Global Vision International (GVI)

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9 / 10 after 209 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings
Program website: http://www.gviusa.com/

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This company was incredibly easy to work with, they sorted out any problems I had both from the USA, and while I was traveling Ecuador. For example, I flew into Quito..speaking no spanish, and couldnt ask my hostal to come pick me up to to language boarders, so I called Karina Berg, the in country rep, and she sorted everything out for me, ensured I was booked, and helped me get a ride to the hostal, offering to pick me up herself if need be.
The staff was very friendly, and knowledgable in their fields, were loaded with humor- for example, nicknaming birds by the sounds of their calls to make point counts easier (the violated jay, the french pervert, and others) and were a pleasure to work with.

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Posted: August 15, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Choosing to go and volunteer in another country was a massive step for me. I have always been a little anxious in unfamiliar situations, so going to a totally new country wihtout knowing anyone was a scary thought. However after finding GVI and being reassured by their reputation for looking after volunteers so well I decided to take the plunge. I chose this project for a variety of reasons, I knew it had to be working with people, especially children and Africa has always been a country I wanted to visit. The combination of these factors, plus the information given on the GVI webpage about the project and how a typical day would be, assured me that this was exactly the sort of volunteer project I had been looking for.
I was given all the information and reassurance I needed before I set off and once there was met on time at the airport by a friendly member of staff. I had a great first day as I and the other new volunteers were shown around the local area, being taken to the cafe with the best ice cream in the area was definately a little highlight and welcome dinner and drinks in the evening really helped us to all feel comfortable. The following day we were given training to make sure we were already for project the next day. I spent my ifrst two weeks on a summer project in Paarl, teaching literacy, music, sport and arts and crafts. The children were so enthusiastic and so happy to be involved in the project, they appreciated everything we did with them so much, which gave us all the most amazing sense of having really made a difference.
My second two weeks were spent at the orphanage, I worked with the disabled children, making sure they all had some one to one time each day to recieve some therapy as well as some love and attention. It was amazingly fufilling and I was especially sad to leave these children.
Besides loving going to project every single day, I was lucky enough to really experience what South Africa had to offer at the weekends. I went on a township tour which allowed me to see what life was really like inside the townships, the people are poor but so friendly and so welcoming, it was truely and eye-opener. I also went cage diving with great white sharks and on a fantastic safari, where we really did get up very close to the animals.
I met fantastic people from all different countries, we all bonded through the fact that we were there for the same reason, to really try and make a difference for the children. We had such fun in the evenings and weekends and I was so sad to leave them at the end of my month away. The coordinators were all so friendly and so helpful and really mucked in with all the work too. To sum my trip up, every single day was brilliant fun, life changing and eye opening...I would go back in a second.

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Location:
Posted: August 10, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

I'm the exact same i want 2 volunteer in an orphanage in S.Africa...the only thing im worried about is going on my own :(
I want to volunteer in an orphanage in S. Africa. What were your accommodations like? Any problems reaching GVI with questions while in S. Africa? I am a female traveling alone..should I have any safety concerns? Thanks :)
Hi I am 19 and really want to volunteer in south Africa for Xmas. Do you recommend this for a first time volunteer? Thanks

A group of us went to Guatemala to help build eco stoves in a mountain community with GVI. I was impressed with the amount of organization that GVI did prior to us going on the trip.I think it is also up to individuals to learn as much about the culture of the visiting country to enable their experience to be the best it can be. Our group was split up for the home stay because of our size but GVI did do everything they could to accomodate us as a group. We enjoyed the home stay with the added bonus of well prepared meals. Our afternoons were spent taking Spanish lessons . We can honestly say that for our trip GVI did all that they said they would. We did have a concern near the end about our last day and a tour that was to be included. Once we mentioned our concerns they were dealt with immediately. I think that each organization is only as good as the people who work for them and we felt that they were well represented by GVI " Joe." We did have spare time on our hands to do what we wished but our field support worker was available at any time if needed and did go out of his way to ensure we had transportation for excursions that we planned on our own time. I have read other comments about the cost of the program. I can only speak for the construction program but part of our costs covered the costs of one stove for a family per volunteer. This was very rewarding for us to be able to personally provide something that would enable families to live a healthier life, provide heat with very little wood and help alleviate concerns for the future with regards to respiratory illnesses,premature aging, and sustainability for the environment.
We were also able to go the market to help purchase supplies for the meal program at a local school which is also supported by Whole Foods. We have worked with other organizations who did provide meals but they were very limited in what was provided. We were able to see the amount of food each child receives and pleased at the variety ,freshness and nutritional value.
I think most people who go on these type of trips need to be flexible, adaptable and realize that each country and culture has a different way of doing things. It is not right or wrong ,, just different.

