Volunteers For Peace (VFP)

Program Reviews

Charles
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering abroad with VFP was one of the greatest experiences in my entire life so far! I went to countries and visited cultures that were new to me. I met incredibly inspirational people. I felt that I really made a difference. The work was so rewarding and fun. At one site, we restored the pathway inside a large rose garden around a museum made from a palace that was abandoned during the communist period. The other site was a huge farm that needed help harvesting strawberries! The work was Monday through Friday for about 6 hours. On weekends we were able to go to site seeing in nearby cities. I made friends from Holland, Japan, England, Germany, New Zealand, and many other parts of the world. If you want a well-run program like this, then choose VFP.org.

What would you improve about this program?
It was awesome! There was little to improve. The facility was reasonably comfortable. The food was fresh every day. We took turns cooking and serving meals that we ate together as we got to know each other through conversations.
Judy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This workcamp takes place in an exceptional place, the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. The work they do for the environment is important to all. The people who work there are committed and fun to work with. While there the volunteers get to meet lots of local people, scientists and of course the international group. We all had a chance to learn about other cultures and find our own voice within the group. We learned lots of useful skills as well. We laughed a lot. I, as a facilitator, learn more about others and myself every year. Hopefully we are teachable no matter what our age. We had two Korean woman in their early twenties and an American of German descent in her mid seventies, an interesting mix and we all got along and loved spending evenings together.

What would you improve about this program?
Can't think of anything. The place we lived was comfortable, the area gorgeous. None of us really cooked, but we survived.
Lysistrata
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I really enjoyed ST VINCENT, France work camp in a cemetery. The reasons are it was an an international experience, each member was from a different country. We were able to share our unique background and cultural similarities. I enjoyed not feeling embarrassed by our age. Each volunteer was a different age and it did not affect our work behavior. Our work schedule was organized in a professional manner and it made it fun for us to finish the project. The project was taking down the cemetery wall. We removed the grout and stucco and put on new one. We used hand tools such as a chisel, to take it off the old grout, and a float to grout and stucco the cemetery wall. Every day our meals were prepared by some of the volunteers and it made the work experience different and more fun. Our afternoon were free from work, and it gave us the time to visit the village, or swim at our own leisure to also enjoy the country side. I recommend work camp for those who are able to commit to a project, and to also discipline oneself to volunteer.

What would you improve about this program?
Two weeks was intense, I would have liked it to spend more time working on the cemetery wall but also longer visits to Toulouse and other villages too.
Alexander
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the Turkish girls had me over to her Grandparents house right on the sea of Mamara. They owned a fruit farm and I got to try an amazing assortment of home grown fruit. And the food was all home made and delicious. I just remember the beautiful sunset over the water. I could see for miles down stream. No one really spoke English, so we had to rely on pure emotion as a form of communication. It brought a tear to my eye that night and still does.

What would you improve about this program?
More supervision. I sometimes got very lost...
Sonam
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteered with children who had Agent Orange. They required a lot of care to be provided to them on a daily basis. I remember a little boy whose head and body were twice or thrice the size of his legs and had to kneel on his knees the entire day, everyday. It was very painful to see. I'd recommend this programme especially to medical students who may be more well-aware on how to handle and love the children. It was really difficult for me, not having the experience needed so all I really did was to show my affection, feed them and sing to them. I guess that helped soothe their pains as well.

Lesley
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

...And I ended up in the emergency room, but not because I injured myself "on the job."

It was about midnight when I realized I needed to go to the hospital, and woke our volunteer coordinator to let her know. (At best, I speak about 5 words of Italian. Clearly, I was going to need her help.) We ventured out into the main square of our tiny town in Umbria to find a cab but there were none. She asked a passerby where we might find one. He responded by putting us in his car and driving us himself.

My care at the hospital was excellent -- my volunteer coordinator translating every word, while the nurse practiced her little bits of English. Upon leaving, the hospital informed me I owed them a mere 25 Euros. And...could I come back and pay tomorrow? They couldn't accept my money at the time.

