Jamaica

Projects Abroad

I volunteered with Projects Abroad in 2016 in Mandeville, Jamaica. I am a full time college student at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, studying biology as a pre-medicine major and minors in psychology and chemistry. To graduate Tabor, I needed to complete at least forty hours of an internship. I spent a lot of time researching opportunities online and found Projects Abroad fairly quick. I studied their web page and organization thoroughly and finally decided to pick the medicine program in Jamaica. I had always wanted to travel internationally and I felt that this was a good opportunity to travel and appreciate the different views of a new culture.

As soon as I applied to the program, I felt supported and valued. My personalized webpage outlined all the tasks I needed to complete before my departure as well as what to expect from my program. I was relieved to have a local staff member meet me at the airport after my travels. My host family welcomed me and instantly made me feel like a member of the house. My room was storage sufficient and nice. All food and clean water was provided. A local staff member met me Monday morning and gave me a tour of the town, my placement, and the staff office. At my work placement, I had flexible work hours. I rotated between family planning, curative, and maternal and child health. All of the staff members were welcoming and helpful in letting me be proactive in the clinic. I took weights, heights, blood pressures, blood sugars, interviewed patients, and assisted with six week check ups including vaccinations for babies.

There were plenty of opportunities to travel the country on the weekends. The staff was helpful in answering any questions. Traveling abroad teaches you patience, resilience, confidence and problem solving. You appreciate what you have and it’s very rewarding to help those less fortunate. We may have a lot to give but they also have a lot to teach us in return. Overall, I would highly recommend Projects Abroad for volunteering/interning internationally!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Jamaica
Posted: Mar 5, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

I volunteered in Jamaica, Mandeville with Projects Abroad for one month. I volunteered in a children's home for the first two weeks and in construction for the last two weeks of my trip. At the children's home, I assisted the staff with their daily care routines for 25-30 babies and young children. Working in construction, I assisted in a local building project by mixing cement, painting, and stacking bricks. My living accommodations were with a host family in the area and they were very nice welcoming. I learned about the Jamaican culture through the Projects Abroad office and often ate traditional Jamaican food in my home stay which was always delicious. Two other volunteers girls lived with me in the same host family and I met other volunteers at lunchtime in the town or through the Projects Abroad office. On our weekends off, the volunteers and I often went away to visit other parts of Jamaica with permission of the Projects Abroad office. Overall, my experience with Projects Abroad was positive as the staff was always helpful, I made great friendships with other volunteers and I learned valuable lessons on my work placements.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Jamaica
Posted: May 19, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Projects Abroad

The summer after graduating from college, I volunteered for three weeks with Projects Abroad--Medical Project in Jamaica. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in the medical clinic, where I was able to observe nurses, midwives, doctors, and even a nutritionist work with the local people. "Hands-on" work is generally limited and depends on the location of placement, but I was able to have more direct patient contact experience the last week/week and a half I was there, due to becoming more familiar with the system and the medical staff being confident in my abilities. I really enjoyed observing the various doctor-patient interactions and going on house-call visits with the midwife. I feel like this was definitely a worth-while experience, but those planning to eventually pursue a career in medicine and are hoping to gain a substantial amount of "hands-on work" should really talk through with their trip advisors and make sure they are being placed in a setting that best fits their requirements.

As for living situation, I had the best host family. They made me feel at home and did everything they could to be as accommodating as possible. I was also living with one other volunteer for most of the time (which I highly recommend). I also recommend staying for a minimum of four weeks, not only to be able to explore the country adequately, but mainly so that a sense of routine can really be fostered at the placement site and you can maximize your time volunteering. I really hope to return some day!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Jamaica
Posted: Feb 2, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Projects Abroad

I had a fantastic experience during my time in Mandeville, Jamaica. I volunteered on the Alternative Spring Break program this year for one week. Although it wasn't long, it was extremely useful and benefited the program. I was put on a building site to start building bathrooms for children at a primary school in rural Mandeville. Their current bathrooms have no running water and are infectious, so there's a 6 month project to build them bathrooms with running water that are much more sanitary. We also had an outreach day where we went to a man's house (one room, no electricity, no running water) and refurbished it. We put in new roof covers, painted the walls, and redid the floors. All of the volunteers also bought the man a brand new mattress. My host family was incredible and they introduced me to a lot of Jamaican culture and food which was amazing! We also had a bit of downtime and were able to see the beautiful scenery Jamaica has to offer. It was the best spring break I've ever been on and I would love to have the experience with Projects Abroad again, hopefully for longer than a week!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Jamaica
Posted: May 13, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad is an amazing organization to work with! They are very organized and easy to contact with any questions. I signed up for the trip very last minute, they were more than happy to rush the process of signing up and very welcoming. They provide more than enough information to help you with your planning concerning your flight and such. Not only is the organization great as a whole, but the staff in Jamaica was absolutely outstanding!

