Volunteering Reviews

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Work Study Volunteer

Organisation: International Humanity Foundation
Date: 24 June 2013

Activity:
My name is Evie, and I’m currently a second year university student from London. I first heard about the International Humanity Foundation’s work through my sister, who has volunteered as a Co-Director in both the Medan and Chiang Rai centres. I quickly found myself fascinated and impressed by the charity’s efforts, so it seemed absurd to not seize this amazing opportunity and apply for a Work-Study volunteer placement. I soon joined my sister in Chiang Rai, and it was honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made, not only a chance to volunteer with thirteen incredible children for a great cause, but also to discover a country as beautiful as Thailand for myself.

IHF Thailand is a home for children from the Northern Thailand hill tribes, who have have found themselves in vulnerable situations. It creates a family, support network and provides education to empower the children, alleviating them from marginalisation and poverty. My time at the centre is spent either online - completing work to assist the charity’s efforts, or locally - be this cooking dinner, helping the children with their homework, or mostly, just spending memorable, quality time with the children.

Working in Chiang Rai has motivated me to travel in the future. The knowledge and experience I have gained here is invaluable, learning about the IHF through its various mechanisms– fundraising, recruitment and the importance of media for example - I’ve gained an incredible introduction to the NGO sector, something I was relatively unaware of before.

The time I’ve spent with the children has proved invaluable, and inspired me to cherish every second of this opportunity.
Comments:
Help and advice
Made a difference
Would do again

Work-Study Volunteer

Organisation: International Humanity Foundation
Date: 24 June 2013

Activity:
My time was split in half between working with the children who lived at our safe-house (i.e. playing, helping with homework, teaching English classes, making dinners, walking to children to school, ect.) and also between completing online work for the NGO. IHF is run entirely from its volunteers, so I completed work for the media team, the fundraising team, established partnerships and internship programs with universities and found sponsors for the children.
Comments:
With the beginning of my senior year of undergraduate studies approaching, I had decided to do something really valuable with my summer. I have studied abroad in numerous countries, and have a record bursting with service and volunteering. Thus, I began my quest to find a volunteering opportunity abroad the way any other sane-minded individual would; a google search. It wasn’t long before a free volunteering search engine had suggested that I apply to the International Humanity Foundation.

My involvement in the IHF happened entirely by chance. I found the foundation in a wide-sweeping search, researched the Foundation and immediately fell in-love with its cause and the varying opportunities they offered volunteers. I applied, completely willing to be placed in any of the IHF’s centers across Indonesia, Thailand and Kenya, and finally was offered a position at the center in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

My work as a volunteer in center has truly been life changing. The Chiang Rai center is unique to any of the IHF’s other centers in that it is a home for 13 children, all of whom are from Hilltribe villages. I came to Thailand expecting to teach English and interact with children who have had difficult childhoods, but what I have experience here has been so much more.

Living in center, sharing meals and playing cricket and surfing facebook with the kids has made me a family member, like an older sister, rather than a worker. I feel as if establishing real relationships and friendships with the children has made more of an impact on someone’s life than any other community service experience I have done.

Working with IHF in the community has contributed hugely to my professional and educational development. Witnessing the empowerment that comes from education, the realities of poverty, the multifaceted contributors to social marginalization, as well as understanding all factors of international developmental issues (i.e. lack of social systems, lack of infrastructure, social and economic inequality ect.) have given true insight and hands on experience into the issues pertaining to my studies of international relations.

Despite how long and tiring some days may be in-center, when I stop and consider all that I have accomplished I realize that my experience with IHF has been valuable beyond words. It has enforced my chosen educational track, and inspired me to pursue a more specific and focused trajectory in my graduate studies. I have grown as an individual and made incredible connections with the children and staff that I have been so honored to work with. I came to work for IHF expecting to do good in a community of under privileged children, and while I was none-the-less successful, it had never occurred that I would come out the experience being the one who changed the most.
Help and advice
Made a difference
Would do again

Horticulture maintenance

Organisation: Wimbledon and Putney Commons
Date: 24 June 2013

Activity:
Cutting back invasive saplings on the heath in a team of 6
Comments:
We spent the day on Wimbledon Common cutting back saplings from the heath, to encourange the native heather. Timebank organised everything for us and there was no hassle at all. It was a brilliant, well conducted day which was a good break from the office and a great team activity. We all felt as though we 'gave something back' and it was a true breath of fresh air!
Help and advice
Made a difference
Would do again

Befriending

Organisation: The Wellsprings
Date: 18 June 2013

Activity:
i sat & had chats with the people that went to Wellsprings, then when they were getting there warm meal, I would go and help out in the kitchen area or sort out the clothing cupboard. Everyone was so friendly & welcoming, but due to there being so many volunteers already there I decided that I would find another charity where they needed help. So I left The Wellsprings & went to Narrowgate Night Shelter.
Comments:
A very good, welcoming homeless charity, where the homeless can get warm meals (dinner + tea's) showers, clean clothing, see a doctor, hair cuts, advice and many more great things to do, like there education.

