Africa

Frontier

Unfortunately, although I had a good time at my placement in Namibia the advertisement for Volunteering at Naankuse was misleading. We were more like glorified farm hands than volunteers who were there to learn and help. I have since submitted my review to the coordinators at Naankuse who by the looks of it from facebook have taken some of my points on board ie mixing up the work. However, we were often left out of what was going on and not given details which would have made the overall experience more engaging, interesting and I would have been willing to go back. Unfortunately this was not the case. I feel it was Frontiers responsibility to advertise this better and make sure they are up to date with what is actually going on at Naankuse.

My next project was in Madagascar, I was a little out of my comfort zone and although the support on the ground was faultless the guys in the office I found distant, once you were a few weeks off from joining the project and once you were on the project.

I had been warned, albeit after I'd paid my money! that Frontier aren't too client focused and have now found they are actually quite expensive. There were hidden costs in Madagascar for extra food and also Naankuse, which meant missing out as I wasn't informed about it and this made it hard to budget for.

I will say this all the guys working on the projects are very passionate, if sometimes a little complacent.

Frontier need to advertise truthfully and be fully client focused and make sure communication is their top priority. Volunteers are paying a lot of money to join these projects & we should not be made to feel like we are just throwing money away.

Unfortunately I won't be using Frontier again.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Mar 31, 2015
Overall:
3
Support:
7
Value:
2

Comments

Hi Verity, Thank you for your comments, we appreciate all constructive feedback that we receive regarding our projects and we are sorry that you feel some aspects of your trip did not meet your expectations. We take 1000s of volunteers to projects every year and while the overwhelming majority have very successful experiences, there are occasionally times when they are not as successful as they could have been, which is why we have a comprehensive communication and feedback process in place between our participants, field teams and office teams. It is a shame that you did not utilise these communication channels and inform your Volunteer Coordinator of your views during your time on either of the projects, as it would have been taken up with the respective field teams to discuss what the issues may have been and whether any alternative measures were necessary, and we are confident we could have resolved any issues had you done so. Frontier is dedicated to providing support to all of our volunteers at all stages of their projects should volunteers need and request it. Thank you for your feedback on the field staff, it’s great to hear that they made such an impression. It sounds like your overall experience was a positive one. If you have anything further to add then please feel free to contact us directly. Thank you again for your feedback and we wish you well for your future endeavours. Kind regards, The Frontier Team

Give a Heart To Africa

This is a review of my three weeks volunteering with Give Your Heart To Africa [GHTA] in Moshi Tanzania.

It was an excellent volunteer experience from the beginning to end. I was met at the Kilimanjaro Airport by the founder and coordinator Monika Fox. The 10 month program itself is for women wanting further education in order to set up a business and become independent. The program has three aspects - English, Vocational Training and Business. It is very well organized with excellent teaching/learning resources. I was involved in teaching English. The woman are enthusiastic, hard working and a joy to teach.

The classes are taught on-site in the mornings from Monday to Thursday. The accommodation for the six volunteers is good and secure. In terms of meals - volunteers are responsible for preparing breakfast and lunch while dinner is prepared every evening.

Overall the founder and coordinator, Monika Fox ensures a well organized and smooth running non-profit volunteer experience.
I would highly recommend GHTA as a meaningful and excellent volunteer experience in Tanzania

Program: TEFL
Location: Africa
Posted: Mar 27, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Conservation Travel Africa

I enrolled in the equine programme and was so excited when I found out I would be riding alongside Judy Travers. She has been a bit of a hero of mine for a while now, and her passion and enthusiasm for Imire and the surrounding community is so undeniable and inspiring!

She assigned us each a horse depending on ability. I got to ride a beautiful pony - Maware - who was a bit green, but we just clicked, and I had the most fantastic time riding her. We would meet Judy in the early morning and set out on our mission for the day. Sometimes it was rounding up cattle, or counting the new babies of wildebeest, or checking on the babies and mums of other herds to make sure everyone was in good health. The cattle rounding was so much fun - you set off with a group of cattle in sight and yoop, whistle and yee-hah until they go in the direction you want. It satisfied every little girl dream I had ever had about becoming a cowgirl all in one session.

