Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Ghana from $270
96% Rating
(40 Reviews)

Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Ghana from $270

Join IVHQ and volunteer abroad in Ghana! Highly affordable programs are available for anywhere from 1 week to 24 weeks in the greater Accra region of Ghana. At any given time, you can expect to be working with 20-50 other volunteers. Volunteers are welcomed to assist on a range of community-driven projects.

IVHQ Volunteer Projects Available in Ghana:

  • Teaching
  • Childcare
  • Sports Education
  • Medical
  • Agriculture
  • Construction and Renovation

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting on the 1st and 15th of every month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $270 for 1 week
  • Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Between 20 and 50 IVHQ volunteers start in Argentina each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Ghana with fellow volunteers - see Wli Falls, Kakum National Park and more!
Locations
Africa » Ghana » Accra
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Language
English
Housing
Hostel
Starting Price
$270.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Ghana Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

Questions & Answers

I hope not as this is the question I am asking.

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    87%
  • Support
    92%
  • Fun
    94%
  • Value
    93%
  • Safety
    96%

Program Reviews (40)

Dane'sha
Female

Ghana medical program

10/10

I was at IVHQ Ghana medical program- purple program. I loved the organization of the program from start to finish. They made sure that all of my questions were answered and I felt secure in the program even prior to going. Every worker that I encounter was very helpful. Evans was a great program coordinator, that made sure everything was going well and smoothly while in Ghana. If there was anything that we needed like sim cards or whatever, he made it happen. The locals were very open and receptive to having volunteers around and helping. The assigned duties varied depending on the volunteers interests and skill levels, accommodating everyone's wants out of the program. We were able to work with students in areas near their schools doing wound care and malaria testing & treating and some of us were in the clinic as well helping as needed. While the accommodations were not what I was used to, I was grateful for the merging into the culture. Also, the basic "Twi" language lessons were very useful. In addition, I felt very safe in Ghana not just because the workers or security were around, but the country in general made me feel safe no matter where I went or who was with me. I would highly recommend the purple program in Ghana through IVHQ to everyone who is looking to experience a western African culture while helping where needed

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Zahra
Female
20 years old
U.S
Other

Evans Frankadua

10/10

My volunteer trip to Ghana would not have been the same without Evans. I travelled alone to Ghana and I went in with no expectations which was giving me a bit of anxiety. As soon as I landed I met Evans at the airport and he was an immediate help from that very moment. He had such a warm and friendly energy to him which made me comfortable. I was placed in the olive program when I arrived and I wasn't happy there. I was the only volunteer there so I felt a bit alone, so Evans arranged a move for me to the purple program without any questions. I stayed in frankadua for 5 weeks and felt at home. Every other week Evans would travel from Accra to frankadua to visit the purple group. He would check in on us, help around the house, cook us yummy meals, and just made sure everyone was happy with what they were doing. Evans always went the extra mile to assure that we were all satisfied and comfortable. One of the volunteers arranged a blood test for one of the orphanages in a different color group that I can’t remember but we had to drive there which took a little while. The test was for Malaria and so we all decided to volunteer and help out! Evans went out of his way to join us in the purple group and helped arranged our drive and also volunteered to help us when we arrived. He did not have to do that but Evans just has an amazing huge heart. I honestly do not know what we would have done without him there because things got a little confusing and it was organized well with the other group so Evans, of course came to the rescue and helped set it all up.

Another time Evans helped me feel safe and comfortable was when we were on our cape coast trip. On that trip volunteers stay in the room with all the bunk beds and I was so excited I thought it would be so much fun! Buuuttt I’m highly afraid of bugs especially cockroaches. They were crawling all over my bed and it seemed to have not bothered anybody else except me. I ran out of the room crying because I felt so uncomfortable and I wanted to go back home in that moment. I know I know everyone is thinking what a dramatic move! Haha but I can’t help it. I cannot sleep if there are bugs crawling on my pillow and bed. So I was outside I decided to stay up all night crying and Evans came out to check on everybody to see if they got to their room safe and sound. He saw me outside looking very sad so he came to me and asked if everything was ok. I told him the whole bug situation and he immediately offered two options for me to book me a hotel room or to get a nice clean room in the resort area. He didn’t make me feel bad for anything he just wanted to see me happy and comfortable and he took me to a clean room with a new blanket and new pillow and I felt so much better! Evans you are THE BEST and you are unforgettable you made me Ghana trip 1000x better and I thank you so much for that! May God bless you!

Manuel
Male

Volunteering in Ghana - Frankadua

10/10

When you embark for the first time on an international experience, you will certainly feel a wide range of emotions, from fear to enthusiasm. Well, do not be scared or hesitate on enrolling for a Volunteer Program in Ghana and here is why:
First, from the moment I got out of my plane, I felt always welcomed by the community and I must say that throughout my time there the staff and locals always helped me out when needed.
Second, there is no better way to know a country and its people than having the opportunity to spend time with them and live as they do. In Ghana, I guess I can say that everyone likes to talk and get to know new people and volunteers. Both kids and adults, you will love to have a word with you and show you around, show you how things are done there. As such, you will surely learn a lot with them!
Third, there´s no better way to live life than with a smile in your face! The tough conditions they live in might stun you, but their charisma, personality, energy, smile will certainly astonish you, because that is the way lie should be lived. That´s the way they live it, by being 100% alive!
Now I would like to introduce to you my experience more in details as well as give you some tips in case you are really considering going to Ghana. I´ve spent a simple month (4weeks) on the Purple Program that is running in the Frankadua and I must say that if it was today and if I could I would have enrolled for certainly more time. I was on the Sports Teaching Program, but I ended up doing several other things like marking exams, helping local teachers, teaching in the mornings during summer break and giving training/practice to the FC Bright Star team for 2hours every weekday. So it is up to you to just do what you have enrolled for or participate in as many things as you can.
In case you are unsure about what supplies you should bring, I would suggest you bringing notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers and some reading and coloring books (Teaching); footballs (soccer balls for the Americans), football boots (Sports Teaching); and then medical supplies such as bandages, oxygen peroxide, and other first aid supplies are always needed.
There´s more to do and to know in Ghana, so in case you are wondering IVHQ staff organizes weekend trips – Cape Coast, Wli Waterfalls, etc. - and you could also arrange them independently with other volunteers as I did when I went to Ada Foah.
I have enjoyed every single moment while in Ghana and words cannot describe the experience that I had that without a doubt changed by life.

I would like to thank IVHQ for such an opportunity!

How can this program be improved?

My only criticism is the same expressed by other volunteers and it would be to ensure that the money is being distributed correctly, because sometimes it is not clear how the money is being used and if appropriately.

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Maeve-Kathleen
Female
23 years old
USA
Other

Student nurse volunteering in Ghana

10/10

This summer I experienced the opportunity of a lifetime when I volunteered for two weeks in Ghana. I was part of a larger group of nursing students who belonged to the same community outreach program at our college.

