Original Volunteers

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

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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

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!

Program:
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.

Program:
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/

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

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