The rides out over the Imire property were just breathtaking, and we got to see many areas and sights that you just would not see by vehicle.We could get right up close to the wildebeest herds, and walk quietly past as the sable grazed in the distance. I remember cantering through a beautiful patch of land after a long ride with the others, zebras in the foreground and empala watching on from afar and just thinking 'this is exactly what I had hoped for when I had signed up to Imire.

I am not kidding when I say I could pitch a tent on the vol house lawn and live at Imire forever. The place is incredible. My first impression came as Manyati (the Imire driver) dropped me at the volunteer house. The sunset was literally the most beautiful I had ever seen. Gloria, the dams resident hippo, was yawning with her massive wide open mouth just a hundred or so metres away, the insects were chirping the loudest i have ever heard, and I had already met three awesome volunteers. Catherine and Mike at the vol house were so much fun, and I could listen to their stories forever.

There is no mucking around, each morning we were up at the crack of dawn and getting on with the activities for the day. Might I add here, my first activity was clearing out Tatendas food pen and attaching a 'rhino proof' gate to keep him out… HA! It had a suspicious rhino horn shaped dent in it the next day..

What I loved so much about Imire is that it is not a sugar coated, 'easy' volunteer experience. You really get stuck in and do things that help with the running of the park. I wanted to be able to get a sweat on, and feel like I was truly contributing. We built roads, painted fences, help track wandering animals and so much more. The rewards were being able to spend time up close and personal with the animals, like Tafika the baby rhino and her mum Shanu, or walking the elephants back to their ele-beds, or being diverted to see a massive python after its kill.

I felt particularly privileged to be involved in a huge community project involving Imire, which involved traveling to designated points around Wedza, and administering rabies vaccinations and first aid to up to 3000 dogs. It was awesome to see everyone turn up from afar - through only word of mouth 'advertising' and have their dogs vaccinated. It was difficult at time to see the vastly different conditions the people and animals lived in, but so so awesome to give them education about animal care. Judy was so well respected by these people, I admired her giving them advice on planting crops and preparing for the seasons ahead.

On my final drive out as I was leaving for the airport, the entire journey of giraffe surrounded the driveway (I like to think they were saying goodbye) and all I could think was two weeks was definitely not enough. I am already planning on going back! If you want an experience that fills your soul and opens your mind, and then pours you a beer at the end of the day, go to Imire.. just be prepared to want to go back time and time again.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Feb 19, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

4U Arabic Language School

My Volunteer Experience in Bali
I am Yilin,a junior student at university. I have been volunteering (teaching English and Computer) since I arrived at IHF in Buitan which is on the east coast of Indonesia.Places like Ubud, Kuta and PadangBai are fairly close(you can take motorbike). During the mornings and evenings it's really quiet as Buitan is quite a remote village. In the afternoons,I give lessons to local students. In fact,they are not only my students but also my friends,teaching me Indonesian,fishing,and swimming. We do special projects on Saturdays,including gardening,origami,and language learning. Sundays are our day off, so we may go to Kuta or Ubud or somewhere nearby the center like Virgin Beach. We also go snorkeling and I really like Balinese food!
IHF stands for International Humanity Foundation and they have 6 centers in Indonesia,Kenya,and Thailand. They are always looking for volunteers(couples can do it) to join them. IHF is devoted to make the world better for the future generation. Our center has power and internet and most of us either read or do online work for the organization at night/during the mornings,so it's really peaceful. We have regular meetings,discussing center projects or simply change thoughts on teaching methods.
Last July,My friend Yang told me that she wants to volunteer for IHF asked if I wanted to join. I think why not? It’s a good chance to experience locsl culture and do something meaningful. Therefore,here we are. At first,I was very nervous because It’s my first time to volunteer abroad and I had problem doing my online work. It was frustrating for me but with the help of my newly-met friends,I have learned the skill of communicating with people from different cultural backgrounds. I think IHF provides me the opportunity to improve myself,to meet a better me. I hope more people can join us and make the world better with IHF!

Program:
Location: Africa
Posted: Feb 8, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
10

Alliance for African Women Initiative (AFAWI)

My time with AFAWI gave me the opportunity to experience first hand the obstacles associated with the implementation and operation of social developments projects within West Africa, in what seemed to be a typically unequal and unjust African capital. Yet by working within a dedicated organisation along with both creative minded interns and inspiring local employees, it became apparent that many of these first noticed problems could soon be capably overcome. Whilst working on the “ECCACHLD” project that aimed to provide much needed health, medical and educational support to vulnerability children, I found myself independently coordinating with facilitators working for a wide array of local institutions, social organisations and disciplinary professions. In reflection, I believe AFAWI’s internship programme provides you with the provisional coordinates necessary to implement social development projects within the local community, yet allows you to work independently synchronizing and managing, offering you the opportunity to responsibly ensure that vulnerable children effectively receive help. Given a position of reliability, the placement forces interns to be both think intuitively and creatively, as well allowing interns the opportunity to independently develop project in directions that reflects their own personal concerns.

Working in the ‘field’ predominantly, allows an intern to experience first hand the dilemmas of current development interventions; both through ones own experience of programme implementation as well as observing troublesome governmental run development services within the local community. AFAWI’S social programming allows you to intimately explore the structure of Ghanaian social, health and medical institutions, becoming unavoidably inspired by a community of committed working professionals; whose societies development and the fulfilment of its people has been noticeably prevented by a corrupt government and an inequitable social order.

In personal reflection, my experience with AFAWI entirely motivated and inspired my greater involvement and commitment towards social development, both towards Africa and on a wider international scale. AFAWI’S internship scheme facilitates social development both for the local community and for ones own personal development, where an intern will find themselves confronted with issues of programming ethics, the diversity of culture, as well as gaining a deep insight into local Christian and Islamic faith. I recommend this experience to anyone who is passionate about social development, human aid and the complexities of cultural variation, and to someone who will be inspired and not discouraged by an opportunity to work independently and initiatively on an inspiring ground roots development project.

Program:
Location: Africa
Posted: Jan 24, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I recently spent 3 months Volunteering in Ghana at the Amber program with IVHQ. Simply put my time there was amazing. When I first decided to take the leap to volunteer in Africa I was really nervous as It was going to be my first time traveling alone. But I soon realized the amount of support that you receive from not only IVHQ staff but past, current and future volunteers you are never alone. The staff become some of your best friends and the vomunteers become like family to you... It sounds cliche but I really did make life long friends that I am so happy to have had the chance to experience this with. Evans, the project coordinator for the green and Amber program is amazing, he is such a genuine guy and will remain a friend of mine for ever. If you ever needed anything at all he was there.. just a phone call away... Even if it was something as silly as "what tro do I take to get to accra" hahaha. As for your placements... what you get out of the experience is what you are willing to give. If you walk in with no expectations and a complete open heart What ever program you will be placed in I can guarantee you will have an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to volunteer at both the green and Amber program and can not express how much I loved every second of it. Falling in love with those kids take all of five minutes and leaving them will be the hardest thing you'll ever have to do... Well at least for me if was. The only thing I would encourage IVHQ to do would be to send more volunteers to the programs that don't get as many long term volunteers... Like the Amber program. It's frustrating knowing that other programs could have 8 volunteers while you only have 2. Although it gave you more time to spend with the kids one on one it makes it very difficult to start up long term projects like other programs do because there is not a constant flow of volunteers to keep the projects up. Even sometching as simple as taking time to help one kid with his reading proved to be nearly impossible with only two volunteers because you have 40 other kids wanting your help just as much and with just two of us it could be overwhelming. But that said I would not chnage anything about my experience for the world. There wasn't a single day I was in Ghana that I didn't feel at home. I never felt unhappy or unsafe or unsettled. Ghana truly is an amazing country that will grab ahold of your heart forever. Yes you live simple, and basic and won't have the luxuries that you would elsewhere but honestly it's worth it and you start to realize that you don't need those luxuries to be happy. The locals there live with next to nothing yet they are some of the happiest people I have ever met in my life. Anyways, overall I would say without a doubt that if you are considering volunteering in Ghana with IVHQ... DO IT. It is a great way to travel to a country like Ghana for the first time. IVHQ looks after you very well, the accommodations are comfortable, the food is fine, the placements are amazing, and you are given plenty of time to yourself to travel and see the country. The program is affordable and the staff go the extra mile to make sure you are comfortable. So do it... Take the leap!! The experimeve is amazing and you will come out a completly different person.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Jan 19, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
7

Comments

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about your time in Ghana. We are glad to hear that you felt safe and welcome throughout your stay. It sounds like you had a truly unforgettable experience. We hope to see you on another programs soon.

Nakuru Hope

I first met Susan in 2010 when she was taking groups to Nakuru Hope to volunteer. My timetable that year did not allow me to go but I kept it in mind as I was impressed by Susan's passion and commitment. I visited Nakuru Hope in August 2014 for 3 weeks and was surprised by my experience.
The school had opened at the beginning of the year and Susan, her son and daughter had an official opening mid year. I arrived for the last week of Susan's visit and was made to feel very welcome by all. The children's assembly the first morning bought tears to my eyes. I was overcome by there happiness and willingness to learn.
The home stay facilities are excellent and welcome surprise. There were a number of other volunteers who came and went while I was there and meeting and learning from them was amazing.
I helped with classes, as my background is teaching, marked exams, read to and with the students. I was impressed by the English of the 8 year old students. Helping with food twice a day and playing at break times.
Sounds like fun, there were also home visits to see where these children live. It was in a slum area after all. They manage or not on so little. Walking around the slum was no problem. An old man came and shook my hand to thank me for visiting.
I highly recommend this experience to everyone.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Jan 18, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

IVHQ Ghana Turquoise Orphanage Program 8 weeks

My experience with IVHQ Ghana has been amazing!! I had never traveled abroad before and I chose to do so alone, so it was an intimidating thing at first... but the nerves go away as soon as you land and meet the IVHQ Ghana staff member there to pick you up. The staff were incredible, every single one of them! The most friendly, welcoming, kind, helpful and fun people ive ever met! All the volunteers and myself were all having a great time before we even got to our various programs. You are taken such good care of at the volunteer house, any question you could possibly have or any worry ANYTHING you need is all taken care of by the IVHQ Ghana staff.
Prepare to be overwhelmed when you get to your program! Every single kid bolts over to welcome you... its a welcome you will never forget and never get tired of...and its a welcome you will always get from Ghanains. Mr Seth and his wife Vivian were the host family, they become your family... they are very very sweet, very caring and SO much fun... Seth is the most easy going guy on the planet and will do anything for his volunteers to make sure you are happy and comfortable, I never felt home sick for one moment, their incredible people. The kids are so much fun, your first week with the kids can also be very overwhelming, every kid wants your attention and there are over 40 so you have to learn how to manage them lol. You will fall in love with the kids so quickly... everyone does. There is so much to do at Turquoise... so many ways you can help, and you feel so appreciated, the work can be hard especially in Ghana's hot sun, but it is so rewarding and fun. The placement is beautiful at turquoise, you have an awesome view of the ocean. Weekends are free to do as you please, so we always took advantage of that and traveled every weekend... There are SO many beautiful and fun places to visit! You'll want to visit them again and again. Each program has a IVHQ Ghana staff member who always comes to visit to see how things are, if you are happy, if there are any changes that could be made, if you have any questions... their also a phone call or a text away... so between Seth and Vivian, Gideon (IVHQ staff member for turquoise) and the other volunteers you will be with, you have a huge support team. These people go up and above for you.
You will end up making life long friends and memories you will never ever forget. I think the kids will teach you more than you teach them.. its a life changing experience. It has been the best decision Ive ever made to go through IVHQ and come to Ghana, and I would recommend it to EVERYONE...
Leaving is awful! The last few days you have are too hard, the last day is a bad day... everyone would agree leaving is the worst. You make such good friends, and become so close with the kids, seth and vivian and the IVHQ staff... The only thing that will make you feel better is knowing you will be back... and everyone says they will be back.
I wish everyone could do this or something like this atleast once in their life time. Ghana is beautiful, Ghanians are beautiful, the most friendly people I know... If you are thinking of it.. stop thinking and just do it! You will not regret it, no way.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Nov 1, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Hi Ashley, What a review, thanks for sharing your experience volunteering on our Childcare project in Ghana :) It’s absolutely awesome to read that you felt so supported throughout your time in Ghana. We hope to have you back soon!

