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Let's Go Volunteer

About

Let's go volunteer is a group of young, enthusiastic local people who have discovered the joy of helping, giving and sharing with those in need.

Our grass-roots programs provide real opportunities to help disadvantaged children, women and the elderly living in our city and our volunteers form an important part of making that happen.

Reviews

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Julia
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Moving Experience - Recommended!!

Volunteering in Ibague was an amazing experience that I would really recommend. I was overwhelmed to hear the stories of women who are trying to turn their lives around and was truly inspired by their determination! I enjoyed visiting the project on a daily basis to look at goals and motivation for these ladies.

Staff at the project are so friendly and really care for your welfare. They are keen for you to make the most of your experience and the food is delicious! Honestly it is a trip that needs to be experienced - hard to put into words but ultimately worthwhile and humbling!

What would you improve about this program?
Some of the areas are not safe to walk around alone but the staff accompany you to work with the children at San Jose and are always considering your safety. If you are sensible then there is nothing to worry about.
Read my full story
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JesseJamesA
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A rewarding volunteering opportunity

Let's Go Volunteer/Manos Amigas comes from a place of love. Immediately you can see exactly where the money you pay goes: feeding children, buying them supplies and paying the local help. The foundation has a few core areas and also works with other charitable organizations in Ibague in order to provide volunteers with a variety of options to make a difference.

The Colombians associated with the foundation are hospitable, fun and love to plan trips around the area with volunteers. And as you probably know, Colombia has plenty of natural and historical beauty to see.

I know of three volunteers personally that have been back to volunteer multiple times.

What would you improve about this program?
Common sense goes a long way in Colombia. There are dangerous areas and it is important to listen to the advice of the locals, especially the people who work for the foundation (Berenice, Yamile, etc) Basically if you go looking for trouble you can find it. If you keep your nose clean (no pun intended) you'll be fine.

Also, not a lot of English speakers in this city. The more Spanish you know, the richer the experience.

- An American
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d'n
2/5
No, I don't recommend this program

they don's accept you helping them if you live in Ibague: there goal is foreign money!

They only want foreign money. There are several examples of people wanting to help them living for a while in Ibague. They refuse that.
The organisation is not transparant: only one or two decide like dictators what's going to happen.
and who receives money. Don't recommend them.

a Belgian

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Julia Lynch

Julia Lynch lives in London and currently works as a Probation Officer but is training as an Actor. She enjoys travelling, meeting new people, fitness, music and living life to the full! Julia Lynch volunteered during 7th - 16th November.
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Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with Let's Go Volunteer in Colombia?

I decided to volunteer abroad with Let's Go Volunteer in Colombia as I specifically wanted to work with women in need in that country. And I was encouraged to see that this was a program Let's Go Volunteer offered.

When I made contact with the organisation to obtain more information, I found the staff to be extremely friendly and welcoming. This really helped me to make the decision to sign up!

I also liked the fact that the organisation offers other volunteer programs with children and seemed to really understand what sort of support a volunteer would want in their country.

Colombia was a very attractive country for me to visit. I was also pleased to see that the Let's Go Volunteer program was based in Ibague, so I could explore the real Colombia away from any touristy destinations!

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

When I volunteered in the program, I spent most afternoons visiting the Women's Center. There I met with the inspirational women that were trying to turn their lives around by learning various activities and skills. I tried to undertake motivation work and listen to the women's stories and offer support and advice where appropriate.

I had the opportunity to undertake a home visit whilst on the project to see what one of the women's home life was like away from the project. This was a very humbling experience. In the mornings I took the opportunity to prepare for the afternoon sessions and assist with the preparation and serving of the children's lunches. I also visited a school in San Jose and helped with the children's learning.

Do you feel like you made a significant impact on the local community? Why or why not?

I would like to think that I had some impact on the people I worked with. Recent government funding meant that a large number of children from poor backgrounds were getting good quality and nutritious lunches on a daily basis.

It was pleasing to see this and to be able to assist with providing the food to the children, who were so grateful and fun to be around.

Whilst working at the Women's Center I was very inspired to see that a lot of women had already taken huge efforts to turn their lives around. However, I also tried to encourage them to pursue their dreams further and believe in themselves and really hope that this encouragement will help them at difficult times, alongside their amazing determination, to succeed whatever life throws at them.

Was it difficult to navigate around language barriers?

Unfortunately my ability to speak Spanish is very poor to nonexistent! However, I received excellent support from the staff at the project who acted as translators at the various projects where I volunteered.

I even managed to pick up a few words and phrases but am now keen to learn Spanish in the future to prevent the need for interpreters!

Tell me about one person you met.

I made a lady at the project that I was very inspired by. Her name was Miriam and she had two young children. She was learning to make a new life for herself and her family and spent time selling food to make money to provide.

Miriam was so keen to learn, better herself and really put some distance between her new life and her difficult background. She was learning to read and write as well as various other skills and she had a really positive spirit that showed that her faith kept her strong and made sure that she whilst she might have been down in the past, she was most definitely not out! Just overwhelming!