Original Volunteers

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8.1 / 10 after 87 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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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.

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

This company is possibly the worst, and if you are searching for a good experience I sugest you ignore their cheap prices because otherwise you will come to regret it.

I travelled to Kenya for the Mombasa project in the beginning of March, from the get go the company showed little interest after payment had been made. They would take ages to reply to e-mails and phone calls were non existent.

Upon arrival (following an 8 hour flight from London) my supposed airport pick up, was no where to be found. Turns out the lack of communication between OV and their connections was as bad as they were with me, they failed to communicate that I was to arrive in Nairobi and not Mombasa. I had to take another 8 hour coach ride to the coast to meet my pick up.

Upon arrival I was told that the volunteer house that had been out of use for over 5 months and that volunteers had been staying at the White Castle Hotel (the Kenyan welcome pack from OV stated all volunteers had to stay at the volunteer house). To make matters worse, not only did they not tell me the volunteer house was out of use, Emma also lied to me and told me there were another two volunteers already at the supposed 'volunteer house'. It turned to to be only me and absolutely no project to volunteer, as the Grandsons of Abraham Rescu Center was recruiting street kids and so there was nothing for me to do.

One day on my lack of volunteering I was out doing touristy things as a way to kill time and I was robbed and beaten near Fort Jesus. When i repported the incident to OV they completely ignored my pleas, screened my calls and refused to refund me my monies. Luckily I had payed via paypal and they found in my favour.

I have a police report and will be taking further action against this so called company for negligence and misrepresentation. I would definitely not recommend them to anyone, DO NOT let the prices fool you!

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Location:
Posted: March 21, 2017
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
By: anadju
Age:
22

I travelled with Projects Abroad for two weeks in July two years ago and it was an experience that I would recommend to anyone interested in exploring and learning a new culture. Not only do you get to know the country but you also experience it from the inside, like one more national. Here I realised how different this kind of travelling is compared to when you travel and visit a country without barely having real contact with its national citizens. During this two weeks I got to live a fascinating life completely different to the one I had had up to that moment. I got to live with a muslim family and also had contact with volunteers from all over the world, from Pakistan to Canada or Switzerland. My volunteer work had to do with the social work field. I worked in a communitary center with children organising different activities and also helped in the maintenance and reforms of the center.
OveralI would rate every aspect of this trip very highly, the Projects Abroad staff made it not only an enjoyable experience but made it a life changing one. They helped build a community within our small group of volunteers and I made friends there that I will never forget.

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Location:
Posted: January 25, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
18

I spent one month in the Original Volunteers Project in Mexico, two in their project in Peru and six weeks in their project in Ecuador. The first thing I will say is that I had an incredible time. I met some amazing people, had some incredible experiences and overall thoroughly enjoyed the projects.

However, if you are looking into doing any of these projects I would recommend getting in touch with the coordinators in the countries rather than using Original Volunteers for the following reason:

If you book directly with the coordinators out there you will be working on the same projects however it will be much cheaper. For example, in the ELIM orphanage in Peru I was paying much more than volunteers who had come directly and were paying the rate that the coordinator was asking for. Not only that, but the volunteers who had come through Original Volunteers (myself included) had paid the organisation before arrival and this money had not reached the orphanage. I was also told when I arrived in Ecuador that the coordinators there had had the same issue in the past with Original Volunteers not sending them the money the volunteers had paid.

My other issue with Original Volunteers was the vagueness of the descriptions of the projects themselves. I went out to Mexico not really knowing what to expect but assuming I would be working with underprivileged children. This wasn't the case. We were working on three projects there; one in a kindergarten, the second with disabled teenagers and adults and the third in a women's home. The children we were working with three times a week in the kindergarten came from wealthy families and the center itself was well-staffed, clean and catered to the children's every need. It was clear that our help was not needed there and we spent most of our time just sitting in the classroom while the teachers taught the children. The other two projects were great and I would have liked to have spent more time working on those ones had there been a bit more structure.

My time in Peru was excellent and if you do choose that project be prepared to get totally attached to the children in the orphanage (they are so adorable!) I would highly suggest taking part in this project; accommodation is provided and they are happy for you to explore Machu Picchu and all the amazing sights nearby in your spare time. Again, I would suggest you book it directly via their website; I will put the links at the bottom of my review.

Lastly, the projects in Ecuador were fantastic- totally different from anything I had ever experienced. If you like a bit of adventure and being taken out of your comfort zone this would be the place for you. I was working in the jungle with rescued animals for one month and then spent two weeks living with a community and learning about their customs and traditions.

So overall, I would highly recommend the projects I took part in but I would not recommend using Original Volunteers to do them.

Here are the links to the projects themselves:

http://www.fairien.at/english/volunteer-peru/

https://www.ecuadorvolunteer.org/en/

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Location:
Posted: August 23, 2016
Overall:
6
Support:
5
Value:
6
Age:
18

My time with Original Volunteers in Ghana was easily the best few weeks of my life, everything ran smoothly, I met some wonderful people both locals and other volunteers and every day was a new adventure.

First of all I was a little nervous about walking out of the airport into a strange place not really knowing what to expect, but straight away I saw a guy with a big Original Volunteers sign and my name written with it, so I walked over and he explained in good English who he was, showed me his ID and off we went onto a 3 or 4 hour journey into the Hills of Kwahu. It was late when I arrived and the other volunteers were sleeping so after a very warm welcome from 3 more staff members we called it a night. In the morning the other new volunteers and I were given a proper welcome, all the information we need was given and they answered all our questions, we spent the rest of the day getting shown around the local area, gathering supplies, mainly drinking water and snacks.

The next day is when the volunteering began, the days usually begin with a meeting where we all discuss what we will be doing and what we want to achieve. We had a good mix of teachers and builders so we split into our groups and headed off to work. We spent the first couple of weeks building a new class room for a small community in which the school was falling to pieces. As a volunteer builder you don’t need to bring anything special or have any special skills but it is hard work.

I did some teaching at a school called Sunrise where I met so many lovely children and teachers, it was an amazing experience. I had no teaching experience and no idea what to expect. The children have a curriculum but there’s no need to stick to it, the subjects are up to you within reason of course. I taught lessons on planets, simple maths and some simple English lessons. 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 stationary is a good idea.

Usually weekends are free time so we travelled to various places around the country, The first place we went was Mole National Park, it was amazing, we stayed in a hotel in the middle of the park surrounded by all kinds of animals, we saw elephants every day and every kind of monkey imaginable, the only crime I saw in Ghana was a Baboon stealing my Hobnobs.
There is also a nice pool and well stocked bar, friendly staff and quite nice rooms.

My other favourite place is Kokrobite, a small beach front community with a few hotels and a very nice atmosphere, this is the place to come to unwind, there Is a western owned hotel called Big Millies, they organise beach parties with bars, live music, Bon Fires and nice food.

Another great place to visit is Cape Coast, we spent two days there and visited the old Slave Castle which was very interesting and taught me a lot. The next day we visited Kakum National park where we had a mini jungle trek followed by the Canopy walk which is a 350 M walkway suspended high in the trees, I highly recommend this as it gave a unique perspective of the rain forest.

There is so much more to do in Ghana it’s impossible to fit it all into one trip but whatever you do you will love it.
I was so sad to leave Ghana I have been back once already and I will going again next year, I genuinely recommend Original volunteers, they are cheap, supportive and reliable.

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Location:
Posted: August 16, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
26

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