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

In May of 2014, I volunteered with IVHQ's orphanage program in Ghana. I stayed for one month and it was a fabulous experience. I would highly recommend this program to others, especially to those who are traveling abroad for the first time.

It was my first time traveling abroad, and also my first time traveling alone. I completed the program independently, but I did make friends with the other volunteers whom I stayed with. I was 18 years old when I traveled to Ghana, and I had a mother who was very worried about safety. IVHQ has an amazing staff who is very professional and supportive. Before traveling, an IVHQ employee was in contact with me and gave me all the details of my program. I contacted this employee many times via email to ask questions, and she always responded quickly. Once I arrived in Ghana, the in-country staff were amazing. I had various phone numbers to reach them on 24/7 and they made me feel very safe.

I stayed in a volunteer house with the other volunteers on my program. One of the Mamas who worked at the orphanage would come make our meals for us and clean our house. She was so friendly and would always be there to offer advise about the program or travel plans. I spent most of every day at the orphanage because the primary reason for my trip was volunteering. IVHQ's program is dedicated to making a real change in the lives of the children. On weekends many volunteers travel to the main city or to other tourist attractions. Ghana is a VERY beautiful country!!

IVHQ is very organized and I had absolutely no trouble volunteering with them. If you are contemplating volunteering abroad with this organization, especially in Ghana, please just do it! I was very apprehensive at first, but it was a decision I will never regret.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Oct 15, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
8

Comments

Thanks for you for sharing your experience of volunteering on our Childcare project in Ghana. It’s really great to hear that you felt so supported by IVHQ staff, the local team, your host family and other volunteers. What an incredible experience to have as you first time travelling abroad! We hope to welcome you onto another IVHQ program again in the future.

International Humanity Foundation

As a volunteer in the IHF Center Nakuru, Kenya

A dream becomes true: Already as a little girl I dreamt of going to Africa to help children there. It was about five years ago when I saw a documentary about Africa that I decided, I wanted to go right after high school. To me it appeared the best time to go, since all my studies were done and I could not study for anything else, because I have no new classes yet. After spending weeks, looking for the right organization I finally found the advertisement of International Humanity Foundation. ‘This is my chance, to help without having to get financial help from my parents and relatives!’ and immediately I applied.
Now that I am here at the children’s home in Nakuru I am learning new things every day. Currently I am the youngest volunteer here which I sometimes get to feel in the way that I have no experience in particular situations. I am very grateful to have many very friendly and open people around me who help me.
Working with the children is often a challenge I must say, because not only is the culture very different, but also their perception of the world. I am surprised by some things the children ask me, which to me are very normal and logical to me, but they had never heard about it.
A regular day here starts at 5:30am for the children – except for weekends – when they get their tea and towards 6am they start leaving for school. After all of them have left – or at least all the ones that are not sick – we have time to do our online tasks, go to the hospital with sick children, help our cook cooking lunch, going to teacher-parents meetings, going to town to buy necessary utensils, and whatever else is needed. At lunch time some of the children come back to eat and some stay at school and eat there. Only the smallest ones stay here for the afternoon, all the others have to go back to school. In the evening, since they are in different schools they come home at different times, and we start playing games with them – they love football! – or help them with homework. Sometimes there are also big activities planned, though more on weekends than during the week. Saturday and Sunday are the only two days when we look after the children all day long, so these are our most exhausting days – fun never the less!
We are facing many difficulties with that many children around us – 70 children is quite a number to me! Problems like illnesses – meaning going to the hospital and waiting there for several hours – making sure the children are good in school, which means tutoring, helping with homework, doing extra work with them for practicing, and many things more. Every day is a challenge, and I like to every day have a new “task” to achieve.
So far all my experiences have helped me grow mentally, and to understand this completely different culture. Already now, that my third week is over, I think about how sad that it is that I only stay here for two months. I wish I could be here for longer, trying to have a bigger impact in the lives of those children, showing them how much potential they have and how they can use it, giving them the love they deserve, giving them an idea what life is all about, how important education is… I could go on with this list. I really think they are great children and I am happy to see that there are people from all over the world, willing to give them their time and influencing and teaching them, everyone in their very own way.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Oct 6, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
8

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