International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

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9.3 / 10 after 307 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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, FijiGhana, Guatemala, India - Delhi & DharamsalaItalyPortugal, Spain, New ZealandKenya , Laos, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Peru - Cusco & Lima, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, ThailandRomaniaUganda, Victoria Falls, Vietnam - Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City and Zambia.

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I volunteered in Muizenberg on the IVHQ South Africa program for 4 months (just as Ben - the person below was starting I was finishing). I did a combination of the teaching program in the morning and surf program in the afternoon. I loved it and would highly recommend it. There were some issues with one of the local managers, but it was more personal issues between some volunteers and her. When the head IVHQ team found out about this, they even flew back to South Africa (I met Jamie the program coordinator) to check on this. I do not feel Ben's review of IVHQ is accurate in the slightest. As you can see from the other feedback here IVHQ is a very reputable organization. They do a great job of making sure volunteer fees are kept low and genuinely concern for your welfare if they receive complaints. The fact Jamie flew from New Zealand to South Africa to check on us speaks volumes for myself personally and I know other volunteers appreciated it. From my understanding they have now made some management changes within Cape Town so the manager at question is no longer working with them. My experiences with Ben (the volunteer reviewing below) were not great. I found him rude, demanding and tough to get along with. Myself and other volunteers were relieved when he decided to leave - not a pleasant person to have to live with. I am heading back to South Africa again later this year with IVHQ and am looking forward to the experience. I am going in September this year - a little later than last year - as last year it was very busy in June and July. Unlike Ben, I would highly recommend the IVHQ program. My advice for future volunteers before you go is to ask as many questions as possible. It's great to be prepared. IVHQ has a great Facebook group with a lot of members and this is a great way of contacting past IVHQ volunteers and asking them questions to get help before you leave.

Program:
Location:
Posted: January 22, 2011
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
10
By: Nick25
Age:
27
New User

Comments

Hi Nick, My daughter Meghan, 22yrs. old is planning on volunteering in Cape Town for 3 months beginning August 5th. When you returned to Cape Town in Sept. of 2011
Hi Nick, Sorry I got cut off on my previous reply. To continue, when you returned to Cape Town who was the local volunteer organization and were you pleased with your experience? Your feedback would be great. Thanks Christine Kerrigan
Hi Christine. I loved it in Muizenberg. I went to Cape Town with IVHQ and was part of their program but please keep in mind it has been two years since I was there so you might want to find someone who has been more recently. However, I do keep in contact with Iviwe and she is still running the program so I expect nothing too much has changed. There were lots of volunteers there in your daughter's age bracket and providing it is the same now, I am sure she will love it. My only bugbear was one of the staff members there made life hard on everyone with some crazy rules but apparently she is gone now. Hope this helps!

IVHQ knows exactly who I am, and has banned me from their facebook group. My name is Ben Schickel and my email is ben_schickel@yahoo.com. Email me if you have any questions.
I committed 5 months to the IVHQ program in Cape Town South Africa. I cannot express how deeply disappointed I am with IVHQ in their handling of my situation. A little background of my situation: I signed up to work in an orphanage, I was put in a day care. I “volunteered” for THREE HOURS PER DAY and the rest just hung around. I was told I would receive 3 meals a day 5 days a week, but some days I did not and on others there was not enough food for everyone. I was told I would have adequate living conditions, but I was assigned a bunk-bed in the living room of a tiny apartment with one bathroom that held 10 people.
I contacted IVHQ in New Zealand countless times bring up all the inadequacies of their local partner organization, but was given vague statements like “we are confident that the local organization is doing everything to fix the situation.” They fixed it alright…. I was given a partial refund and dumped at a hotel in Cape Town. IVHQ was so sick of me at this point that I couldn’t contact them and I was on my own in Cape Town.
Luckily, I am resourceful and the situation ended well for me, but this whole thing raises some SERIOUS questions about IVHQ and their judgment. I found out later that IVHQ knew exactly what was going on, but did not take immediate action to fix the problem. I cannot vouch for its other volunteer sites, but I know I won’t volunteer with IVHQ again.
If you have to pay to volunteer, something is wrong. In these underdeveloped countries there is a lot of corruption and a lot of young idealistic people willing to pay to get a “volunteer experience.” I ended up volunteering for 3 months with a faith based group that ran an orphanage on the Eastern Cape who did not charge you to volunteer. LEDIGITIMATE ORGANIZATIONS WILL NOT CHARGE YOU TO VOLUNTEER. IVHQ IS NOT A NOT PROFIT GROUP!!! Just check their website. If you want to volunteer, a legit group will expect you to pay for transportation there, but not for room and board.

Program:
Location:
Posted: January 21, 2011
Overall:
3
Support:
3
Value:
3
By: bjschick
Age:
New User

Comments

Ivhq only has a phone number and the same fax number. You can't call them because youcan only leave a message. Don't trust them. Don't volunteer through IVHQ. My daughter has a very bad experience with them.
Hi Ben, I had a similar bad experience with IVHQ in Ghana and was told the same line about the partner organization. It's a year since I volunteered with them and I haven't yet complained to them b/c I thought my experience was a one off. I finally saw that someone had the same experience as me (aka BAD) and wrote an honest answer as to my experience on the facebook page and i was too banned from the group. No wonder it seems like they're this amazing organization...they don't allow anyone to see the truth.
My biggest fear is to have a bad experience as both of you have had. Would you be able to e-mail me more information with getting in contact DIRECTLY with orphanages in Ghana?
Hi, Did you have an email I can contact you on at all? I was also wondering about how you got in direct contact with the orphanages Thanks

Thank you soo much to IVHQ! We enjoyed all aspects of our volunteer work in Cambodia. We were there for two weeks. The children at our orphanage were fantastic and will be greatly missed. The Host family were soo very welcoming and friendly. Star Kampuchea were very professional. Overall, we had an amazing experience, one that we will never forget.

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Location:
Posted: December 19, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
By: JenniferT
Age:
New User

I would thoroughly recommend you coming to volunteer in Bogota, Colombia with Emerging Voices (the local volunteer company that IVHQ deal with here in Bogota) - I have been here for 6 weeks and had an absolutely fantastic time. There was genuine pride in wearing the orange 'voluntario' t-shirt or green Soacha gilet when I left the volunteer apartment in the morning, and a real sense of pleasure in arriving at the school or orphanage and having children running towards me with a smile and a shout of 'Ross' or 'Hola Profe (teacher)'.
The volunteer work I have been doing in Bogotà over the last few weeks has definitely been as personally rewarding as anything I have ever done. In summary, I have had some awesome and varied volunteering experiences, met some wonderful people, and had a really great time in Bogota, there is lots to do (and good nightlife!). Dont believe any stereotypes you may have heard about colombia - the country and people are wonderful, and Bogota is as safe as any other big city I have been to.
I have been travelling for many months and have a blog, if you want to read/see the pictures about some of my volunteering experiences and things I have done in Bogota, go here: http://rossmcl.blogspot.com/search/label/Colombia
You can also contact me via Facebook if you have any questions about my experience with IVHQ/Emerging Voices and my time volunteering in Bogota.
Cheers
Ross

Program:
Location:
Posted: October 19, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Our experience here could not be
better. Our family is amazing, and our home stay mother is incredible.
This is our 3rd homestay, we were very nervous because of bad
experiences in the past with other home stay families, however, things
could not be better here. We love our volunteer project, it is a
perfect fit, we are very busy there and I believe we are truly making a
difference. We have met many other wonderful people here as well and
continue to do so each day. We are learning Spanish at an exponential
pace as well because not only are we using the language at our
assignment, but also in class and at home.

Program:
Location:
Posted: September 25, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

I am looking for a volunteer opportunity in Costa Rica in November and December. Can you say more about what you like about working with this program. What are you doing? How much contact do you have with other volunteers and what is their general age?
I would like to speak to someone who went to Costa Rica because my 18-year-old daughter is applying. If anyone is willing to take a phone call to discuss pros and cons of the IVHQ Costa Rica program, I'd appreciate it. Please email me at smeyer@b21pubs.com and we can set up a time.
I would like to speak to someone who went to Costa Rica because my 18-year-old daughter is applying. If anyone is willing to take a phone call to discuss pros and cons of the IVHQ Costa Rica program, I'd appreciate it. Please email me at smeyer@b21pubs.com and we can set up a time.

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