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International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I was blessed with the opportunity to volunteer in Ghana over the summer through IVHQ. I was on this mission for a total of 4 months and simply put..this was the absolute BEST experience of my life! I had never before traveled on my own and was paranoid about what challenges I would have to face. Honestly, right from the airport pickup (from my amazing coordinator Evans Kojo Nkansah) I was comforted and all my needs/wants were met. My coordinator was so friendly with me that I never felt home sick even once throughout my trip. The staff members has a really good way to deal with problems and I could always trust me secrets would remain secrets. Not was Evans just such an amazing boss but he also became a very good friend of mine. There were times I faced challenges but IVHQ staff members were there 24/7 to support me and this allowed me to overcome any obstacle. The experience was actually a lot more rewarding than I thought it would be. It has changed my entire life, no exaggeration. I would recommend this program to anyone looking at doing a volunteer program! IF it still hasn't convinced you ... I'm going back in a few months again to this same program :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Oct 6, 2014
Overall:
7
Support:
10
Value:
7

Comments

It’s great to read about your experience and we look forward to following your progress on your next volunteer trip in Ghana in a few months. Thank you for volunteering with IVHQ and for sharing your experience.

International Humanity Foundation

As a volunteer in the IHF Center Nakuru, Kenya

A dream becomes true: Already as a little girl I dreamt of going to Africa to help children there. It was about five years ago when I saw a documentary about Africa that I decided, I wanted to go right after high school. To me it appeared the best time to go, since all my studies were done and I could not study for anything else, because I have no new classes yet. After spending weeks, looking for the right organization I finally found the advertisement of International Humanity Foundation. ‘This is my chance, to help without having to get financial help from my parents and relatives!’ and immediately I applied.
Now that I am here at the children’s home in Nakuru I am learning new things every day. Currently I am the youngest volunteer here which I sometimes get to feel in the way that I have no experience in particular situations. I am very grateful to have many very friendly and open people around me who help me.
Working with the children is often a challenge I must say, because not only is the culture very different, but also their perception of the world. I am surprised by some things the children ask me, which to me are very normal and logical to me, but they had never heard about it.
A regular day here starts at 5:30am for the children – except for weekends – when they get their tea and towards 6am they start leaving for school. After all of them have left – or at least all the ones that are not sick – we have time to do our online tasks, go to the hospital with sick children, help our cook cooking lunch, going to teacher-parents meetings, going to town to buy necessary utensils, and whatever else is needed. At lunch time some of the children come back to eat and some stay at school and eat there. Only the smallest ones stay here for the afternoon, all the others have to go back to school. In the evening, since they are in different schools they come home at different times, and we start playing games with them – they love football! – or help them with homework. Sometimes there are also big activities planned, though more on weekends than during the week. Saturday and Sunday are the only two days when we look after the children all day long, so these are our most exhausting days – fun never the less!
We are facing many difficulties with that many children around us – 70 children is quite a number to me! Problems like illnesses – meaning going to the hospital and waiting there for several hours – making sure the children are good in school, which means tutoring, helping with homework, doing extra work with them for practicing, and many things more. Every day is a challenge, and I like to every day have a new “task” to achieve.
So far all my experiences have helped me grow mentally, and to understand this completely different culture. Already now, that my third week is over, I think about how sad that it is that I only stay here for two months. I wish I could be here for longer, trying to have a bigger impact in the lives of those children, showing them how much potential they have and how they can use it, giving them the love they deserve, giving them an idea what life is all about, how important education is… I could go on with this list. I really think they are great children and I am happy to see that there are people from all over the world, willing to give them their time and influencing and teaching them, everyone in their very own way.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Oct 6, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
8

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I had the opportunity to volunteer with IVHQ in Ghana, Africa this summer. It was the best experience of my life. I decided on IVHQ by doing research on several programs and comparing them. I am a college student so I don't have a lot of money, and IVHQ was definitely the most affordable program I could find.

I felt like I was pretty well prepared for the trip because IVHQ provided an extensive handbook and a program coordinator was constantly in contact with me. She helped me with a background check, visa problems, and travel insurance. I also went with my boyfriend, and they were very good at helping us out to make sure we received the same placement and same details.

