I volunteered for this organization and soon discovered the organization was horribly run, underfunded and the CEO treated her volunteers and staff horribly which there’s many other reviews on Glassdoor and other platforms wherein this behavior is mentioned. She’s verbally abusive to volunteers and staff whom many end up using their personal funds to meet the needs of the children because there’s not enough funding.
What was most heartbreaking for us to discover was that the children at the IHF Kenya center were not having their nutritional needs met, some slept on beds with no sheets or pillows, there were safety issues not addressed after inspections failed. Many children were exited with no support or exit plan and which past volunteers and other organizations ended up supporting and still do. Past volunteers, including an executive director and several center directors, have written letters, filed complaints with Children Services in Kenya. In Thailand there were children living in a completely unsafe home after emails had been sent describing said conditions by a volunteer but the home was not shut down for many months after. (Picture of condition of home attached). The CEO insists the children call her Mommy although the majority of these children have families and she’s not been at the center for over a decade. Some of these children have never been in her physical presence.
I would completely steer anyone away from volunteering for this organization, especially in the Children’s Homes. There are many more reputable organizations with NO bad reviews. I would advise anyone who wants to volunteer to first go to CharityNavigator.com to see the ratings of the organizations they’re interested in. There’s detailed financials, history and information as to 501(c)(3) organizations there so you know exactly what you’re dealing with.
I volunteered for IHF and worked as. Co-director at the Bands Aceh, Medan and Jakarta centres. The staff who are actually on the ground running these projects are fantastic. Unfortunately, the reviews I see coming out on sites like Glassdoor are all true. I was badly bullied by the CEO. We did not receive the funding we should and often used our own money to buy food and travel for the children. She is absolutely vile to her staff, removes children from their families without cause and insists they call her 'mom' it was a very disturbing experience.
I joined ihf bali center right when I wanted to devote myself to international NGOs, my first impression was pleasure, volunteering, meeting international volunteers from various countries and helping children in locations where IHF bali center is located and all of that is at IHF here we all can together knit dreams and make it happen, from small things we can share and know how the abilities and capacities of children and strive to develop their capacities in learning something new happily,
so if you have the same mission and vision of the development of education in the world. don't hesitate to come and become a volunteer like us at IHF
International Humanity Foundation is a home for many children. Whatever they do is for the best of the children under the foundation. They are doing a great job and God will bless them.
I have had the opportunity to stay for over 4 months in Kenya with IHF. Besides playing and doing other activities with the kids I have also had the opportunity to meet some of the teachers and staff from the school, some people from the shops, some guides touring around tourists, local staff helping the children and the people from the community providing services to the home (food delivery, internet, farmers, etc.). In short plenty of time to get to know the kids and community.
I am grateful I got plenty of space and opportunities to do and learn in this program what I wanted to do and learn about. So much help is needed in many areas and thus I was able to start easier helping out with some photos and social media. And finally with more complicated tasks such as finance, budgeting and the reports. I believe that is the greatest thing of the leadership program, you can grow in the tasks you do. You are there for a longer period of time and if you learn quick enough you have lots of time to learn about different tasks.
Hello, my name is Dewi Ayu. I have been volunteering in IHF Jakarta center for about 10 months. This is my first time joining as a volunteer for a pretty long time. And it is such an awesome experience. I have passion in education, and with joining this foundation make me learn how the condition of education in my country is. Not an exact one, but still it makes me realize that some children out there really need a help regarding their education. The good thing I can say is that IHF really try to maintain their contribution to the community. And also it has a warm team. And I am proud to be part of them.
My name is Rita. I have been volunteering at International Humanity Foundation or IHF for about 2 months. Despite my background at education field, I still find it very challenging to teach here for the students turn out to need extra attention regarding their background from mostly low income family. I have never been in voluntary working before, so IHF has helped me figure out what it is to be involved in educating those children. For the record, our challenge of working here is not only transferring the knowledge but also educating them to behave - for not speaking bad words but being polite instead. Besides, I feel more considerate and selfless. At the beginning, I forced myself to adapt with the children's situation. Once I get closer to them, I see hope for a greater future. And I am proud to be one to motivate and inspire them to reach their dream.
Hi! I'm Sifa volunteer from IHF Jakarta. It's wonderful experience as volunteer in IHF. I already 10 month join in this family. IHF really help me from jobless after graduation :)
Basically, volunteering is my favourite activity but in IHF I get a long term as volunteer. As an English teacher I can improve my English as well than before and established my confidence. I believe in IHF I can be better as a human because in there I met with many good people from difference background and learn more and more how to sharing and carrying with another. Teaching in IHF become an obligation in my life and absolutely children is my teacher because the give me a big impact to go on.
I volunteer as an English teacher in IHF Jakarta. IHF is filled with many wonderful children and K would love for IHF to get noticed by bigger audience
I am a local volunteer from indonesia i have been volunteering for a month in this organization and i can say for certain that this organization care for the children and their education.
