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Diversity of IVHQ Volunteers

Diversity of IVHQ Volunteers

Meet incredible people from all over the world when you volunteer with IVHQ

One of the best things about volunteering abroad with IVHQ is the opportunity to build awesome friendships with like-minded people from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and more!

Thanks to the affordability and accessibility of IVHQ programs, our global community of volunteers is extremely diverse and made up of people from all walks of life, including a wide range of ages, backgrounds and nationalities. You’ll have the chance to learn not just about your host country, but also about the cultures, languages and lifestyles of the people you’re volunteering alongside.

Over 70% of IVHQ volunteers travel solo and for 90% it’s their first time volunteering abroad with us, so it’s super easy to bond with your fellow volunteers.

While no two volunteers are the same (and that’s the beauty of it!) there are some common traits that bring this wonderfully diverse group of people together:

  • Caring about the world we live in and wanting to make it a better place
  • An appetite for adventure, exploring new places and experiencing new things
  • Wanting to be part of a community, learn about other cultures and form meaningful friendships
  • A desire to grow as a person, build self-awareness and get out of your comfort-zone
  • A willingness to challenge your own assumptions and be open to new ideas with a learning mindset

Does this sound like you? You’d fit right in! Explore our full range of programs or learn more about how our programs are so accessible and diverse below…

What is IVHQ’s approach to diversity?

Volunteering abroad with IVHQ is as much about nurturing meaningful friendships, deepening cultural understanding and embracing diversity as it is about giving back. Everyone is welcome on IVHQ’s volunteer programs and our reviews frequently reference how friendly and inclusive they are.

Volunteer story from Santi Ake Claproth

Volunteering in Sri Lanka was such an incredible journey. It was my first time volunteering, travelling solo and teaching special needs children. It opened my eyes to the world and the children taught me to be grateful for what I have. I met volunteers from many other countries - they are really amazing people and friends. We explored and traveled the country during the weekends. This was the best experience and memories that I've ever had.

Read about Santi Ake Claproth's experience
Volunteer story from Simone Carvalho

My days volunteering in Thailand were full of learning and smiles. The most important thing was that I was welcomed and accepted into the community. I'm passionate about working with children and every day we went in a group to give our best to those kids, who were always so excited waiting for us. Those moments brought more joy to my life than I could ever imagine. It gave me the opportunity to try something new, gain experience, develop skills, build confidence and meet new people. I'm so grateful to be part of the IVHQ family and I'll never forget those days.

Read about Simone Carvalho's experience

IVHQ’s non-discrimination policy:

IVHQ strictly adheres to a non-discrimination policy of not denying any person access to, or participation in or the benefits of, or be discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, pregnancy, marital or parental status, physical condition or developmental disability.

Volunteers will only be advised against participating on a volunteer program if it poses a risk to their safety as a result of local cultural attitudes or if the physical environment and/or program activities are not suitable for the volunteer based on the information they have provided to us.

IVHQ volunteers must agree to abide by this non-discrimination policy and accept that any evidence of discrimination in any form will result in instant dismissal from the program with no refund.

What nationalities and countries are IVHQ volunteers from?

Our volunteer programs attract travellers from a diverse range of countries around the world. In the last 12 months, IVHQ has hosted volunteers of 96 different nationalities on our programs, including multiple volunteers of the following nationalities:

  • Mexico
  • Israel
  • China
  • Chile
  • Brazil
  • India
  • USA
  • Lebanon
  • Egypt
  • Cameroon
  • Nigeria
  • Italy
  • Pakistan
  • Guatemala
  • Taiwan
  • Spain
  • UK
  • Morocco
  • Kenya
  • Venezuela
  • Bolivia
  • Ghana
  • France
  • Jordan
  • Canada
  • Greece
  • Vietnam
  • Rwanda
  • Ecuador
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Sudan
  • Belgium
  • UAE
  • South Africa
  • Russia
  • And much more...
Nationalities and countries that IVHQ volunteers are from.

This multiculturalism creates an inclusive environment and encourages volunteers to nurture a deep cultural intelligence, curiosity and respect.

Diversity is also present in the way our volunteers communicate with one another, because for 22% of IVHQ volunteers, English is not their first language. This provides a unique opportunity to learn about other languages and practice cross-cultural communication.

Quote from Bianca

Volunteering in Ghana was the best thing I did. I'm Nigerian and it felt really good to give back to a community that reminded me so much of home. The people were amazing and I honestly wish I could've stayed longer. My favorite moments were being able to do malaria tests for the kids in primary and secondary schools, as well as really enjoying the community and the people we were with. Make sure you come in with an open mind and without strong expectations. It's a whole new world and you will have to leave some of the assumptions/ideals you grew up with at home.

IVHQ Volunteer Bianca - Medical in Ghana Quote from Bianca

Volunteering abroad as an immigrant or expat

Many IVHQ volunteers live somewhere different to where they originate from. Around 8% of our volunteers are immigrants or expats, with their current country of residence being different to their nationality.

Often these volunteers embark on an IVHQ trip as a meaningful way to reconnect with their cultural roots. Volunteering abroad provides an opportunity to rediscover your family’s heritage authentically, enabling you to truly connect with the local community as more than just a tourist.

Watch Andreanna’s story about exploring her family roots in Vietnam by volunteering on IVHQ’s medical program in Ho Chi Minh City:

Andreannas medical volunteering abroad in Vietnam with International Volunteer HQ.
Age of volunteers with IVHQ.

How old are IVHQ volunteers?

IVHQ programs host a wide range of age groups, including teenagers, college students, families, couples, older adults and seniors. There is no age limit to our programs! Many volunteers describe this as an enriching opportunity to learn from people with different life experiences and backgrounds. Among our volunteers over the last 12 months:

  • 4% were under the age of 18
  • 13% were aged 19-20
  • 34% were aged 21-25
  • 17% were aged 26-30
  • 20% were aged 31-50
  • 12% were aged 51+
  • 23% traveled with their family, partner or friend(s)

With homestay and private room accommodation upgrades available on a huge range of IVHQ programs, we have hosting options to suit volunteers at all stages of life.

Quote from Julien

At my age of 75, I just spent an extraordinary 3 weeks in Ghana with 9 outstanding young adults from around the world. It was the most incredible and rewarding trip in my 50 years of traveling. Volunteering is for anyone with an open mind and a desire for adventure. I strongly recommend it for capable seniors and retirees who can spend a few weeks helping in a community in need of assistance. There is no age limit to volunteering… There is no limit to giving. I have found the road to a fulfilling retirement.

IVHQ Volunteer Julien - Construction and Renovation in Ghana Quote from Julien

Are IVHQ programs LGBTQ+ friendly?

All IVHQ staff, local teams and placement staff are welcoming and inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community, and 48 out of our 52 volunteer programs are LGBTQ+ friendly.

Unfortunately, some of the countries where we run volunteer programs still hold cultural views, religious influences or laws that are not tolerant of the LGBTQ+ community. The only IVHQ programs that we would not recommend for LGBTQ+ volunteers due to local cultural attitudes are Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya and Morocco.

Volunteering with a disability

While all IVHQ staff welcome those with disabilities, we have a range of programs that are specifically adapted to host volunteers with mobility disabilities.

Destinations accessible for limited mobility

The following IVHQ programs have infrastructure in place to host volunteers with mobility disabilities, including wheelchair users:

Project types accessible for limited mobility

The project types that are most accessible for those with limited mobility are:

Destinations accessible for assistance animals

The best IVHQ programs for those with an assistance animal, such as a guide dog, are:

Quote from Sarah

Since a young age, I’ve struggled with claustrophobia. It has complicated my life on so many levels and I didn’t want to continue down this path. What better way to challenge my fears than scuba diving on the Marine Conservation program in Belize. I met incredible, like-minded people who encouraged me to get outside of my comfort zone everyday, never allowing me to just give up. My dive instructor, Luis, challenged me to set goals everyday, which ended up showing me the beautiful things the ocean had to offer. Thanks to these amazing people, I was able to do things I never imagined myself doing. This program has completely changed my life.

IVHQ Volunteer Sarah - Marine Conservation in Belize Quote from Sarah
How International Volunteer HQ is so affordable and accessible.

How are IVHQ’s volunteer programs so accessible?

Our programs facilitate human connection on levels that you wouldn’t get from your average vacation and we believe that everyone should get a chance to experience this.

We’re often asked why our prices are so much lower than other volunteer abroad providers. Here’s how IVHQ is able to offer high quality, fully-hosted programs at such affordable prices:

1. Our programs are run by local people, keeping costs down

We believe locals are in the best position to see where volunteers can make the greatest impact. This reduces the cost of hosting volunteers and supports long-term employment for local people.

2. Accessibility to volunteering has always been our mission

From the start, we’ve been committed to minimizing costs and maximizing value. In fact, the lack of affordable, accessible international volunteer options is why IVHQ was founded in 2007.

3. Our affordable accommodation options support cultural immersion

Accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and most IVHQers choose to stay in volunteer houses or homestays with local families. This keeps costs down and offers a more authentic cultural experience.

4. Our scale keeps our program fees low

As the largest global volunteer abroad organisation, IVHQ supports thousands of volunteers a year. This allows us to spread the cost of running programs across more volunteers, keeping our fees low.

5. We’re the only B Corporation certified volunteer organisation

As a certified B Corp, we are independently audited to ensure that our programs are accessible to people from all backgrounds. We achieve this by keeping the cost of volunteering low and the value high.

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