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.

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Connor Lane – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to be able to travel on my own and make friends at the same time. I have travelled around Europe before Interailing but it’s hard to make friends when you are at different hostels each night.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes we definitely made a difference to the children. They seemed to love having volunteers around and they were easy to make friends with from day one!

What did you do for fun?

Bars, cafes and the city centre. I was surprised at the number of bars in the city and we worked our way round quite a few!

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?

Teaching the children at the school new sports and games. British bulldog was quite popular and I managed to pass on some basketball techniques to some of the girls.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?

Yes but not to Merida as I have done this one now!

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?

It’s a great way to travel on your own without all the hassle of moving around between places with taxis and buses when you don’t speak the language. In Merida everything felt like home because you have people there to help you out if you need anything.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?

You have to give it 100% and not holdback because the time goes so quickly, my 3 weeks felt like 1!

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Martin French – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
I am studying equine studies at college so wanted to get some experience by working at a stables.

Best bits about free time?
Saw lots of things, epcot centre and the space centre.

Tips for future volunteers?
Expect to work hard at some times and relax at others as it depends on what the horses and staff need.

What was your day like?
Worked in the morning and then in the afternoon with a break in the middle.

What was the most rewarding?
Seeing the staff work so hard and know you are really helping them out.

What was the hardest part?
Saying goodbye.

What is your best memory?
Riding to the beach.

Top tip for future volunteers?
Take old clothes as they will get dirty and smelly working with the horses. I wish I had taken more clothes for working.

Would you volunteer again?
Yes definitely!

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Emma Harper – Review


Why did you choose to volunteer?

I had been to Kenya before for a holiday with my family.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes definitely, the boys rely on volunteers being there and helping them. Sometimes you think your hour might have made them change their mind and not go back to the streets. That is a massive deal.

What did you do for fun?

I enjoyed sitting chatting with the staff in the evenings and learning more about what it is like to live there, some volunteers went into the city to hotel bars for fun.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?

When we took the boys to the beach and organised a picnic that was great fun. Some of the boys had never been to the beach to have fun.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?

Yes I would like to go back to Mombasa, one of the other volunteers was on her second visit as her first trip had affected her a lot and she wanted to keep on helping the project.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?

Just do it and don’t let anyone put you off. The people are amazing and the boys at the shelter really need all the support they can get.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

There is no need to bring a lot of things for the boys as you can buy everything there for less. I bought some new shorts and t-shirts for the boys. They also need more paper and pens but find out before you go so you take what is needed.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

£50 was more than enough. I spent £380 on a safari, it was a once in a lifetime experience and I could have paid less.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?

Don’t let anything stand in your way, the boys need you.

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Hai Sin Lin – Bulgaria


Why did you want to volunteer?
For a good experience.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
With the gypsy children we help to be more behaved and play nicely.

What did you do for fun?
We went on kayak in the forest and to the beaches.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
I went with my friend and made many friends with other volunteers.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise
The volunteer house was my favourite place to be with everyone. We also went to the city centre in the evenings.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
Yes to Morocco.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Toys for the children to play and an interest in the projects and children.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
100 pounds is enough

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Go in the summer when the weather is good.

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Rose Trott – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to visit Asia and many of the other companies were too expensive. I found this project online by accident whilst searching online.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
The work done by the volunteers is truly astonishing. There are not a lot of resources but the books you use are really good and help the children to learn English really quickly. The project director explained that if the children can learn good English they will have a chance to get scholarships like he did to good colleges in the capital and perhaps even University. It was incredible to think that we were all a part of that for the children.

What did you do for fun?
We stayed at the school most evenings, a few went into town to the bars. But it was just as much fun at the school. There were about 20 of us when I was there but I heard there are far more in the summer so I don’t think you really need to leave the school for entertainment elsewhere.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I think you need to have an open heart – you can’t just sit back and watch and expect everything to be like it is as home.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
If they really want to help then you have to just do it. Some of the volunteers were there just for the beach and did not get involved too much on the teaching side of things but I think you can miss out on a lot in that way. One of the girls was crying when she left, it is an emotional rollercoaster and like nothing else I have ever experience. It would have been easy to cry as well when I left because you are also leaving LOTS of new friends amongst the other volunteers too!

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
A mosquito net!!!!

Read more about our: Volunteers in Asian case studies

Gemma Arnold – Review


The most amazing thing?
Aside from volunteering, definitely the space centre.