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Posted: August 6, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
By: Anonymous
Age:

What amazed me most about my experience with Global Vision International (GVI) in Guatemala was the depth of the organization. Every day on my trip we would uncover new layers--nothing was without purpose and every function we performed, down to how the copy shop where we made our worksheets was chosen, was planned so as to have the greatest impact on the communities we were serving. The explicit goal of the project I served on was to educate the children of San Andrés de Itzapa, Guatemala, yet the project also taught gardening skills to the village women, replanted trees, provided food for the elderly, built stoves for local families and so much more. To this day I still don't fully comprehend the magnitude of what seemed like such a tiny operation.
As for my personal experience, it was definitely challenging. You spend long days at the school teaching children who are too tired and hungry to focus, only to return home at night and lesson plan. But the hours of work was beyond worth it for each and every small success or minute with a child. The kids are so grateful, so affectionate and so willing to learn, but they are also overworked and underfed so patience is a necessity.
To summarize, this is by no means an easy project, but I promise you it will be a rewarding one. Whether for 2 weeks or 10, you will meet people from all over the world, experience a culture different than your own, have a lifelong impact on a group of wonderful kids and be apart of something that is truly great.

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Location:
Posted: July 17, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Initially, I was very nervous, a foreign country, a total change of lifestyle, and many new people to meet. But within hours I believe that everyone already felt at home. The GVI staff were so friendly and welcoming that we soon all felt like family!
Of course Pez Maya was completely different from anything I have ever come across, with bucket showers, the beach on your doorstep and no electricity during the day, but it was a challenge and surprisingly soon life on base became second nature to us all. Right from the start life in Pez Maya was exciting.
Each morning we pushed the boats into the sea and the first dive left at 7.30am.
I came to Pez Maya not having done any diving but instantly I loved it. You dive twice a day, if you are a non-diver firstly you get your PADI qualifications, then you move on to fish or coal spots, then sizing, then monitoring practices and soon your a fully fledged monitor.
One of the many activities we managed on our Saturday afternoons and Sundays off was a Cenote dive at Dos Ojos, this was easily my best dive, the light streaming in from the small entrance above lit up the cave in a magical blue light so that you could make out the stalagmite and stalactite formations perfectly. All in all an unbelievable experience. On other weekends we went to Chichen Itza (one of the 7 new wonders of the world,) Coba and Tulum runis, and even Salsa lessons at La Zebra.
Part of being a volunteer at Pez Maya means that you have the opportunity to go to Punta Allen, a nearby village to teach English, the children are very friendly and their English abilities range from none to fluent therefore teaching is a challenge. When I was there I was also lucky enough to participate in "Punta Allen Verde" a day in which we helped the village raise money for their new recycle scheme. This involved a beach clean, a cake stand and a fun filled video made by the volunteers at Pez Maya teaching the children how to recycle! Moreover we had one or two Spanish lessons, and there was always a phrase of the week "sin bolsa plastico por favor" "no plastic bag please."
The diet whilst living in Mexico is mostly vegetarian, during my time as a volunteer I learned how to make bread, meatless meatballs and many other dishes that before I would never had tried but found that I actually enjoyed.
Incredibly during my stay I saw many amazing creatures including; a spotted eagle ray, a nurse shark, remoras (shark suckers,) iguanas, manatees, barracudas, groupers, turtles (loggerhead and hawksbill, both swimming and coming up the beach at night to nest)
Watching nesting turtles was an incredible experience, each week 4 of the volunteers headed off to turtle camp, during the night we patrolled the beach, sometime we were lucky enough to relocate the nests if they were too close to the shore.
Most importantly the people I met were wonderful, and for me this was the best thing. The staff are full of knowledge and always willing to help and of course the other volunteers were so much fun.
Being at Pez Maya I learnt to recognise over 200 fish, more about Oceanography, and I had an insight into the Mexican culture. I am sure I ave missed a bunch of things but my Pez Maya experience was FANTASTIC!

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Posted: July 13, 2010
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
6
By: Anonymous
Age:

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