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.
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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 in 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, Italy, Kenya - Nairobi & Maasai, Laos, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Peru - Cusco & Lima, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Romania, Uganda, Victoria Falls, Vietnam - Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City and Zambia.
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!
IVHQ Ghana Turquoise Orphanage Program 8 weeks
My experience with IVHQ Ghana has been amazing!! I had never traveled abroad before and I chose to do so alone, so it was an intimidating thing at first... but the nerves go away as soon as you land and meet the IVHQ Ghana staff member there to pick you up. The staff were incredible, every single one of them! The most friendly, welcoming, kind, helpful and fun people ive ever met! All the volunteers and myself were all having a great time before we even got to our various programs. You are taken such good care of at the volunteer house, any question you could possibly have or any worry ANYTHING you need is all taken care of by the IVHQ Ghana staff.
Prepare to be overwhelmed when you get to your program! Every single kid bolts over to welcome you... its a welcome you will never forget and never get tired of...and its a welcome you will always get from Ghanains. Mr Seth and his wife Vivian were the host family, they become your family... they are very very sweet, very caring and SO much fun... Seth is the most easy going guy on the planet and will do anything for his volunteers to make sure you are happy and comfortable, I never felt home sick for one moment, their incredible people. The kids are so much fun, your first week with the kids can also be very overwhelming, every kid wants your attention and there are over 40 so you have to learn how to manage them lol. You will fall in love with the kids so quickly... everyone does. There is so much to do at Turquoise... so many ways you can help, and you feel so appreciated, the work can be hard especially in Ghana's hot sun, but it is so rewarding and fun. The placement is beautiful at turquoise, you have an awesome view of the ocean. Weekends are free to do as you please, so we always took advantage of that and traveled every weekend... There are SO many beautiful and fun places to visit! You'll want to visit them again and again. Each program has a IVHQ Ghana staff member who always comes to visit to see how things are, if you are happy, if there are any changes that could be made, if you have any questions... their also a phone call or a text away... so between Seth and Vivian, Gideon (IVHQ staff member for turquoise) and the other volunteers you will be with, you have a huge support team. These people go up and above for you.
You will end up making life long friends and memories you will never ever forget. I think the kids will teach you more than you teach them.. its a life changing experience. It has been the best decision Ive ever made to go through IVHQ and come to Ghana, and I would recommend it to EVERYONE...
Leaving is awful! The last few days you have are too hard, the last day is a bad day... everyone would agree leaving is the worst. You make such good friends, and become so close with the kids, seth and vivian and the IVHQ staff... The only thing that will make you feel better is knowing you will be back... and everyone says they will be back.
I wish everyone could do this or something like this atleast once in their life time. Ghana is beautiful, Ghanians are beautiful, the most friendly people I know... If you are thinking of it.. stop thinking and just do it! You will not regret it, no way.
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