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Atlas Volunteers

About

Atlas Volunteers is a volunteering group based in Abetifi, Ghana. We are ran by a mixture of British and Ghanaian staff who have all volunteered previously in the local area before meeting each other and creating a new group to focus on social impact and bringing a change to the people of our community.

Our low cost placements include accommodation in modern, clean housing with all utility bills covered and on site support staff.

We work with the local government and organisations to ensure that your visit is meaningful to both you and the local area with the highest social impact possible.

Founded
2017

Reviews

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Antonia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Three incredible months with Atlas

My time in Ghana with Atlas was incredibly nice and I would recommend such a trip to anyone.
I was there for three months and the time passed far too quickly.
I applied to teach, but I also helped on other projects.
Not all volunteers work at the same school. This means there is always something to do at your school and you can get involved very well. In the beginning I had some time to get used to everything before I started teaching.
For the weekends you could always plan small trips with other volunteers.
If you wanted to go on a trip a little longer, it was no problem to have a day or two off.
Atlas always gave me recommendations for excursions and also helped to organize them.
The weekends on wich I didn't travel weren't boring either. There is a large lake nearby, where you can swim or you can just go to Abitifi to spend a nice evening at the bar.
The house had a wonderful terrace from which you had a beautiful view.
Compared to the rest of the country, it wasn't that hot in our area. Pepease (the village in which you live) and the entire area feels super safe and it felt very like home.
The atmosphere within the organization was familiar and super relaxed. During my stay, I always had the feeling that Atlas is committed to you and your ideas. No matter what idea you had, Atlas was always ready to support you. You can tell that the team really wants to have an impact on the country and the people.
The only thing I missed during my stay was chocolate and coffee. But I was able to enjoy delicious Ghanaian food.
All in all, it was one of the best experiences of my life to take part in this project.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar thing I ate was Fufu.
It is a typical Western Africa dish. Fufu itself tastes like nothing. But you eat it with a soup and the better the Soup, the better will be your Fufu experience. Also you eat it with you hands and as a European person I wasn’t used to it.
It tastes amazing and you should definitely try it.
Default avatar
Maria
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A truly impactful program!

If you come to volunteer in Ghana with Atlas you can expect one of the best experiences of your life. You will meet the poorest yet happiest people you have ever meet. You will be received everywhere with a smile and you can expect being welcomed every morning by the kids at school with hugs and huge smiles. Having friendly farmers as neighbours. The house was good conditions, you would miss anything. Wi-fi, Shower, Toilets, Bed,Kitchen, Birds singing in the morning and the most beautiful view from the balcony. On weekends we explored Ghana: Cape Coast, Accra, Lake Volta or chilled at home. I always felt safe, day or night. The food is amazing, I was vegan during the whole experience and it was so easy. Drinkable water is cheap and good. You can get a big delicious meal on the way to school for 5 cedis. The team is super friendly and genuine. If you are looking for a genuine volunteer program in Central Africa, Atlas is the best. During my weekend away trips in Ghana I got to meet other volunteers in other organisations and realised Atlas really is special with the close help they give in school, football academy and housing. They are a really great volunteer organisation.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would stay longer. Everyday brings so much joy and the day to day life on place is very cheap.
Default avatar
Florentine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A wonderful experience!

I had a wonderful time in Ghana and I wish I could've stayed longer. The Atlas staff members are super nice and supportive all the time. If you have any issues before the arrival, they answer your e-mails super fast and on site they will help you with arranging your weekend trips, planning the lessons and everything else you may need assistance with.
Working with the kids was so much fun, they are passionate to learn, especially when you show them new teaching methods such as quizzes to repeat what they learned in the lesson. Especially during the vacation classes you are very flexible in what you teach and how, so that you feel comfortable with what you do. Also it helps a lot that you just observe and support other volunteers on your first days, that way you can settle in, see how the placement works, how the school situation is (it's very different to western school systems) and get some input on how you could organize your classes.
The tree planting placement includes growing seedlings and then planting them in public space such as schools. You work together with other volunteers and support staff so that it gets a fun way to do something good for our climate.
The volunteer houses are located really nice in the rural area, you have a big garden and a wonderful nature view. The villages and small towns around are not too overwhelming and after a few days you will get more and more comfortable with shopping, grabbing delicious local food and going out in the evening. The people are super friendly and welcoming.
In your free time you can explore the region around Pepease, spend time with your fellow volunteers or take part in other volunteering programs such as ecobricking. During the weekends you can always go on trips to see more of the country, it has so much to offer. The landscapes are beautiful and this way you will learn more about the culture.
All in all it was a precious experience and I was more than happy to work with Atlas Volunteers.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would most definitely stay there at least 2 or 3 months and I would try to work more with the kindergarten kids, they are just too lovely.
Default avatar
Angela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An unmatched, authentic experience

Atlas Volunteers provides you the resources and opportunities to create an experience of a lifetime! I cannot stop telling all my friends and family about how truly amazing this experience has been. It offers full immersion into the local culture with the opportunity to create an impact in whichever way you would like. As a volunteer at the school placement sites, I was able to teach independently and implement my own lesson plans to engage students in new learning strategies.