Upon arrival to the airport in Ghana we realized how hands on the IVHQ team was going to be for us. Elvis immediately found us and was a smiling face that we knew we could rely on. This set the tone for us meeting the rest of the IVHQ Ghana team who could not have been any more welcoming or hospitable. Edward Adeli, Benedict Adeli, Nancy, Elvis, and Evans Kojo were so helpful in running this program and providing this experience for all of us. Evans in particular was with us almost 24/7 and when he was not with us it was because he was finding us supplies that we needed. He took on many roles whether it be organizer, assistant, tour guide, translator, and most importantly was a friend.

Our assignment was malaria testing for the Silver program, which included Patrick's orphanage and Savior School, as well as several communities near the Gold program. After we found the positives we also were able to provide the malaria medication for free. Mama Pat and Patrick were amazing hosts and my favorite memory of the entire trip was just playing games with the kids at Silver. The Gold program was also an amazing experience. Tina, Felix, Benjamin, and Giles took care of us and made sure everything went smoothly with our village outreach screenings. Another person who was instrumental in making our time here worthwhile was Eric Abaidoo. He came along with us to provide nursing expertise as well as acted as a translator and tour guide several times and I'm so glad we were able to meet him.

The weekend trips to Cape Coast and Kokrobite were well planned and provided much needed relaxation after our hard work during the week. (As a small side note, all of the food I was provided during this trip was amazing!!!)

I would not only recommend IVHQ Ghana to others (as I already have), but I would also like to come back either next summer or sometime soon after to volunteer again. The entire experience was life changing for me and I'm very happy that I went.

How can this program be improved?

We brought medical supplies from home over to donate to the clinics, but we were not told beforehand which supplies in particular they would need the most so we kind of blindly chose to bring things, some of which did not seem to be needed. If we had a better idea of the medical care we would be providing then we could have planned better for the supplies we could bring.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Maeve-Kathleen, Thanks for sharing! We are thrilled to hear that your group had such a great experience on the program in Ghana. Our Ghana team is so warm, generous, and helpful so we are not surprised that they helped to make your experience go well. It is awesome that you would like to join us again in Ghana – we would be very happy to have you back!
Kaila – IVHQ Ghana Program Manager

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vicki
Female
19 years old
United Kingdom
Other

IVHQ - Ghana - Incredible first travel experience

10/10

I travelled with IVQH this summer and it was my first time doing anything like this as I'm only 18. it was such an incredible experience and we had support 24/7. i was worried about not meeting any friends out there but i became so close with the other volunteers and still keep in touch with them now I'm back home.
every volunteer goes for a different reason but we all come back loving the experience thanks to IVHQ making it such an incredible and safe experience.

How can this program be improved?

the only improvement i can think of is making the travel back to the airport from the program easier and have more communication with the program leader to help with this.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Vicki, Thanks for sharing! We are so glad to hear that you had an incredible first time volunteering in Ghana and we are sure that your review will be encouraging for other young, solo travellers. We wish you all the best and hope you will join us again!
Kaila – IVHQ Ghana Program Manager

Emily
Female

Ghana has stolen my heart

10/10

After spending a mere 6 weeks on the Purple Teaching program in this beautiful country, leaving Ghana is up there on my list of the hardest things I've ever had to do. From the moment I arrived I felt so welcomed by the community, and I continued to feel so connected throughout my time there with the help of the staff as well as the locals. I met so many beautiful souls; other volunteers, amongst whom I have made friends for life... locals, who were always willing to show you around the area and show how you do it Ghana style! and of course my students...
Teaching was an absolute blast. I had the privilege of teaching in 2 different schools within the village - the Roman Catholic School (where I taught English classes once a day, which enabled the current teacher to have a well earned break and which gave the students the chance to hear an English accent), and the Baptist School (where I spent the rest of the day teaching a range of subjects with another volunteer - the actual teacher was on leave, so without us, the students would have been left to their own devices with no teacher, so it was clear how much they appreciated us being there). The kids in my class taught me more than I could ever have taught them in the classroom. Their personalities are exploding... they're happy, they're hyper, they're intrigued, they're angry... they're SO alive. Their constant smiles, their energy and charisma is enough to lift you off the ground, especially considering the tough conditions they have to live in. If you are considering teaching, I would suggest bringing supplies such as pencils/pens (many of them didn't have their own), writing books (they have to buy their own in the schools and many of them don't have the money to do so, so they end up using scrap books), and perhaps some educational posters (multiplication tables, the alphabet, world atlas...). Also, the system is very different to that of England or America - so when you come, come with no expectations, and throw yourself into it.
Whilst I wasn't in the classroom I had some amazing experiences with weekend trips away to various places across Ghana, some of which we arranged independently, and others with the help of IVHQ staff (such as Evans) - we visited Wli waterfalls, Mole National Park, Ada Foah, Krokrobite, Cape Coast... If you come to Ghana, I urge you to go on as many trips away as possible to see what this amazing place has to offer!
I can honestly say that there wasn't a dull moment whilst in Ghana, it is a truly wonderful place. I am so grateful to IVHQ for the opportunity.

How can this program be improved?

My only criticism would be to ensure that the money is being distributed correctly - we pay a lot of money to volunteer, yet it isn't always clear that the money we have paid is being used appropriately.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Emily, Thanks so much for your awesome review! We are so glad that you had a blast at your teaching placements, met beautiful people from Ghana and all over the world, and took the time to explore the wonderful sights that Ghana has to offer. Thanks for spending 6 weeks with us and we would love to have you back one day!
Kaila - IVHQ Ghana Program Manager

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Delaney
Female
27 years old
Italy
Western Michigan University

