Original Volunteers

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8 / 10 after 83 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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From the moment I landed at Marrakech airport any apprehension I may have felt travelling alone quickly dissolved as soon as I met Adil, the driver sent by the co-ordinators to take us to our accommodation. The warm, genuine welcome he gave me made me feel totally at ease.
I was pleasantly surprised by the accommodation in Riad 9 which although basic was homely and adequate for everyone’s needs with power points for e.g. hairdryers, a communal kitchen, a dining area and large sofa’s on the second floor where everyone could congregate and get to know each other. The roof top has sun loungers where you can sunbathe during the day or sleep under the stars at night. This all, I may add was kept scrupulously clean by Amina who came in daily, taking extreme pride in her tasks.
The project co-ordinators in Marrakech, Rachid, and Fatime are extremely dedicated and enthusiastic not only to the projects but also the welfare and enjoyment of your stay. The supervised daily activities are varied with visits to orphanages, schools and nurseries in and around Marrakech, which brings you into contact with children of ages from birth right up to late teens. The tasks included Basic English, numeracy, arts and crafts, painting and outdoor games. The children are fantastic, with a huge appetite to learn. One of my favourite projects was The Street Kids which is like a youth club. There we played games and did arts with the kids who in return sang and played traditional Moroccan drums – djembe and bendir. They were so happy, confident and talented it emphasized what can be achieved if you invest time and encouragement in others. Another highlight for me was the two hour trip to volunteer in a Berber village. We were split into groups, with one group getting water from a well using a donkey, another group making bread and another Tagine. We volunteered in the local school for a while in the afternoon. Then after a mint tea making competition we went for a walk in the breathtaking Atlas Mountains. On our return we received more than enough food to feed an army. Afterwards our hosts entertained us with traditional Berber music and games which we were encouraged to take part in. Seriously I’ve never had so much fun. These memories are everlasting.
The weekly schedule whilst it seems to be full on actually allows a generous amount of off time. Trips to the Sahara desert, Essaouira for example can be arranged via Fatime or Rachid. Also every evening we headed down to the Souks in a large group for dinner (as it was really cheap to eat). Shopping is great fun with stall holders expecting you to barter. If you’re careful you can pick up a lot of good bargains. Leather goods especially.
Marrakech is a vibrant city which is guaranteed to stimulate every sense you have via the sights, colours, smells and sounds. I feel the projects run by Original Volunteers allows you to experience this magical city in its entirety. Not only do you gain an insight into the hardship people face but you also the warmth and generosity of ordinary locals. I’m enchanted by this wonderful place and its people. I was so impressed by my experience due to the Original volunteer co-ordinators Rachid and Fatine that I can’t wait to go back in December.

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 3, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Adele M
Age:
48

A friend and I volunteered for the first time at Uganda Lodge through Original Volunteers in October 2012. It was a fabulous experience and an amazing project, you are very well looked after and the facilities are amazing.

Original Volunteers provided all the information I needed included contact details for the project direct, I had all my questions answered so I was fully comfortable and prepared for the trip.

The school itself is lovely and the children are wonderful, they are all very welcoming. The volunteer programme is laid back and you can do as much or as little as you like. You do need to have some get up and go in order getting things moving sometimes but that is to be expected what with 'African time' as well as the weather (rain / heat) restraints.
I really cant believe how much I managed to fit into 1 week volunteering and 1 week travelling Uganda although if you have more time I would definitely recommend a 4 week stay in order to build relations and get more out of the trip. Denis is a superb host and really makes sure you get to do what you want without any worries.
The main tasks I got involved with was arranging and participating in a school sports day, as well as serving the children breakfast each morning and assisting on the school run each evening as well as assisting in the younger pupils structured play sessions and interacting with the children in break times but testing their English, Maths and playing sports, i.e. skipping and netball. It totally exceeded my expectations in every way. I would recommend this to anyone.

We also went on the Safari with Denise and Ann and it was literally the most fabulous, back to basics, free in the wilderness experience you could ask for. I have been on several safaris and although on others I have seen a larger variety of wildlife this overall experience outshone the others.
I also went on the Gorilla trek trip, again this was surreal.

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 3, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: ajlea2005
Age:
33

Volunteering in Ghana with Original Volunteers was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I spent three weeks helping to build a primary school and I spent a week teaching in one of the classrooms. The work was challenging but was extremely rewarding. Before we began work the school was only a basic shell and by the end of three weeks we had nearly completed the project. Watching the other volunteers working alongside the local people and the progress that we made together as a team was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Days were spent on masonry and labouring, while nights were spent cooking meals and going out with the other volunteers. Not only were the staff amazing but the other volunteers truly made the experience unforgettable. Due to the hard work and the many amazing nights out, I made some wonderful friends and memories that will last a life time. I would highly recommend this program to anyone with the desire to travel, make a difference to other people's lives, and have a wicked good time.

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 3, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
7
Value:
10
Age:
26

In June 2012 my friend and I travelled to Ghana for two weeks through Original Volunteers. It was one of the best experiences of my life so far. The project in Ghana offers many different placements including teaching in schools, building work and helping at the local library. The project is very flexible and you can easily switch between which placement you fancy trying from day to day. The project co-ordinators in Ghana are amazing; they are very friendly and appreciate the contributions of each and every volunteer. The local people are also very friendly and the children are so much fun. It is a very humbling experience when you see how much joy you bring a child just for giving them something so simple as a pencil or crayon. Teaching in one of the local schools was at times challenging yet extremely rewarding. My friend and I took a lot of materials like colouring books, paints and stickers to make interesting lessons and also sports equipment like footballs and tennis balls which the children absolutely loved. During the trip we met so many friendly like-minded people. Many people had travelled alone yet they found it very easy to make friends quickly. This is due to the downtime in the evenings when we were able to go into town and relax in the local bar. On the weekends when we were not working on the placements there was the opportunity to go on a variety of excursions. These included going to the beach or a national park, a slave castle or even on a safari.

I would recommend Original Volunteers to anybody thinking of volunteering abroad and also Ghana for anyone wanting to travel to Africa for the first time. It is a beautiful country, with an English speaking population. We truly had a fantastic trip, we always say our biggest regret of the whole thing was that we didn't stay out their longer than two weeks. After such an incredible and easy experience we had no reservations about travelling with Original Volunteers again. So much so that we have recently booked out next adventure with them to Uganda and can not wait!!!

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 2, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
22

Hey all, I recently went travelling for 6 months around South and Central America and volunteered in Merida Mexico on my travels through Original Volunteers. The opportunities they provide are superb, they offer a broad range of opportunities and put you in contact with local community schemes that have a real impact in their local areas. I worked in a children's orphanage where by I helped arrange English lessons, sporting activities and general care of the amazing children that were their. The accommodation is amazing and you meet some really cool people while you are their. Original Volunteers are very helpful at helping you arrange these opportunities as well as helping me arrange the rest of my trip with accurate and up to date information on where else I should visit on my travels. When I spoke to the Mexican woman who dealt with me once I arrived in the country, she informed me that a high percentage of the money you pay goes straight to the volunteer programs and the money is essential to the running of the schemes that they have implemented in the deprived areas that they work. I would highly recommend using Original Volunteers to arrange any travelling plans you may have!! Adios, Ricky x

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 2, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8
Age:
22

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