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October 25, 2014

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October 25, 2014

My name is Jing from Beijing and I’ve been working here at IHF Bali center for 3 weeks now. Before coming here, I had worked as an English teacher at a secondary school for 3 years, and the experience helped me quickly blend into the work vibe at IHF Bali, especially when it comes to working with the young.
Here at IHF Bali, we offer supplementary classes to underprivileged students from primary to senior high school. Almost all the courses are taught by helpful volunteers from all over the world. Apart from the knowledge we try to share, it’s also the abundant care, love and joy we bring that the kids cherish dearly.
One would be naïve to think that we are here only to give and teach. The fact, however, is we ourselves are undergoing a process of self-reflection and transformation. By spending time with the local, getting to know the culture and trying to see things both through their lenses and ours, we are learning, day by day, and gaining understandings about a once unfamiliar land, which we now feel connected with. Isn’t it one of the marvels of life?
October 16, 2014

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October 16, 2014

My name is Esther Manzanera and I am a Work-Study Volunteer in IHF Bali. I have been here for already two months and I could say that this experience has changed my life so I would recommend it to anyone! Since the day that I left my hometown in Spain and I arrived at the center I could see how easy was to help the children most in need. I have enjoyed the happiness of the kids, which is the most grateful thing that you could have. They do not worry about material things, about having the best PlayStation or iPhone, they don´t need those things to be happy, they will be smiling every day even living on the most basic conditions. The life in IHF shows you a different way to understand the world where you learn to value the most simple things.

In the Bali Center we have around 200 children registered so there is always a lot of work to do here, so I would like to encorauge everybody to come here to see the life through our balinese children's eyes. Living with their culture, learning about their families, traditions, religions, costumes, and appreciate a different way to live.
October 1, 2014

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1 previous review
February 10, 2014

I come here for 3 weeks, I have been used to the local food , climate, temperature, the Indonesians enthusiasm and shy. The most important of all, I adapted to English accent of the volunteer from dif... more

October 1, 2014

This is the second time I come to Bali center, I never thought about that I will come back. But now I’m here.
I’ll stay Bali center for 5 months at this time. I’m very glad that many children know me by name. I also remember these children: Icha, Goga, Putu, Meri, Melinda……I miss them very
much. And I also happy I can see Hanna and Gregor again, I adapted to the center’s life soon in Hanna’s help.
Everything of center gets in order. The children have some change happening, Some kids are very quiet, some kids are very lively, but they are not shy any more.
Now I’d taken the class for four weeks. I really hope that my time don’t walk so fast.

I teach SD1 to SD5, although the course is easy, but also it’s not lightly in class. I will ask students to repeat the word after me. Especially for the sd1
SD1’s kids can’t speak any English I teach them simple word, and teach them to read again and again. Sometimes I pointed to a book, table, desk or eye, nose, hair, let them to speak out the English word.
Sd3’s kids are most naughty. They always like jumping and yelling at the class. It’s not easy to let them listen carefully.
In Sd4, every children’s English level are different, every time I will to teach based on their level., some kids can recite a essay in half hour, but some kids have reading problem. I need to teach them from simply phrase.
There are all girl were came to class in sd5, they are sensible clever girl. It’s easy to teach them.
Sometimes I will give them sticker when they have good performance, they will super happy for this.

February 10, 2014

I come here for 3 weeks, I have been used to the local food , climate, temperature, the Indonesians enthusiasm and shy. The most important of all, I adapted to English accent of the volunteer from different countries. It is the biggest challenge for me.
If you come here as a tourist, you will
find it is very quiet village. Compared to other tourist attractions, There is no visitors, no store. Only the rolling sea, rice paddies of the frog, and local people . Every morning, you can see the men to push the boat out to sea to fish, the women took out a paving stone, the children played football on the beach, In the evening, every child become warriors, each wave up, they will face up. The sea, is the paradise for them.
It is a indispensable experience for me to live here, I teach English and computer for the local children, live and work together with volunteers from different countries .Every day, you can hear Chinese, English and Indonesia. Life is very simple, just preparing class, having class, do online work, eat, walk and go to sleep.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

September 24, 2014

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September 24, 2014

I think I was 4 or 5 when I went to a very poor part of Mexico called Oaxaca and my parents took a picture of me with many rural kids in the jungle. It was definitely my favorite picture in the world. I used to take it to school and tell the other kids I had been in Africa and I had made new good friends. 

It was not true, but I loved the idea of traveling far away to another continent and meeting different kids to play with them and make new friends. As time passed, together with many different life experiences, I developed a very intense interest in different cultures and societies, especially in the ones that were suffering or struggling with poverty or war. 

When I graduated from high school I took a sabbatical semester to figure out what I really wanted to study for my university. My options were narrowed to learning something I was sure I could be able to use after to help people have better lives, as well as choosing a career that would allow me to learn things from all around the world. So I decided to study International Relations. 

I really enjoyed university, I was one of those nerds that would make all the reading, participate in the classes, get involved with the assignments, and always trying to get the best from what the teachers were trying to teach us. I always enjoyed more the social subjects, especially things that had to do with conflict resolution and human rights. 