My heart in Ghana

10/10

I spent two amazing weeks in Ghana, volunteering with IVHQ Turquoise Program at the Senya-Beraku Health Clinic.
Evans (who is your POC for the turquoise program) met me at the airport, on time and exactly where my instructions told me he would be. I had an obnoxiously large and heavy suitcase that I had filled with medical supplies for my work at the clinic. Evans did not hesitate to help me with it and lugged it down the street until we found a taxi. When we got to the volunteer house in Madina, he showed me around and introduced me to the staff. After I was settled, Evans helped to get my phone working with multiple package options with prices for pre-paid SIM cards. I was stressed because I had no local currency to pay him for the SIM card at that moment, he assured me we would find a reliable ATM in the morning and got my phone working that night anyway. Half way through my stay in Ghana, my phone ran low on data and Evans was able to help me again.
Getting to my placement in Senya was chaotic and long but Evans was so helpful and professional, explained everything to me along the way and answered all of my questions. Everyone stares at you, and tries to get your attention because you are clearly a foreigner, but I never felt unsafe with Evans, as he doesn’t let them harass you.
Once we reached the volunteer house in Senya, Evans introduced me to my local point of contact, Francis. We went over any unanswered questions and/or concerns before Evans left. Later I met Stephen and Seth, who were also my local people to contact. Evans continued to check in via text or phone call to make sure everything was going well and was so fast to respond if I ever needed him for something. Francis or Stephen stopped at the house almost every morning to check that everything was going well also.
When I started at the clinic, I was quickly thrown into the mix. I am a registered nurse so I was able to help with whatever they needed, though another girl with me was still in nursing school and also had no limitations. The staff was amazingly friendly and all very willing to teach. On my first day, I rode in the back of an ambulance to help transport a patient to the closest hospital about an hour away. I took vital signs/established initial patient rapport into the clinic, performed dressing changes, administered medications via IV and injection and helped with whatever else they needed.
I saw many people struggle to pay for care or the treatment that they needed. I saw people come in with malaria, in constant misery. I also noticed that many people who did not have health insurance would wait at least three days or more before they came into the clinic. Unfortunately, this always lead to a much bigger problem once they were finally seen.
I wanted to do more for the community that I was temporarily living in. Evans had told me on the first day that some volunteers have organized free malaria outreach projects in the past and that if I wanted to, he could help me get it started. So I started a fundraiser online to raise money for a free malaria outreach, provide health insurance to people who could not afford it and get some basic medical supplies for the clinic. With the help of Seth, the Chief of the clinic, Leticia (a local nurse) and many others, I was able to organize a free clinic in Senya to test and treat 400 people for malaria.
Trying to move money for such a large project was a little tricky but Evans came with me and we went to bank after bank until we finally were able to pull out the money we needed. After, Evans took me to the Accra market where I could find medical supplies for the clinic. I honestly could not have done any of it without him because I was crunched for time and had no idea where to go or how to do it.
The day of the outreach, I had so much help and everything went so smooth. Seth, Francis, Stephen and Evans all worked very hard to help me from start to finish. Leticia and other local nurses were there working all day as well.
I never felt unsafe or alone while I was in Ghana; someone from IVHQ was always there if I needed them. Meals were always on time and any issues I had were quickly resolved through Evans, Seth, Francis or Stephen. I started to feel ill after the first week and everyone was so attentive. Francis stopped at the house to check on me, Evans called and text me and kept tabs on me every day until I was feeling better. Everyone genuinely wants you to have a great experience so if there is any problem, please let someone know.
Senya is a small village, so finding things to do after ‘work’ was a little difficult. However, there was a bar close to our house, we walked around the village for street snacks and there are two great beaches close by that we went to often as well. Getting around was easy too, either by Tro Tro or Taxi, if we wanted to go to another town. One weekend all of the volunteers met up at Kokrobite beach, which was really fun, and I suggest you do, if you can all plan it. Evans also is the weekend master planner when it comes to anything Cape Coast and can set everything up for you if you wish to go.
I made so many great friends and wonderful memories during my short stay in Ghana. I had an overwhelming amount of support while I was there and if I ever needed something or wasn’t sure who to ask, I would call Evans and he would help me figure out who I needed to talk to or what needed to be done. Everyone was so great, but Evans went above and beyond every single day and is extremely willing to help you with anything. It was so hard to leave, and actually, I am already planning my return 
Packing Tip: I never wore my running shoes; they just took up space in my bag. I wore flip flops and TOMS style shoes my entire stay. The heat is tolerable; the humidity is what gets to you. STAY HYDRATED. I brought Pedialyte ® (ORS) drink mix packets to add to my water and they are GOLD; especially if you are not feeling well. I also brought my own personal pharmacy and had almost any medication you could think of, and I am so grateful that I did. Pack half the amount of clothes and twice the amount of baby wipes that you think you will need. Head lamp/flashlight was essential. Small backpack for traveling, big enough to hold your water and money and baby wipes was extremely handy. Bring a charged battery pack to charge your phone, because the power never fails to go out when your phone is about to die.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Delaney, What an awesome review, and what an incredible volunteer you are! Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us your experience as a medical volunteer in Ghana. It sounds like the support provided by Evans was excellent, as per usual, and we will be sure to pass your kind words on to him. It is clear that you went into the program with passion and commitment and we are sure that this would have been noticed and appreciated by the other medical professionals at your placement. Thanks for your useful advise and for being an outstanding volunteer. We would love to have you join us again in the future!
Kaila – IVHQ Ghana Program Manager

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S
Female
24 years old
birmingham

BEST TIME OF MY LIFE

9/10

I genuinely and thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Ghana summer 2016. IVHQ were very friendly in the sense of how we were looked after. If we had any ideas or any other ways we wanted to contribute then we were provided with help and support. I was on the purple program, we taught at a local school which was a 3 minute walk away. The volunteer house is ample for everyone's needs and quite spacious. I expected less if I am honest but it is quick to see how big and 'modern' it is when in comparison with the houses surrounding it so be grateful. The house is placed in the middle of the community so children often play around it which is good because you are immersed into the community and can spend more time with the children but may also not be good if you get annoyed easily .. lol.
Evans Nkansah in particular made this trip smooth for me as if we had any concerns he would be sure to assist us in so. It really is a blessing having a IVHQ member who is helpful as it can be scary travelling to a foreign country alone for the first time. So thank you IVHQ for this experience,

How can this program be improved?

Ways it could be improved is maybe WIFI in the accra volunteer house i know it is not always possible in the villages but WIFI in the main house would help as we just freshly come and woul dlike to get in touch with families and not wait around for sims.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi there, Thanks for sharing! We are so happy to hear that you thoroughly enjoyed your trip to Ghana and felt well supported by IVHQ and our local team. We think that it is great that the volunteer house allows volunteers to be immersed in the community they are working in. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Kaila – IVHQ Ghana Program Manager

Thiago
Male
33 years old
Curitiba, Brazil

Ghana Style

10/10

Volunteering in Ghana was a great life experience. I went by myself and I quickly met the staff and other volunteers. I worked with childcare in Kasoa. The best part was the attention and love from the kids, who are really thankful for our presence.

Adeli and the local IVHQ were really helpful. Evans Kojo gave us 24h support. He helped us with tourist guidance, language, safety advice, acquiring cellphone service, and much more.

Internet service on my phone was good and not expensive. Local food was good. Drinking water (sold in 500ml sachets) was very cheap and easy to find. Public transportation (Trotro/Van) was quick and cheap. In the streets, there are small goats and chickens all around!

On the other hand, local vendors in the streets and craft markets can be annoying, not leaving you alone. Most of the kids in the streets ask for money. There’s also a huge numbers of churches and religious ads.

Visiting Cape Coast was awesome. Ghana is a beautiful country and Ghanaian people are very friendly. Ghana is also really safe. I recommend Ghana for first time travelers.

