HELP! I am either going to volunteer in Africa or Asia with GLOBAL CROSSROADS or IFRE VOLUNTEERS. If anyone has ANY feedback whatseoever on these organizations, PLEASE let me know ASAP! I mean anything at all - it doesn’t matter where you went with them… just trying to make a decision on which one to trust the most and have the best experience with! THANKS!!!
(If you suggest any others aside from Cross Cultural Solutions, I would love that input as well!!!)
Hey I saw your post and I am also planning on volunteering abroad this summer!
Ive never been but i saw you mentioned you dont want more info on Cross Cutural Solutions, which is who i was planning on signing up with. Did you hear something bad about them? I want to go to South America and was planning on either going to Costa Rica or Brazil.
Anyways write back if you ge a chance!
I went with Global Crossroads - they’re a RIP OFF. I paid in total $1200 for 2 weeks in India, only to find that $300 ever made it away from America.
The company relocated me at the last minute, then expected me to pay for a whole new set of flights; they left me with a very unsafe nepalise man at the airport, and the volunteer work wasn’t as they had described and was in no way sustainable.
I would think seriously before going with these companies - they are gimmicky, they rip you off and in no way do they care about whether the volunteer work that you are doing is worthwhile. If you want to give your time to people in the third world, think about how much use you will be, and whether you would be more help than hindrance in the time you will be there. Most companies do not take this into account - it’s volunteer tourism.
but i still think you can do good in a practical way abroad, and i’m planning to do some more volunteer work, but maybe with a grass-roots organisation where i can really help, instead of teaching children English in a very haphazard way and interrupting the good work of native teachers and employees who actually need the job that you are ‘volunteering’ for.
sorry to be negative! hope it helps
I have recently returned home from Global Crossroad Tanzania program.
And My experience was life changing. Mr. Yotam (coordinator) has been doing fabulous jobs.
I am sorry to read negative emails about global crossroad.
I believe global offers one of the most competitive price. It is your choice to choose any organziation you like but I feel - global crossroad is one of the best volunteer vacation companies
Have a Blessed day
IFRE based in America may be trustworthy, but IFRE Thailand (which i’m currently stuck in) is Hell. like the global crossroads person said, volunteering is great life experience, but IFRE Thailand will not stop harrassing me after I made a genuine complaint to IFRE America about receiving no medical attention for a scorpion poison bite. Now the director AND homestay father in IFRE Thailand purposely make my stay less enjoyable by turning off my power, sending me bogus emails about fees they expect to collect from me, and of course, never helping me when i have problems (they never had before). when i get back home, i’m going to set up a program with my school so that volunteers can pay a third of what IFRE charges, while getting treated with some humanity. i’ll post again when i have it all together. i’ve been limited over here.
the gist, AVOID IFRE THAILAND FOR YOUR HEALTH AND MONEY SAFETY.
I suppose it is too late to help you but I had a negative experience with IFRE, also known as Global Solutions, Global Crossroads and Rustic Volunteers. We received nothing besides a typed handout, a referral to an orphanage in Tanzania and a $50 medical insurance plan - all for over $1200. The promised in-country support never materialized. Apparently the local person isn’t paid well or regularly and in any event he was not available to us and did nothing to help us. More shocking, the orphanage never received any money for my stay by way of room and board. I was told this was the usual situation and even though they had complained, nothing changed. Some people bring gifts of school supplies or make donations apparently. These types of organization, and there are many, are for profit organizations. I found that I could have gone directly to the orphanage, paid considerably less but know that the money would have benefitted them directly.
I think there are some better organizations but how to find them I am not sure. I have heard that some accommodation arrangements and unacceptable (sleeping on the bare earth) and some places don’t have enough food. As with many things, personal recommendations would probably be best.
My daughter is looking at the IFRE Tanzania program. I’ve only seen a handful of reviews about it. After reading your post I am a little afraid of letting her go with this group. Any suggestions?
I am leaving for Tanzania in 10 days with IFRE. Your post worries me a little! Out of curiosity, which orphanage were you assigned to? Any other information that you would like to share would be very much appreciated!
hi, I wanted to find out how ur trip went with IFRE…I am planning to go to Thailand next month but would like to know more about it too.
Hi! I am planning on doing three weeks of volunteering in Brazil this summer with IFRE. I know some people have had bad experiences with this organization but has anyone been to Latin America with them? I understand IFRE is not as glorious as they make themselves sound but they are relatively very cheap compare to the other programs. Anyone have any feedback or know of anyone planning on going to Brazil with them in June by any chance?
I would like to share the experience I had with IFRE in India. I have recently come back from a one month summer volunteering project where I worked in a slum school in Faridabad. Overall, I had an incredible and very positive experience in the country. However I also experienced a couple critical points with IFRE:
1) According to what I had to pay for this four week volunteer program, I realized during my work experience that certainly not a lot (if any) of the money reaches the school. There are no proper tables, no exercise books and few reading books in the school. For this reason I am wondering how the 1,899$ that I paid for this trip has been used by IFRE.
2) I noticed that IFRE does not require any background checks of the volunteers. Anybody, whether with good or bad intentions can work with the children in the school. This could be a potential danger for the students.
3) Volunteers do not need any teaching experience to work in the school. Additionally, no lesson plans or instructions on what to teach the pupils were given to me when I arrived in India.
4) I had difficulties with the payment of the trip; I was overcharged on one occasion and asked to repay the entire program fees on another occasion. Also, I had to email IFRE for an invoice.
5) Unlike mentioned on the website, where it states that “IFRE’s staff also visits each volunteer every 1-2 weeks”, the other volunteers and I got no such visits within my 3 week stay in the school.
6) IFRE (or Global Crossroads who IFRE works with) did not follow the program mentioned on the IFRE website accurately. For example I did not get to visit the city of Ranthambore at all. Unfortunately no alternative excursion was proposed to me.
7) On one occasion, my parents contacted the country coordinator in India and he gave them incorrect information about my location in the country.
8) During the time I was sightseeing, I was asked by the local IFRE/Global Crossroads contact to give extravagantly high tips to the drivers and guides.
Therefore I do not recommend traveling with IFRE Volunteers.
We are sincerely sorry to hear that you had a bad experience on your volunteer trip. Let me give you some information regarding our company though because I think there may have been some confusion.
Only the application fee goes toward IFRE’s overhead. The program fee pays for your accommodations, food required stay, and a donation to the project. We actually publish the allocation of fees on our website.
Different countries have different regulations with volunteering. Many of which do require that volunteers submit background checks obtained from their local police station.
Roles are assigned based upon a volunteers background and experience. As well as we give our volunteers placement details and the direct contact information of our in country staff so they are able to develop a detailed itinerary prior to your stay.
Our in country staff checks in with volunteers via face to face, phone, or email depending upon the needs of the volunteer. We vet each and every project to guarantee safety prior to arrival. So much of the check up is for the volunteers comfort. Also, all volunteers have the contact information of our in country staff, police, hospital, and project supervisor if need be.
Lastly, IFRE Volunteers is a non-profit company that seeks to provide affordable and safe programs for volunteers around the world. We are not associated with Global Crossroads.