IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Program Reviews

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Constance
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I wanted do to something very useful for cative elephants, to improve their life. Here, you can discover how elephants are used by sri lankan people, and why. It is not just a place where captive elephants can rest, the staff really try to change the mentality of sri lankan people about elephants and their need of care. All the staff is very kind with volunteer, and answer to any questions. The vet is really important in this program because he works with owners of elephants to assure a good quality of life of their elephants, and try to make them understand that perahera and poja is not good for elephants, because it is a lot of stress, loud sound, and cages on their back hurt them a lot.
The foundation is not perfect, but they try to changes a lot of things.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take old clothes, gloves, and come ! The work can be difficult, but it is really a satisfactory work.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Constance,

Thank you for volunteering with us and lending a helping hand to the elephants in Sri Lanka. We greatly appreciate your help, time and effort. We also wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

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Tierni
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

You are never too old! My son, daughter, and I made this journey together from Texas. On our "Thailand Elephant "volunteering adventure we experienced the wonders of a part of the world that still believes in kindness, family, and the saving the Asian's elephants population.

Taking this journey was something I have always have wanted to do but would tell myself ... "Next year when I have more time." Now, at 60ish I did it and I will do it again. Volunteering overseas and at home is my now my passion.

We meet and made lifelong friends from all over the world.

The daily agenda always included laughter, hard work, and a kinder love for our gentle swaying giants.

Our guides in Surin, Thailand - were our favorites. Shout out to Worn and Ing!!

So, add this volunteering program to your bucket list.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The petting of a 10-week baby elephant and bathing the elephants in the river.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Tierni and family,

Thank you for your wonderful feedback. We greatly appreciate you for taking out the time to volunteer with us and are happy that you enjoyed the project. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

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Kim
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I lived in nabbingo for 5 weeks and had a great time with Herman and his very friendly family.
As a med student I was able to practice and learn a lot from the friendly staff in mpigi health clinic.

I would recommend this project, and I think the school project is very good as well.

If you are trying to decide between projects, choose this one. I talked with other volunteers in Uganda and on the flight home and I am very happy that I ended up with Herman.
I can guarantee that this is 100 times better than the projects in Kampala hosting 20 volunteers a week.

(If you want comforts, parties and foreigners don’t go volunteering duh, otherwise do this project and not a bigger one)

The work of the clinic was focused on HIV, maternity, malaria but also non communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

What would you improve about this program?
The dollars that you have to pay to the organization felt pretty waste, I rather get the contact to the in country coordinator right away without paying for it. (So that 100% of what I pay go to the ppl on site)

(Went with ifre volunteers)
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Kim,

Thank you for your wonderful feedback. We greatly appreciate you for taking out the time to volunteer with us and are happy that you enjoyed the project. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

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Mary
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IFRE and our in country coordinator Roger helped make our 3 generation volunteer opportunity a memorable life changing experience. My mother, daughter and myself traveled to Peru to work in the orphanage with teen moms and their children.

Host Family:
Roger met us at the airport and brought us to our host family right in Cusco. The host family he chose was a perfect fit. It was also a mom, grandma and daughter. Abuela and Memere ( my mom) hugged before we left each day as abuela told us to take care of her. The location and room were perfect for our family. We were able to walk to the town square as well as to the orphanage.

Volunteer Site:
We volunteered with teen moms and their children. It was our role to care for some of the children as the moms were at work or school. When the mom’s were there we would work alongside them and the director caring for the children. We were originally supposed to work in the morning but found there were more children and a greater need for us in the afternoon so we were able to switch our time.
Our only recommendation is that if you know you will be working with school aged children you have some spanish background before you arrive. We did, at times, struggle with this communication barrier.

In Country Coordinator:
We are grateful to Roger for his enthusiasm. It is evident that he loves his job and believes in the program he is a part of. He gave us basic background about the moms and children we were working with so we could further understand the circumstances and help in a meaningful way. He answered our questions quickly and with care.

He also gave us so much knowledge about Peru and Cusco. When we inquired about a specific landmark site he offered and took us to see it and gave us some added history as well. He was willing to help with any task.

I would recommend this program and organization to anyone.

