Has anyone heard of this company? They have loads of good reviews on their website, but I am always skeptical about reviews on a companies website!
Any info would be greatly appreciated.
my friend went away with them and loved it - what kinda thing u looking to do/where ya wana go?
I am looking to do some humanitarian work, hopefully with women and children, maybe on their trafficking program. I think the programs I was looking at were in either Ecuador or Sri Lanka - bit of a difference I know!
I have basically been planning to take a gap year for about 4 yrs and I have been looking at a load of different companies, and now I only have like 12 months before I plan to head off I’m starting to look a bit more in depth and make decisions!!
If you are unsure about a volunteer company be sure to question them. Below is something I wrote for a volunteer compnay I used to work for. If they can’t answer any of the below, or don’t give you a satisfactory answer then i’d strongly recommend going with someone else.
Questioning the organisation
Potential volunteers should look for organisations that provide answers to the following questions and sending organisations should aim to provide honest answers to the questions. Below is a list of questions that it is recommended potential volunteers should ask:
What will I be doing?
A responsible volunteer sending organisation will be able to provide a detailed job description and information on hours and conditions of work.
How is my money spent?
Responsible volunteer sending organisations will not only be honest about how volunteer contributions are spent but work towards putting as much of that as possible into projects and community development. The organisation should provide you with an exact break down of how the money is spent, not just a rough percentage.
What training and support will I receive?
Untrained volunteers may be of little value to projects, responsible organisations will offer pre-departure training and continued training throughout their placements as well as offering direct, in country support, throughout.
Is there any local involvement?
Local involvement should be central to all volunteer programmes if they are to be of benefit to the host community. Local partners should be involved in projects and the sending organisation should be working alongside them, not instead of them.
How long are the projects run for?
Quality volunteer programmes are based on a well structured time-frame based on realistic aims and objectives. Short placements may have little benefit to host communities whilst long-term ones may create a dependency culture. Organisations should aim to stay until their goals have been successfully achieved and communities can continue alone.
Does the company have an eco/responsible volunteering or tourism policy in place?
Volunteer sending organisations should have a commitment to the project, their volunteers and take responsibility for their environmental, economic and socio-cultural impacts
Can I talk to ex-volunteers or local workers?
Providing access to previous volunteers and local workers will help potential volunteers gain a better understanding of the project and what will be expected of you helping to avoid disappointment.
Can they give me precise contact details for my chosen programme?
There are cases of organisations waiting for a number of volunteers to sign up before placing them on a project. An organisation with well run, quality projects will be able to inform volunteers from the start where they’re going and provide contact details.
I am interested in doing the Outreach International Dogs & Cats conservtion in Ecuador. It would be great to hear from someone who has done this programme e.g., what is the name of the dog & cat rescue centre there? What were your duties? Was your host family and accommodation nice?