As 20% of those who volunteer abroad with International Volunteer HQ are under the age of 20, it’s common for us to speak with hundreds of parents every week, who want to be reassured that their sons and daughters will be well looked after when they volunteer abroad with IVHQ.
We can assure you that the safety of our volunteers is the top priority of IVHQ and our in-country teams, yet we understand that parents of keen IVHQ volunteers want to read reviews from other parents in the same position as them.
To provide you with some feedback from parents of previous IVHQers, we’ve collaborated the comments of our IVHQ Parents Facebook page to provide you with some insight…
Speaking from experience…
Madalyn Jira I went to Cuzco, Peru with IVHQ! I had a wonderful time. They give you a full training meeting once you get there, and send you a large information packet before you go. You will meet some awesome people on your trip. My husband did the construction program and loved it. We now have a daughter and if she wants to volunteer abroad someday, I would totally feel comfortable sending her with IVHQ!
IVHQ has it covered!
Tonya Finton My son just returned from 10 weeks in Vietnam with IVHQ. He was well taken care of, made amazing friends, travelled and had a transformative experience. Your child is in good hands!
Chrissy Martin The program has it all set up. When she tells her coordinator her flight information, they make sure that someone is there to get her at that time and brings her to the airport. If you email the coordinator, they are very helpful!
Melissa Galego Szmigulski Remember that IVHQ places volunteers globally and they organize everything up to the point where you arrive and then the local organization you are volunteering with will be your first line of contact and IVHQ steps back as secondary. My daughter will start her orientation in Saigon tomorrow. There was a last minute change with her flight at the airport (she was on a different airline, flying in from JP, not CN). I called the local coordinator after she has departed and couldn’t get thru on his cell; however, within 30 minutes he saw a missed call on his cell and called to inquire.
It’s normal to worry, but there’s no need to!
Sarah Jones My 18 year old daughter went to Kenya on her own in the summer for 4 weeks. Yes I was apprehensive and concerned. But my worries were groundless. She had a fantastic experience and felt supported by the local team. They moved her from her first placement because she wanted to be nearer Nairobi with no fuss. Yes life there she said was basic. But she has great memories, fantastic photos and wonderful new friends. I made sure she had enough money and was vaccinated against every disease imaginable!!! Go have fun and tell your mum to try and stop worrying!
Debbie Pasfield I was very worried when my son was posting on IVHQ asking who else was going and got no real replies for the same time. But at Orientation he meet many others from other countries.
Amy Voelker I was a concerned parent when my 19 year old daughter wanted to go to Peru for two months. I’m so glad we let her go. It was one of the best experiences she has ever had.
Go for it!
Tonya Finton My son did the childcare program in Ho Chi Minh City and it was fantastic! He went alone but immediately connected with all the international kids there - instant family of friends from all over the world!! As a parent, all my concerns were unfounded. Go for it!
Debbie Pasfield My son went end or January early Feb this year. At orientation he meet people from other countries and groups before hand he thought he was on his own.
Fern Gruskin Eisler I am a mother of two boys. They are 24 and 26. I went to Thailand last year with IVHQ and it was a wonderful experience and legitimate program. Tell your mom to relax. I would love to see my boys do something like this but they both work full time.
Mary Cannon My daughter is an 18 year old college freshman. She will be traveling to Kenya on her own in June to volunteer! While I am nervous, I could not be more proud of her. She has raised $1,900 so far, and will use some of her savings to supplement the trip too. She convinced me that IVHQ is a safe, reputable. organization.
Why not go together?
Angela Fuller My son Tom (now 26) also volunteered in Kenya through IVHQ and for both of us… yes it changed us.
Kate Barrette Cummins I went to Cambodia with my 11 year old daughter we home stayed which was fantastic. I highly recommend IVHQ they were great support.
Gladys Amparo Fernandez Garzon I will be volunteer in Merida - Mexico next January for ten weeks with children, my daughter is going with me. I understand your father concerns. Hopefully everything will be safe, just need to be careful.
Kym Hadzick When I volunteered in Ghana a few years ago, a woman brought her son, who couldn’t have been more than 10 years old, and while they were at another placement, I heard from the volunteers there that he was amazing. The kids at the orphanage loved him and he was a little rock star over there. I thought that was so cool. Ghana is an amazing country, and the people are wonderful. I would highly recommend it. Your girls will have a whole new perspective on life - kudos to you for looking into this!
Sandra Dirckze I went with my daughter to Tanzania 3 years ago when she was 16. Had a fab time. Accepted by all the youngsters there and going with my daughter was the best experience ever. Doesn’t matter what age you are, you are all there to help others and grow yourself.
Erica Ockey There were a couple of families that volunteered together in Kenya when I was there. Great bonding experience and they were able to do things as a family or as a group with the rest of their volunteers. Would definitely recommend bringing your children, such an eye opening experience!
A life changer…
Kelly Carey Tanzania - my daughter worked at Glorious orphanage - absolutely life changing - in fact the is back there now 3 years after she first went!
Michele Bruno My daughter has been in Ghana for 16 months. She said the country is the friendliest she has ever been in. The people are all warm, welcoming and friendly.
Julie Morse Collas My daughter is in Tanzania right now and she said it is amazing! She is an american girl travelling alone and is loving it!
A volunteer’s words to a worried parent…
Thomas Mery I too, was skeptical about my airport pickup. Turned out there was 3 uniformed local coordinators waiting for me upon arrival. We waited patiently in the airport cafe as 5-6 other volunteers flew in the same evening as me. As long as your daughter follows the instructions given to her about notifying the organization of her arrival time, they’ll be there. Enjoy!
Hannah McCann Hi Steven. I haven’t been to Sri Lanka but I did go out to Kenya with IVHQ a few years back alone. If her experience is anything like mine then it will be life changing for her. She should meet plenty of other people on the programme, everyone on my programme was roughly the same age. I understand your concerns, my mum was the same, and although there are risks associated, I can tell you that for me, it was the single most amazing thing I ever did. If you put a post on this group asking who is going at the same time as your daughter, people will usually respond so you and your daughter can have the chance to chat with people before meeting them. I hope she has a fantastic time, I wish you both all the best.
Heather Hanson Like anywhere, you need to be aware of your surroundings. If you leave your smartphone on a table to go to the bathroom, it probably won’t be there when you get back. In January of this year, five of my classmates and I did medical volunteering in Ghana and it was phenomenal!!! They take care of you from getting off the plane to getting you back to the airport. IVHQ Ghana really takes care of you! (Not that the others don’t, I just know Ghana does). The people are very kind and welcoming and will go out of their way to help you if you ask for it. Like I said already, you just have to be aware of your surroundings.
Sara Renae Felt safer alone in Ghana than I do in Canada. First time I went I was barely 20 and hadn’t left North America yet! IVHQ takes every step they can to keep volunteers out of trouble and common sense does not go astray.
To read some first-hand volunteer abroad reviews from IVHQers, visit our Volunteer Abroad Reviews page, or if you’re interested in connecting directly with parents of IVHQ volunteers, join our newly created IVHQ Parents group on Facebook.
If you’re interested in joining a volunteer abroad program with your family, visit the Volunteer Abroad with your Family page to explore the opportunities available to you with IVHQ!