Volunteering is founded on the concept of giving through the donation of your time and your skills. Voluntourism is growing popularity each year – appealing to a broad cross-section of society interested in combining travel and volunteering. However, perceptions of volunteering abroad is that it is more risky and definitely harder to organise without inside country knowledge means companies such as IVHQ are the conduit you need.
IVHQ is one of the world’s most trusted and experienced volunteer travel provider. I happened upon the website in 2013. It was a simple google search and the website came up trumps. I wanted to know what I was paying for? Paying to volunteer, was I sure? This is a great option for those with limited time.
The website offers a list of destinations which I believe is growing annually. Details from the first point of contact with IVHQ until the time you finish your volunteer program; you will receive dedicated support. Once you become a registered IVHQ volunteer, you are provided with a ‘My IVHQ’ account to help you prepare for your trip. Many features are available to you including interactive volunteer training, information booklets and checklists to use as you need.
A IVHQ country program manager is responsible for co-ordinating your arrangements. Once you reach your program destination, by your own steam, the dedicated local charity team will become your main point of contact until the day you depart your program. This is the hardest part of sourcing international volunteering relationships by yourself – knowing the best ethical project in need. The country charity needs to provide a safe environment for all involved and really add value to a local community. IVHQ assure all volunteers they only connect with responsible projects, after a great deal of investigation and in-person checking plus safety throughout.
A registration fee goes to IVHQ in New Zealand which they receive to run IVHQ and facilitate your volunteer abroad trip.
The program fee paid goes directly to IVHQ’s chosen local charitable project in the country you are volunteering in. The fee is used to pay for airport pick-ups, orientation, accommodation, food and staff support to ensure each volunteer program goes as smoothly as possible.
I divided the cost of food & accommodation over the week, 2 or 3 weeks I was volunteering. These were easy sums. Completely open about costs and what’s included too; a sliding scale of fees relating to the length of stay.
Yes, presumption of group demographic can be that of 20-26 age bracket and majority female however I could check this before booking. There are so many opportunities in relation to country and cause that age and gender would and should never be an obstacle to booking a volunteer holiday if you’re interested.
I have experienced 2 projects – teaching assistant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and child play assistant in Lima, Peru. Both very different projects and both very rewarding. Check out my blog for more info and images.