Original Volunteers

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8.1 / 10 after 88 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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I had some annual leave and I wanted to do something worthwhile with my time off. I did a quick search online and filled out a form for Original Volunteers based on the fact it seemed reasonably priced compared to other sites I'd seen, and they had projects in countries that I'd love to visit.
Within a couple of hours I had a call back from their team, they didn't try to push me into anything, they were really helpfully and it was so easy and simple to do, I just had to book my flights and advise them of the day so they can arrange a pick up. A week later I was on a flight to Marrakesh, they'd briefed me well on the phone and answered all my questions, they always called back and was there to help. I was even able to get in touch with other volunteers that I'd be working with.
We stayed in the old town called the Medina, in a Riad which was so nice, much better than I was expecting. There were very few tourists, I loved that about the trip, it was real life, no holiday resorts on the doorstep, but I never felt unsafe. Some may find it a bit of a culture shock but actually Morroco is not so bad, there's Internet, everyone seems to have Facebook and instagram and there are short taxi trips to more touristy areas.
The hosts were 2 local guys who spoke good English, they was really friendly and was there for us all week.
It was a quiet week for volunteers, there were only 5 of us, all girls. We had the best week, we chose to share rooms, we felt close friends from day one and worked so well together that we really felt we accomplished things during our project work.
The projects we visited were so enjoyable, we took lots of arts and crafts and made creative things with the kids, I know they really appreciated us being there and having someone give them attention and have fun with them, it made them smile, it alters your mindset, to share joy and gratitude from simple pleasures. It was the perfect get away and a great introduction to volunteering.
I'd definitely recommend Original Volunteers to anyone who was looking to volunteer abroad. It was hassle free for me, and I made some brilliant friends and memories,
I'd love to go again soon.

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 24, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10
By: MissE
Age:

I have just recently arrived back after volunteering in Cusco, Peru for 10 weeks! I can honestly say that it was the most amazing experience ever! I have learned so much from doing this volunteering program and I can't thank Original Volunteers enough! I have always wanted to volunteer abroad but was a little bit hesitant as I am only 18 and I was really nervous about going all the way to Peru on my own. Original volunteers were so kind and friendly from the minute I contacted them to enquire more about the project. They immediately made me feel at ease and reassured me that many volunteers travel out on their own but are never really on their own once they get there as there are so many other volunteers to make friends with. I knew then that I really liked the sound of the whole project and that I liked how friendly Original Volunteers were so I just decided to go for it and book everything! On the lead up to going, I was again really nervous about the whole trip because it was a big thing - going abroad for the first time and going alone at the age of 18. But Original Volunteers were so helpful! I felt like I was being a nuisance e-mailing them all the time with my questions but they were always more than happy to reply with informative answers to my questions. I felt so supported and felt like any worry or question I had about the trip, I could just e-mail Original Volunteers and they would reply with a helpful answer either the same day or the following day. They were so great. When I arrived in Cusco, no one was there to pick me up. I did panic a little as I had just landed in a different continent and no one was there to pick me up so it was a little bit scary. However, Original Volunteers had provided me with so much information before I left that I knew what to do. They had given me the Project Coordinator's number and so I just phoned that and the coordinator very politely apologised that he was running late and said that he would be there to pick me up as soon as possible. So it really wasn't that much of an issue - I just had to wait a little longer, but it was good to know that someone was coming to pick me up. When the co-ordinator arrived at the airport to pick me up, he was very kind and talkative. He instantly made me feel relaxed and welcome because he was so cheery and talkative. When we got to the girls orphanage, Jeremy (the coordinator) showed me to my room and introduced me to the children. For the first couple of days, I felt like I didn't know what I was doing as the routine of the orphanage wasn't explained to me and Jeremy wasn't always around. Therefore I felt like I had no one to really ask for help if I needed it. As Jeremy wasn't really around the only way to contact him was by text which he didn't always reply to quickly. It was easier for some of the other volunteers who spoke Spanish as they could ask the Mamita (the woman who looks after the children and cooks for them) any questions that they had about the orphanage and the routine. So all I am saying is that it would be useful to know some Spanish as it is very difficult to communicate when you know zero Spanish like me. However, I don't think this is Original Volunteers fault - they provided me with so much support leading up to the trip but when I got there, I just felt like the co-ordinator could have been around a lot more. And yes, having some Spanish phrases will make everything easier but I still had the most amazing experience ever and I didn't know any Spanish whatsoever. It was strange not being able to communicate with the children at first but I picked up some words and phrases as time went on and the children were really interested in learning English too! But really the children are so appreciative of even just your presence. They were always so excited to see me each day and it just really made me feel good. They are the happiest, most well-mannered and well-behaved children that I have ever met. They always had a smile on their face, were always giving me hugs and always thanked me when I treated them to an ice cream or when I took them to the park. Some other volunteers and I also took them ice-skating and to the chocolate museum which they absolutely loved. It just feels amazing to know that you are bringing joy to these children's lives by just being there and by showing them love and care. I also brought a massive suitcase full of toys and arts and crafts and toiletries for them. The kids loved that I brought something differnet for them to do each day. I brought paint, pens, pencils, colouring books, stamps, crayons, loom bands, origami, play dough, plasticine , knitting, card games, puzzles etc. The children are very content and grateful and so they were very happy when I and the other volunteers took them to the park for a couple of hours a day but they really enjoyed doing the various different activities that I brought for them as it was something different for them to do and for some of the children it was their first time doing some of those activities. I bonded with the childrne so quickly and grew to love the them. It was honestly the best couple months of my life as I had so much fun with the children and everyday they made me smile and laugh and I did the same for them which made me feel like I was doing good. The children come from a completely different world and have so little yet they are so happy. The whole experience was a complete learning curve for me as you really learn what's important in life. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our modern life's that we forget how grateful we are compared to these children who have very little money, toys, clothes etc. It's just made me realise how lucky I am and how much I want to continue helping those who are less fortunate. It also just shows that you don't need lots of money to be happy. The children were so happy because they were receiving so much love, care and affection from the volunteers and their Mamita and the rest of the team. It was so hard having to say goodbye to the children as I grew so close to them and felt like I had really bonded with them. I also just wanted to say that Original Volunteers were right when they said that most volunteers go alone and that you will never actually be alone when you get there. The day I arrived at the orphanage I met other volunteers who were all so lovely and made my experience even better. I went to Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain with some Volunteers that I made friends with. I am still in touch with the other volunteers that I met and hope to remain friends with them. The only negative thing that I have to say about my experience, but again I think it is more down to the Co-ordinator rather than Original Volunteers, is that there were some people staying in the same accommodation as me which was at the girls orphanage. They weren't volunteering through Original Volunteers and to me I don't know why they were even there. They didn't spend any time with the children and were so noisy. Late at night and during the early hours of the morning they were partying, drinking and blasting music when there are signs all throughout the accommodation saying that no alcohol is allowed in the accommodation and that you should be respectful and not make any noise when others are trying to sleep. I felt sorry for the children that probably could have heard them when they were trying to get to sleep. But anyway, I would like to give a massive thank you to Original Volunteers for giving me the best expierence that I could ever ask for! Thank you so much for all of the support that you gave me and for enabling me to take part in such a life-changing experience!

I put together a video of my volunteering trip to Peru which you can watch by clicking the link. Hopefully it will encourage some of you guys who are thinking of doing a volunteering project to just go for it and do it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOM8l4kok6o

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 19, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Lucille
Age:
18

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

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