on trips both organized by IVHQ and on my own. Both were great experiences and with each I had the same amount of support from an IVHQ coordinator. We must have called Gideon over 8 times in a day while trying to organize our trip and he always answered all our questions and called hotels for us, and even picked us up from the trotro (local bus) when we arrived in Accra in the dark. We were also given our foreman's phone number and told by him to contact him when we arrived at our destinations and to let him bargain for us with the taxi drivers over the phone.

Overall they really took care of us and kept us extremely safe. Never once was I worried about my safety while in the care of IVHQ members or at my program. It was the greatest experience of my life and I plan on going back again with IVHQ. I would also love to do the construction program again. Going into it as a girl I was afraid I would not be physically able to do the work, but as hard as it was, I was able to do it and noticeably got stronger and more skilled as the days went on. Talking to other volunteers at different programs, I am glad I did construction because I felt I got the same experiences as them with the children as well as building something that I know will be there years from now.

If anyone wants a quick version of my trip feel free to check out this video I made when I got back. If you volunteer abroad with IVHQ, you will not be disappointed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BwOQ7dDPzU

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 23, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
19

I used International Volunteer HQ to travel to Ghana, Africa for three months. I lived and worked at an orphanage while also teaching at the local school. This was an amazing experience! IVHQ took very good care of all of their volunteers, they checked in with us every week, and they were always on call if we ever got sick.
I was completely changed and humbled by my volunteer trip to Ghana and I plan on returning in December to the same orphanage. I would highly recommend International Volunteer HQ to anyone who is looking for a safe affordable and very supportive program to travel through.

Program:
Location:
Posted: June 23, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: CassieC
Age:
18

Having recently returned from a trip to Ghana with IVHQ I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the experience with anyone wishing to get a personal viewpoint on the entire experience.
Arriving in Ghana I was exhausted and nervous but my nerves were calmed immediately when I found IVHQ Ghana staff member, Benedict, waiting for me exactly where I was told he would be. Benedict was pleasant and greeted me warmly, asking about my flights and how I was feeling about being in Ghana. Upon arriving at the volunteer house in Accra I was greeted by the remaining IVHQ Ghana staff members and other volunteers – both new and old who helped calm any remaining nerves about what I was about to experience. The first day was orientation held by Benedict, who very professionally taught us the basics of what we needed to know and some of the local language; Benedict answered any and all questions that we had about the trip and shortly after we met with our program coordinators who were to take us out to our placements. Being placed at the Turquoise program my coordinator was Gideon.
Gideon was friendly and welcoming right from introductions; he advised that if we had any issues or needed any help we were always welcome to contact him for help. Throughout my entire placement at Turquoise Gideon followed through on that promise with weekly visits to our placement, always asking each of us how we were going and if there was anything he could do help if we needed something.

Upon arriving at my placement I was greeted by all the children screaming with excitement which was overwhelming at first but their excitement was infectious - never have I had so many children wanting to know my name, wanting a cuddle or wanting to ask me a million different questions! Met at the home by Seth and his wife Vivienne who run Beckys Home, I was immediately welcomed the family and made to feel extremely comfortable. I could tell that the month I was about to spend with these people was going to be a very happy one. Never have I met more genuine people than Seth and Vivienne. Seth genuinely cared about all of the volunteers and thought of us as family, he checked in with each of us every morning – asked how we were going and if we had slept well. If we ever needed anything Seth was always helpful and he always expressed how happy he was with us for organising activities for the children. Not only did I become a part of the Becky’s Home family but I have made life long friends with the other volunteers who I shared the experience with – within days we were all great friends, travelled together on weekends and shared hundreds of new experiences together, memories that I will always treasure.

I cannot find the words to express how much I fell in love with the children at Becky’s Home. Each and every morning we were greeted by children running to get the first cuddle, all of them happy to see us. Our days were filled with laughter; we played so many games – both ones we taught them and ones they taught us. Weekly trips to the beach and an endless supply of cuddles; your arms will never be empty when you’re around these kids. So much so that when I was on my way home of an evening I experienced phantom weight – my limbs expecting there to be a child hanging off somewhere! Each and every one of the children are so uniquely individual, getting to know them was amazing. The older children are always happy to help with the younger children and always willing to help you with anything you might need.

I feel extremely privileged to have been a part of the Becky’s Home family - a network made up of the other volunteers, Seth, Vivienne, their children and the children living at the home; to this day I still consider them family after the wonderful time we spent together and will continue to do so until I can return.

Travelling to Ghana with IVHQ was the greatest decision I have ever made.
I went to Ghana expecting to help change some lives but in truth the experience changed mine. I miss it and the children every single day; I am working on getting back to Ghana to visit as soon as I can and I will be doing so through IVHQ Ghana as their professionalism and friendliness is unparalleled by any other company.

Program:
Location:
Posted: June 22, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8
By: Claire172
Age:
21

Comments

Hi Claire, It is great to read about your experience volunteering abroad in Ghana. It is great to hear that your time as a volunteer in Ghana was such a rewarding experience. We hope to have your volunteer with us again in the future. Thank you for volunteering with IVHQ.

When I volunteered with IVHQ, it was my second time volunteering in Ghana. I volunteered in 2010 with a different organization. I chose IVHQ because of the low cost and the positive reviews. The 12 weeks I spent at the Scarlet Program was one of the best experiences of my life. IVHQ and the placement were far superior to the organization I previously volunteered with and IVHQ was one-tenth the cost. With the other organization, I spent about four hours a day with the children at the orphanage and then returned to the gated home and participated in structured activities.
With IVHQ, we lived in the same building as the children and we did not need planned activities, as we were much more immersed in the community and the culture. The experience I had with IVHQ was authentic and I truly feel as though I made a difference.The experience was not sugar coated and we were placed at an orphanage that was facing several problems. By working with the IVHQ staff, the orphanage staff and the children, we were able to accomplish a great deal during my three-month stay. We were in constant contact with IVHQ Ghana staff and they were available to us via phone, facebook and e-mail at all hours.
Many people are hesitant about paying to volunteer. However, we were provided with three meals a day, staff support and a place to sleep for our fees. The cost would have been much greater if I had stayed somewhere on my own and paid for my meals.
There were as few as four and as many as ten volunteers staying at the Scarlet program during my stay. My room was fully occupied during my entire stay, with two other volunteers. We shared a dorm room sized area and it was essential to communicate with one another and be laid back. There was one shower room and one bathroom and when there were ten of us, it required a little patience and planning. The meals were fantastic and our cook was a lovely woman.
Communication was essential. Having daily communication with the orphanage staff and constant communication with the other volunteers was extremely important. It was essential to make sure everyone was on the same page and that problems were addressed as quickly as possible.
Volunteering with IVHQ was an incredible, immersive experience. I learned more about Ghana and the Ghanaian culture in the first few weeks at Scarlet than I did in the entire time I was with the other program. The staff, children and other volunteers were all amazing and I will always cherish my experience with IVHQ.

Program:
Location:
Posted: June 17, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: kk0327
Age:
27

Comments

Hi Kathryn, Thank you for sharing your feedback about volunteering in Ghana. We are happy to be able to provide volunteers with the lowest program fees possible. It’s great to know that you had such an enjoyable experience. Thank you for volunteering with IVHQ. We hope to have you volunteer with us again in the future.

I initially chose IVHQ to volunteer with as they were the cheapest company around for the length of the programme. I also liked that half of my programme fees would be going directly to the African charity I would be working for and not into IVHQ admin. All my emails to the company were responded to with 24 hours and they even put me in touch with other volunteers going out at the same time.
In 2008 I spent 3 months in Kenya working in an orphanage; this was the best time of my life, the charity in Nairobi NVS, I would be working under were so welcoming, caring and friendly. They checked in on us every day and we were made very welcome in their offices and their own homes. They took us to a lot of local areas and introduced us to local cultures and life. Any extra activity we wanted to go on such as safari/ Mombasa trip/giraffe safari/Kenyan zoo, they helped arrange all the activities and for a very reasonable price. They put all the volunteers’ in touch with one another and made plenty of opportunities to meet up and socialise. NVS staff were available 24/7 and never seemed to have a day off. If there was anything you wanted to do whilst in the country they would make sure it happened for you. IF you wanted to change your programme schedule mid trip they would make sure that this would happen, so in effect you can get more than 1 experience for very little if any extra costs. They took us out to their Masaii programme and arranged regular trips out there for volunteers who wanted to experience living in the ‘outback’.
Whilst out in Africa, I came across a group of street boys that we helped put into an orphanage and the charity helped me to set up a sponsorship programme for these boys to get them through school, this programme is running and the boys are doing really well. This could not have been achieved without the hard work of this company, they went above and beyond to help us volunteers out and we cannot fault them.
I can’t fault NVS or IVHQ, the staff were absolutely lovely. Dan Radcliffe, the head of IVHQ also came out to Kenya whilst I was there and he met up with all his volunteers and all the programmes to check everything was running all ok.
If I could relive those 3 months over and over I would! Absolutely brilliant experience and one I would strongly recommend.
5* Experience all around!!

Program:
Location:
Posted: May 7, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
26

Comments

Hi Holly, Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback about your experience volunteering in Kenya. It is great to hear that you felt well cared for by our partner organisation in Kenya. Thank you of choosing to volunteer abroad with IVHQ and we hope to be able to have you volunteer with us again in the future.

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