IVI Volunteers- 15+ Authentic & Affordable Programs in Fiji

Video and Photos

Primary school Teaching in Fiji
Primary school Teaching in Fiji
IVI Fiji nutrition program
IVI Fiji nutrition program
Fiji sports coaching
Fiji sports coaching
Local Fijians in traditional dress
Local Fijians in traditional dress
Building and construction in Fiji
Building and construction in Fiji
Special needs volunteer Jenn Holcolm
Special needs volunteer Jenn Holcolm
Remote island teaching placement
Remote island teaching placement
IVI Construction project Fiji
IVI Construction project Fiji

About

As a tourist there is a side to Fiji you've probably never seen. Outside the glossy resorts it is very much a developing country. IVI have been operating in Fiji for over 20 years! We have a broad range of project options with either home stays or volunteer center opportunities in 5 different locations. As a non profit org we provide affordable projects, ways for you to experience the real Fiji and give back to the local communities. A snapshot of our projects include:

-Welcoming Home Stays
-Remote Island Primary Teaching
-Kindergarten teaching
-Remote Island Construction
-Woman & Children’s Commune
-Nutrition & Public Health
-Hydroponic Food Security
-Orphanage Volunteering
-Special Needs School
-Animal Shelters
-Disaster Management & First Aid
-Medical Internships
-English & Sports Teaching
-Healthcare Education
-Cultural Orientation Week

Road Trips
-21 Day Fiji Road Trip

Highlights
  • Structured Nutrition & Public Health Community Outreach Project
  • 21 day Fiji Road Trip & Volunteer Experience
  • Home Stays or Volunteer Center Options
  • Over 25,000+ Volunteers - Charity & Non Profit Org
  • 30+ years experience. IVI provides safe, high quality & responsible volunteer travel experiences

Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 17 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 17
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Maureen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji Teaching Review

The highlights of the trip were of course the children. They are such happy children, keen to learn and I was really impressed with the generally neatness of their bookwork and their handwriting.
The people there are so welcoming and accepting of people into their village. They showed great concern for me and my comfort and for my age (apparently I was the oldest volunteer they had ever had at the school) and I know a lot of work went on behind the scenes to make sure I was comfortable and safe.
Some of the highlights were travelling with the students to Mololo Island and Sigatoka for sports events. The logistics of organising up to 76 students 7 teachers and a couple of volunteers to travel in small fishing boats and the school boat to Mololo and in the case of the trip to Sigatoka transferring to the ferry off the island of Tokoriki and catching a bus from Denarau to Sigatoka were pretty formidable but were managed very impressively.
I loved reading with the students. They work so hard and are so keen to learn. I also enjoyed walking along the beach with the students after school singing songs we had learned that day or collecting shells and also spending time with the women who were so very kind and generous. I felt I really made some good friends. I’ve enclosed a photos of the children but I’m afraid I am not a very good photographer and I also missed a lot of photo opportunities. I am truly grateful for the opportunity of being a volunteer at Mamanuca school and I would love to do it again. I would need to save the money, which I’m sure I could do, and I would have to do it before I get too much older but let’s see how I go. Could you please give me the email address and the postal address of the school? I have some books from a reading programme I would like to send and also gifts for Master Te and Mala, who took such good care of me while I was there.

What would you improve about this program?
There are probably a couple of things that I wasn’t really prepared for: One was the fact that I left everyone in Sigatoka on Thursday and with everyone busy trying to get organised for the trip back to Yanuya, Master Te and I left early in the morning to go to his village and I did not get the opportunity so say “Goodbye” and to thank people before I left.
Another thing was that because I was staying with the men teachers I hadn’t taken anything as a gift for them and I didn’t have the opportunity to shop for a gift for them. I was not able to leave the island to shop and the cost of the return ferry trip to Tokoriki is quite expensive.
One other thing is that although it says so in the Welcome Pack there is nowhere to keep important belongings safe. I really have no issues with this as I’m sure 99 percent of the time this is not a problem, however my speaker, which I use with my computer, went missing during my stay at the school.
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Ella
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji Nutrition & Public Health

Highlights of the trip:
The trip would not have been the same without the amazing pals I shared it with. Sharing this experience with them was bonding to the max haha. The rural villages were definitely a highlight of the trip! The villagers are incredibly friendly and caring, and they were grateful for our health checks as much as we were grateful for their hospitality. One particular villager, which was our live-in rooster, was most entertaining. Every evening he would climb the tree outside our bedroom and would wake us up no earlier than 4am, all I can say is that we were very ready for the day ahead haha.