What would you improve about this program?
Once a volunteer is matched with a site it would be beneficial to give them more specific descriptions of their role when there. It would be even more beneficial if the volunteer could communicate with their site before they arrive.
Another recommendation is that if you know you will be working with school aged children you have some spanish background before you arrive. We did, at times, struggle with this communication barrier.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Mary,

Thank you for your wonderful feedback. We greatly appreciate you for taking out the time to volunteer with us and are happy that you enjoyed the project.

We will make sure that our future volunteers are informed well about their specific roles and apologize for any inconvenience you faced.

We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

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Aleksandr
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in Tanzania has been an amazing adventure for me and my friends. As my first ever volunteering experience abroad it surpassed all of my expectation. Before I arrived I expected hostile to foreigners environment, but after spending time there I can call this country my second home. Kids in the orphanage are so nice and friendly that you will never forget about them and the time you spend together.
The host family in which I been staying become a second family for me. Mama Alice is wonderful women which will always help you to arrange any trip or solve any problems. I loved this adventure so much that I'm planning to come back in a few years and visit them again. I highly recommend this program and promise you will enjoy it!

Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Aleksandr,

Thank you for your wonderful feedback. We greatly appreciate you for taking out the time to volunteer with us and are happy that you enjoyed the project and also your enjoyed your stay with Mama Alice. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

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Jessie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It was such an unforgettable experience for me to take care of abandoned disabled orphans. 70% of them are disabled and 20% are HIV positive. I am amazed by the overall environment for the orphans. It is actually quite organised. As I understand I was the first Singaporean to volunteer in Nutrition Center Phnom Penh, and it was also my first time taking care of disabled orphans, I was worried and nervous. Nevertheless, I managed to pick it up very fast. I encouraged more Asian volunteers to support such program for the disabled orphans. The local teachers are very friendly and helpful. They helped me to understand the needs of each individual orphans. We had a great fruitful time during my 10 days in Phnom Penh. I would definitely be back to visit them again.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would suggest to give a brief of the area and environment of the volunteers house so that we can prepare ready before the trip.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Jessie,

Thank you for your wonderful feedback and the lovely pictures. We greatly appreciate you for taking out the time to volunteer with us and are happy that you enjoyed the project. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

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Annie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My friend and I took a month long trip to Moshi, Tanzania. We went through IFRE Volunteers. This program is very trustworthy and safe. We had the time of our lives!

We stayed with Mama Alice and it was better than what we could have hoped for. She opens up her home and life to volunteers from all over the world. This woman will truly change your life. She is amazing. Her housing for volunteers was incredible. So spacious. So beautiful. You live amongst a huge garden and feel right at home.

Monday through Friday, we volunteered at Upendo Children’s home. An orphanage with 50+ children ranging from 5 months to 12 years old. For the greater portion, we cared for 20 two-year olds. We played with them, fed them, and loved them. These children don’t have anything except love in their hearts. It’s truly a blessing to see the smiles on their faces.

During our stay, we did many things that we never thought of doing. We watched the sunset with friends from town, made coffee on the side of a mountain, swam under a waterfall, and danced in an African style wedding.

This trip was absolutely life changing. Every person needs to stay with Mama Alice. She will make you a better person. You will find a family in Moshi.

What was your funniest moment?
We would have huge family dinners outside every night. Wonderful memories were made there. So many laughs.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Annie,

Thank you so much taking our the time to write us a feedback. We are very happy to know that you and your friend enjoyed the volunteering and cultural experience in Tanzania, and that you enjoyed the company of Mama Alice. She really is a great person.

We wish you all the best fr your future endeavours and hope to see you again some day!

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Francis
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I am applying to Physician Assistant school and wanted to have a better perspective of global healthcare. I fell in love with medicine while volunteering in Cape Town, South Africa. There, I was fortunate enough to volunteer at Green Point Clinic, where I was able to gain more than just the skills to diagnose and treat patients; I left feeling reassured that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Tasting the rawness of medicine from rotating between the different fast-paced environments, seeing a patient’s face light up, and having them even wish me luck on my future career, has made this journey worthwhile. I found joy in serving others, interacting with patients, and in helping them with their conditions. The PAs and nurses welcomed me apart of their team and communication to direct patients to diagnosis and treatment options. Being exposed to this environment has given me a better perspective on healthcare. Experiencing this rich cultural immersion has allowed me to be a witness of the plight and struggles of these developing countries. I became apart of their community, and they have enabled me to have personal growth from being a volunteer. In this journey abroad, I was able to reflect on wanting to show my gratitude towards the healthcare community since I was given a second chance at life from my open-heart surgery. One of the moments which have been the greatest things I have been able to cross off my bucket list has been hiking Lion's head because before my heart surgery, this would have been impossible. I had the privilege to visit the Sacred Heart Museum where the first human heart transplant took place. I fell in love with this country from its beauty in the mountains to the views of the sea, and the food. I have traveled as a mission trip volunteer before to many countries, but South Africa is the place where I have wanted to stay forever. I cried leaving because I felt that I have experienced a peace of heaven in this beautiful land. I have to return soon.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Come to South Africa with an open mind and ready for a fantastic time.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Francis,

