Niamh Powell – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to work in a community project where you can teach more freely and try out different things. I am a teacher at home so wanted to see how different it would be and maybe use something back home and use something from home in Argentina to improve my teaching in both places.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes I think so, although I was only there for a couple of weeks, I think the children gained from the activities we had organised.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
Maybe funds and time permitting!

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
Volunteering gives you a completely different perspective and the children don’t have to go to a community centre so you need to go the extra mile or they won’t come the next day. But that was great fun because you knew if they came each day they liked what you were doing. You don’t get that feedback from your class at home.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
An activity in your bag ready every day. Some volunteers had nothing to use when the children finished their work or games early so it’s good to grab something.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
Buenos Aires is not that cheap compared to other countries. I spent £150 but you might be able to spend less, it depends whether you go out in the evenings. If you cook in the apartment you’ll save a lot more.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Make the most of the hours you spend with the children as it is so special to them. At home you don’t know what they are going through.

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Emma Taylor – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to make friends and travel at the same time. A lot of my friends had already done projects or similar things before and recommended volunteering.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes every day, the kids have nothing and get abuse all the time at home, it’s really tough for them. I think they loved our visits and I really felt for them as some were so dirty. I bought some wetwipes and took them each day and they loved getting some attention when I wiped their hands and faces. That was quite moving.

What did you do for fun?
We went to bars near the volunteer flat. There’s a really good night life in the Buenos Ares and a lot to do at night. Because you work in the afternoon it’s easy to sleep and be ready again. We also did the famous Buenos Ares pub crawl which was a lot of fun.

What was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
At the time I was there they did a trip to the north to see an Indian village and make donations. That was really interesting and totally different to the city.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
With other volunteers from all over the world, mostly America and also with other young people we met in the evenings.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
Not sure Argentina again, but definitely Peru and see more of Brazil.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Clothes for the evening but take a coat too if you’re going between seasons. I got caught out but got away with it in May.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Check the weather before you go as I was there in May and it was their Autumn so you need a winter coat, but it was warmer at the indian village because you’re further north.

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Ffion Brooks – Review


Hi guys, here’s my review as requested…

Why did you want to volunteer?
The most amazing thing? Making friends with the children in the shanty and giving them lots of support. Some really need it and come in a terrible state each day.

Best memory?
The birthday party we organised and seeing the children’s faces.

Best bits about free time?
The beach at Mar del Plata. I was lucky to be in Argentina during their summer and took full advantage.

Tell us about the people
The Argentinians love the English although that isn’t what people told me before I went. They love to practise their English on you, we were never without company on our nights out.

Would you consider volunteering again and where?
Yes. I would like to go to Peru as I had no time on this trip.

Tips for future volunteers?
Bring some ideas or you will run out after a few days.

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Rebecca George – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted experience Argentina and what it;s like for the children living in the shanty town and try and help in any way I could.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes I think we made a difference. Two girls changed their behaviour in the time I was there just because we had enough in our group to spend time with them and play skipping and some word games. I hope with enough volunteers that every child gets some attention so the same can happen again.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I am considering Cambodia because I have heard some great things about the place and some friends have been already.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Activities for the children because you don’t want to rely on what the charity has as they can run out.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
£150 should be plenty, I spent more but I ate out more. And you need to allow £20 a week for your project transport.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Be prepared to see children affected by really poor ugly conditions in a city. I met one girl who was only thirteen and pregnant, it was very emotional but we tried to involve her as much as we could because she still wanted to do everything the others were.

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Nicola Fairclough – Review


Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I would absolutely, volunteering helps you to learn about yourself and the world around you. I am definitely a better person for it.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
Just do it. Throw yourself right in and take everything as it comes. All my best times volunteering were the unexpected things, the planned activities were never the same as the last minute ones.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Trainers for running around and casual clothes as you will be working in a really rough area. I wore my project tshirt and a hoodie, jeans and trainers, you really want to blend in. Don’t wear your jewellry either or a watch, you don’t need them and I think it makes the children feel awkward.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
I managed on £100 a week including the taxi to get to the project each day, all my food and nights out. Other people who were with me were spending £150 a week so I guess it depends.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
It’s a massive modern city but the work you do with the kids in the community project is something really special as there are not many other people helping them so go with an open mind and be prepared for extremes each day, on the one hand modern Buenos Aires and then the next minute total poverty and serious problems. It can be quite difficult to take in at times and was heartbreaking to leave.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas