Pod Volunteer
95% Rating
(8 Reviews)

Pod Volunteer

Pod Volunteer is an award winning non-profit organisation arranging ethical, inspiring and supported volunteering opportunities around the world.

We work with long term projects that we have visited personally and where there is genuine benefit to local communities.

Volunteers are needed from 1 - 12 weeks for animal, conservation, child care, education, teaching, building and community volunteering projects in Belize, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ghana, India, Madagascar, Namibia, Nepal, Peru, South Africa and Thailand.

Pod Volunteer was established in 2001 to provide a link between small charities overseas in need of additional resource and people wishing to volunteer their time to do something worthwhile abroad.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Elaine
Female
39 years old
Grahamstown

Animal rescue - India

9/10

My first passion in life is animal welfare. Animal Aid in Rajasthan, India is a great place to care for and learn about Street animals of this area. Many animals that wouldn't normally be given a chance at life due to horrendous circumstances such as paralysis in my own country, are given lots of love and a second chance at life at this amazing shelter. Life and love are intertwined at Animal Aid, and it's a winning formla.
One of my favorite dogs I met there, had lost the use of all four of her legs, but was happy and loving to everyone who came to visit her section, often howling out for attention until she got it, bobbing her head and wagging her tail simultaneously, while getting chest and tummy rubs. And when she was put into one of the doggy wheelchairs, I just thought she would explode with happiness! Just to be upright for a change was such a joy for her!

How can this program be improved?

People need to be mentally prepared for the level of harshness they will witness on a daily basis, in terms of the different levels of injury of the animals. I often found that seeing the animals as they were, was a big shock to many of the volunteers. However, the staff at Animal Aid are doing their best, and often don't understand that some of the cases could be shocking to overseas visitors.

Default avatar
Lucy
Female
23 years old
London

I volunteered for a month in Ghana and loved it!

9/10

I volunteered at this project for 4 weeks and had an absolutely amazing experience. Prior to my departure, any worries or questions I had were taken care of by the Pod Team, which put me at ease!

Upon arrival at the project I felt so welcomed by the community, the team and fellow volunteers; you could not find a friendlier country to volunteer in than Ghana. At first it took a few days to adjust to life in the village and to adapt to a way of life so very different from home, but within a week I had adjusted to it and did not miss home at all!

Whilst the kindergarten was open in term time, I worked there in the mornings and in the afternoons I occupied my time reading, playing or doing crafts with children in the village.

When the kindergarten closed in the Summer I really enjoyed having the opportunity to teaching maths and English to small groups. The children were so enthusiastic and keen to learn, it was really amazing to see how triumphant they were when they grasped something new!

Although a month may not be the longest time, I felt I was able to achieve so much in that time. Volunteering with the children was the most rewarding and worthwhile experience, the hardest part was having to return home! Volunteering in Ghana was one of the best decisions I have ever made!

How can this program be improved?

The kindergarten could be a bit challenging at times because there were so many children per class. Consequently, it could sometimes be quite hard to get the children’s’ attention and they therefore could be quite hard to manage! However, with patience and perseverance you could reap the benefits of your efforts when children engaged in the crafts and educational sessions you had prepared.

Chantelle
Female
32 years old
Brisbane, Australia
Manchester Metropolitan University

South Africa - Elephant Care and Research

10/10

“I cannot recommend this project highly enough! It was such a great experience and one I will never forget... a dream come true! 2 weeks was definitely not
long enough!

My trip was well organised from start to finish, I never felt as if I was alone, as I knew the PoD team was there if I needed. All the staff at the park are very friendly and helpful.

What was a typical day at the project?
A typical day starts at 7am (winter hours). The first task of the morning was going into the orchard and replacing the old branches that the elephants feed on, with new ones. Throughout the day you work in 2hr blocks, depending on what your schedule is for the day you could be making dung paper or making books with the dung paper, collecting data by observing the elephants' behaviours in the field (I loved this task), making enrichments for the elephants or entering data that was collected onto the computer. The day finished at 5:30pm (winter hours). On the occasional day you would have a sleep-in or an early finish. We were also involved in night/all night observations of the elephants in the Boma.

What did you find most rewarding?
Being so close to the elephants and observing their behaviour. There were a couple of afternoons where they had a crazy half hour at the end of the day, very enjoyable to watch!

What did you find most challenging?
The physical tasks were not too strenuous. What I found most challenging at the beginning was remembering all the elephants and guides names!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement?
Definitely try and go for as long as you possibly can! I was there for 2 weeks and it definitely wasn't long enough, although I did squeeze as much as I could into the days we had free. You are given 2 t-shirts to work in and also a jacket to borrow in the winter months. You must where these t-shirts during all hours of working, so I would recommend only bringing enough tops for the weekends. Some of the volunteers do go out to the pub/dinner on the weekend too, so perhaps bring a couple of nicer items to wear on these occasions. There is also a washing machine for the volunteers to use. For shoes whilst working, I recommend gum/wellington boots!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad?
Volunteering abroad gets you out of your comfort zone and opens your eyes to other cultures and surroundings, I learnt so much from the people I spoke with during my time there. I found it a great reward being able to do my bit to help the project I was involved in.

Why did you choose PoD and would you recommend us to others?
Yes! This was my first time volunteering and I wanted to have a safety net incase anything went wrong. PoD were very helpful and organised from start to finish. There was plenty of information provided both on the website and the information booklet. Highly recommend!”

Default avatar
Bonnie
Female
57 years old
Canada
Laurentian University

Happiness is.....

10/10

Bonnie – 2015
“It was a privilege to volunteer at Liberty Children's Home. Liberty offers a safe, healthy environment for children that provides them with the opportunity to grow both physically and emotionally. The children are well cared for and are really happy. There is a real sense of family and as in any family, the children are learning the skills that they will need when they become independent. The children were all very respectful, polite and receptive to the volunteers.

