A Broader View: Alumni Network

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About

ABV is committed to placing dedicated volunteers into the neediest communities. We believe volunteering is all about learning cultural differences, interacting first hand with other communities, building trust between nations, and participating in an educational exchange.

ABV has been working towards these goals since 2007. Volunteers are able to engage in projects in 22 countries. If you don't see the country you are interested in, you can look under this listing. Or if you participated in a program that you don't see on the ABV profile page, you can leave a review under this listing.

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Reviews

9.64 Rating
based on 11 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 8 of 11
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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Tanzania

I am very glad I chose ABV for my first volunteer experience abroad. I was very well taken care of, and supported the whole time I was in Tanzania. I was also given enough freedom to shape my time there how I wanted, and left me more independent and self reliant.
It was most difficult for me to witness such intense poverty and lack of infrastructure in so many communities and schools, knowing that the government is not doing enough to help alleviate it. There is corruption and injustice in the political system that is holding the entire country back and not utilizing its resources. It's a beautiful country and the people are wonderful; it's hard to see many of them not having access or ability to enjoy the benefits.
You will probably be faced with a whole host of new situations that you've never experienced before, and may even only experience in Tanzania. This might be the first time you've been the minority, or the first time you've been the majority depending on where you're from. You will be called a "mzungu" no matter what. Your cultural norms will be challenged. You can respect traditions without agreeing with them. Nothing will go as planned. Everything will not be what you expected regardless of how many program guides you read. Just know that everything will be alright if you allow yourself to go with the flow and be flexible and accepting. Also know that there is a whole support network for you if you need it. Being self driven and willing to make your own experience are key to having a fantastic adventure.

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JessicaJ
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Greay experience in Uganda

I am very thankful for this whole experience in Uganda as it taught me a lot about myself, and showed me how amazing people are all the way on the other side of the globe. The people I met changed my life for the better which included the natives of Uganda and the other volunteers/tourists I was able to meet. They showed me a different kind of lifestyle that works, but that can be made better as a community as a whole and that there are wonderful people out there doing just that!
I was able to meet and talk with Hydyn and deliver solar lights. Along with his story the actual giving of the solar lights was an amazing experience, the families were so appreciative. When we delivered them in the rural parts where there is no electricity, it was hard to see such living conditions as if you wanted a flashlight you had to walk 10 miles there and 10 miles back, so the people receiving the lights were very thankful and we had a great time making them smile and dancing and hugging. It was a well rounded amazing experience.
ABV USA support was great prior to traveling. ABV was right to cancel our trip to Kenya due to the safety issues at that moment in the country. After canceling the trip they were amazing in working with us on making sure we were still able to go with their program to a different country. ABV was good at answering all of our questions through email with a quick responses.

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SamS
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Tanzania Orphanage Project

The experience working at the orphanage was pretty incredible. The kids there were so of the most mature kids I’ve ever worked with, they are also the sweetest kids. I think the environment for the kids is incredible kind and what their doing is absolutely amazing. Something else that really impacted me was David, he was one of the sweetest guys ever and I think what he is doing is amazing and needs to be recognized on a global scale.

If you plan on climbing Kilimanjaro make sure you do your research and then bring clothes for the trip, I know one volunteer was going to climb Kilimanjaro and it was a huge hassle for her to deal with the companies and getting equipment

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Jocelynn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Orphanage Support Tanzania Arusha

I hope to go back to Tanzania as soon as I can. Even though I didn’t get to spend as much time with the kids as I would have liked, I just went for 2 weeks. I still managed to create a bond with many of the children and it was really hard to leave. Arusha in general was a phenomenal place. I loved the atmosphere and felt completely comfortable the whole time (after my initial shock to the change in smells, sights, and sounds – which I realize is completely normal). I loved the mentality in Arusha, how friendly everyone was and how it seemed everyone was there to help anyone – no matter what. I think we could use a little of that mentality over here in North America where everyone is doing their own thing and in their own heads. Pencils!!! The kids really need pencils and pens! A lot of them, their parents can’t afford to buy them more so they have these tiny little bits of lead they try to write with. Also, pencil sharpeners… I think it would be great if someone brought those ones that you can nail to the wall so the whole class can use – little individual ones are easy to lose and cause ruckus in class when kids try to share them. Erasers too – a lot of the kids’ erasers were done on their pencils and they didn’t have any extras and would have to disrupt the one kid in the class who had an eraser. Maybe that paint that turns into a chalk board when you paint it? The chalkboards are so covered in chalk that they are hard to read. Also, chalk for teachers for the board would be good too – when I was there they were using big thick chalk, in all sorts of colours, and it was so had for the kids to read – even if someone can bring those chalk protectors (metal cases for using chalk?) it prevents it from breaking and getting chalk everywhere. Things here in Canada seem, to me, quite trivial now (I need to get over that so I can continue with my planned route of education.) That’s the thing too though, I appreciate education tenfold and even basic things one learns without realizing it (basic computer knowledge etc). I have learned to appreciate the small things. Whereas before I knew I ought to appreciate, and tried (and even thought I succeeded), but now I actually can, and know I am. I also appreciate time a lot more, too and I don’t sweat the small stuff as much anymore.

