Discover Haiti, Rediscover Yourself!

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Volunteers For Peace (VFP).

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About

Vermont-based, Volunteers For Peace has been collaborating with community and grassroots organizations in Haiti for over 15 years! Our focus is on education, clean water, and the environment through the lens of cultural exchange. Our projects work to empower local leaders, provide meaningful activities for children, and leave behind sustainable projects in the community.

VFP offers projects around the year ranging from 1 week to 3 months. We also work with community, educational, and family groups in the USA to develop custom projects to meet their goals and skills.

Our Summer Day Camps are offered in two locations in Haiti. In 2015, we provided enrichment activities to more than 800 children.

One of our initiatives for 2016 is to work with community organizations to sprout and plant coffee and other trees. This project will increase sustainable revenue streams in rural areas and help reforest Haiti.

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Questions & Answers

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Reviews

8.56 Rating
based on 16 reviews
  • Impact 8.1
  • Support 8.4
  • Fun 8.6
  • Value 8.6
  • Safety 8.4
Showing 1 - 8 of 16
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Sarah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Eye Opening Experience

Traveling to Haiti pushed me outside of my comfort zone. And that is where I've stayed. I was thrown into a culture where I am the outsider and all eyes were on me and that was something I was not used to. I was forced to deal with emotions that I had never felt before and because of that I am a better person. I also learned a lot about myself while in Haiti. I learned that I can push myself to new limits and accomplish difficult tasks. I can be put in a completely new environment without knowing a single person and be okay. I can make connections in difficult circumstances and survive with minimal resources. I am grateful for the experience I had in Haiti and because of it I have grown as a person.

What would you improve about this program?
If I had to change one thing about the program I would have liked to spend more time in Port au Prince, getting a better feel for the city.
Riley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering With The Endearing Children of Haiti

As a sixteen year old, I was very happy to find a program that allowed me to participate despite my age. Although I have traveled internationally before, it was the first time I traveled by myself. The staffs did a great job setting up the program, supervising the participants and making us feel safe. Yes, Port-au-Prince is very hot and dusty, and we didn't have reliable internet service nor electricity at times, but being with the kids more than made up for these hardships. The climate in Duchity was very comfortable and the people in the village were extremely friendly, welcoming, and fun to be with. The high point was getting to know the kids because they were so enthusiastic, fun loving, and genuinely loved to be around the volunteers. Music and dancing is a central part of their culture, and I was happy to be a part of that. Although I do not speak French or Creole, it was still very easy to connect with the children. My only suggestion would be to have volunteers do community projects in the afternoons. As far as the food, I thought having to eat rice and beans for all my meals everyday would be tiring, but I found myself liking the food because of the spices and the variety of ways it was prepared. Overall I highly recommend the program and gladly would do it again.

What would you improve about this program?
My only suggestion would be to have volunteers do community projects in the afternoons. When volunteers arrive at the airport, make sure the person who meets them there will not allow anyone to take advantage by grabbing their suitcase and demanding $10.
Default avatar
Shannon
4/10
No, I don't recommend this program

A lot of potential, little delivery

This program had a lot of potential and had many great recommendations, but unfortunately the trip did not deliver. The staff contact from VFP that was on our trip was very uninterested in the volunteers, and spent most of her time with her Hatian boyfriend and friends. We went down to build bio-sand water filters, but didn't even get to see one, let alone build one. We wound up working on random community projects that seemed to be thrown together last minute.

Being someone that has brought volunteer groups to numerous places, and also having worked for a nonprofit that received new volunteer groups weekly, I was really disappointed by the lack of service learning and cultural immersion opportunities. Many were planned but almost all of them were cancelled.

I enjoyed getting to know our Haitian leaders and the other volunteers. I also thought Haiti was a beautiful country. I would have liked to meet more people in the community and learn more about the work we were doing and why.

I wound up taking the experience for what it was - pretty much a hostel-style vacation. I was happy that I met everyone and had exposure to the country and people of Haiti. I plan on returning to Haiti to volunteer again, but unfortunately will not go with VFP. I hope that the organization learned from this experience and will create a better service learning trip for volunteers in the future.

Response from Volunteers For Peace (VFP)

At VFP we do learn and grow from every project we organize, especially in Haiti. It is true this specific project was challenging and several volunteers were not satisfied. Our Board met and reviewed comments, corresponded with volunteers, and reviewed policies. The main change that was made was to be more transparent with volunteers about the challenges of organizing a project during a national (Haiti Independence Day) and international (New Year's Day) holiday period. It is true projects sometimes fell through and VFP was scrambling to organized other opportunities but we believe one of our assets is we have deep connections in the community and were able to reschedule when plans didn't go as expected. Not sharing this stress with the volunteers resulted in inaccurate assumptions of how staff was spending time and did not allow them to learn about community development work. We have run 6 projects since then at this same location with very positive outcomes and are always happy when policy and performance changes are effective.

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Maddie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching English in Desab, Haiti

I felt more welcome in Haiti than in any other place I have traveled. The community of Desab is a rural village with no electricity or running water, but it is a beautiful village with even more beautiful people. Living in these conditions made me feel so connected to the people and I learned so much about their daily lives. There were people around all the time and every moment of the day there was something to do and always kids to play with. This is an experience I will never forget and the first time that I've traveled to a place and felt like I must return.

