Original Volunteers

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8.1 / 10 after 86 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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I came here for a month and it was absolutely the best thing I ever did in my life, I've booked to go for another month and I leave in June! I would recommend original volunteers to anyone and everyone. The riad I stayed in was all you need and everyone I met was extremely friendly and welcoming, I was picked up and driven back to the airport all in good time also.

The co-coordinators for each project were very friendly and always helpful, there were 2 projects a day to take part in for the most part (you didn't have to attend but I went every time they were available). The food is locally available much cheaper from the markets right by the main riad along with fresh smoothies and there's a bakery a few doors down with hot fresh bread in the mornings. Getting to and from places is very cheap in taxis but you can sometimes expect others to get in your taxi half way through which is a little crazy at first. This generally doesn't happen on the way to projects with the coordinator, also check prices with your coordinator if you plan to take taxis outside of project times as sometimes they aren't too honest on the price ;)

I visited street kids regularly and even outside of project times, generally bringing them smiles and entertainment with lots of gymnastics and teaching some muay thai where I was allowed to, fantastic experience with wonderful kids. I did the same at the orphanage which was my favourite project, tons of lively lads, all very active so expect to run around a lot as they'll keep you in shape! Plenty of football played there too. Done tons of drawing and face painting, fed the homeless every week which means going to pick up from the supermarket with the cost shared between everyone in the riad who's happy to chip in and then preparing lunches and handing them out in the square.

The baby orphanage was lovely to visit but I very nearly adopted one of the babies there and it was really hard to go home after bonding with them, as it was with all the kids elsewhere. There was a girls orphanage I visited where I reluctantly let them paint my face in the name of good fun, I ended up staying painted all day and it was all a good laugh.

I went to the Sahara desert on an excursion and the Berber house, both great experiences outside of project times.

Overall everywhere we went the main thing was keeping the kids happy, they are far less fortunate than all of us and it will really bring you back down to earth! Highly recommended!

Can't wait for June :)

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 18, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
24

Original Volunteers Morocco Marrakesh Review March/April 2017:

Things to note:
1) Make sure you have correct accommadation address and moroccon project advisor contact number as you will be required to fill in a disembarkment form on arrival and customs/passport control officers are very by the book.

2) The queue on arrival to passport control can be upto 2 hours at Marrakesh Airport so bear this in mind.

3) Once you are through customs, exchange some money at the bueru du change.

4) Then go to the Maroc Telecom and buy a Moroccan sim card. Cost roughly 150Dirham around £15 for 6.5gb of data 40 mins international calls and 1 hour of moroocan calls.

5) Then once actived head out of the arrivals and exit airport.

6) The driver might be there but if not you will need to contact the moroccon project advisor who will orginise taxi for you to djamma el-fna in Marrakesh from the airport.

7) The driver will drop you near the accommadation and it is a 5 min walk with the project advisor.

The above steps is what myself and a friend have learned with our trip we learned through trial and error as we were at the airport for quite some time due to passport control being very thorough. Please don't let that put you off just be prepared before you leave the UK make sure you have all the accommadation and contact details.

The trip overall was a fantastic experience and was well organised visiting the baby orphanage and feeding the homeless were the stand out activaties. Most of the travel is done via walking and taxi's. Marrakesh is very nice be prepared to haggle though when buying things from the markets. The jus'dorange stalls are good number 49 stall is the man to go to always gave us extra juice and different juices to taste.
The project advisors are great and are very friendly, they'll help you out a lot. Foodwise cafe babooshka is nice and there is a kfc near the kootbia mosque.
On our trip there were 10 other volunteers but by the end of the week that wittled down to 4 as some people come and go. The weekend was pretty much free to chill and do as you please and since it was just myself and my friend in the house now, we decided to book a couple of hotels for the weekend with aquaparks to have a bit of fun before we left morocco. I would highly recommend the morocco marrakesh trip as it balances both the volunteering and having fun really well. Don't worry about it just go ahead and book it :)

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 18, 2017
Overall:
5
Support:
5
Value:
4
By: Abu
Age:

I volunteered in Ghana a few months ago, the lead up to the trip and messages from Emma reinsured me I was prepared and the trip would be great - however; I was quite disappointed.
To start my trip, I was rudely greeted by the hired taxi driver who would take me to the volunteer house, he yelled as he told me that he 'had been waiting for hours' even though he chose to arrive 4 hours before my flight came in? and snatched my suitcase and chucked it into the car before setting off on our 4 hour ride to the house. These 4 hours were painful... he sung sex song to me and would touch my leg and ask me if I left 'comfortable' after pushing him away and telling him 'his driving wasn't making me feel safe' and that 'he should watch the road instead of staring at me' he then intentionally drove even more irrationally. Anyway, when that was over I complained to OV and nothing happened, the staff simply said "yeah may girls say the same thing but OV will not get rid of him." YEAH THANKS FOR CONSIDERING OUR SAFETY OV.. NOT! >:(
We were also hit with unexpected costs like $100 EACH NEW WEEK to do a program (even if arrival was on a Wednesday you would have to pay $100 on Wednesday for the day work and another $100 the following Monday... bullshit) we were told there would be a $100 US dollar contribution.... but not every single week. When the costs were questioned Fred simply ignored the question and was unable to tell us where our money was going .... (into his pocket? Probably.)
The communication between host countries and OV is disgraceful and I discourage others to steer away from this organisation.
The country made my experience amazing, but OV seriously, get your shit together this is a joke.

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 9, 2017
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
4
Age:
20

I have used Original Volunteers on two occasions now to book projects to Thailand and Ghana and I highly recommend this company if you would like to be involved in volunteer projects.

For those who have concerns about what company to choose when volunteering, my honest opinion is that Original Volunteers offer rewarding experiences and are very good value for money in comparison to other companies out there.

Original Volunteers were very supportive in their pre-travel advice, communication with them was excellent and they have always been happy to answer my queries. Everything ran very smoothly from beginning to end on both trips.

Thailand

Admittedly I was very nervous at first, I had never travelled alone before. Once out in Thailand an airport transfer was arranged and the accommodation hostel had a very friendly vibe. I was happy and settled from the very first evening, I met some wonderful people, both locals and other volunteers, and every day from then was a new adventure. The hostel helped to create a good rapport among the other like-minded volunteers. Meals at the accommodation cost from £1-4.

With regards to the teaching itself we had lots of resources to use, and as with any volunteer company you are expected to be able to think on your feet and use your initiative. After all, you are not there to be spoon fed, but to have a challenging experience. Throughout the trip our taxis to our volunteer placements were arranged for us, and we even had very affordable mini buses take us on weekends away and then drive us back! Generally we worked 4-5 days a week and then travelled on weekends.

The weekends included, boat trips, island hopping, a full moon party and plenty of time on the beach relaxing. My experience in Thailand was easily the best few weeks of my life and the following year I used the same company to volunteer in Ghana.

Ghana

I expected a similar experience here and in regards to the company’s organisation and efficiency I received exactly that.

I was late when I arrived and the other volunteers were sleeping so after a very warm welcome from 3 more staff members I called it a night. In the morning the other new volunteers and I were given all the information we needed and we were given answers to all our questions. We spent the rest of the day being shown around the local area and gathering supplies, which mainly consisted of drinking water and snacks.

The next day is when the volunteering began; the days usually began with a meeting where we all discussed what we will be doing and what we want to achieve. I taught in a school called Sunrise where I met so many lovely children and teachers, it was an amazing experience. If you plan on teaching for your whole trip I’d recommend thinking of some lesson plans before hand and take any equipment you might need. Most of the schools have little or no equipment so taking stationery is a good idea.

For a weekend trip a bus was organised for us and we arrived at a small beachfront community with a few hotels and a very nice atmosphere, this is the place to come to unwind. They organised beach parties to bars, live music, bonfires and nice food.

Another great place to visit is Cape Coast, we spent two days there and visited the old Slave Castle which was a very thought provoking and educational trip. The next day we visited Kakum National Park where we had a mini jungle trek followed by the Canopy walk, which was a 350m walkway suspended high in the trees.

In summary, I genuinely recommend Original Volunteers, they are affordable, supportive and very reliable. Working and traveling in a foreign country proves your ability to move out of your comfort zone, to take risks, and to adapt and confront new challenges. Thank you OV!

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 4, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: KiranK
Age:
25

I have recently came back from volunteering in Ghana and would like to say a hugh thankyou to all the team for all the advice given to me over the phone and via emails. You gave me the confidence to do this I volunteered in the hospital, at the schools and did an outreach project. It was truly amazing and I plan to go out again next year for longer with my 11 year old son to do health promotion in the schools. The staff at the volunteer accommodation were so helpful as well.

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 4, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
Age:
55

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