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Tahlia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Orphanage Center Tanzania Arusha

Volunteering abroad had always been a dream of mine and it felt like the perfect time to do so. I found ABV and it caught my attention and offered my ideal location, an orphanage in Tanzania. After arriving I was a little lonely and scared but the first day that I entered a classroom at the Center I knew I was in the right place. There are no words to describe how amazing the children there were, their love for each other and for life was so inspiring especially considering how much they have been through. I was able to help teachers correct work and assist in teaching the children math and English as well as play with the kids at their break times. I found my cheeks hurting everyday from smiling so much while I was at the center. The children honestly changed my life, they opened my eyes to what real happiness and appreciation is. There is no doubt in my mind I will be volunteering again in Africa very soon and hopefully pursuing a career in teaching or social work now. The Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Ongorogoro Crater, Via Via, the Masai Market, and the hot springs were all incredible and memories that I will hold forever but the volunteering alone made my trip extraordinary. The ABV staff in the USA was extremely efficient. Every email that I sent out with questions involving initially signing up to last minute tips were answered within a day. I also received reminders of what documents I was missing and many attachments on the culture and general information that I found to be very helpful.

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Chianna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Orphanage in Tanzania Arusha

What I learned through my time spent in Tanzania cannot accurately be expressed in words. It just won’t do it justice. All I can say is the children I was privileged to get to know forever changed my life. My volunteer experience taught me to be patient, selfless, and to open my mind and heart. If you’re considering volunteering, do it! I am better person today for having let the people and life of Tanzania humble me and make me grateful for my blessed life. The children were so open and receptive to me. I had thought it might take some time to gain their trust and friendship. Instead they were warm from the beginning. Finally I understood that they wanted nothing more than to have that kind of desire for closeness from me. Leave your reservations at the door and jump in! I learned there is no set way to “properly” volunteer. I just did it with my heart. I learned to be silly with the children, hold them, and love them without holding back. I made a fool out of myself and danced to make children laugh! It’s about making the most out of the brief time you have, because that time can never be replaced. I cherished every moment I got to spend with the children as learned about who they were individually. Discovering each child’s likes, dislikes, personality traits, background… etc. is what made for wonderful memories. I will never forget the closeness I felt to each child as I held them, played with them, even became a kid myself with them!

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Amani
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Tanzania Arusha Orphanage Program

I am so thankful for finding this ABV program. Everything went according to plan and was even better than I hoped. I was able to help the children, meet wonderful new people, and learned a lot. The dance classes , i have been giving dance classes everyday and now every time I go back to my playlist and listen to the music i can’t help myself but tear and wish I was still there with the most wonderful children I have ever met. I suggest take as least clothes as possible for you and as most as possible to give away because almost everyone is in need and giving things away to random people might sounds weird but seeing the smile on each and everyone’s face when receiving something from you is in-describable. I grew to appreciate, and although I spent days with no electricity days with no hot water it was a great way for me to wake up and thank god for where I am today.

What would you improve about this program?
The most difficult this ever was saying goodbye to the children it was one of the toughest things I have ever experienced , another tough thing was being asked by the children if i had parents and if they loved me because they wish to have parents and be loved by them too that’s why i tried my best to offer all the love i can and being able to speak Swahili was a great way to have a strong relationship with the children.
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Samantha
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Satisfactory Review

I quite enjoyed the experience I had in Tacloban at the Boy's Holding Centre. Day to day work involved teaching math and English and extra-curricular activities with the children. It was great and I believe I was able to provide some of what the children needed while I was there through individual or one-on-one work with the children. One of the difficult things was that there was no translator present, though when submersed in a culture you find ways to communicate verbally and non-verbally. It would however have been beneficial to have had someone present to help with the language, as it would have had more of an impact for the children. When I absolutely needed someone to translate I did ask staff. My highlights with the children were often playing basketball. They are little NBA stars.

Another highlight was the transition from not knowing the community and city I was in to being able to walk through the city confident in knowing where I was going and feeling safe while I did it.

Also if I was smart I would have packed some aloe vera gel to help with the sunburn I got (self-inflicted I might add), because you cannot find it anywhere there.

I totally experienced what it was like to be an outsider because of race, though the experience was not one of negativity. The people were always quite pleasant and often tried to speak English with me. I felt safe all the time and overall thought the whole experience has had beneficial life learning outcomes for me.

If you are thinking of going to volunteer I would say "You only live once!"

What would you improve about this program?
It does not matter how much you prepare or plan for the unexpected, something is always going to attempt to put a damper on your fun. The key is just having an open mind, knowing that all the resources are at your disposal if you just attune yourself to the mind and heart. Of course no program is perfect, but life is not perfect either.

I suppose if there is one thing I would improve, not change, would be the language. I wasn't bothered about the language when I was on my own and in the community, but when working with the children I believe it would have been much more beneficial for them if someone was there translating more often than just when I asked.