They provided me with a very nice host family with a gorgeous home. They set up transportation to and from my volunteer placement and planned many fun activities! They were personable and helped us to understand the culture in Jamaica better. They allowed appropriate free time and social life while visiting.

I was part of the care project while in Jamaica along with about 8 other girls. We volunteered at an orphanage for children with special needs in the morning then a school of arts institute in the afternoon. The volunteer experience was breath taking, i learned endless lessons and it was a trip of a life-time. If i had the chance to go to Jamaica with this organization again, i would take it in a heart beat! This was one of the best experiences of my life thus far! I highly recommend this organization as well as this specific location and care project!

Good Luck with your travels!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Jamaica
Posted: May 21, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

Social Care in Jamaica

I spent two months at a Children's home in Mandeville. I was really excited to work with children, the greater was my disappointment when I realized what work was gonna be like! The staff members at the placement (except one of them) were not interested in working togehter with the volunteers. One lady was very agressive and yelled at volunteers for a lot of things no one ever told us not to do. There was no structure at all but that was not the problem, all of us had a very hard time because every time we wanted to change a dirty diaper we had to look for diapers and wipes for about ten minutes till we found them. They moved them on a daily basis and kept them in different drawers every time. I often had to clean about 4 hours old dry poop from a babie's butt when i arrived in the morning and that's almost impossible to do if you dont have any wipes! I almost felt like they are hiding the wipes from us on purpose. one time i had a baby with a dirty diaper on my arm and i was walking around to look for wipes. after a few minutes i found them in the bathroom (why would they keep them there and not next to the changing table where we need them??), when i took them 3 staff members yelled at me: "hey what are you doing with these..?" I just kept walking and said im gonna change the diaper!!! duh why would they ask me that??
but that was the smallest problem. the one lady was so agressive, one day she beat up one of the volunteers because he wanted to comfort a crying baby! she hit him in the head and bruised and scratched his arms! when the guy went to his supervisor to tell her what happened she acted like it was his own fault and said they cant do anything about it! Then the officer responsible for the children's home decided that they dont want to have any new volunteers because we are crazy and not good for the children! the lady who beat up the volunteers also regularly beat the children (which is illegal in jamaica!!!) and she got away with beating up a volunteer, what kind of organization would be ok with that? they are just after the money, they dont care about the safety of the volunteers!

what also disappointed me was that my supervisor did not support us at all! everytime someone had a problem or felt uncomfortable at work she made it look like its the volunteers fault and that we are bad and lazy people! i once told her that i want to feel comfortable at my placement and i dont want to be yelled at for things i can not know! im not jamaican and ive never worked at a childrens home before so of course i dont always know what to do or how im supposed to do things! she never once said that yelling is not the right way to talk to someone, all she said was that its my own fault and that im not interested enough! I couldnt believe it but when i heard what happened to the guy and many of the other volunteers i knew that its not about me and i dont have to take it personal, the supervisor is just a cold, heartless person and doesnt care about volunteers!

other than that projects abroad is very expensive compared to other organizations! but i thought its not that bad because they use the money for a good cause but that's not true at all! the host families that let the volunteers live with them dont get a lot of money, and when i talked to the staff members they said they have to work 12 - 24 hours every day and hardly get any pay! sometime they didnt get wipes for the babies for more than a week so obviously the money is not spent on the children either! we had to buy our own lunch (unless some cookies or a bun fill u up) and we had to pay half of the taxi money to the work place and back! the flight is not included in the price either so that means that most of the money u pay goes to the management or the people who work in the administration! its a shame! the worst is that they dont pay their staff members well, which means that only very uneducated people are applying. they could at least hire more people so the staff members wouldnt be so stressed and wouldnt have to take their anger and frustration out on the poor children! most of the children have been abused already so why would you let violent people take care of them? and they act like they are doing something good for orphans?

I think thats all i need to say! if i didnt like jamaica and my host family so much i would have quit after one week!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Jamaica
Posted: Jan 12, 2012
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Comments

At Projects Abroad we take complaints about our placements very seriously and I am very concerned to read about this incident of abuse you refer to in your post. We have very good relationships with our partner placements and we always vet all our placements thoroughly before sending volunteers to work at them. However if there is a rouge member of staff at a particular orphanage allegedly abusing children we will thoroughly investigate this and if proven to be true we will without hesitation report the offending person to the relevant authorities. We place our volunteers in orphanages that really need them. Sometimes the environment is difficult to work in but although it can be difficult, the love, attention and education that our volunteers give the children is vital for their development. Saying that, we will never condone violence towards children or our volunteers and if your claims are proven to be correct we will stop working with the children’s home. So we can properly act on your complaints can you please write to me directly telling me the name of the centre you worked at, the name of the staff member at the centre you believe was abusing children, and more details about the cases of alleged abuse. If you write to me directly, as Head of Operations for Projects Abroad, I will ensure I deal with this personally. Please email me at gregthomson@projects-abroad.co.uk Thank you. Greg Thomson Operations Director Projects Abroad
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