The next day, I gladly returned with another staff member, and 25 Euros. What could have been a frightening experience -- sick overseas -- turned into an unexpected exploration of a foreign health-care system, amazing treatment at a fraction of the cost I would expect to pay at home, and compassionate care by every Italian I encountered that night and early morning. Grazie.

What would you improve about this program?
A greater variety of tasks...and tasks that better connected us to the purpose of the festival. We spent most of our time in the kitchen -- preparing food and serving the other volunteers.
Sarah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Traveling to Haiti pushed me outside of my comfort zone. And that is where I've stayed. I was thrown into a culture where I am the outsider and all eyes were on me and that was something I was not used to. I was forced to deal with emotions that I had never felt before and because of that I am a better person. I also learned a lot about myself while in Haiti. I learned that I can push myself to new limits and accomplish difficult tasks. I can be put in a completely new environment without knowing a single person and be okay. I can make connections in difficult circumstances and survive with minimal resources. I am grateful for the experience I had in Haiti and because of it I have grown as a person.

What would you improve about this program?
If I had to change one thing about the program I would have liked to spend more time in Port au Prince, getting a better feel for the city.
Annette
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

During my time in Burlington, Vermont as a coleader for Volunteers for Peace, the ten volunteers and I created unbreakable bonds of friendship over dinners we shared together. Because the group was so diverse - 10 volunteers from 7 different countries - we made dinners together using recipes from across the globe. The sharing of cultures and customs while we prepared dinners together was incredibly unique, and it is an experience I will never forget. To this day I am still in contact with all 10 of my friends from this camp who are now back in their home countries. The sharing of food and culture together created such a strong bond between us that I know I have made 10 lifelong friends.

Riley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As a sixteen year old, I was very happy to find a program that allowed me to participate despite my age. Although I have traveled internationally before, it was the first time I traveled by myself. The staffs did a great job setting up the program, supervising the participants and making us feel safe. Yes, Port-au-Prince is very hot and dusty, and we didn't have reliable internet service nor electricity at times, but being with the kids more than made up for these hardships. The climate in Duchity was very comfortable and the people in the village were extremely friendly, welcoming, and fun to be with. The high point was getting to know the kids because they were so enthusiastic, fun loving, and genuinely loved to be around the volunteers. Music and dancing is a central part of their culture, and I was happy to be a part of that. Although I do not speak French or Creole, it was still very easy to connect with the children. My only suggestion would be to have volunteers do community projects in the afternoons. As far as the food, I thought having to eat rice and beans for all my meals everyday would be tiring, but I found myself liking the food because of the spices and the variety of ways it was prepared. Overall I highly recommend the program and gladly would do it again.

What would you improve about this program?
My only suggestion would be to have volunteers do community projects in the afternoons. When volunteers arrive at the airport, make sure the person who meets them there will not allow anyone to take advantage by grabbing their suitcase and demanding $10.
Elizabeth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Having traveled to over 30 countries, I can say that East Africa is by far one of my favorite regions of the world. The people are some of the most kind-hearted and the geography is stunning. Volunteering is a great way to spend your time in this region.

The Volunteers for Peace project which I attended was an eye-opening experience I will never forget. Myself and one other French volunteer stayed in Kenya for one month to help run a public health campaign targeted toward the youth. We lived with an amazing host family who quickly became close friends (I am planning a time to go back and visit them). I always felt safe, well-fed, and cared for. The organization running the project ensured I was met at the airport upon my arrival and were available for 24/7 support the entire time I was in Kenya. They were great.

I believe that volunteering in Kenya with Volunteers for Peace has the potential to be one of the best experiences of any traveler's adventure but I recommend it for those willing to truly live like a local. The projects in this region are truly immersive. You live, eat, and work like a local. For first time or inexperienced travelers, this can be shocking. This means taking public transport, showering with buckets, pumping your water, eater local food, working in the garden, using an outhouse, ect. If you are intrepid enough to find joy in these new ways of living, much like I did, than this is the project for you! In return for going out of your comfort zone you are awarded with one of the best memories and some of the greatest friends you could hope for. Truly a life changing experience you would not get without the help of Volunteers for Peace.