Since my first semester I decided to orient my studies to the Middle East and African region. I have always been drawn to this area and I find it very fascinating, contradictory, ironic and sometimes sad. Most of my essays and research projects were orientated in studying the conflicts and the main problems in the area. 

When I finished university this May 2014, I was sure, and had been thinking about it for 4 years that I was ready to go to Africa and find an organization in which I could volunteer with. The original plan was to do it for 1 year, but then I decided that 6 months were enough. Now that I am here, I want to stay for a long long time.  

It was difficult to find an organization in which I felt comfortable with the way they do things. Most of the NGO's working in Africa today have all these different projects and programs that I consider are not really helping anyone. It's more like a "voloun-tourist" thing where you pay great amounts of money and you travel and "help" at the same time. But at the end, they only make short visits to each community, and I am sure that 1 week or less in a new place is not going to make any difference. That was definitely not what I wanted, but was the only easy thing to find everywhere.

After many months of researching, asking people that had done similar things in Africa, I found IHF. I felt comfortable with the organization for many reasons; the first one is that they were not asking me to pay a lot of money when I was going to be doing volunteer work. It’s ironic to think that you have to pay for working. The second one is that the name of the program was called “work-study volunteer”, and I found interesting that while working in the center I could also learn all the administrative functions of an NGO by doing my “International Tasks”. This was an important reason, because as I have graduated from university, the fact of doing some volunteering that could also give me an administrative experience sounded like a good decision.

It’s been one month since I came to Kenya. The center is located in the neighborhood of Githima in the city of Nakuru. One month has passed so fast and so slow at the same time. The center is overwhelming, there is always something to do, there are always kids around, and there is always something happening. I have learned many things from the children at the center. They all come from a tribe called Pokot, which is in a very dry area of Kenya. The situation in Pokot is not very promising; they face continuous drought problems, not enough food, lack of education, and violent conflicts with other tribes caused by robbery of cows and goats to pay for the wives they would like to have (it is usually more than two).

The children at the center were chosen some years ago by the chiefs of their tribes to be sent to IHF because they were orphans, came from a very poor backgrounds, or had a specific situation going on that was better they lived and got access to education with the organization, than staying in Pokot. Many of them have been living here for more than 7 years, they have grown up here going to school in Nakuru and learning how things are done outside their tribe. It’s not easy for them to live without any close relatives, with different customs and with international directors and volunteers that come and go.

The school system in Kenya is very complex, the problem is not that there is a lack of schools; the problem is the bad quality of the institutions. For example, it is still permitted for teachers to beat the children with a stick; they do things like sending them back home because they are not wearing the exact uniform (which costs a lot of money, and not everyone can afford it); and they let the kids sit in silence without anything to do in a classroom all day long while they are having a teacher’s meeting; amongst many other things. So it is our job to make sure that the kids are getting the best possible education while living here, but the educational system is not really helping.

As a work-study volunteer we are committed to 4 hours of local tasks and 4 hours of international work in the computer. I must say local “tasks” are my favorite. “Tasks” is in semicolons because I don’t see them as such, for me, spending time with the kids, helping the local staff with their chores, or taking them to see a doctor when they are feeling bad is what I came here to do, not work, but a way of living and helping around. I get to learn a lot by doing all these things and getting involved in the lives of the children and community.

We have many talented, intelligent, active, curious, capable, amazing young minds at the center, and I am really hoping they will grow older to become leaders of their community, professionals, doctors, teachers, musicians, engineers, soccer players, and I imagine many more bright futures ahead of them, buy it is not that simple, we already have a few that have graduated from high school, and many that are about to do so, but they haven’t had the opportunity or the funds to go to College or University. We still need to work a lot to find the best way to ensure higher education for the IHF family.

One of the things I have enjoyed doing with many of the children, is coloring mandalas (designs that represent the universe and energy flows). I brought many different styles of them, with different meanings and levels of complexity. The kids love choosing one and knowing it’s going to belong to them until they finish it, their name gets written on the paper, and then they can start coloring. They enjoy it even more when there is music on and they can relax and draw. I have decided to make one of the walls in our room the art wall, so every time they come visit us, they get very happy to see their mandalas making the room warmer.

Learning the names has been one of the most difficult things, there are so many, with very similar sounds and the same letters. Many of the girls start with “Chep” something, and they all have recently shaved their head for school, so the faces were very difficult to distinguish at the beginning. It’s definitely not simple, but after asking some of them more than 10 times, looking carefully to their facial structure, expressions and personality, I think I got almost everyone’s name now. My new plan is to get to know more about them, their lives, their fears, their dreams and their expectations. I have enjoyed very much listening to some of their familiar stories, their current worries, and their plans for their future.

I hope my experience will continue to be as enriching as it has been now. I am sure I am learning much more from them than what I could teach them, but I am also sure that I want to make my time here worth it by contributing positively to the challenges that we are facing in the center and with our IHF family. I believe that the only way to change something is to change ourselves first so we are able to share something of value with the community, and I also believe love is very powerful tool.





September 19, 2014

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September 19, 2014

In my life and travels I've often experienced and seen how knowing other languages really opens up a world of opportunities in all areas - personal, educational, career etc. So apart from teaching English back in Singapore, I've always hoped to volunteer my skills in other countries.

This
year, I finally managed to arrange a month off work, and so decided to take a month-long stint at the International Humanity Foundation (IHF) Banda Aceh centre. This centre was established to help the disadvantaged in Acehnese society, a mission that became more critical during the 2004 Tsunami. Ten years on, the city and people have made a great recovery, and the centre continues its work providing education and opportunities for the community to interact.

At the centre, I was largely involved in teaching English and Mandarin classes for children and teenagers ranging from 7 to 17 years old. I was also a part of the centre's daily routines - planning lessons, cleaning and sweeping, and looking after the children until their parents picked them up. On top of that, I was given jobs helping out IHF itself through online work. All of this gave me a first-hand insight into the needs, challenges, and possibilities running a centre and working in an NGO.

In the end, what I really liked about the Banda Aceh centre was how both local and international volunteers came together in a family-like atmosphere - we didn't just work together, but also hung out at the centre on weekends, or went out to eat and see the city together. This is an experience that just visiting as a tourist doesn't always give you: a way for everyone to share and understand their culture and also themselves.
August 27, 2014

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August 27, 2014

Jakarta center locates in the east part of the city, it offers the local children (from SD1 to SMP) English, math, Aflatoun and computer classes on weekdays and Saturday. As a work study volunteer in Jakarta center, I am responsible of teaching activities such as English and art classes and undertaking international assignments from four different teams in IHF. My initial purpose of volunteering is quite straightforward—to help those in need, but gradually I find that in the process of voluntary work, what I have learned is no less than what I have taught. Thus, being a volunteer connects me with the unprecedented life and experiences I cannot even imagine before. What I have gained from this work study volunteer experience is learn how to swiftly accommodate myself to a new environment and people from various culture and background, and the most important, how a grassroots NGO as IHF, operates to realize its commitment to children in need.
August 25, 2014

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August 25, 2014

Here comes the third week. I am supposed to be in Medan center for four weeks. Since half of my journey has already passed, I’d like to talk about my experience here. I’m an ordinary girl from China, who is looking forward to having a different experience. I like to meet new friends from different countries and like to communicate with children since normally you’ll learn innocence from them. Here, I started to get used to say morning to everyone when I get up. Here, I started to forget about all the social networking services and started to sense the bright sunshine from the beginning of each day. Here, I made lots of friends including the children, volunteers, house-keeper, and co-director. Here, I am exposed to different culture and learned different styles of the buildings. I teach classes here and do some postings to advertise this organization. I play games with children, sing songs and watch them dance. I’ll miss everyone and everything here I guess when I left.
August 20, 2014

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August 20, 2014

I stayed at IHF for one month in Medan. I had a great time playing with the children at the centers and teaching them English. One of my highlights was doing some new student recruitment where we had to walk through the streets and hand out fliers. The children in the community were very excited to see foreigners and wanted to talk with us. People in Medan are very friendly and will often talk to me when I am walking around. It is a great cultural learning experience talking to people and if you want to learn Indonesian there are ample opportunities. The center accommodation was better than I expected for a developing country, but it was often a bit dirty. People in Medan have basic necessities and other things such as mobile phones. The country is advancing very rapidly. It is interesting to observe this. Medan has all the basic facilities one needs and is close to really cool places like Lake Toba and areas where Orangutans live. The local volunteers and students are all very friendly and the place feels quite homely.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make it free to participate and improve teacher training

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

August 11, 2014

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August 11, 2014

I’m a college student from China. I have been volunteering with IHF from 7.22-8-19. Where I have been staying is a town called Banda Aceh in Indonesia. IHF Aceh Center is a wonderful home for volunteers from all over the world. Here, we live, teach, work and have fun together. Usually in the morning, we do some housework, also some online tasks since I’m a work-study volunteer. In the afternoon, students of SD1 to SMP will come to the center to attend different classes. Although it takes efforts to communicate with the students, their eager for learning is really a delight for all of us. It’s so much fun to teach them as well as play with them. From my volunteering experience with IHF, what I treasured most is the friendship with all the local volunteers, who are always helpful and friendly to us. With every talk, we learn a little more about each other’s culture and I feel more close to the local life here in Indonesia. This volunteering experience has become part of who I am and I will carry the spirit of “pass it on” with me in the future.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

get the classes more organised

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

August 11, 2014

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August 11, 2014

I am a college student from China, and I am working at Aceh Center as a work study volunteer now. I have experienced Ramadan and the following Id al-Fitr, it's a great fun. I had a great experience with students here, and also the local people, other volunteers and of course my center director. At center, I taught classes to SD2 and SD5-6(all primary school student)with another Chinese volunteer. In the beginning it's a little bit difficult because young children don't understand much English, but we still found it interesting. These children are cute! Besides, we also do cleaning and other tasks, like recruitment, creating posters and flashcards. All in all, great to volunteer in Banda Aceh.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Unsure

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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