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
The amazing Danielle, our super coordinator, my personal hero, what a babe. Mere, my mother from another country. Food wise, I’ve learnt that my body can eat way more carbs than I thought possible haha. This trip has expanded my recipe book, not sure I can live without roti parcels and that marvellous spinach recipe now haha.

Sharing the accomodation with the rest of the team made it feel like home, which eased my apprehension.

What would you improve about this program?
I’m not sure if there’s too much that can be done with Fiji time, but other than that I would have loved a bit more pre-departure information regarding the family we would be staying with, as well as an itinerary for the trip. Just so that I can assure my family, friends, and myself, that I’m not just rocking up and hoping for the best haha.
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Ben
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Remote Island Teaching Review

Highlights:
The whole two- week trip was a highlight from me. From being picked up at the airport by Masi’s son to being driven to the Denaru by a family friend. I arrived on the island with the headmaster’s family in a small fibreglass boat and it is certainly something I’ll never forget. Fiji is such a family orientated culture, which made me feel so comfortable from the start. Everyone welcomed me with open arms and I felt right at home from the beginning. The children melted my heart with their beautiful smiles and cheekiness, the locals always greeted me as I wandered past with the kids and the pristine beaches and coral reefs that surrounded the island were stunning. My host family were incredible, so generous with everything they had. They answered my questions, talked to me, laughed with me and my two Fijian “brothers” I had for two weeks,I will never forget. I left Fiji feeling like I was a part of their family. The teaching staff were so appreciative of everything I did and they made me feel like part of the school.

The island is such a picturesque island with natural beauty everywhere you looked. I loved waking up in the morning to the sun shining and the sounds of the children going about their morning jobs. I felt that I have experienced the “real” Fiji in staying on a remote island and living like a local. I would not have wanted it any other way for my first experience as a volunteer.

Comments on team, food and accommodation:
Lauren was fabulous with her communication and any questions I had were answered promptly. Even though I had no reason to contact her whilst in Fiji, I felt 100% supported the whole time. Masi and his family were incredible hosts and I felt right at home staying with him and his family. He was informative and extremely helpful when my bags went missing (haha) and more importantly a kind soul. The food on the island was quite bland compared to what I was use to back home but there was plenty of it and I enjoyed trying out the various Fijian foods that were prepared for me. As we were briefed, vegetables and fruits were few and far between but this was expected. Once again I was expecting clean but no frills accommodation in comparison to what I am use to. The toilet for me was somewhat of a challenge in the beginning (haha) and the shower was buckets of water. You just have to embrace it and go with the flow because that is how they live and it was important for me to be grateful for what they had given me. This experience was out of my comfort zone but hands down one of the best things I’ve ever done.

What would you improve about this program?
As I’m quite an organised person I felt a little disorganised before leaving but to be honest I felt completely okay once I landed in Fiji. Their carefree nature rubbed off and me and I just felt that everything would be fine! In terms of the teaching, next time I would love to organise in advance what I could do at school so I could help as much as possible (but as I’m a teacher at home I think this why I felt this way). I loved how the organisation did as much as possible to help but on the other hand let you sort some of it out a little bit yourself too. I especially liked how I was on the island by myself for a week and not in a big group of volunteers. I feel you can become part of the community when it is like this and I really got to know the children and teachers during this time when I was alone.
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Ben
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji Public Health & Nutrition- Review by Ben

My time volunteering in Fiji with the IVI public health program was one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences of my life. It was a fulfilling experiences to help such beautiful people that are facing very serious but preventable health issues. The services, accommation etc. provided by IVI were far better than I could of ask for. The other volunteers were all wonderful, friendly people, with a shared desire to give their time to help others and work as a team.’

Highlights of the trip:
The biggest highlight for me was the connections and time spent with Fijian people in the village. The people were without reason so genuinely friendly and beautiful even though by ‘our standards’ they have little in terms of everyday living. It was a real privilege to stay in the remote villages and see how the people live, eat there food most of which was grown in the village and stay in there homes. Health checks was also a great experience and I really enjoyed the face to face time with the villages gathering information on the lifestyle and health. It was an extremely rewarding feeling at the end of the day after doing health checks, especially when we would find people with dangerous reading and send them away to hospital as simply as presences there may have saved that persons life. I really did love every minute of the trip to be honest.

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
Jules our program manager was amazing I feel she was perfect for the role as she really knew how to keep things in order, get things done and had confidence to deal with serious and confronting situations in terms of some of the medical emergency BSL and BP reading that we got. The food was great as we got to have lots of traditional Fijian food which was just what I wanted. Accommodation was better than I would have asked for even when we stayed in the village homes on the floor this was exactly the experienced I wanted.

What would you improve about this program?
It is hard to think of any improvements as any inconveniences on the trip were more to do with the economic status of the country and availability of the everyday resources rather than anything IVI could have done better. Sometimes it was hard to get sufficient food I needed for the day but this is because I am vegetarian and in the remote places there was not always many options.
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Maureen
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching on Remote Fiji Island

Highlights of the trip:
Living so close to the local people and spending all my time with them.
I remember that one day where the kids showed me a secret beach. Another volunteer and around 20 kids, including my two host brothers climbed over a hill, just to arrive on this breathtaking beach. We played in the water and in the sand all day, the kids climbed trees to get coconuts and papayas. One of my favorite days ever!

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
Masi was really helpful and it was easy to communicate.
The food is very basic. It’s basically instant noodles, taro and cassava every day, some canned vegetables and chicken. For me it was not a problem and I got used to it very quickly. Some more fruits and vegetables would be great though.
My host family was amazing! I have rarely met such a caring and hospitable family. I had my own room to sleep in and I shared bathroom, toilet and kitchen with them. The standard was higher than I expected. The house is on the school compound, so it’s close to where the boarding students live and close to the village.
It’s a fantastic island, there are many pretty beaches and the village is beautiful. Of course there are problems, for example the stray dogs that are treated very badly or the insufficient drinking water supply.

What would you improve about this program?
A better structure for what work needs to be done. Most mornings when I arrived at school they just told me to see where help is needed. So I couldn’t help as effectively as I hoped. I was allowed to teach for only two or three times. I think it would be really helpful if a volunteer could teach a small group of students who need extra support.
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Fatoumata-Binta
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

volunteer in fiji

I did an internship in Fiji for 1 month in the framework of food advice and insist people to practice physical activity. I enjoyed this course immensely and I had a wonderful meeting, the people in Fiji are very friendly and they are open to esprits, they love to make discover their cultures as well as their histories and make discover their magnificent islands. this internship allowed me to realize that by giving advice to people we could change them better and that is felt in their behavior. it is an unforgettable experience and I recommend everyone to visit this beautiful island to see for yourself the beauty of the country and the population.

I am convinced that everyone who goes to fiji is happy, I hope this message has reassured you to go to fiji and you can only appreciate this place

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I was amazed at the welcome of the people, their kindness, friendliness and their desire to teach you the tradition, it is very pleasant
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Andrea
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience in Fiji

Highlights
The highlight of the trip was meeting new people and living the Fijian life and not a tourist life. We used the public transport to get to the orphanage. It was a 20 minute walk to the bus station and another 40 minute ride. Our family organised a card for us to use. Bus tickets were only $2.78 one way each. We also used the taxi service which is amazingly cheap compared to Australian Taxi fees. Tasting the different types of foods was great.
At the orphanage we were blown away how friendly the mothers were and how well behaved the children were. Everyone had a role to play. I have taken some photos of the orphanage. On our last day we were together with two other volunteers from New Zealand. We worked well together and set up an area for the children to play. There was a lot of washing each day. Every day we sat with the children and they loved doing the word search puzzles that we had brought. I donated two bags of art and crafts supplies which were gratefully received.
Food, accomodation, hosts:
Our hosts were amazing and made sure that we were taken care of. We had our room together that was well equipped with everything we needed. We were taken on a tour to the shops, bus station and to be inducted at the orphanage. One of the mother’s took us through and explained the routine and our jobs for the day. It was better when we had another team there that we could do projects together with.
I will aim to sent some donations to the orphanage and use my experience to encourage other’s to do the same. It has been an amazing experience.
Regards
Andrea

What would you improve about this program?
Next time I will look at doing two weeks instead of one. I will also look into the fund my project page and get this started early to help with the cost of volunteering overseas.
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Sandra
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Primary School Teaching Suva Review – 2016

The trip to Fiji was really amazing and rewarding! Highly recommended to people of all ages!! Thank you for offering me such a wondering experience of a lifetime. The whole arrangement by IVI was perfectly smooth and we were well-informed of the dos and don’ts before the journey started. Special thanks to you as you are very helpful and always reply to my many queries promptly:)

It has been 2 weeks already since I left Fiji. 100% a great place for traveling, volunteering and meeting friends from all over the world. I miss everything there, especially the people and their lovely ‘Fiji smile’. They were just too friendly and easy-going. Our placements in a kindergarten in Suva and a rural primary school in Nadi were definitely the best parts of the trip. I enjoyed the teaching and was pleased that I could really help the local teachers a bit with the progress of some weaker students. (Always worrying about having no contribution at all before the trip XD) You would be surprised when you find out the huge difference in learning levels the students could have in one class, i.e. the smart ones were learning multiplication in maths while some could not even recognize the numbers from 1 to 10. Hopefully, there will be more volunteers joining in the future so that the program can be sustained in a long run.

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Christie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji Road Trip Review – 2016

My time in Fiji was an absolute blast, and something that I will always cherish and remember! Taking part in the road trip was a fantastic program as I got to experience a lot; living like the locals in different villages, volunteering, going on adventures with new friends on the weekends, playing rugby, hanging with the locals and drinking kava, and soo much more!

Having the opportunity to experience true Fijian culture by living in the villages with several families was something that I will never forget. It is such a rare experience, and I recommend anyone travelling to Fiji to take on this opportunity. The Chief and family were very welcoming and friendly and took great care of me. Seeing such a community way of life was really great to see, with everyone getting along and taking care of one another, the kids playing outside running amuck or exploring the beaches – you just had to join in!

Being able to take part and lead kids club in Suva and helping out at a school in Levuka was just an amazing and humbling experience for me. Seeing the kid’s smiles and just how happy and grateful they are for what they have is definitely eye-opening. I have learnt so much personally, that has changed the way I think and see life. Back home we have so many great opportunities and material goods that we simply just take for granted. Whereas they are over the moon to simply go to school and have a pencil and book to write in.

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Jessica
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Naturopath in Fiji

“Oh wow, we have the same birthday” I said gently, sitting cross legged on the floor opposite a woman of my exact age, her name was Kaliti. She smiled weakly. She had been pleased to see me but there was an unbelievable sadness to her that made me want to talk softly and slowly so as not to break her.

It was my third week in Fiji volunteering at the womans commune, a housing commission for Fiji’s destitute. The property houses 124 flats that are rented out for $5 a week to anyone that has nowhere else to go. As a Naturopath, I had come to make house calls on all the residents and do some basic health checks.

Two other women sat with us. Outside you could hear the five children that also lived here playing and giggling. This was my seventh family I’d visited today so I was familiar with the setup of the houses- very little furniture, a small kitchen with nothing in it, a couple of mats on the floor which served as the sitting area/bed for this family of eight and an over powering smell that I can only describe as the smell of poverty.

Slowly this family began to warm to me and through broken English I learned of their story. Kaliti had just come from the hospital after an operation to remove an ovarian cyst. She had been living here helping her auntie who had recently become the sole carer of Kaliti’s 5 cousins. In January, the children’s mother had died from pneumonia, closely followed by their father from tuberculosis in June. Now they all lived here with their grandmother.

The grandmother was 61 years old. She looked tired and stressed. When I asked her about her own health, she began to cry. Through tears she told me that she had recently been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure and fatty liver disease. She cried not because of her conditions but because of how scared she was that her grandchildren may have no one to care for them if something was to happen to her. On her death bed, her daughter had asked her to take care of the children and the grandmother had pleaded with her that she wasn’t strong enough to raise more children. But she had no choice.

The children are all in primary school. They have no shoes to wear to school. They out grew their sandals and now their thongs have worn out too. All five children have lice, ringworm and scabies.

This wasn’t the first grandmother I had met who was now the sole carer of her grandchildren. It was a common story line. Fijian people place high importance on loyalty to family. It’s inspiring. They will give so much of what they have to others even when they have hardly anything left to give.

For me this had been the hardest part of my house calls. Seeing how much help these people needed and yet they refuse to stop giving away the little they do have.

In the world where I grew up, a world that seems so far away from this one, we have so much. A life of poverty in Australia is often related to drug or alcohol abuse or wasted opportunity but in Fiji the people that live this way are here just because of where they were born. The most common scenarios I saw were women hiding with their children from domestic violence, or unemployment usually due to injury, disability, being a single parent, old age or just plain old bad luck. Every family was affected by illness, scarcity and depression. Every house call was another heartbreaking story.

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Angel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji commune group

Highlights of the trip:

Home stay – It was terrific! Our family were very welcoming and catered a lot to our needs during our stay there. We had an amazing start of the trip with them briefing us through some historical, cultural, social, political and economic situation in Fiji. It was very important for us as first-time foreigners visiting Fiji. The house was cozy and we definitely felt at home during our stay.

Volunteering – It has been a great pleasure to be able to do this voluntary service with our self-designed activities that suit the need of the students at the school. We really loved how IVI and the school, where we volunteered at, had given us so much autonomy to create our own activities and with the way we carried out our service. It’s definitely something we had not experience elsewhere and with other NGOs we’ve worked with.

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:

The food was great and helped us understand more about the local eating habits and lifestyle. The accommodation was cozy and comfortable. The only thing was that when the weather got cooler and no sun, there was no warm water; but otherwise, everything was great. We really appreciate the team’s effort and prompt reply to our questions and it had been very helpful for us to complete our volunteer project.

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Jennfier
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Special needs

Spending time with my host family, getting to know the staff outside of volunteering, and working with the children at the school site.

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:

Everything went well. Everyone was eager to make me feel welcome and to assist in any needs as they developed.

Any improvements to help us be better:

I was volunteering for a limited time, but it would have been nice meeting other volunteers. Suggestions for sightseeing, travel arrangements, etc would also be beneficial.

The special needs school would benefit from continued speech therapy support. If there is a way that I can be a resource in advertising such need(s), etc, I would be open to providing assistance.

Jennifer Holcombe,

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Carol
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best weeks of my life. Ever

My time on the remote island teaching project was one of the best weeks of my life, ever ……. it was hard, hot, uncomfortable and a bit challenging at times but incredibly rewarding. What an amazing school. We have come back with a very long list of very much needed items, so if you feel compelled to help out after seeing these photos please PM me!

It’s hard to believe that 24 hours ago my only footwear was a pair of jandals (thongs/flip flops, flippers) covered in biddy bids and held together by a peg (first day one of the kids stood on the back of it), and today I was wearing black high heeled boots and corporate attire in Sydney! What an incredible, wonderful world we live in!

What would you improve about this program?
Volunteers could be provided a profile of the children which outlines any specific areas where needs exist to help us tailor our assistance accordingly.
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Lucy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji Orphanage

I honestly could never have imagined how humbling and heart warming my Fiji experience would have been! I have never met a more welcoming and friendly community in my life. Fiji and the orphanage taught me so much and Masi and Mila are amazing!

Fiji you have my heart forever! Thank you so much for all your help I will 100% going back! And I have recommended you to so many friends! And thank you Fiji and the orphanage for teaching me so much about myself and hopefully they gained something from me too 🙂

There’s nothing more fulfilling then seeing how happy them children are and how the generosity of other help keep them that way 🙂

Thanks again Lauren and IVI!

Kind regards,
Lucy

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Elisabeth
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji Teaching and Community Work

As my term in Fiji came to a close, I couldn’t help but stop to reflect on a few things…

SavusavuFijiPalmTree

For those who didn’t know, the primary purpose of my trip to Fiji was to assist those affected by Cyclone Winston devastation. I’d known for a while I wanted to return to Fiji after having the opportunity to visit last year, but hearing the news about Cyclone Winston back in February ultimately confirmed my decision.

My secondary reason for coming to Fiji was to escape the toxicity of my old life at home (I really don’t want to into it again, but I wrote a blog post kind of explaining the situation a while ago…).

Generally speaking, I was very unhappy and knew I needed to get away. My heart also ached for the people of Fiji, who had been so wonderful to me throughout my previous stay. I badly wanted to help, and shift my focus towards the needs of others, as my overall perspective on life was in serious need of a reality check – more or less, years upon years of perpetually ruminating on my “first-world problems” had turned me into a person I did not like very much.

Now that my volunteering program has ended, I find myself nine weeks later, with a dizzying array of thoughts running through my head – foremost, did I actually help?

Sarah, a friend and fellow volunteer I met during my experience in Fiji, recently wrote a fantastic blog post on her website, Enrichmentality (please go check it out!), discussing questions all volunteers really should ask themselves, prior to and during their service.

How can I help? Why I am I doing this? Am I really helping?

In truth, my past two months involved a variety of situations – from enriching, memorable, and deeply moving to just plain unpleasant. I’ll admit, there were moments I weeped for the pleasant chill of an air conditioner, consistent internet access, hot showers, and many other mundane first-world luxuries I’d taken for granted. There were numerous occasions I had to question my own integrity; times I had to let go of all conceit and give selflessly; other times I had to walk away from a despairing circumstance, escorted by the pain realising there was nothing I could do.

Did I help? Am I at all a better person than I was nine weeks ago?

Did I develop more contempt for the ants scurrying across the table than integrity for others, simply based on my longing for the world I came from?

I like to think my head’s in a significantly healthier place now than it was before travelling here, but this experience wasn’t entirely about me.

Elisabeth Rollins (USA)