What an amazing opportunity to share both skills and love with those who have had a difficult start in life. Happiness is....volunteering at Liberty Children's Home.

What was a typical day at the project?
A typical day at Liberty would start at 7 a.m. with providing assistance in the kitchen to serve breakfast to the children. After breakfast, I would walk with the children to their bus stop and then return to the dining hall to do the post-breakfast clean up, i.e. washing dishes, cleaning tables, sweeping and scrubbing the floors. At midmorning I would assist with packing and delivering the hot lunches to the schools. I would also work one-on-one with a young boy who was unable to attend school and help him with homework and additional skills training (phonics/reading).

After lunch, I would assist with clean up and then assist where needed. (Washing the kitchen walls was necessary at this time as they were preparing for renovations to the area.) After school I would help the children with their homework and if time permitted, play with them before preparation for supper. Supper routine was the same as other meals. I also assisted with laundry and shampooed the dogs. Unless there was something specific to do, my day usually ended about 6:30 p.m.

What did you find most rewarding?
I found the interactions with the children most rewarding but I also found it fulfilling to be able to assist with the 'hands-on' tasks, i.e. helping with the cleaning. Getting to know the staff was a real privilege as well.

What did you find most challenging?
I can't really say that I found any part of the placement challenging. I liked Agatha's approach – not micromanaging but letting us seek out where we could best fit in.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement?
My advice would be for them to be prepared to jump in right away and start helping. Don't wait for someone to tell you what to do. There is plenty of work to be done and the folks are really appreciative of any help they get. Get to know the kids and the staff, laugh, have fun and work as hard as you can in the time that you are there.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad?
Volunteering abroad forces us to have a reality check. What are the most important things in life?

Why did you choose PoD and would you recommend us to others?
Yes! I found Pod on line and I liked the history of the organization and also the fact that it was based in England. I have great respect for the British and their morals and work ethic. I wasn't disappointed. I hope to be able to return to Liberty.”

How can this program be improved?

Provide volunteers with more information on what to do on their "down" time.

Default avatar
Jessica
Female
24 years old
Yorkshire
York St John University

Thai English Summer Camp... 10/10.

10/10

I first chose PoD in 2012 because I wanted to find a charity that believed in what they were offering, there were many websites and company's out there that seemed as if their main goal was to make profit rather than offering a personal, ethical, responsible volunteer experience. After such a fantastic first experience in 2012 I signed up again, in 2014 to help support the new volunteers with their experience.

From the onset of signing up for the placement Gemma and the staff at PoD were there for support. Wether it was a question as silly as "how many trousers should we bring?" They replied quickly and efficiently to reassure us that all would be ok.

The first time I volunteered with PoD I went with my friend, and although it was great to have someone from home, Gemma made it very warm and welcoming and we all quickly made friends with each other. People in the same resort were surprised when they found out we had only known each other for a couple of hours, rather than for a couple of years!

Everyday was meticulously planned so that we got the best we could out of the experience. Wether it would be snorkeling, visiting temples, working in schools, going to the night market, traditional cooking class, staying with local families, dolphin watching, island hopping... it was all quite exhausting but it helped to create a fantastic life-changing experience.

The volunteering side was inspirational, when I first volunteered with PoD I was the youngest and many of the volunteers were full time teachers with some years of experience. Hoping to do Primary Education at university myself, I feel it really challenged me to develop my own teaching style which was engaging and fun for the children whilst not relying on the interactive whiteboards and other resources you may find in a typical english classroom. It is really quite interesting how many activities you can come up with, with just a few paper plates!

The thai children really value education and are excited to learn, their enthusiasm has kept me motivated to carry on with my teaching placements in an inner-city school where, its safe to say, some children would rather be anywhere else. Whenever I am having a tough day here, I watch my video I created which documented the trip, to keep me going through all the planning, appraisals and reflections I have to do. All that I can think is 'take me back!'.

I cannot speak more highly of this experience. To me, there is no other way I would like to spend my break, than to volunteer overseas with PoD. I wish to continue volunteering with PoD as I know they have my best interest at heart and that I can always rely on them for an amazing time.

How can this program be improved?

Make it longer, it goes by so quickly! I would recommend everyone to write down their day in a diary or video it so that they could remember as much detail as they could... trust me... you blink and its gone!

Program Listings

Thailand

Pod Volunteer
Pod Volunteer has been working in Thailand since 2001 and now supports 8 projects in the country. Experience the real Thailan...

Ghana

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Volunteers in Ghana become part of the charity's life changing development work which aims to provide safe drinking water, im...

India

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Volunteers provide continuous assistance to underfunded and understaffed schools, children’s homes, an animal rescue centre a...

South Africa

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Pod Volunteer is a non-profit organization working with Child Care, Animal Care and Conservation projects in South Africa. Wo...

Belize

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Animal Care: Assist keepers with the care of over 150 native animals at the Caribbean Wildlife Centre including jaguars, tapi...

Costa Rica

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Wildlife Rescue: Join a wildlife rescue team and care for the animals in the sanctuary. Provide food and enrichment for a var...

Portugal

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Amazon Conservation: Assist a team of international scientists collect data on wildlife and help in the development of commun...

Namibia

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Join an award winning elephant conservation team to help protect and research the desert elephants. Construct walls to protec...

Madagascar

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Pod Volunteer supports a number of projects in Madagascar. Volunteers support a diverse range of community work, building, ed...

Nepal

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Help street children, orphans and young adults in the beautiful Himalayan city of Pokharal. Volunteer in various roles includ...

Cambodia

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Join one of Pod Volunteer's projects in Cambodia. Whether it is animal care, conservation, child care, community volunteering...