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Jennifer
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An eye opening experience!

It was truly an amazing experience. We were able to introduce students to something they would never be able to experience. Our leader was extremely knowledgeable about the life and culture of the people of Haiti. Unfortunately she was only with us about 1/2 the time. Although there were Haitians with us they did not provide as much information. When you asked questions they were often confused by what we were asking. It would have been extremely helpful if our leader had spent more time with us.

Default avatar
Karen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer In Haiti

My trip to Haiti was a three week excursion in Port-Au-Prince. I spent my mornings working for a summer day camp in Petionville about thirty minutes outside of Port-Au-Prince teaching around 30-40 children basic math in both Creole and English as well as English and grammar. On the weekends we spent our days exploring the ins and outs of the city as well as a beach day at Wahoo. My trip was an amazing experience I recommend it to anyone who it will ing to step outside of their comfort zone.

What would you improve about this program?
I understand the level of precautions that needed to be made because I was in the city, but maybe just some more activities to do each day besides visit the school. I enjoyed going to the Iron Market, the church, the hotel and Wahoo Bay, but there was often not a lot to do except for on the weekends!
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Lila
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I left my heart in Haiti

I traveled to Haiti (for the first time) with Volunteers for Peace (VFP) in 2014 over Thanksgiving and could not have asked more a more incredible experience. I was a part of a group of four people (2 Canadians and 2 Americans ranging in age from 28 to 50) who volunteered in a small, rural community in the mountains called Desab. VFP organized a video conference so we could all meet before the trip and coordinate our activities/programming that we'd like to offer during the trip. I really appreciated the opportunity to get to know everyone before we arrived in Haiti. Between the four of us we taught English, math, basic aerodynamics, drumming, and yoga. We also helped build a new classroom for the 6th graders. VFP empowered us to teach what we love and because of that we all had a high level of ownership in what we did.

Haiti is such a unique and incredible place. The people are overwhelmingly full of love and kindness. My experience was so amazing because of the wonderful Haitian volunteers involved in the project like Dimitry, Cherly, Fenel, Arthur, and Aben. While they helped quite a bit with translating, they were the real reason we were able to coalesce in the community so well. All of the locals knew, respected, and loved them and because they introduced us to community members and worked along side of us, the locals were very receptive and welcoming.

The friendships that I made from the trip and the things that I learned changed my life. I look forward to going back to Desab every year; to that little village that holds my heart.

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Steven
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

VFP, sound choice for new and experienced volunteers!

This past summer I traveled with Volunteers For Peace to La Vallee de Jacmel for a week. I spent many months searching for the right program for me and after discussing with many sources, familiar with volunteer programs, I was encouraged to travel with VFP. I was equip with the tools to make my first journey to Haiti a memorable and productive one. With A mandatory pre-trip orientation with others I'd be traveling with, it was obvious Meg and others at VFP care about the safety of their volunteers and ensuring they get the most out of the abroad program.
VFP's demonstrations of care did not cease when we left the United States and arrived in Port at Prince. I was greeted at the airport by Meg and a fellow Haitian named Shelly whom she encourages to help lead volunteers in programs in other parts of Haiti. VFP provides work opportunities for locals which gives volunteers a direct link to the communities they will be helping. There is also a priceless chance to speak with these Haitian leaders and have ongoing cultural exchange every second of the trip.
In La Vallee our group stayed in clean accommodations and had the opportunity to be involved in the day to day ongoings with our hosts. VFP encouraged but never pushed that we be involved in the daily tasks such as cooking and cleaning. Being abroad meant learning about the lifestyle others lead and having opportunies to cook or assit with cooking or collecting water or going to the market was a priceless experience.
We also had great Haitian leaders in La Vallee, like Jean Raymond, a history teacher in a near by school. VFP appears to place a great deal of trust in their Haitian leaders teaching them sustainability and communication with the volunteers and allowing them the opportunity to develop planning and goal setting skills. Meg was always available to assist in keeping the projects on track, but allowed the Haitian leaders, like Jean Raymond, to learn how to lead others.
I was involved in projects like installing biosand water filters in an ongoing project to bring clean water to some 70 schools in La Vallee. VFP has made progress on nearly 35 in the region. We also shared songs and games with school children and were involved in a beautification project at a community center and local church. The week we were volunteering happened to also coincide with the visitation of the Cardinal of Haiti, Cardinal Chibly Langlois, who was born in La Vallee.
This was only my first trip to Haiti, yet I was ready to return back even before I left Port au Prince to head home. The preparations before the trip and guidance during have cemented in my mind that programs like Volunteers for Peace can make a change in communities and countries like Haiti. They lead their volunteers with years of experience and encourage locals to take leadership roles in the projects accomplished during the visits. All that being said, I am returning again this April 20-28 with other volunteers under the guidance and program placement of Volunteers for Peace. I am certainly a returning member of the VFP family!

What would you improve about this program?
Our ability to communicate with family back home. Though we were well informed that it would be difficult, but in the event of an emergency it could be accomplished with the help of our leaders.