The four months that I spent volunteering in Madagascar through IVHQ were awesome. Coming into the program, my intention was to split my time equally between the Forest and Teaching projects. However in the end, I spent most of my time on the Community project (teaching and construction) for two reasons: 1) there was a constant need for more teachers and 2) I really loved the project. As a teacher, you get to spend a good amount of time off camp, which is nice because it allows you to get to know the locals and the area really well. The camp itself is beautiful and much better than I expected - especially considering the fact that it's located on an island in a third world country. Yet, its important to point out that there are a few drawbacks that come along with living on an island: 1) if you fall ill, you'll have to catch a 6:30 boat to Hellville and then get a tuk tuk/taxi to the hospital; 2) you have to be very conscious of your water/electricity usage because it comes from a reservoir/solar powered generator; and 3) there is limited access to various things you may need (toiletries, snacks, etc.) Overall, I really enjoyed my time in Madagascar! The staff, volunteers and most importantly the locals made my first volunteer experience incredible. Would I do it again? Absolutely.
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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, Portugal, Spain, New Zealand, Kenya , 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.
I had one of the best experiences of my life volunteering with IVHQ in Cambodia! The information and help pre-departure from the IVHQ team was extremely helpful and made me feel very comfortable with the decision I had made to volunteer abroad! The team on the ground in Cambodia were so lovely and welcoming! The accommodation was also so nice, as were the meals. I felt like it was exceptional value for money and a very authentic experience! I loved the volunteering experience and was also made to feel very welcome by the Cambodian teachers I worked with. The children were amazing students and made me wish I could stay longer! I made life long friends with fellow IVHQ volunteers and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend volunteering with IVHQ to anyone!
I had an amazing time in Cambodia, it was my first trip overseas and I was very nervous. Luckily for me the co ordinators were helpful and friendly and I felt completely supported before and during my month volunteering.
What an amazing, eye opening and humbling experience.
Thank you Cambodia and thank you Volunteer IHQ for an incredible, life changing month.
I am extremely disappointed in IVHQ. I paid $292 for absolutely nothing! Their website said it's refundable with zero mention of restrictions, etc. I tried to cancel within 48 hours. Buried on a different webpage are the terms that state only refundable if service is more than 60 days out. I complained that at least a high-level general communication of restrictions should be mentioned next to "refundable". Their response was too bad as you already clicked "Accept." It is sleazy especially for an organization that is for a good cause to communicate so poorly and basically scam a college student.
There is a typhoid in the camp by Nosy Be. The staff did nothing about it. The toilets and showers were disgusting. The staff were indifferent to the health risks that they subjected their volunteers to. The head office in New Zealand after showing initial concern denied the outbreak of typhoid in the camp and refused to communicate any further. I strongly recommend that no one risks booking any volunteering trip with this company.
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