Airport pick up was a little bit of an annoyance, as I waited in the airport for several hours while they collected everyone, but not a huge problem. Once there, the placement I received was great. There were several different placements in Ghana, so I can't speak for every one, but mine was really an incredible experience. The woman who was in charge of the orphanage/school that I volunteered at, was very friendly and loving. There were times when I felt like I wasn't making a difference because I was just helping in the classroom most of the day, however, there were times when I knew I was. The children were joyed to just have a new friend and leader in their life. It was truly amazing to see their faces light up every time the volunteers came around. I was also able to work with a couple other volunteers to repaint the walls of the orphanage and clean up some things around the place.

Our volunteer house was more than I expected it to be. We were also provided with meals. Food allergies were a bit of an issue that never seemed to get fixed, so that was a bit of an annoyance, but you have to realize you are in another country where they don't deal with food intolerances.

We had an IVHQ representative assigned to our program that visited us once a week. He would check in on us and make sure things were going ok. All of the IVHQ representatives are fantastic and so friendly! They are really a great group of people. The head of the program, served all 30 or so of us dinner the night we arrived. Everyone I met was a very loving person.

Overall, it was a truly rewarding experience. I would definitely recommend IVHQ to anyone who is looking for a cheaper program with a great experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Oct 6, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
10

Comments

Hi Madison, Thank you both for volunteering in Ghana on our Childcare project. We really appreciate your feedback and will use it to improve the experience for future IVHQ volunteers. We are glad to have had you and your boyfriend volunteering with us in Ghana, and hope to welcome you both onto one of our other volunteer abroad programs again in the future.

Frontier

I pretty much crashed into Frontier's Madagascar Marine Conservation and Diving project, booking it barely a month and a half or so before I even had a fraction of the assorted kit I'd need on camp. Do I regret doing so? Yes and no. On the one hand, the extra planning time would no doubt have saved me a great deal of stress where travel planning was concerned. On the other, I would have missed out on meeting some truly stand-out folk who I can't imagine not having shared the experience with.

The staff are all fantastic people, able and willing to help with pretty much any problem you might have, whether that's identifying a particular species of amphibian or fish, to finding out about sudden, unexpected flight changes. I never once felt like I was unsafe around them, and the manner with which they conducted themselves was a constant reassurance. Diving and even learning about the various invertebrates and coral reef fish, felt fun with these guys and girls, and my diving instructor Gin Fleming deserves no small amount of praise for making everything diving easy to understand, never making me do anything I wasn't comfortable with doing until I felt confident enough to pull it off.

Conditions are basic, as advertised, but not so much so that you feel like you're actually roughing it. Food is generally rice and beans aside from the odd supper, which you generally need to shell out a small sum of cash for and some of these, such as the Thursday Steak Night, are pretty fun to participate in.

Overall, I had a blast. I went in feeling more than a little shaky about the entire thing. The staff, the people, the place quickly put paid to these thoughts. Aside from an admittedly hellish time journeying back home (none of which, was any fault of Frontier's, it should be stressed), the experience was just that, and what an experience it was. If you're looking to do some good work with some classy people in a great location, look no further - just don't fly with Air Madagascar!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Oct 5, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Comments

Thanks for your review, Alec - much appreciated!

Frontier

I have just returned from two months in paradise with a host of awesome people and amazing animals and I can't wait to get back out there. The work we were doing out there in Madagascar felt really worthwhile, I felt that as well as seeing some of the most amazing animals I have ever seen that I was also making a difference. The staff were great, they were always happy to help with anything. whether it was helping you revise or just to talk and have a laugh with. The atmosphere on camp is amazing, people from all over the world and all walks of life getting along and bending over backwards to help each other. Before I went I had low expectations of what the conditions on camp were going to be like but on arrival I was impressed, it has everything you could need as well as beautiful scenic views. I loved every moment I was there and recommend doing something like this to everyone.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Oct 5, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

Comments

Many thanks for taking the time to review our program.

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