How can this program be improved?

A little more training or tips on what to do to help the community.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Thiago, We are stoked to hear that the highlight of your experience in Ghana was the attention and love from the kids at your placement. Thanks for recommending IVHQ for first time travellers and for offering practical insight and advice on Ghana and the volunteer program we offer. We would love to have you join us again!
Kaila – IVHQ Ghana Program Manager

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Lara
Female
26 years old
Philadelphia, PA, USA

Good introduction to Ghana

8/10

I participated in the agriculture program for 12 weeks. Going to Ghana through IVHQ was a good way to get introduced to a country I had never visited before and knew little about. The food and accommodations are great, and the staff is there to help with any questions or concerns that come up. The staff member Evans is particularly helpful, always responding promptly to calls or messages and willing to do anything that he can to make your experience in Ghana a positive one. He goes above and beyond his job description and generally leads a trip to Cape Coast with new volunteers, so you don’t have to worry about logistics and finding your own way for your first trip after only being in the country for a few days.
Doing the agriculture program was helpful for relating to the people of our village. Farming is a big part of life there, and I felt like part of the community because I was waking up in the mornings and going to the farm just like everyone else. We got to help out with planting seeds, maintaining the plants, and harvesting the food, and I got to see our hard work pay off with multiple food donations to the orphanages during my time there.
I also enjoyed the flexibility of being able to help with teaching and sports as well. The experience is very customizable and is really only limited by your creativity and level of motivation.

How can this program be improved?

One ongoing point of frustration is that there isn't any reliable system in place that allows current volunteers to continue the programs and initiatives set up by past volunteers. For example, one volunteer will see a problem, raise money to help with the problem, and set up a program that, once the money runs out, simply ends. The current volunteers don't necessarily know that the program exists and may end up duplicating it or just allowing it to end even if they would have been interested in helping, had they known.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Lara, Thanks for sharing. It is great to hear that participating on the Agriculture project in Ghana made you feel like a part of the community. It sounds like you really got stuck into the volunteer work and were able to see the benefits of the project. Thanks for your feedback regarding the continuation of volunteer initiatives – this is something that we will be sure to take on board. It has been fantastic to have you volunteer with us and we hope to see you on another IVHQ program in the future.
Kaila – IVHQ Ghana Program Manager

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Samantha
Female
29 years old
ND

First time in Ghana!

10/10

I've always wanted to do some international volunteering since I was a young child and saw the need for it advertised on TV. December of 2016 I finally got my chance, but only for 2 weeks. I say "only" because it flew by so quick I wish I could've stayed longer. I participated in the childcare program in Ghana and loved every second of it, from the IVHQ/VCO staff to the locals to the children...the food...the weekend traveling...the way of life in the village, just everything! I feel like I didn't even scratch the surface on the experience I could've had, had I stayed longer, but I couldn't take anymore time off from work back home. Whether you go for 2 months or 2 weeks you will no doubt have a life changing experience and meet friends for life in the other volunteers and local people. Make sure you take advantage of the trips to Cape Coast and Kakum National Park. See some water falls. Stop by a coconut and cocoa fruit stand and try one of each. Try the Fanmilk products (FanYogo, FanIce, FanChoco, FanDango) you won't be disappointed! And if from the USA, take larger bills to exchange ($50, $100) as you will get a better exchange rate at a Forex Bureau (don't exchange at the airport).

Don't wait around - get planning - you will have the time of your life!!!!!

How can this program be improved?

I can't really say because it is the first time I've volunteered abroad so I have nothing to compare to. I took in the whole experience and enjoyed every second. Just remember, everything that happens, whether you think good or bad, is all part of the adventure!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Samantha, Thanks so much for your awesome review and for encouraging potential volunteers to “get planning”. It is great to hear that you had a life changing experience despite the time constraints. I am sure you would have loved to stay longer but it sounds as though you really made the most of the time available to you. Thanks for joining us in Ghana! We would love to have you volunteer with us again.
Kaila – IVHQ Ghana Program Manager

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Sierra
Female
19 years old
Zebulon
Appalachian State University

Worthwhile and Life changing

10/10

Traveling to Ghana with IVHQ changed my perspective of the world. I made lifelong friendships with fellow volunteers and locals that I continue to cherish. One of my favorite moments during this month long journey in Dodowa, Ghana was spent teaching kindergarteners the English alphabet. It was hard to get them to focus, as you'd expect with little ones, but by the end of the class day, they were all excited to show me how they could draw the first 5 letters without help. Watching the children learn and blossom and develop was the most rewarding thing I could have asked for about this experience. I would love to go again and I'd recommend IVHQ and their Ghana program to anyone!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sierra, Thanks for sharing this lovely story from your time volunteering in Ghana. It is so rewarding to be able to witness children learning - the way they can absorb new information is incredible. We are stoked to hear that you also made life-long friendships while on the program, Thanks for recommending IVHQ!
Kaila - IVHQ Ghana Program Manager

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Fernanda
Female
26 years old
Mexico City

IVHQ Ghana Purple

10/10

When I first got to my placement I was very overwhelmed. The house was pretty good but the toilet situation really bothered me for a while.
I loved my program, the people and the kids were great. The kids are the best part of the experience, they are so caring, so sweet and with great will to learn.
It was the best experience of my life, I learned a lot about myself and what I'm able to do; for me and for others. I met awesome people there, I made great friends and I would love to go back someday

How can this program be improved?

I think it's a great program but i would like to see some of the money we pay go to the children and the improvement of the schools, at least a little bit. it would make a big difference.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Fernanda, It is awesome to hear that you loved the program in Ghana! It is great that you were able to learn about yourself and your capabilities. The photo of you and your students is beautiful. We would love to have you back someday.

Tolu
Male
25 years old
Lagos, Nigeria

AWESOME EXPERIENCE IN GHANA!

