IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Program Reviews

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Michael
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experiencing Cusco was amazing, the host family was extremely nice and made great meals. Our country coordinator Roger was extremely helpful and was very experienced. It was so much fun playing cards and talking to the host family and Roger as they taught us many things about Cusco. At the start of the clinic I did almost nothing but each day you get rotated to another position so my experience at the clinic got progressively better throughout the week and you really start to see how the clinic is run. The only problem is if you don't speak Spanish, then you will barely be put to any use at the clinic. Once our volunteering was over we did activities such as Machu Picchu, rainbow mountain, and an ATV trip, all of which I would highly recommend.

What would you improve about this program?
They should put the volunteers to better use because I felt like I was doing nothing while I was there.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

We are happy to know that you had a good time with your host family and learned about the Healthcare in Peru. We will definitely try to incorporate more hands-on work for our future volunteers.

Nicole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in the clinic in Cusco, Peru was an incredible experience. I was able to learn about the Peruvian healthcare system while also working on my Spanish skills. I was able to volunteer in different areas in the clinic such as in the triage, wound care, with children and in gynecology. I was able to help the nurses, doctors and patients during the entire experience. My host family was so much fun and the food was amazing. Maria is such an incredible cook! Roger took such great care of me and my friends the entire time. Spanish was also very enjoyable for me and my friends and we were also able to travel around Cusco between the clinic and Spanish class. Overall, this trip was amazing and I had such a wonderful time. I was able to see so many areas of Cusco while learning about the culture and healthcare system.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
My friends and I were able to go out and try many different foods. The most surprising thing I did was try some of the meats such as Alpaca! We were also able to travel to Machu Picchu, which was incredible to see!
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Nicole, thank you for volunteering with us. We felt very happy to host and your friends. It is nice to know that you worked on your Spanish as well and enjoyed the local food during your stay. We wish you all the best!

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Samantha
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The experience at the orphanage was incredible, life changing and deeply humbling. When you embark on an experience such as this there is a lot that goes through you mind. You wonder how everything will be and you hope that your time is part of a bigger picture that is helpful and I guess important.

The children at the orphanage were a true delight! Mischievous, good, kind, funny and at times, yes naughty! All the things you would expect from any child around the world! They are a real mix of personalities and you can see despite the reason that has brought them into a government system that they are still individuals with a lot to offer the world.

Michael, the Co-Ordinator is lovely.

Sri Lanka overall is a beautiful country with amazing, kind and helpful people. I was there when the bombs went off in Colombo. The people were devastated by what happened and rallied together. There is a great fear that this will completely destroy the tourism industry that has started to boom. I felt completely safe in Sri Lanka, more so than any other country I have traveled to. Remember - something bad can happen anywhere in the world at anytime. Do not let this make you change your mind in going there. It is a special country.

What would you improve about this program?
Some of the staff are not very friendly, I felt in the way at times. Maybe more cohesion between volunteers and the staff. A wee guide booklet could be amazing helpful. On transport types, applying for visa extensions etc. Actually I would be happy to write one!
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Samantha, we thank you so much for being a part of our Orphanage Project and we feel happy to know that you enjoyed working with the children. We also really admire your courage during the turmoil in Sri Lanka and that you stayed behind to help.

We are sorry that you had to face some issues with some of our staffs. We will try to improve on this matter so our future volunteers can fell at ease.

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Xiyue
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I do enjoy the program. At the first day of my arrival, the in-country coordinator has a lot of patience to wait for me at the airport. He picked up me even I did not call him (the net in the airport doesn't work). He helped me buy a sim card and also exchange money, and then directly sent me to the program. I live in an intern house, which is very quiet and safe. And one lady cooked breakfast and dinner for me. The food is delicious and nutritional. The program I do volunteer encourages women who are HIV positive to build them new life. They already supported a considerable number of women and their families. I think it inspired me a lot. I will 100% recommend this program to my friends, hope they can help more Kenyan women. Overall, it is an excellent experience in Kenya, worth to try in your life!

Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Xiyue, thank you so much for joining our HIV & Medical volunteer project. It was wonderful to have you. We are also happy to know that you enjoyed the local food during your project. We would like to thank you for your contributions and wish you all the best for your future endeavors.