I had a great experience there and would of gladly stayed, but with there being so many volunteers there I wanted to go somewhere I would be needed more.
Help and advice
Made a difference
Would do again

Work-Study Volunteer

Organisation: International Humanity Foundation
Date: 22 May 2013

Activity:
Online tasks and helping out and taking care of children, teaching Enlgish
Comments:
My name is Adam Gloser. At 17 I decided to take a gap year in Prague, where I worked in 7 different jobs from a street salesman for a charitable company to a tourist guide. It was my goal for the entire gap year to get into a university and to travel to a foreign country with Thailand being my first choice. I got into the university of Herriot-Watt for Urban Planning and Property Development, and earned enough money from tour guiding and being a waiter to travel to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. But I thought it would be a shame to travel to these foreign countries with so much time to spare without using the time productively and volunteering at a charitable foundation. My friend and travel companion found the IHF centre in Chiang Rai, Thailand, and we both signed up.

Expecting a very poor centre with a few very young children, we were both very pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the centre to discover that all the basic amenities were present. A working kitchen, a water supply, gas, basic food, mosquito nets and electricity all worked relatively well. The main point of the centre is to provide a caring and nurturing home for children with poor backgrounds. The IHF provides the children with free education (the education system in Thailand is not free, the IHF relies on donations and sponsorship programs), food and water, a caring director, the provisions needed for mental development (books, pens, access to the internet, musical instruments etc.) but most importantly of all; a safe home.

As a Work-Study Volunteer our main task is to attend to the children. This means creating a fun programme for the afternoon, after the children come back from school. We arrived at the end of the school's long holiday. Therefore the children, who did not go to school, had almost too much spare time. We organised trips to the local riverfront called “the beach”, or to the local waterfalls, to the night markets, or spending the day cleaning the “pool”, tending to a possible herb garden. Plainly we tried to occupy them before boredom got hold of the children. Another task we had was providing entertaining but educational English classes. These were carried out after school 3 times a week through songs, flash-cards, games, reading and general conversations. However, some days the children were simply too exhausted from waking up at 6 in the morning and spending the day at school, that by the time they came home (at 4PM) their concentration began to drift away from studies, but their determination and eagerness to learn created some very memorable lessons.

I guess what I had learned from my experience at the IHF is what wonderful people exist in this world. I know this sounds cheesy, but the circumstances from which the children came from would prevent any other child from functioning in the ‘normal’ world. But the children at the IHF centre have smiling faces, are kind and are extremely eager to learn. Most of the things we did with them, they could do better. The best example is cooking; we thought we would have to cook for the children, but to our surprise the children would usually cook for us and make the food better than we ever could! I learnt a great deal of humility, and came to the realisation that I am in fact spoilt. The children here have next to nothing but no problem is unsolvable. It has been a great moral boost, a feeling of actually doing something notable on this planet is a feeling I hope will not leave me in the near future. Most of all, the experience has created a new understanding of poverty, development and human generosity.
Help and advice
Made a difference
Would do again

Painting a reading corner at Christchurch Primary School

Organisation: TimeBank
Date: 20 May 2013

Activity:
As part of my company's Global Service Day, I had the pleasure to work with a Timebank representative at a school in Brick Lane in London, to refresh two areas of the school (Year 2 Classroom and the Library) to create an engaging and fun reading corner for the children to use.
Comments:
Right from the off, our Timebank representative was exceptional, explaining the impact of the project on the schoolchildren and helping us to get excited about the impact we were able to have to get the children enjoying reading.

I'd like to say a sincere thanks to Timebank for facilitating this opportunity for us, and certainly hope to work with you guys again in the future!
Help and advice
Made a difference
Would do again

Work Study Volunteer

Organisation: IHF
Date: 17 May 2013

Activity:
Teaching English

Creating English teaching curriculum

Running English teaching training session

Organizing Charity concert

International Online Work: Recruitment, fundraising, media and university relations.
Comments:
I’m 24 years old, from England and a professional ESL teacher. I am interested in volunteering and NGO work because I like to ‘give something back’ and I would like to work for NGOs full time in the future.