9/10

I went to Ghana on the 13th of September to volunteer at a medical clinic in Frankadua, about 2 hours by bus, North East from Accra. It was part of the 'purple program' which consists of other kinds of volunteering endeavours such as education and agriculture.
When I arrived in Ghana, I was duly picked up at the airport by the staff of IVHQ. We spent the first night at the volunteer house in Accra which was just a temporary stop where all volunteers went to for their orientation. Everyone was very welcoming and also very accommodating. I got to meet other volunteers from other parts of the world and become acquainted with them.
The next day was our orientation and afterwards we travelled to our individual placements. Our interim program coordinator, Evans was (and still is) very apt in recognizing the needs of volunteers and offering solid, tangible solutions. Some of the things he was able to help with in my case for example were things like acquiring a Ghanian SIM card to communicate with my friends and family. He also escorted us to the purple program and helped get us settled in. He was available round-the-clock to answer any questions we may have about the program, donations, the culture, what to expect, etc. I can honestly say that I didn't go into the purple program with any doubt about what to expect.
There is a volunteer house right within the community that is pretty much a hotspot where a lot of the locals come to hang out and get better acquainted with the international volunteers. The volunteers I stayed with were extremely friendly. We got along quite nicely.
My time in Ghana was actually short. I was only able to do a week due to the amount of time I was able to take off work. But within that week, we did a lot. We went to cape coast, saw the cape coast castle where slaves were held prior to shipment, we went to the Kakum National Park for a hike and also went to pet crocodiles as well.
The clinic in Frankadua is the only clinic in the community and where most of the locals go for medical their medical needs. It functions primarily as a malaria clinic and practically all the clients would get tested for malaria test post-triage/ initial assessment. If there are any differential diagnoses out of the scope of the clinic, or seemingly idiopathic in nature, the patients are referred to one of the bigger hospitals in the neighbouring cities. Other common ailments include anemia, gastroenteritis, etc. Mama Christine who runs the clinic is very adept. There are other staff nurses and a lab technician that work there. There is a governmental run insurance program for Ghanians and so a lot of the time, the clinical visits are covered by the government which I thought was very progressive and encouraging.
There is also a maternity ward for labour and delivery and about 8 beds or so for admitting patients. Pregnant soon-to-be mothers are routinely checked upon and the clinic does monthly out reach programs for post-partum mothers at different parts of the community.
All in all, its safe to say that you won't be disappointed to volunteer here at the medical program with IVHQ at Frankadua.
Have a great day.
Tolu.

How can this program be improved?

The clinic does require some more up-to-date technology as well as funding for the construction project.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Tolu, Thank you for sharing. It sounds like your week on the Medical Project in Ghana went very smoothly. We are glad that the local team and the other volunteers warmly welcomed you; this is such a nice way to begin your program! Thanks for being an IVHQer and we would love to have you join us again.

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Rana
Female
37 years old
Berkeley, California, USA
Other

Beautiful Soil and Souls

10/10

Through my journey to this beautiful land I learned about happiness, love and life. Before leaving, I thought, I would contribute and help but instead, I was helped.
I was introduced to a beautiful world and learned how beautiful life can be.
Hardworking, strong, kindhearted people who would share their bread and their smile with you.
I am honored and blessed to meet people who work hard to bring happiness and comfort for others.
Thank you Benjamin. Elvis, Godfred, Tina, Benedikt, Prince for your leadership and for teaching me the importance in life and all the beautiful children and local people to bring happiness to my life.
I felt home and I will always consider this beautiful land as my home.

How can this program be improved?

This program could be improved by more financial support, donations and supplies from individuals and organizations who can contribute.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Rana, We love your poetic words and beautiful photographs – thanks so much for sharing. It would be our pleasure to have you volunteer with us again in the future.

Kathryn
Female
25 years old
Brentwood, Tennessee

Changed in the best way

10/10

I was in the pink program in Dodowa and it was the most challenging but rewarding thing I've ever done. I loved every second of my experience and I'm planning on going back for 2 months in June 2017. Not only were the kids incredible and humbling, but the other volunteers I met will be friends for life. The only thing I would change is how much money IVHQ told us to bring. I had no problem spending it, but I wish I would have known beforehand so I could have raised more for the kids. Otherwise, it was LIFE CHANGING and everyone should do it.

How can this program be improved?

The amount of money that was suggested to bring.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Kathryn, Thanks for your recommendation and great review. We will be sure to take this on board in regards to the advice we provide to future volunteers. Thanks for being a great volunteer and we can’t wait to have you back in June!

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Charlotte
Female
22 years old
Préverenges

Akumasi festival

10/10

If you are in Senya in August, there is a big festival. Everybody are dancing in the street and the atmosphere is incredible! I could just spend hours walkings in the streets... And it is the same all the day! Approximatelly 4 days that you cannot forget! Even if you don't know how to dance, you can just buy an ice cream and watch the battle between incredible dancers. It is a nice way to meet and know the people who live here.

How can this program be improved?

Encourage the volontiers to go out after the diner! Not to spend all the night, but just to walk until the beach or just in Senya. First we didn't go out because it was told to be dangerous to be out in the dark. But your can meet a lot of people there. And you have food, musics aso...

In the turquoise program, you can go to the communities to give tests and traitments for malaria. It was the most incredible experience we had, but you have to pay for the tests and traitments. You know you can do that just when you are there... and after it is complicate to ask your friends and family for money. It would be better if the volontiers could know that befor arriving there so they can have time to raise money! Because it is really usefull for the people in Senya and around who have no money to have tests or traitments.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Charlotte, What a great tip! The Akumasi festival sounds amazing. Thanks for your recommendation and for being a great volunteer.

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Liam
Male
21 years old
Brisbane
University of Queensland

Construction in Ghana

10/10

I loved Ghana - the people are the friendliest on Earth. I was placed at a small village called Asempaneye where we helped make a toilet for the school. Construction here moves a lot slower - you have to make all your own bricks! But it's super fun and the work is not hard, you get lots of free time. The social scene and weekend travel were amazing, get in touch with Evans and he will organize a tro-tro (minibus) to take you wherever you want to go.

How can this program be improved?

Perhaps improve the airport pickup - I wasn't able to find the IVHQ contact and used a local's phone to call the volunteer house. Of course the local then demanded money for credit (even though he had offered in the first place). Don't give them any though.
Also the bunk beds at the Gold Program need more nails.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Liam, Thanks so much for your recommendation and tips. That is an excellent video. We hope to have you volunteer on another IVHQ program in the future!

Connor
Male
32 years old

IVHQ Ghana

10/10

I had a great time on my IVHQ Ghana trip. I was in Senya in Ghana for one month volunteering. Staff member Evans Nkansah was really great. He helped me in so many ways and was a great host and representative of the country. Benedict Adeli was also very helpful. Africa really is a great place to visit. Thank you so much IVHQ!
....................................................................................................................................................

How can this program be improved?

I had a great time on my IVHQ Ghana trip. I was in Senya in Ghana for one month volunteering. Staff member Evans Nkansah was really great. He helped me in so many ways and was a great host and representative of the country. Benedict Adeli was also very helpful. Thank you so much IVHQ!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Connor, It is absolutely our pleasure. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Riley
Female
28 years old
Trappe
Saint Joseph's University

3 Week Medical at Turquoise Program

10/10

I had a wonderful 3 weeks at the turquoise program! The IVHQ staff was supportive throughout my entire time in Ghana. They checked in often to make sure everything was going well at the clinic and at the housing, and they even helped me plan weekend trips. The program itself offered many opportunities to help both at the clinic and at orphanage with the childcare program. I would highly recommend this program!

How can this program be improved?

As far as the medical work itself it would have been helpful to know ahead of time what would be needed most at the clinic, both to prepare for the work and to bring appropriate donations.

