From the start of researching a company to use to volunteer abroad to actually getting on the plane in JFK, NY I did it all in 3 weeks. And from the moment I found IVHQ I thought it was a little too good to be true. I had some concerns due to some of the negative feedbacks on other sites saying that the really highly recommended programs are fake and scams. I spoke to many alumni and realized that every program is different.
The program that IVHQ has set up in Ghana is well run from the very first impression. They make sure you have all the contact information you need before your trip and the first time you meet them at the airport that are a huge support system.
When deciding to volunteer people need to know that its not going to be a vacation. It is meant to take you out of your comfort zone and put you in a place where you with help others but at the same time it will help you grow as a person as well. There was no running water, electricity was spotty at times, and there was no AC. But bc of the lack of amenities that most of us are used to it allows you to unplug and go back to the basics.
I was placed in the Pink Program which was based in the Potter's Village in Dodowa. I was pretty surprised to find it to be an already established orphanage. By established I mean they have a home with a school with some teachers and 'mama's' that help with the children. It was an easy transition to step in to help and aid the children with their tasks.
People are always concerned about why companies insist on paying to volunteer. But when you think about it there are people behind the scene that plan for your safety and doing research to find these placements to make sure that they are true to what they are saying. There is reliability with IVHQ and that is worth the registration fee. During the orientation you even get a breakdown of where your money goes to, so they were very open about it which put my mind at ease.
The Ghana staff at IVHQ was always there for me throughout my entire stay and was always asking if there was anything that I was concerned about. I must say I will suggest this program to anyone that will listen and just tell people to go with an open mind and let yourself be in the moment and you will not only help others but you will grow so much as a person!!