I volunteered with the elephant program in Chiang Mai. I never actually interacted with any Volunteering Solutions staff. The program was run by a company called Friends for Asia. This program is not an elephant conservation program. It is more of a cultural experience. The elephants at the elephant camp are used in shows where they dance, play harmonicas, paint, and demonstrate logging. Other elephants take visitors on treks using the saddles, which is not good for the elephants. The mahouts (elephant trainers) use sharp bull hooks to control the elephants. While elephants are not with their mahouts they are chained up in small stalls. If you are just looking to hang out with elephants for a little bit and get to see how they are traditionally trained this program would be good. However if you are actually concerned about elephant welfare, find a program that does not permit elephant trekking using saddles, use bull hooks, or chain up the elephants. There are plenty of those organizations and your time and money would be much better used there.
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My time in India was such an eye opener. I was quite nervous upon arrival but soon settled in with a nice group of people. For me Delhi was a little overwhelming, although a worthwhile experience. The food was incredible and it was great to experience their culture. For the most part the accommodation was nice and clean, although I did find the odd cockroach lying around.
My favorite part of the trip was visiting the Taj Mahal in Delhi. A once in a life time opportunity and I got the perfect selfie. The company was well organised and our tour guide was incredible.
I will be doing my next tour with Volunteering Solutions.
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.
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! :)
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