Firstly, a bit of information about where I volunteered: the IHF center in Aceh is primarily an Educational center, although they are currently looking for orphans to live in-center. It holds free English, Maths and Computer lessons six days a week for students from the first year of Junior school to college level. It has many local volunteers who teach and help with the daily running of the center and two full-time local volunteers; the director, Philippe, and the co-director, Joko.

While I was at the center I taught English classes to all ages five days a week as well as helping with things such as recruitment campaigns in local underpriveliged areas and the running of events such as workshops. Teaching these kids was great fun because they really want to learn, they have a motivation which is really different to the children I have taught before and they are always up for a laugh. The recruitment campaigns were eye-opening for me because we generally visited slum areas of the city and it made me realise all the stuff that I take for granted back home.

I was also involved in a project where we visit a school in an area far away from the center twice a week to teach English and maths. These classes were crazy because sometimes there were over 25 kids in one class but awesome because they spent the whole time laughing and smiling. I made them run around a lot which might have added to the craziness but they were still pretty well-behaved when I asked them to be quiet or when I was trying to teach them something new. These were my favourite classes here because there is so much energy bouncing around and I’d always finish the two hours sweaty and exhausted but with a big grin on my face!

As the center is small it is a great place for your own ideas and input. Whilst I was there I spearheaded a project where I created a yearly curriculum for all the English classes for the center to use. I also organised putting on a charity fundraising concert which was stressful but really easy in a lot of ways. I had the idea for it on a Monday evening and by the Saturday night the concert had started! People here are really helpful and businesses and the media are easy to reach so it is comparatively simple for your ideas to come to life when you look at all the red tape you would have to go through in many other countries.

I wanted to volunteer with IHF because they offered a varied volunteering experience and the chance to learn about NGOs by doing international tasks daily online. I was involved in the fundraising, volunteer recruitment, media and university relations teams. I have learned a lot about these different aspects of the running of NGOs and it has been a great experience. It was cool to see the results of my work, for example in the fundraising team I was given a lot of freedom and was able to create an email template with photos etc for volunteers to use when contacting their friends and family about IHF.

I chose the Aceh center particularly because I wanted to experience a vastly different culture to my own. It has been fascinating learning about the 2004 tsunami as there is a museum and there are many monuments in the city. I was initially a little nervous about going to volunteer in a predominintely Muslim community as I thought that I might do something wrong or offend someone. However, it has been very enlightening, the Acehnese people that I have met have been extremely friendly and have been keen to explain their religion and culture to me. I have made lots of friends and I love the taste of Acehnese coffee! The scenery here is gorgeous as well, they have loads of white sand beaches and towering tree-covered mountains. On days off local volunteers usually come to the center on their motorbikes and drive us round the city or to the beach.

In general I have had a great time at the Aceh center and I can’t believe that it’s almost time for me to go! I have learned a lot about the running of NGOs and the processes involved in keeping a education center like this open. It requires a lot of hard work and long hours but is also very rewarding. Through my online international work I have gained experience in other areas apart from teaching. I have also learned about the pressures of organising an event and how to use them as a fundraising tool. If you come here I reckon you will have an awesome time and come away with a new set of friends and experiences just like me!

Help and advice
Made a difference
Would do again

kitchen assistant

Organisation: Food Chain
Date: 3 May 2013

Activity:
Helped prepare food for people and serve up
Comments:
at the moment i have had no support in helping me finding the right volunteer opportuinty
Help and advice
Made a difference
Would do again

Coffee Shop assistant; Marketing and PR support

Organisation: The Centre @ Halton
Date: 24 April 2013

Activity:
I started by helping in the Centre Coffee Shop, and gradually became involved in supporting the Centre Manager by marketing and promoting events and activities in the Centre. I have also joined the Centre's Management Committee
Comments:
The Centre is now very successful due to the energy of a number of core volunteers, working with the Manager. It plays an important role in teh community and offers great facilities especially for young people.I really enjoy being part of this vibrant and progressive organisation.
Help and advice
Made a difference
Would do again

kitchen assistant

Organisation: Food Chain
Date: 20 April 2013

Activity:
Helped prepare food for people and serve up
Comments:
Help and advice
Made a difference
Would do again