Thank you so much for volunteering with us and giving us your time. We admire your passion for medicine and healthcare, enthusiasm for life and your adventurous spirit. It feels wonderful to know that you enjoyed your volunteering as well as learned from the experience. We, IFRE Family wish you all the best for your future career in medicine.

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Francis
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I am applying to Physician Assistant school soon and wanted to have a better perspective with global healthcare. I felt that I needed to see the health disparities with my own eyes to understand that I was fortunate enough to receive excellent care when I had surgery, recovery, and currently today, but it was not the case for the non-privileged patients of these developing countries. Many healthcare professionals in developing countries face the challenge of having inadequate facilities, limited resources, and understaffed clinics and hospitals. Being out of my comfort zone and working in the challenging settings in Kenya has helped build my character, enhance my abilities, and encourage me to collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide the best possible health care keeping in mind the circumstances. The last weeks have allowed me to develop adaptability and resilience in these clinics will make it easier to navigate a profession in the health field. The PAs and nurses welcomed me apart of their team and communication to direct patients to diagnosis and treatment options. Being exposed to this environment has given me a better perspective on healthcare. I felt safe in this environment since my accommodation was in a gated community with security guards. I missed home, and to have a home cooked meal every night in my program coordinator's home allowed me to feel comfortable and consider it a home away from home. I knew that if I came to Nairobi that I had to experience a safari and the culture. I was amazed by the beauty of the big five in Nairobi National Park, the elephants from the David Sheldrick orphanage, the giraffe center, and the Bomas of Kenya. This volunteering trip has been one of the greatest things I have had the privilege to experience and I am leaving taking all of the knowledge I have learned to apply in my future profession.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Come into the program with an open mind to learn about healthcare.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Francis,

Thank you for your wonderful feedback. We greatly appreciate you for taking out the time to volunteer with us and are happy that you took up the challenge of volunteering in Kenya. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

Bryn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As a new traveler, I was super careful about what program to sign up with for my trip. When contacting IFRE Volunteers with all my questions and concerns they were on the ball with following up and making sure I had no worries. They were so proactive and helpful over the months before my departure. The country coordinator for Tanzania was also contacting me separately to make sure I was prepared and reassured for the upcoming trip. I left for Tanzania with no hesitation because of all the help I received from this program.

The house we stayed at was clean and the family made sure we had everything we needed to live comfortably. We were provided three meals a day and Mama Alice made sure we were full and had enough to eat every time. The property was gated and safe and the family made sure we had proper transportation if we traveled far away or somewhere during the night. The town of Moshi was exciting to explore and primarily safe. We were able to explore waterfalls, hot springs, nearby cities, coffee plantations, and shops in town. We felt comfortable and like we belonged in Moshi just after a few days.

From the day we arrived in Tanzania I was greeted with such love from Mama Alice and right away felt like family. She helped us get everything sorted and made sure we were comfortable to start our life for the next month. I couldn't be more grateful for all the help and love we received on our trip because it made it the most impactful and heartwarming experience. We even extended our stay because of how great it was going. The Children's home we worked at was excellent and the kids we met were incredible. The day we left was so sad and tears were shed because of how amazing our trip had been. This trip overall was life-changing and I am so grateful for the family I gained in Moshi.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would recommend staying for longer than 2 weeks because of the area and the people you will meet you will need time to explore and really establish yourself there. If you stay a short amount of time you won't be able to reap the benefits of this beautiful area and family you will meet.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Bryn, we thank you for your wonderful feedback. We feel very happy to know that you enjoyed your time in Tanzania. We feel very blessed to have you in our Children's project. Hope to see you again!