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Ryan
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I served with IFRE volunteers for two weeks total, spending one at the construction project in Machakos, and the other split between AlGadhir and Revivial Med Clinic in Kibera.
Agape school is an excellent fit for anyone with teaching experience, and the kids love spending time playing soccer or learning from you. The construction project I went for was very hands on, as I was able to spend two work days working right alongside the stone mason crew as we constructed a new school building.
At AlGadhir, I was able to volunteer in any specialization for three days, but it was much more of a shadow experience for me and a marketing one for IFRE. The staff was very welcoming, and I’ll miss working there even though it took a couple days to find a niche. If you want to volunteer for a medical clinic work at Revival Med clinic in Kibera. There I was able to assist hands on with a trauma and help delive a child on the same day. The staff there is also very welcoming and I found your time is more necessary in Kibera than AlGadhir. For the price, IFRE provided many incredible experiences that I will never forget.

What would you improve about this program?
In Machakos, the guest house has the largest spider I’ve ever seen (arachnophobe here), you hear bugs crawling in the walls, the roof leaks, and power outages are common. That being said, having a good attitude goes a long way, the host is very friendly, and Agape is all around a great way to volunteer.
I’d change the medical program in nairobi from AlGadhir to Kibera, as they definitely could use the help, whereas (unless you’re spending a month) AlGadhir is very self sufficient and high functioning. The in country coordiator is helpful, friendly, and makes you feel at home in Nairobi. You may not always know what you’re doing the next day, but an open mind goes a long way.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Ryan,

Thank you for your feedback. We greatly appreciate you for taking out the time to volunteer with us and are happy that you enjoyed the project. We also apologize for the inconveniences you faced at the project and ensure our future volunteers will not face a similar situation. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

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Alen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

On March 2019 I’ve been one week in Kathmandu supporting kids of an orphanage. It was an amazing experience! Starting from the coordinators everyone were super friendly and ready to help you in every situation, communication was super fast and clear, really appreciated. Kids were simply fantastic, with a lot of love to share and a spontaneous smile everyday. I’ve spent one week on helping kids before their shool time on their homeworks, I had free time to visit the city from 9am to 4pm then I came back at the orphanage to help kids on their homeworks after school and let them play at volley, drawing or singing. I strongly suggest this kind of experience to everyone, it has changed me radically, I came back at home with a new mentality and a new heart! I’m feeling rich inside! Last but not least I know that those kids you are Special, they are happy to stay with you and to have someone to share love! For them it’s very important! Thank you IFRE Volunteers for this opportunity!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you planning to do a volunteering project (whatever it is), just do it! Do not procrastinate it and no kidding yourself! There are a lot of people in the World that are missing your love. Act courageously and listen your heart!
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Alen,

Thank you for your wonderful feedback. We greatly appreciate that you volunteered with us and help improved the lives of the children at the project. We are happy that you enjoyed the project. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

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Anneli and Gregory
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My husband Greg and I are recently retired professionals who like to combine volunteer work (I am an educator, and Greg assisted me in the classes) with adventure travel. Our month in Ecuador enabled us to do just that. From the beginning our experiences were positive. Our coordinator Jose met us at the airport, introduced us to our homestay (in a comforable apartment), liaised with the school's administration, and was supportive and encouraging throughout. Our hosts Olga and Marcelo were among the kindest the most hospitable people we have ever met: our room was comfortable, the meals were delicious, and their patient help with our Spanish was very welcome. (We even had a friend join us for a few nights.) Our school was poor and bilingual (Spanish and Kichwa), and during our three weeks there we had the opportunity to teach English to students in Grades 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10. Although there were some discipline issues, these were soon overcome. The kids proved to be gregarious, friendly, curious and uninhibited. The highlights were taking part in a very special indigenous Pachamama Spring Equinox celebration, during which the Administration and staff expressed profound thanks for our volunteer efforts and the teaching materials we were able to bring to them. Finally, during our afternoons, we were able to explore the many parks, squares, museums and cathedrals of vibrant Quito; during the weekends our host drove us to volcanoes, the highlands, the Cloudforest and numerous indigenous villages; and for our fourth week we embarked on an unforgettable cruise of The Galapagos. An amazingly interesting and fulfilling combination of volunteer work and adventure travel!