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Julie
Female
30 years old
Paris

Two weeks in Ghana

10/10

I spent two weeks in Ghana with IVHQ at the Potters Village in Dodowa, and I don't regret my decision : this was the best trip of my life.
First, because for once I wasn't a tourist. I had the opportunity to discover a small town, to feel connected with the people there and to be part of something. I was fed up with going to places, take pictures, and come back with the feeling that I had been of no use to the people there and talked to no one except taxi drivers and hotel staff. This time, I can say I know more about the country I visited, and I must say that it is worth talking and spending time with the people in Ghana as they are the most welcoming people I ever met.
Secondly, because I met those extraordinary kids who changed my life for ever. Two weeks is a short stay, but they give you so much during those two weeks that it just breaks you heart to leave... These children open their arms to you and give you a great lesson. I was lucky to be able to teach French during my stay, and seeing them so eager to learn was moving. I have never wanted to be a teacher, but I could teach these children for the rest of my life.
Finally, the IVHQ team is perfect. They assist you with your arrival and they stay in touch once at your placement. I had lots of questions in my mind before going, but they all received answers, and when I landed, I knew exactly what would happen and where I was going.
In brief, this was an amazing experience that I recommand to anyone who wants to volunteer in Africa, especially for the first time.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Julie, Thanks for sharing your thoughts about your time volunteering in Ghana. We loved having you on the program and we are glad we could provide such a memorable experience for you. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Nakita
Female
21 years old
Victoria, Australia
La Trobe University

IVHQ Ghana

10/10

The Childcare program in Ghana was better than anything I've ever experienced. The highlight for me was saving a child off the streets and taking her to clinics to get better. Along with other volunteers, I helped get this child into the orphanage I was helping at, which is an incredible feeling. The support the orphanage staff showed with our persistence to help this child was amazing and it was great to see how helpful they were in assisting us reach our goals. Working with other volunteers to get this child into the orphanage was very satisfying. It's great to see like minded people, sharing common goals and interests, working together to help other communities around the world.
Additionally to this, I loved the opportunities for weekend travel and meeting new people. All the staff I met were great and the children I helped at the school and the orphanage are amazing and I miss them so much. I can't wait to go back!

How can this program be improved?

The airport pick up was very unprofessional and scary. I had already experienced some drama at the airport and I was told the staff at IVHQ would have ID to collect me. After I'd already been in a bit of a pickle, I found the IVHQ staff member, but he didn't have any form of ID on him besides a shirt and a piece of paper (which is easy to manipulate). I was quite scared and hesitant to go with the staff member. Luckily there was already another volunteer waiting, otherwise I wouldn't have gone.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nakita, Thanks for sharing a little from your volunteer experience in Ghana. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Stephanie
Female
33 years old
San Francisco, California
Grand Valley State University

Ghana Orphanage Volunteer with IVHQ

10/10

My experience in Ghana was outstanding - so much so that I am going back. The people were wonderful, and the IVHQ staff that facilitated my trip were so accommodating and friendly. It is a very safe environment, and the country and its people are beautiful. I highly reccomend volunteering with IVHQ Ghana - no matter who you are! The staff makes it easy to adjust to a new way of life, and by the end they become your friends! The kids at the orphanage captured my heart, and it was one of the coolest things I've ever done. I also took some time to travel along the coast and the beaches are so beautiful. There are so many volunteers in and out of all areas that it is easy to make friends and travel with like-minded people.

How can this program be improved?

This was honestly an incredible experience - I have no complaints!!!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Stephanie. We look forward to having you back :) It sounds like you had a really positive experience volunteering but also exploring Ghana with your fellow volunteers which is awesome. Thanks for being an IVHQer and for sharing your thoughts about your time in Ghana!

Emma
Female
30 years old
Broken Hill, Australia
Deakin University

Fire poop and malaria. And the best time of my life.

10/10

I volunteered in Ghana with IVHQ and Volunteer Corps Organisation for 27 weeks.

The first thing you need to know about going to Ghana is that is really is the ‘Gateway to Africa’. The country is safe, and the locals really do look out for you as an ‘Oburoni’. If you’re worried about visiting Africa for the first time, definitely visit Ghana!

When you get off the plane you will be greeted by a member of staff from VCO and they will be with you from that time until they leave you at your placement. The staff are wonderful and will help you with everything from how to catch a taxi or tro tro, to going to the best place to exchange money. Ghana is closed currency, so you til need to change your money when you get there. Don’t do it at the airport; definitely wait for VCO staff to assist you.

You are taken to the Volunteer House, and what I like to call my second home. In the house you are free to rest and recover from jetlag, watch TV (or Coach Carter 100 times), wander around town, or hang out with the staff. I loved learning to make Ghanaian food with Tina and Ruth; they are great cooks! The boys will take you to the mall if you feel like shopping, or the local markets for some cheap clothes.
While at the house, you will be taken through Induction; going over everything from safety, what to expect when you are on placement, food you will eat, what to do if you need help, phone numbers, money and valuables, and where your program costs go. The process is very transparent and I felt comfortable with everything while I was there.

I was placed in the Fante area in the Central Region, about 3 hours from the Volunteer House and Accra. It was amazing! The people, the tiny village, the welcoming nature, the kids (oh, my babies!).

The kids were definitely the highlight. We had a children’s home with a school on the other side of the village. We would split shifts and work with each other to get everything done. In the mornings, we would get up before dawn to heat water for the kids baths. Get them out of bed, bathed and fed breakfast. Dressed for school and then walk to class. Those of us who wanted to teach would devise lesson plans, and teach during the day in turns. Our school was private, so we were had to make sure we got copies of the national curriculum to teach, as well as our own lessons to supplement this. The kids at school were also given lunch, and when the school mum passed away, we would also make rice and sauce for the kids at school so they got a hot lunch every day.
When not teaching, the others would rest away from the heat, wash the kids clothes and bedsheets, ready afternoon lessons for when they got home from school, cook dinners, or paint the home. Being a new home, we painted the walls to make them more fun for the kids. We would also shop for fresh food, supplies or DVDs for the kids (I swear, I watched the Lion King every day for 6 months).

Village life is so easy to get used to, and the locals will help you out as much as you need them to. How to buy bananas and how much they should cost, how to properly hand wash your clothes (this one took me a while to get), how to cook rice and corn on the cob the Ghanaian way. The village was perfect, everything that you should expect from life in Africa.

Including the illness. With each new volunteer, we would count the days until they got their first bout of diarrhea. It’s usually 2 weeks. To the day. To minimise the risk, you can eat only what your house-mum/ IVHQ staff member makes, but where’s the fun in that? Ghanaian food is amazing and you will want to eat it! All of it. Fire poop or not.

In return for help from my new extended family, I was able to help them too. We learnt to sew together, count and speak English. We had women and children come into our compound often to learn and converse with us. It was like having a huge family, and I miss them all the time.
Weekends were free to hang out with the kids, or travel as you please. We took holidays during my placement, and went up to Mole National Park (such a long trip but so worth it for the elephants!). We also took weekends to Wli Falls, Cape Coast, Kumasi and Accra. I definitely recommend all of these places.

Just make sure you keep your bug repellent with you always. Mozzies everywhere. I’ve been to Ghana twice now with IVHQ and VCO, and I’ve had Malaria three times. It’s not so bad; just make sure you get to a clinic quick-smart. Laying in bed with a fever and chills in 40 degree weather can get you down, but you do get past it so it’s god to remember that.

I would recommend you immerse yourself into this culture. The history is strong and Ghanaians are a proud people. I loved every minute of my time in Ghana, and would recommend the programs to anyone and everyone! There are no age limits; you can be 18 or 90, and you can travel alone or with a friend. Cook, clean, teach, travel, play. Repeat. 27 weeks went by too quickly, and I would do it for the rest of my life if I could.

Malaria or not.

How can this program be improved?

Communication with volunteers may be improved. We were lucky though, as we were pretty self-sufficient and volunteers were placed in our program after meeting staff and staff knowing they could handle being far from the capital, over an hour from the nearest city, in a village which was isolated, sometimes cut off from cities when it rained, with snakes and spiders and bugs galore.
We loved every minute.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Emma, It's great to hear from you. Thanks for sharing a little about your experience in Ghana. We are glad you had such a positive experience despite getting sick. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Katelyn
Female
22 years old
Minneapolis, MN
University of Minnesota

Amazing Experience

10/10

I volunteered in Child Care at the silver program and it was an amazing experience. IVHQ is an incredible program that truly wants their volunteers to have an experience of a lifetime, and is not solely concerned about making a profit. They were very helpful with answer questions immediately and makings sure that I was prepared for my trip. It is significantly cheaper than any of the other programs I had found also and all of your money goes to your direct costs for your stay.

When I arrived in Ghana, the staff that greeted me were all very kind and welcoming. They made sure that I was ready to go to my placement and had everything I needed for the rest of my trip. At orientation, we also were given important lessons about the culture differences and advice for traveling on weekends.

At the silver placement, I stayed with the sweetest family and all of the amazing kids at the orphanage. I am so grateful to be placed here because we were truly a member of the family to all of the staff and kids at the school and the orphanage. All of them were so appreciative and grateful for us and we definitely felt like we were making a positive difference in their lives. We stayed with the family who ran the orphanage and they were very accommodating to our needs and very helpful and understanding. Every week, a staff member would also come and meet with us and make sure everything was going alright and wanted our feedback to made the program the best that it could be.

On the weekends, we got to travel to different cities in the area and IVHQ was very helpful with anything we needed, from recommendations of where to stay to restaurants we needed to eat at, etc. Words cannot describe how pleased I am with IVHQ and happy that I chose this program for volunteering abroad. I met so many amazing friends that I will have for a lifetime and I am already planning for my return. Ghanians are a very kind and welcoming people and Ghana is a beautiful country.

How can this program be improved?

Not at my program specifically, but I have heard about other programs in which volunteers are not being utilized many hours of the day. IVHQ should find other ways that they can help the community during that time, even if it isn't possible to work with the kids while they are in school.

I would also like if there were optional travel parts of the trip. I would have loved to stay longer and see more of Africa, but I did not feel safe or prepared to travel alone and I was not sure if there would be anyone else to travel with. If IVHQ could add on a week of traveling with a group or something similar, I bet a lot of volunteers would be interested. Since transportation takes much longer in Ghana, weekend trips were not adequate to see all the sites that I would have liked to.

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Iman
Male
28 years old
Malmo, Sweden

Fantastic experience

10/10

I spend three weeks in the gold programme (construction), summer 2015. I had no idea what to expect, how many people would be there, or what kind of work I would be given! I can tell you this though, it was an extraordinary experience and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

The work, the people, the children, the programme supervisors, the volunteers, it was all excellent. During the day we did construction work, which varied, everything from creating bricks from scratch, to laying them. Late afternoon/evening we got time off, we'd usually play with the children or go into town. In the weekends we usually went on trips and explored.

During my time there I learned many things and got some wonderful memories out of it. I learned how to value the most simple things in life, and not take anything for granted. I came close to many people during this experience and made great friends in the progress.

I highly recommend it to anyone that's considering volunteering. Ghana was in my experience very safe, the programme supervisors knew exactly what they were doing and took good care of us. It's 10/10.

How can this program be improved?

Construction work:
Needed to be more organized. Weekly goals. Monthly goals. There was no deadline, no schedule. It felt more like winging it. We needed a concrete project plan, which I felt was lacking here. The supervisors were however very kind and knowledgable which made the experience well worth it.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Iman,
Thanks for your review and for sharing your photos. We are so glad that you had an amazing experience on the Ghana program and that you learnt from your time there. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we hope to have you join us on another program!

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Robbie
Male
32 years old
Scotland
Robert Gordon University

Volunteering in the Volta Region

10/10

In Ghana I learned the meaning of the acronym TIA. After all of my travels around Africa it dawned on me that this was my answer to everything I love about the continent. This is Africa.

People think that you have to do something huge, like go to Africa and build a school, but you can make a small change in a day. If you change Wednesday, then you change Thursday. Pretty soon it's a week, then a month, then a year. It's bite-size, as opposed to feeling like you have to turn your life inside out to make changes.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hey there Robbie! What a great attitude - thanks for your fantastic review of Ghana! We hope that you can join us again on another Program - thanks for being an amazing IVHQer!!

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Emily
Female
24 years old
Baltimore, Maryland
Duquesne University

IVHQ Ghana...Amazing!

10/10

I have traveled to Ghana through International Volunteer HQ in the summer of 2014 and in May of 2015. My experience was absolutely incredible, so incredible that I went back a second time! From the moment I landed in Accra I felt at home. The local staff is amazing. They are organized, helpful. and are always there to make you feel right at home. The programs are excellent and well organized. Whether you are in a home stay or volunteer house you will feel safe and get a true local experience. The people I met (volunteers and locals), the culture, the music, the landscape, etc truly changed my life. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about my time spent in Ghana. Ghana will forever hold a special place in my heart. I encourage everyone to visit Africa at least once in their life and I HIGHLY recommend Ghana, you will not regret it...I promise!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hey there Emily - thanks so much for the review and recommendation! It's so awesome that you loved it so much the first time you went back! Thanks for being an IVHQer - we hope to see you again and again!!

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Marisa
Female
24 years old
Chicago, IL, USA
Columbia College Chicago

If you go you're never [Ghana] regret it.

