Rethink volunteering through love volunteers...

Ratings
Overall
3
Impact: 5
Support: 1
Fun: 1
Value: 6
Safety: 9
Review

My experience volunteering with the children and getting to know the locals was amazing. I knew very little about Ukraine and its history befor arriving. I spent my days teaching English and face painting. However I would not recommend volunteering through love volunteers. The overall experience with the Ukraine coordinator was horrible. I've never felt so deceived and controlled by anyone like that before. My first issue was paying $535 for staying there for two weeks. I had no idea before my arrival the state of Ukraine's economy and how drastically different it is from the USA or any other European country. I didn't think it was reasonable to charge that amount since you could have breakfast for less than $1 and rent a for a room is $40 a month in the city center. The amount I paid for room and board for two weeks is what a school teacher makes working full time in 6 months. I also went out of my way to try and connect with other teachers. When Alex found out I talked with other people he became very irritated. Staff members told me Alex said it was "forbidden" to talk to me and only allowed through him. He also insisted I was working at a summer camp for orphans or extremely poor children. I later found out it's a sanatorium which I wasn't familiar with and any Ukrainian child can attend regardless of their background. The worst part for me was when he would go out of his way to introduce me to orphans. He would translate the children's responses and I would just stand there looking at their sad blank faces. I felt like he was using the children's sad stories of being abandoned or orphaned tragically to convince me that there were orphans there. Near the end of my stay I confronted Alex about my issues with him. He told me he didn't like "my kind of woman" and insisted he never lied and the cost of living is much more so the prices were reasonable. I believe that the coordinator and the host family work together to profit massively off of volunteers. I wouldn't recommend going through love volunteers if you're interested in volunteering in Ukraine.

If you're interested in Ukraine there are other options. This review is not intended to deter people from volunteering there. I received so many hugs, bracelets, and hellos from countless children. I'll never forget their sweet faces and gentle nature. There was also never a moment i felt unsafe.

Would you recommend this program?
No, I would not
Year Completed
2015