What would you improve about this program?
If possible, a later start than 7:00 am to the teaching day would be helpful if we have to get there by public transit. Better communication with the school's administration and ourselves regarding schedule changes etc.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Anneli & Greg

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 also apologize for any communication gap with the school authorities and will try our best to improve this aspect.

We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

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Megan
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Our group of 13 travelers spent a week working with IFRE while visiting various medical locations throughout the week in order to perform our medical needs assessment. The week was extremely successful and the group felt as though IFRE supported us in completing our goals. The logistics ran very smoothly and our host families were welcoming and supportive of our missions while staying with them. Oscar, our primary in-country contact was extremely helpful and accommodating to help us with everything we needed throughout the week.

Prior to the trip our group did struggle with communication as we felt that IFRE did not provide us with much information that we did not specifically request. Our daily itinerary and day to day functions were not entirely clear to us prior to arrival, and throughout the week we still felt as though a lot of questions went unanswered in terms of logistics. While everything still ran smoothly, we wished that we had received more communicative support for the price that we were paying.

Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Megan and friends,

Thank you for taking out the time to write us a honest feedback. We greatly appreciate you for taking out the time to volunteer with us. We also apologize for the miscommunication and the inconveniences you faced. We will ensure that our future volunteers will not face such problems.

We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

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Luis
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It was an incredible experience in Kenya, it is hard to describe in words. From the moment I arrived I felt at home and very welcome in the centre. I volunteered to teach English & Math to during my 2 weeks stay at the centre & I was given the teaching aids that were necessary for classes. If I had problems or needed assistance other teachers were always there to help me. Barnabas was a fantastic source of information and advice during my stay. I found the students to be very eager to learn and very courteous in class. It was just such a pity to find them with only one book to work from for the whole class. Nonetheless, the teachers manage with what little resources they have & they are a great inspiration for the children. I extended my stay there by another week but that was still far too little time to be spending with such great children. I will definitely go back as soon as I can organize for it.
I was welcomed into the host family as their own. It really felt like home. My host sacrificed her own time at weekends to bring me to the Giraffe Centre & the Bomas of Kenya. She also helped me to buy provisions for the orphanage – taking another whole day of her personal time. In terms of the livings conditions I found the house to be most comfortable and the quality of the meals I received was excellent.
On the last week of my stay in Kenya I did the Safari as well. It was absolutely fantastic. The driver, Sammy, was very competent – I felt very safe in the vehicle on such rocky roads! He was also very knowledgeable with respect to the wildlife – in terms of both identification and giving us information about specific animals. The campsite was well run – it was clean & even had hot showers on our second day! The food was also very good.

What would you improve about this program?
Had I been aware of the situation I could have brought out some teaching aids, books etc that would have been beneficial for the students.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Luis

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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Parker
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered with IFRE’s Teaching English Program in Cambodia. I was assigned to a Charity School as an English teacher for 4 weeks. I must say that the experience was incredible. The whole process right from inception to the end was hassle-free. The IFRE team was very prompt with replies, which was very helpful. I was picked up by a driver at the airport upon my arrival at Phenom Penh. The teaching was challenging because of the language barrier. The children were very enthusiastic and eager to learn, which made my experience even better. My primary responsibility was teaching the group of beautiful and enthusiastic children. I not only taught them but also shared with them special bond- laughing, playing, drawing, painting and so on.

The IFRE staffs are responsive, sincere, helpful, up front. Support while at the site was also very good. Any questions or requests I had for the local coordinators were quickly responded to.

I would definitely recommend IFRE to anyone considering a volunteering placement.

What would you improve about this program?
Well, the program was great I would however say that the currency exchange was a problem. I would have appreciated if someone had informed me about this.
Response from IFRE Volunteers Abroad

Dear Parker,

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 apologize about the problems you had with currency exchange and will ensure our future volunteers will not face similar issue.

We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.