Original Volunteers

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8.1 / 10 after 71 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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I joined Original Volunteers Cambodia in August 2013 after graduated from University of Liverpool. I heard about this program from a friend in UK while I was studying abroad. The project that I joined in Cambodia is Hope Agency and it is coordinated by a local guy name Jason Han. I enjoyed my stay there teaching English in the school, doing voluntary paintings on the wall, visiting to nearby orphanage and food bank delivery to the needy families in the village. It was a once in a life time experience I would say. The most satisfying moment was I designed a two wall paintings on occupation and traveled to a local market which is 30 minutes away from the school just to buy paintbrushes, paints, and stationery as well as organizing a small class party during my last day at Hope Agency. I remembered paying GBP 150 as a contribution to Original Volunteers (though I am certain that such contribution goes into the OV Company and not helping the kids directly) and USD 4 per day to Jason Han upon arrival. That USD 4 includes accommodation, food that we can order anytime from the kitchen, clean water for drinking and toilet rolls. I miss my friends that I've made in the local village, the fun times teaching and playing with the kids and little bit of rice planting in the field every morning.

These memories made me to work on a fundraising event so that I can afford to visit back Hope Agency 2 years later. I was so grateful that the managing partner in the law firm that I worked at Malaysia decided to sponsor all 4 staffs (including myself) as a Corporate Social Responsibility Project on behalf of the firm. Thus on 19 October 2015, me and my other 3 colleague managed to outsource stationery, workbooks, 100 toothbrushes, toys, gifts, etc to bring along to Hope Agency. I believe that charity should be voluntary and can be contributed in any form either through time, or money. It should not be "imposed" on the volunteers on the minimum amount of donation in cash that we have to give nor the compulsory helping out with the plantations, construction sites or feeding the animals as according to the work instructed by the Project Director. In 2015, I felt like it's a military program where I must wake up at 8.00 AM to do the extra activity besides than teaching English as the core volunteering work in Hope Agency. In 2013, there's no such mandate on volunteers and I did the classroom painting out from goodwill. I was very disappointed when the Project Director insisted us to pay $250/ person upon arrival as contribution and said that the cash contribution is compulsory whereas all the stationery items donated are "very cheap stuff and can easily obtain from the local market". It was very ungrateful of him to say that as I was a returning volunteer. Besides the students do not brush their teeth everyday after class anymore (they used to have it in 2013). Furthermore, the contribution that we paid do not cover all 3 proper meals that I used to have back in 2013. It has changed into a pay as you order from the kitchen for meals besides dinner. Honestly, the dinner prepared wasn't a proper meal and I can get better food with cheaper price from the local market. I felt that something wasn't right whereby the cost of living has increased that much on volunteers. The Project Director even contacted some of the past volunteers whether they have plans of returning to Hope Agency and keep asking for cash contribution :( I felt pity for the kids as they have not benefit much from the contribution given by the volunteers, instead it was used to build more construction buildings, plantations around and purchase of goat,ducks, chickens in the school which will be sold off in the future. I did not enjoy my stay as much as I do in 2013 and will not recommend this place to new volunteers based on my real experience recently. Many volunteers had shorten their stay in Hope Agency after knowing how expensive is the cost upon arrival.

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 7, 2015
Overall:
3
Support:
3
Value:
3
Age:
24

If you are wanting a volunteering experience and help people all across the world... **DO NOT GO THROUGH ORIGINAL VOLUNTEERS!** While on a planned 2 month trip with them to Morocco, Africa I found there programs were **NOT WHAT THEY WERE MADE OUT TO BE** at all! we were meant to be teaching English to these children instead we did colouring in and face painting every single day, and very few of these children we were helping were actually in need of our help in comparison to the homeless children we saw.

Although this wasn't the most shocking, unfortunately I experienced **SEXUAL HARASSMENT** by Original Volunteers own companies employees on many occasions. When I contacted OV about this they told me it was hard to control due to the "cultural difference" and that "this might be a simple case" **NOT ONCE APOLOGISING** for the situations there company had let me experience.

They promised a full refund of any weeks you chose not to stay with them **THIS IS NOT TRUE!** I have contacted them multiple times in concern to my refund for 3 weeks, after paying them $1000 a month which is 100% only for accommodation everything else is **PAID FROM YOUR POCKET**; the equipment for the children, all the transport, paint for renovations, all your meals and even the food to feed the homeless which is a program run by this company everyday during summer adding up to a lot.

I'm only 18 years old but this company has exposed me to situations people should never have to experience let alone when paying and trusting in a company to ensure your safety. **THIS COMPANY IS A FRAUD** and should never be allowed to con passionate, well hearted people into such a **DISGUSTING SCAM!**

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 15, 2015
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
Age:
18

For everyone who's thinking about volunteering with them, DON'T DO IT!!! They stole my money!!

They force you to pay everything in advance and advertise on their website that they will give you back a refund when you don't use all your days/weeks. THIS IS A LIE! They owe me so much money and never gave it back to me. I've been emailing them lots of times and I keep getting the same response. When I call them there's no anwser. And my money? I don't think I will ever see it again.

All I can recommend you is to not volunteer with them because they are thieves and they don't have any integrity at all!!!

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 7, 2015
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
By: EvavanDal
Age:
20

The past 4 weeks on the on Nosy Be, Madagascar have been absolutely enjoyable. The surroundings are beautiful and life on camp pretty chilled out. The walks in the forests to survey lemurs and unique Malagasy reptile has been particularly interesting. The dinners at the village 'restaurant' is a nice break from the daily rice and beans.

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 3, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: MElmeros
Age:
47

I was absolutely certain I wanted to go to Africa again after volunteering with my school in Uganda in 2012, as I had such an amazing time. However, it proved hard to find a volunteering organization that allowed me to take part in a project with them at the age I was, 16. So, when I got in touch with OV and found out that I could volunteer with them at my age I was so excited! I signed up immediately and with help over the phone from a OV worker, we decided that Ghana would be the perfect destination for me.
Obviously, being only 16, I was eager to find a 'travel buddy' to fly with, unfortunately I didn't manage to, but Original Volunteers website is great as it provides a 'Travel Buddy' section where you can see who will be going to the same place at the same time as you, as well as their Facebook page which allowed me to get in contact with many people going at the same time as me and get to know them before I went.
I was also really nervous about traveling and flying on my own as I don't regularly use planes, but was reassured by Original Volunteers as I kept in contact with them right up until I left. They eased my nerves massively and promised me there would be someone waiting for me at Accra airport, which of course, there was a very friendly coordinator standing in the 'Arrivals' with a massive 'ORIGINAL VOLUNTEERS' sign!
My time there was incredible, I really loved it. It was the perfect balance of planned and already organized volunteering and time to our self. I did a mixture of teaching and painting which was really great. I loved spending so much time with the kids. In the evenings and on the weekends we were able to do whatever we wanted and the coordinator stayed with us the whole time which was great. In my two weeks there I went to Mole National Park which was amazing and Cape Coast!
I fell in love with the people and the culture there and had the best time. I was not ready to leave at all after two weeks and I am currently planning my next volunteering trip with OV.
So Thank You Original Volunteers for everything!!!

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 28, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
9
By: rubyprins
Age:
16

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