I and a few others arranged a dental elective with volunteering solutions.... would recommend people really look around before committing to this program. We had limited exposure to patients. Went to schools where they could clearly afford toothbrushes and toothpastes and delivered OHI there. We also distributed the samples we took with us there. And have no idea what our money actually bought us there other than average accommodation in one of the dentists house and meals which even if we decided to pay for ourselves would have been dirt cheap and this is coming from someone who is off Indian descent and fluent in the language. When we tried expressing our dissatisfaction with the so called organiser there, he turned very hostile. If you want better value for your money and to see it put to good use, so not do a dental elective worry volunteering solutions in India. That's all I can say. Good luck.
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We write here to prevent everybody from joining this Organisation. We went to a Healthcare Program in Cusco (Perú) where we were supposed to take part in medical activities. We did nothing we were promised, we didn't get any help from the organisation, we paid a huge amount of money (we never knew where it went, but certainly not to the Hospital) and we spent our little period of holidays feeling usless. We have had experiences as volunteers and all of them have been wonderful, but this one with Volunteering Solutions has been awful. It's more a bussines than a Volunteer's Organization!!
We have to say Peru is a great country and their people are very kind and friendly but the bad experience with the organisation and our project made us see everything negative.
In its website you will just see good opinions and happy pictures as a good selection of the information is done, but don't be fooled by their false publicity as there is no part for negative criticism. There are many good organisations to join as volunteers but never this one!!
I went through Volunteering Solutions to volunteer at an orphanage in Kenya. I had never volunteered overseas before so I wanted to find out as much information as possible before I left. Once I signed up and paid, I received the PreDeparture booklet which contained much of the information I needed to know; however, I still had many questions. I e-mailed the support person for this program and though at first it took some time to get a response, as time drew closer to my trip I got very timely answers that were helpful.
Once I arrived in country I was met at the airport by the program coordinator who drove me to my placement. I was met at the volunteer house by a group of amazing people who were anxious to welcome me into the house, and immediately invited me to go out for dinner with them. Our house mom could be quiet at times (and actually we had 2 different ones while I was there) but both would always be friendly if you had any questions or concerns. You have to think that even though you are in a country that is totally new to you, they are in a house full of new people that they have to watch after all the time- this would be a very exhausting job.
I enjoyed my placement as well and though there were some issues we had to deal with at times, it was very worth it to get to know the kids and feel like you were making a difference.
Overall, I had a great experience. Volunteering solutions was very helpful in making this first volunteer trip overseas a memorable and enjoyable one. Yes there are always going to be things that happen that aren't ideal, but it's all what you make of it. I was in a house full of awesome volunteers which made all the difference. Everyone has their own opinion of things, but after reading the previous reviews I almost canceled my trip through Vol. Sol. I'm so glad I didn't though, it was a great experience that I will remember for the rest of my life! :)
I went to Nairobi, Kenya in October 2012 with Volunteering Solutions and lived in a house with volunteers from Advance Africa.
The people who were responsible for us, the woman we lived with and our country coordinator were really distanced and not interested. They never asked how we were, how we felt, how our day was. When I first got there I was a little homesick and all the housemom had to say, was that she couldnt understand how I decided to go abroud if I was that weak.
So instead of making it easier the organization made the beginning harder and it made us really angry and we felt disappointed that there was no way to build a relationship. We were hoping to have an easier start with locals to show us around and to help us deals with all the new impressions and so on but like I said, there was really no communication. The housemom seemed so unhappy with what she was doing and instead of giving you an impression of being a welcome guest she makes you feel bad for being there.
I payed for a stay of 4 months but when I got there I knew I couldnt be spending christmas and new years in that house. I got to know really nice people who were linving there with me and I knew that by the time they were leaving I would also be leaving that place. So we decided to make the best of our two months we had together, we enjoyed Kenya a lot and we had each other to share the disappointments with the organization. We never figured out where all our money went, obviously not into the food we were eating and obviously not to the orphanages.
After the two months I moved to a host family and worked in an different orphanage who I had contact to through people from Germany which was really a nice experience. I got to see how welcoming Kenyans can be and how interesting it is to share the different stories from the different cultures.
What I want to say in the end is that volunteering solutions or advance africa in kenya are really not the best organizations to go with because youll never know where your money goes and you wont be absolutely comfortable because the people who will be responsible for making your stay comfortable really are the opposite of warming and caring but the organization is safe and if you see it as if you were renting a room and arent there to be supported than youll be fine. Maybe youll be lucky and youll get to know volunteers that are nice and youll work in a wonderful orphanage.
1. We checked before signing up to the program with the operation head that we would be providing dental care to the poor. In arrival this was not the case. We did check ups for merely 3 hours a day at a private school and wrote out treatment plans which were handed over to the children to give to their parents who as far as we were concerned might not have been able to read. furthermore on discussing this with the dental coordinator we were told that these slips would be provided to the next batch of volunteers who would provide treatment. Yeah right. Especially because one of the coordinators had previously informed us that every year volunteering placements change therefore there's slim chance that any treatment would be carried out on these children for whom financial restraints already mean they suffer from toothache as dental care is not free
2. On our first day the orienteering took place in a car and we were shown the bus stops from where we would get the buses to the volunteering sites. On the first day the coordinator was not aware that the dentist was on annual leave having arrived with us to the clinic. So we did nothing though learned about how unorganised this organisation is. All our placements were arranged last min whether it was at the school or the dental coordinators own tea plan
tation. We were also informed the company function and think as a business not a charity so that's where your money goes folks.
We worked 3 days for 3 hours in our first week and 2 days in our second week as we left 2 days early. We were informed that during July August the monsoon season people don't seek any treatment add they believe infections spread. In which case perhaps bouldering solutions should not advertise any health care programs for that season in India
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