Best memory?
Riding to the beach and walking along with the horses in the water.

Best bits about free time?
There was so much to see and you get time to get out and about, just make sure you allow enough time, I think 2 days away from the sanctuary makes it easier although some volunteers managed things in one long day.

Tell us about the people
The local people are so generous and patient with us and explained everything we needed to know. I made some good friends with local volunteers.

Would you consider volunteering again and where?
I would like to try something adventurous next time,perhaps India as it’s always been a country I’ve wanted to visit.

Tips for future volunteers?
Go with it and enjoy every minute of it!

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas

Amanda Mullen – Review


Off to Mombasa! Well, After a long flight to Mombasa I was picked up by a really lovely gentleman, and driven through the suburbs of Mombasa. Already you can see the major contrasts between the UK, where we live and where they live. It was so different…

Here’s the rest of my story with photos and why I fell in love with this project…

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Angela Coren – Bulgaria


Here’s my review of my time in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria was a surprise, I wanted to do something in Europe then found the project on the OV website and booked straight away. I learnt a lot during my stay especially about the suffering of the Roma gypsy people, not just in Bulgaria but in the region as a whole. It has definitely changed my mind about the Roma people and I can now see both sides.

My favourite times were when we visited the gypsy shanty town, the people were so lovely and came out of their houses to welcome and greet us. They could not have been nicer, I actually think they were even nicer than the rest of the population.

They were always surprised that we were there and always wanted to know why we wanted to play and teach their children, it really felt like a special experience to be allowed in to help. Some of the children don’t go to school so our visits were the only time they had to experience something useful.

At the weekends we spent our time on the beach or in Varna, I was never bored and there was plenty to do and more restaurants than I expected, I ate in a different place almost every night although there was a kitchen at the volunteer house to cook and some volunteers ate in.

The housekeeper was a lovely lady and she sometimes prepared us a quick traditional Bulgarian meal which was heartwarming.

Overall I loved my time and will definitely be returning along with a couple of others I met during my visit.

Thank you for everything, I hope this is useful and I will definitely be in touch soon!

Read more about our: Volunteers in Europe

Amy Martin – Blog post with photos


I have recently come back from the Cambodian project through original Volunteers and wanted to take the time out to say how fantastic it was.
After arrival in the capital, we drove for about 2 hours into the Cambodian countryside until we arrived at hope school. As we drove through the gates I noticed the 3 classrooms on site and another building. I was greeted by all the volunteers who were so friendly and happy to show me to me bed.

Here are some photos and the rest of my story….

Read more about our: Volunteers in Asian case studies

Tanya Read – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
To explore and travel at the same time.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Absolutely! The project I helped in was a day nursery for some of the poorest children and they simply don’t have enough people working there to do everything. It was a lot of running around and making sure the children had something to do and were okay but it was great fun and the time went really quickly each day.

What did you do for fun?
We visited Otovalo and went to the coast for a few days.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
There wasn’t one thing which stood out as it was all so much fun. Practising my Spanish with the children was interesting and involved lots of laughing, I don’t think they understood I wasn’t from there so kept repeating things to me. The staff often had to try and translate but it was funny.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
We were a really great little bunch, there were 3 of us then another girl finished her stay but I think on this project it’s more about getting to know the locals and the people you work with than some other projects which are busier, at least that’s my impression as I met a girl who’d done a couple of other projects with OV which were bigger groups.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I would like to visit India next and maybe a couple of others too.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Wetwipes for your project so you can wipe the children’s hands quickly when they get covered in paint.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Speak Spanish from day one, regardless of how little you know, it really makes a difference and opens up opportunities with the local people. Don’t do what I did and worry about Spanish so much I didn’t speak to anyone, a few hellos really opens things up and makes everyone else comfortable with you too! Go for it!

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas

Ray Bryne – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
As part of my travels it fitted in nicely.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes absolutely, the project needs a lot of extra help to raise awareness.

What did you do for fun?
Sea kayaking and diving course.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
Watching the sun set at a beach bar in the evenings.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I would definitely do another project.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
Be prepared for the iguanas to sleep when it rains.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Loose clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and good strong shoes for trekking around the island.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
The island is not that cheap compared to the rest of Honduras so take as much as you can, £100 should be enough for nights out on main street and eating out.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Go with the flow! It’s too hot.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas