Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)

Program Reviews

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Melanie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji was such an amazing experience working in the villages with such humble, happy and beautiful people who truly valued our input an experience I’ll never forget. I would just like to also say a big thank you to Danielle, her approach to the project with such a positive and can do attitude was definitely notable, she went above and beyond to make sure we were all happy at all times. She did a great job of looking after us and her training/knowledge was highly commendable. Also Masi and Mere are absolutely fantastic hosts so very kind, nothing was ever a problem they are such beautiful people – safe to say Mere is a FANTASTIC cook too haha.
Vanuatu was also amazing! I had so much fun there and learnt a lot about marine conservation, even got a few surfs in ? Pele really was a little treasure such an incredibly beautiful place. Lynne and Willie both looked after me so well while I was there nothing was ever to much to ask. Being on my own I spent a lot of time with Lynne and the other people in the village outside of work it really became like a second home for me. Lynne looked after me so well always making sure I was taken care of and happy, very lovely lady.
So thank you again for the experience and all your help with getting me there!! Memories I’ll cherish for many years to come ?

What would you improve about this program?
There was a bit of miss-communications happening when I first arrived but once I settled in, it wasn't a problem anymore. It was such a wonderful experience, not much can be changed.
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Tiara
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlights: Being able to see the Galungan and Kuningan celebrations up close and be given the chance to actively participate in it was a once in a lifetime experience.
Comments: The team made us feel right at home and we’re all very quick to help us with anything we needed. They helped us organize trips to the Gilis and Nusa Penida. The food was great for me, considering I have no eating restrictions, but wasn’t for my friend who has several food allergies and lactose and gluten intolerance. On the last few days, they ran out of her almond milk and didn’t get more because she was leaving soon, so she had only a hard boiled egg and water to eat for breakfast.

What would you improve about this program?
Improvements: My only suggestion would be concerning the food options. It would be great if there was a variety of options for individuals with previously mentioned eating restrictions.
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Christopher
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlights of the trip:
Although we worked hard on repairing and painting the school’s rooftops, the highlight for me was being able to play soccer and volleyball with the students after the school day has concluded. Master Pate had asked if I could work with the children’s english on our off time. So as we played volleyball, I asked the children to count in english every time we hit the ball back up. We got it up to 23. They all loved it as every time the count had passed 15, their voices would start screaming 16, 17, 18, and so forth. That was so much fun!
Comments on the team:
The team was awesome! Very organized. Food at the end celebration at Masi’s house was excellent!!! Iri was an awesome host on the island as well!

What would you improve about this program?
Hard to say. For me being a carpenter, the next time I decide to volunteer, I’m bringing my tools with me.
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Dhammike
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sri Lanka:
Highlights:
The highlight of Sri Lanka was definitely the team; the drivers, coordinators, managers, chef, cleaners – everyone was so helpful and lovely. Everything felt very well organised and I felt very comfortable to talk about anything with them. The people of Sri Lanka in general were all so beautiful and friendly.

Team, food and accommodation:
Again the team was amazing. The food was really good both at the accommodation and at the projects! I love spice, rice and curry so I was always happy. There was plenty of vegetables and plenty of food so always had enough to eat. The accommodation was clean, a nice temperature, hot and cold showers, lockers for valuables, good location.

What would you improve about this program?
Again I had originally put down to volunteer at a baby center, however on arrival I was told that that option was no longer available which was a real shame. I found other volunteer options which I ended up really enjoying but I was initially disappointed.
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Sean
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlights of the trip:
One of the highlights of this trip was that I got to immerse myself in a cultural-rich environment, Tacloban City. During the time, I have been given opportunities to interact and connect with the local families and children, which in turn, brought me immeasurable amount of love and joy. I was assigned to a community-feeing project at Cangumbang; and this experience was incredible from the beginning till the end — from planning, forecasting ingredients, buying extra things out of my own expense, cooking to serving there weren’t moments I didn’t enjoy. I really looked forward to each day visiting the community there and feeding the sponsored children of up to 35. After feeding, I have enjoyed the playing and chilling times with the children because they are all welcoming, amiable and simple! In addition, this trip has made me cherish all that I have, such as access to clean drinkable water and advanced public health facilities such as paced pedestrian roads.
Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
The team was welcoming and warm-hearted. I could definitely tell that my vision with the organisation, is alike. Because that the Philippines is predominantly a Christian (Roman Catholic) country, I felt much more spiritually connected to the land and the people. The food provided by my homestay was simple yet delicious! I had no issue with the local food there at all because the filipino cuisine is very much like my home dishes, which I have found soul-comforting. Except that I had experience epsiodes of diarrhoea at the same time with my accompanying brother when we had our first contact with the restaurant foods in an adjacent mall.
My homestay was neat and simple; just needed to overcome the fears of insects (cockroaches, lizards, mice etc.) and bear with the challenge of bucket shower and no flush toilet. My homestay nanay was nice and friendly and has always treated me like a family. I just needed to report an incident of break-in into my homestay house. My homestay was alert of this thereafter and has changed the lock of the back door and the team was aware of this issue. So I believe this security issue would be improved in a later term.

What would you improve about this program?
With the nutrition project, I think the future volunteers could accomplish more aside from feeding the community children. Outreach activities related to optimal nutrition could be planned out and developed, so that more and more young children and families will have a fair chance to learn from qualified health professionals and tackle the issue of malnutrition city-wide. Outside of placement times (mine was between 1pm to 5pm), I think we could have some site visits so we can understand what other sites are currently doing but again understand that the staff were busy with their own workloads.
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Sonia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlights of the trip:
As I have worked in Vanuatu previously I appreciated being accepted in the villages to complete the health checks. It was very special to be welcomed and see how they were so grateful for coming and teaching them things that would assist with their health and different choices that they can make.
The highlights were the Lelepa island – where we were asked to attend the home of a lady that had just passed to complete checks on the mourners. The lady had passed away from diabetes so this was very raw for them all.
To be able to be there on International Day and watch how proud they are during their celebrations with one of my old friends was pretty emotional.
Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
Carrun did an exceptional job at balancing the team as people management is one of the toughest tasks. I was one of the oldies and I snored, so I fit in well 🙂 The younger girls have not experienced the village life – let alone been away from their families before and this was an eye opener for them. It would have been good if we did experience the local food as the food mainly ranged from rice, potato, and pasta dishes. More vegies would have been awesome. The accommodation was at best a lodge, the house next door had the rooms rented out during the time we where there, so I know I still used the bathroom next door but the the other girls would not after James left the first week.
The sliding door did not lock and the back door was always unlocked for the other tenants to use the kitchen -which they did very rarely.
The drivers were great and Maryson, Madeline and Lynne were gorgeous ladies that went out of their way to assist all of us especially the younger girls to try and make their experience special

What would you improve about this program?
I think a little brief needs to be put together on the respect that we should show the people in their village and Vanuatu in general. The clothing was only one example of respect but also we need to appreciate that this is their village and way of life and not voice our opinions (to each other in our accommodation maybe) – but definitely not to our hosts.
I loved the experience as mentioned above and very grateful to you Lauren and Carrun for accepting me in the group. My son will be volunteering next time with me 🙂
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Hiedi
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlights:
The highlight of Sri Lanka was definitely the team; the drivers, coordinators, managers, chef, cleaners – everyone was so helpful and lovely. Everything felt very well organised and I felt very comfortable to talk about anything with them. The people of Sri Lanka in general were all so beautiful and friendly.

Team, food and accommodation:
Again the team was amazing. The food was really good both at the accommodation and at the projects! I love spice, rice and curry so I was always happy. There was plenty of vegetables and plenty of food so always had enough to eat. The accommodation was clean, a nice temperature, hot and cold showers, lockers for valuables, good location.

What would you improve about this program?
Improvements:
Again I had originally put down to volunteer at a baby center, however on arrival I was told that that option was no longer available which was a real shame. I found other volunteer options which I ended up really enjoying but I was initially disappointed.

If there is anything else I can help with please let me know. I am also happy to talk to other potential volunteers wanting to have a chat first.
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Pia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlights:
The highlight of Sri Lanka was definitely the team; the drivers, coordinators, managers, chef, cleaners – everyone was so helpful and lovely. Everything felt very well organised and I felt very comfortable to talk about anything with them. The people of Sri Lanka in general were all so beautiful and friendly.

Team, food and accommodation:
Again the team was amazing. The food was really good both at the accommodation and at the projects! I love spice, rice and curry so I was always happy. There was plenty of vegetables and plenty of food so always had enough to eat. The accommodation was clean, a nice temperature, hot and cold showers, lockers for valuables, good location.

What would you improve about this program?
Again I had originally put down to volunteer at a baby center, however on arrival I was told that that option was no longer available which was a real shame. I found other volunteer options which I ended up really enjoying but I was initially disappointed.

If there is anything else I can help with please let me know. I am also happy to talk to other potential volunteers wanting to have a chat first.
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Pia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji:
Highlights:
The highlight for me was the home stay option, being able to stay with a family and make a real connection was the best experience. I was so sad to leave the first family, only to be greeted by another really nice family who welcomed me into their home. It was great to see how they lived including eating, sleeping and everyday chores.

Team, food and accommodation:
Masi, his wife Mere and their son Marika were so nice! Marika was there waiting for me at the airport. They made me feel very welcomed (even had Mere check my hair for head lice). The accommodation with them was very nice, clean house, very comfy beds and I felt safe. Also a great location, easy to walk to town and back. Mere made nice food for dinner every night.
The food at the first accommodation was really good and traditional, getting me to try a lot of local cuisine. My room was nice and the bathroom was also nice, very clean house.
The second family on the island also provided delicious food and plenty of it! However I definitely was missing fruit and greens. The bathroom could do with some work but I understand with a large family and children it can get dirty very quick along with the rest of the house. My bedroom was the computer room next door and was clean and big.

What would you improve about this program?
I originally had put down renovation, however that didn’t happen. I should have talked about it more with Masi however I felt I should just do what I was told to help the community. So maybe clarifying with the volunteer with what they had originally put down and trying to make that work as a first priority and then offer other options. I also had some money that I wanted to donate, Masi told me to talk to the first family and I ended up spending it on some prizes for the kids who did well in a contest. Although I thought that perhaps the money should have gone to something more worthy. Perhaps Masi could have a list of things requested by the community that need help?
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Louisa
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlights of the trip:

-Interacting with the kids, who are so genuinely excited to see you. It’s amazing how accepting, grateful and respectful they are!
-Meeting people from all around the world, particularly Europe! Made friends with girls from all over Europe and America, whom we met up in Bangkok for the weekend!
-The locals: everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and more than happy to help with directions.

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
The team, particularly the team leaders, were lovely and always tried their best to answer your questions and were very informative regarding plans, times, meeting points etc. The shared dorms were also great, and were important in getting to know to others. The food was nice most days too, and kept us going throughout the day.

What would you improve about this program?
-More preparation for classes- i.e information on the best/most effective way to teach the kids.
-Regarding food, more vegetarian options.