9/10

I had the most amazing experience in Ghana. The staff at IVHQ are so welcoming and really have your best interest in mind. I met so many life long friends and I am so excited to go back and visit the family I made while volunteering over in Ghana. Its one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. All the Ghanaians are so friendly and welcoming. I have traveled many places and this has by far been the been trip and most rewarding experience of my life. If you're going to do something DO IT WITH IVHQ! They are the best!

How can this program be improved?

More communication between volunteers and leaders.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Marisa! Great pun in the title :-) thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences from Ghana! We are so happy that you had the best time - thanks for being an IVHQer!!

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Chloe
Female
24 years old
Australia
University of Newcastle

A beautiful blessing and a challenge.

9/10

Volunteering is not an endeavor for the faint hearted or for those who are high maintenance. Flexibility, patience and rolling with the punches are attributes that go a long way and you should expect that your expectations will be both exceeded and lowered at the same time.

Two months ago I returned from my IVHQ trip where I spent a month on the Scarlet program in Ghana at an orphanage called Blessed Bright Future and I have thought about it every single day since. It is important to be aware and accept before you go, the fact that the people and the country and the experience will change you, much more than you will be able to make change. Regardless of the hardships you may face and the many cultural differences and difficulties (like the heat, the smells, the pollution the bathing and the bathrooms) if you're experience is anything like mine, it will be perhaps the greatest in your lifetime.

When I think of the highlights of my experience, the root of my joy and my happiness and my love was the people I met and grew with. Many of the specifics (and there are so many they never seem to end) I find too personal and close to my heart to share here. Waking up and falling asleep to the sound of their voices and their laughter and their language and goats; so many goats, is something I miss so very much.

Nights spent staying up far too late hearing stories that make you laugh and cry bittersweet tears of both joy and sadness, learning their faces and names and their hopes and dreams, and holding each other until both of you fall asleep with intermingled limbs, hearts beating together as one.

Watching how they live and love together as a whole but also as separate individuals is something quite phenomenal. Their incredible intelligence and endurance and the way they taught me that love can happen in an instant and that family is much more than blood and body.

Waking them up and putting them to bed, making them laugh and holding them while they cry, walking them to school and playing water-bag football, constantly having your hands and body held.

A big highlight was Christmas day. Watching them open their gifts with such joy. If you ever think that going away over Christmas means you'll miss out on the fun back home, don't. Because it is the people back home who are missing out.

PS: If you have read through this far and are still going I am impressed and I thank you so much. It means the world.

Something I do also want to say is that weekends spent relaxing and touring, while a must do and see experience to have, I found to be bittersweet. I loved the running shower and the flushing toilet and the close to home food, but I hated it as well. Things that reminded me of home made me sad, not because I missed being at home but because it made me think of things like privilege and circumstance and it made me question what it means to have rights. These were things that I found challenging. Going on a 3 day holiday and being amazed and relaxed and having fun but at the same time feeling irrevocable guilt and anger at the fact that you can do this and they cannot.

These are just some of the highlights and challenges that I experienced. I hope this has given you a small taste of what volunteering with IVHQ can be like and I hope you say yes to an experience of a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?

Although my experience in Ghana was so incredible and so undeniably life and soul changing to the point that it took me almost two months to bring myself to write a review about it, there is always room for improvement. I did find in my short stay in Ghana that certain organisation skills were lacking. When I planned my Ghana volunteer experience I wanted to do 4 weeks in total, two weeks doing teaching and two weeks doing orphanage care.

Although I was told that this would be fine and definitely do-able it didn't work out that way. I ended up doing my full 4 weeks on orphanage care. While I don't at all regret spending all my time on the Scarlet program (once I arrived, two weeks anywhere just was not enough time) I was not expecting to have to re-evaluate the trip I had planned while I was on placement. Two girls I had arrived with, who were both doing 3/4 weeks of teaching were placed on a different program to myself and the other girls I was with. Their program was one where they ended up doing both orphanage work and teaching while I was placed on a program that was just for orphanage. This meant that if I wanted to do my two weeks of the teaching program, I would have to leave the kids and people I had bonded with, and move do a different placement altogether. It didn't make sense to any of us that while I was the only one who wanted to do both, I wasn't put on a program that allowed for me to do this without moving around.

As well as this it was organised that I would do my orphanage placement first instead of teaching. This too did not make sense considering that by the time I had completed my two weeks of orphanage, school would be finished for break time and I would have hardly anyone to teach. So even if I had decided I wanted to pack up and change to the teaching program as planned it would have been quite a pointless move. The way they had set this up seemed to create problems that didn't need to be created. It seemed odd that there was a simple and preventative decision that seemed to be overlooked in the first place.

Upon arriving at the volunteer house on the first day there was also not much communication about how my switching would take place. It was a bit of a 'we will cross that bridge when we come to it' approach. I was initially fine with that, and I was happy to be flexible and go with the flow, until I became aware of the predicament I was in with having to completely relocate and leave the kids I had fell so in love with.
I also didn't really agree with having to make our own way back to Accra airport at the end of our placement.

This was something that caused a fair bit of anxiety and worry for me as I wasn't leaving at the same time as anyone else and I had all my luggage with me moving from one vehicle to another. Ultimately it worked out fine in the end, and the people in Ghana as a whole are friendly, lovely and helpful people.

The last thing that I found about my placement was that a lot of the time I felt like I was not doing anything and that my time and presence were not being utilized. I didn't really feel like I did many helpful or practical things to help the kids at the orphanage. Don't get me wrong I understand that a huge, if not the biggest help and gift was my love and attention and time, but I feel like there was this enormous chunk of time while the kids were at school, where I had nothing to do. I felt very insignificant and useless at times and I didn't really know where to begin to change that myself. I didn't know where my skills could be best of use and there wasn't really any guidance or suggestions for a long time. The time the kids were at school was a bit of a free for all. Other volunteers would have down time, or sleep, or write in their journal, but I felt that was not why I came to Ghana to volunteer. I felt I could have down time at home or on a holiday which this to me was not supposed to be like. Once I got home and had a good hard think about the most practical things I could do and organize myself during that big gap of the day, for next time I go, I felt like I could make some helpful contributions. It seemed like the two other girls on a different program were constantly doing things and their services were so needed, whereas I felt quite the opposite at times.

Overall my experience was wonderful and I am so grateful to all the people at IVHQ for making it possible and so affordable. I wouldn't trade the bonds I made with those kids for anything. I would definitely recommend IVHQ to everyone and anyone (and I have been doing so with friends and family) however I do think these challenges and issues were ones that could be prevented and addressed for future volunteers to make their experience even more unforgettable.

About The Provider

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IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) provides safe, unique, meaningful and extremely affordable volunteer programs in 35+ countries around the world, with a constantly expanding base. Programs are available in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, South America and the Pacific, where IVHQ works alongside local NGOs to

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