Not only that, but I had the opportunity to collaborate and teach side-by-side with the wonderful Ghanaian teachers at the school site. As a school teacher in the United States, I was able to implement my own teaching strategies AND learn so much from the Ghanaian teachers and students.

I think the BEST part about Atlas is that they offer you the flexibility to pursue whichever project/program you would like. There is plenty of flexibility and NUMEROUS ways to achieve impact here. The staff within Atlas, as well as the local staff at schools, is very supportive of allowing volunteers to implement special projects/programs during and after school. For those who may not have a clear vision of what they would want to do, there are still many ongoing projects to choose from! Sam, Frank, Gem, and the rest of the Atlas staff are extremely helpful and supportive in making sure each volunteer is comfortable at their placement site. The staff goes above and beyond to ensure you are able to create an impact in the way you would like! I can only sing praises of how wonderful, meaningful, and authentic my overall experience in Ghana with Atlas Volunteers has been. You will not regret the decision to join Atlas Volunteers!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Make the most of your time at the school sites! There are plenty of opportunities to join other volunteers in after-school club activities or start your own activity for the students.
Default avatar
Jo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible experience- could not recommend it enough

I simply could not recommend going to Ghana with Atlas Volunteers enough. I had one of the greatest experiences of my life. I really felt looked after and that Sam, Frank and Libby cared about me. The support and kind words that they would offer me was always appreciated. I loved living in the small town of Pepease. I definitely recommend staying a minimum of two months. It is Ghana and things take a bit of a while to get the ball rolling so it takes about a month to get into a routine. I initially booked to be in Ghana for only 5 weeks but after being there for a week I immediately extended my stay to two months. I wish that I could have stayed even longer but I had to return home to begin my studies. It was an experience that changed my life and I left Ghana with new life long friends.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Spend a minimum of 5 weeks there to get the full experience!

Programs

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Timna Angermair

Job Title
Marketing and Social Media Support
Timna Angermair is a former Atlas volunteer who turned into a staff member mid-way through 2020. As a media and communication student with a focus on marketing and PR, she decided to help out Atlas with its social media channels. That includes taking care of the social media channels and acting as an advisor behind closed doors.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My whole Ghana experience with Atlas volunteers has been my favorite travel memory of all time and holds a very special place in my heart. The organization and people in Ghana are the most loving and amazing people that I have ever met and I will cherish them forever. Waking up early in the morning and sitting on the balcony drinking black tea before going to school releases a positive feeling in me that not hold of other things manage to do.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Atlas Volunteers gave me my first chance to apply academic knowledge learned at university in real life and we helped each other grow, with each other. In that sense, I feel like I have a better understanding of the social media and marketing NGO field now than I had before. It also helped me understand what it is like for companies trying to get through a pandemic, especially one that relies on traveling so much and cannot reach people momentarily apart from new and social media.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

A lot of other former volunteers have told me that Atlas ruined them in the most positive way possible: Atlas put the standards way too high for any other volunteering program. Furthermore, I know from several volunteers that they are still in contact with people and teachers from Ghana, even after years. I feel like that just shows how great of an impact Atlas and Ghana has on volunteers but also the other way around.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Well as I have mentioned before I was already a volunteer myself and I would do it over and over again. I was part of the teaching program and while I am not a trained teacher, I was able to help so many kids and bring joy to their boring school day. Going into school every morning and everyone being so incredibly excited to see us made me motivated every day to prepare something nice for the kids. Seeing the kids develop and actually understanding things is the most rewarding feeling ever.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I think the fact that Atlas is such a small company makes it the most special place ever. It is not like big organizations with an incredible amount of volunteers each year, but it is as if you are joining a family. Everyone knows everyone, everyone eats together and goes out together at night. We all live together and help each other in every possible. The volunteers stay friends even after their time and Ghana and that is not something you get everywhere.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Especially for an NGO, I believe the most important aspect is authenticity and transparency. Especially when the company is not as known or a big corporation, it is important to show people that you can trust them. And the communication and transparency Atlas offers right from the beginning make you feel incredibly safe and welcome.