Through IVHQ I found the confidence to travel on my own for the first time to a rural community in Thailand as a volunteer. I had such a profound and genuine experience there that I recommended your organisation to friends and decided to do it again in Kenya the following year.
I was officially apart of the 'Constuction/Outdoor' program but once I arrived there I quickly realised that I was instantly apart of a local community and could help out in other ways too.
The local foundation made us volunteers feel very much at home and ensured that our skills and resources were put to good use.
Our team spent most of our days making bricks, constructing fences and building structures for various community bodies. As I am a trained Secondary School Teacher I also spent some time teaching english and entertaining the children who had family members working within the partner foundation.
The partner foundation was set up in a way that allowed all the local and international volunteers to live, eat, work and play together. We slept in gender seperated dorm-style rooms and ate our meals communally with the staff and had a volunteer room where we could email friends and family back home and relax after a day of volunteer work. It is very well set up to accomodate everyone's needs.
My fondest memory was our Christmas eve outting. This involved going bamboo door-to-door and singing our christmas carols to the local community families. This was positively received and the locals returned the favour by singing for us with instruments and 4 part harmonies (somewhat superior to our out-of-tune rendition of 'Jingle Bells').
The security that IVHQ offered me (and my family) during my trip was invaluable. My parents had the reassurance of a NZ contact if they could not contact me and I knew what to expect in terms of being collected at the airport and being placed in a relevant role within a reputable organisation.
IVHQ offer programs that are a fantastic introduction to the developing world to any nervous-first-time traveler.
I would highly recommend this IVHQ program.
I think that this program is very wel organised in terms of type of volunteer work, transport to and from placement, accomodation, meals and local interaction. I felt very much apart of the community and can not think of any changes I would have made to my experience.