My name is Lucas and I've volunteered for IHF twice in Bali and I can tell if you are looking for a wonderful experience you should choose IHF. You will experience a deep cultural inmersion since you are mostly surrounded by Indonesian people from the surrounding villages.
The place where Bali center is located is paradise, calm and relax and everybody around there is nice and always greet you with an smile. The experience of teaching the children is unique, most of them are willing to learn and classes are really fun. Moreover, you get to know the other volunteers and even make new friends around the world.
I highly recommend this experience since you can see that the center has a big impact on the comunity and it's a lot of fun.
I've participated as volunteer in IHF at Bali Center for 3 weeks (September 2018).
It has been a wonderful experience, trying to contribute my bit. The area where the center is located is amazing: beach, gardens, rice fields. The small village where it is, enables you to be involved in a enriching cultural exchange: muslim and hindu religions, yoga..
I would recommend this project specially for people looking for their first volunteering experience as there is nothing extremely shocking to be taken aback by.
It is a educational project although no previous experience as teacher is required. This was my case, but I quicky felt confortable teaching thanks to other volunteers guidance.
The children are fantastic as well as IHF staff.
Volunteering with IHF has been a truly rewarding experience. Working with the students every day and seeing the impact that you make as a volunteer through the education you provide and the connections you form with them is magical. I love that IHF's true aim has been the core focus since starting in 1987. The fact that as the NGO is solely focused on providing the best care for the children as well as educating the educated, just shows how true their goals really are.
As a volunteer I have fallen in love with everything that IHF stands for and will definitely be volunteering with them again.
Bali Centre was my home for almost 3 months last year. I cannot express with words how greatful I am of having that experience. Buitan community was really welcoming with us, the children were incredible and you always had something to learn from them. Not only that, there I also met very good friends who were like family there. Together, we had the chance to visit new places, meeting very nice local people, learn about the culture and even visit and help in some refugees camps.
Absolutely, I would recommend everyone to go through a life changing experience like the one I had in Bali!
I volunteered at the Bali centre for 4 months and the jakarta centre for 1 month. my experience there at bot centres were amazing. till today I feel so connected to the children and the people around buitan(Bali). the whole town of candidate leaves a big positive impact in your life. Friendly helpful people full of respect. Centre manager Gina is the most amazing and thoughtful manager you will ever work with. We created a family environment at the Bali centre and still keep in touch till today. The children there are amazing and full of respect.... you will love and enjoy your time in Bali..... Farhad xxxxx
I was a volunteer at the center of Nakuru in Kenya. At first, it was hard to adapt. Indeed, it is a big change to go from a "luxury" life to basic-needs life. However, the children are so amazing that you get attached very fast.
My advise: don't forget your computer to do some financial and communication work.
They only take care about the money. They don't take care about their education.
Even they don't know about they culture. Really the worst experience I have ever had. I would never recommend them for volunteering it's a waste of time.
I wish the close the foundation cause it is an organization who only wants the money for their benefits.
I was a work study volunteer last summer, in Jakarta. My time was amazing ! It is the most rewarding experience that people can live once in their life. You help child, you discover new culture, new country, you work with people from very different background. You discover how is running an NGO also. Completly great, I will always recommend it.
IHF was my first volunteering experience. I was so nervous about traveling and going on my own but they made my experience amazing.
I was so grateful that I found IHF at that time, I looked for some foundation that offered volunteering activity near my homevillage. Thanks in abudance towards IHF because they give me a very valuable experience as a local volunteer. Even I just make a little movement but personally I've gained a good feeling, a kind of satisfication for being useful to my community, I can share and transfer knowledge to our young generation for their betterment in the future. Besides that, as a young Balinese I am so curious about overseas countries, their people and culture as well. Therefore, IHF provides that precious moment to work and interact with those fellow volunteers from different countries. I'd love the way my fellow friends engange themselves toward our community here. They are very adaptable. Such a great experience to be here. Thank you for helping my people here, IHF
I have been volunteering at the Bali Center for two weeks now. The co-directors and kids have been very welcoming. I have enjoyed my time so far learning about all that IHF does for the community the center is located, and about what the other centers provide to the children as well. I will be here for 6 more weeks, and am excited to see what those six weeks bring on this beautiful island.
I stayed two weeks at IHF Bali center, and it was the most amazing experience volunteering ever. The codirectors were so nice and helpful with me, and the children were above my expectations: kind, amazing, everyday motivated to learn and grow, always with a smile and thankful with the IHF work and all the people involved!
I really think two weeks is not enough, but if you want, you can really help and make a change. IHF really make a change and I want to go back so much to keep helping them grow!
Time in Bali center is really an unforgettable experience in my life. Everyone is kind n friendly to me, we from different country but still had a good time. I really enjoyed the culture crashed with them. Hope the guys come there in the future also enjoy themselves~
Amazing summer ever with International Humanity Foundaion, I gained lots of knowledge there.
I love children, co-directers, international volunteer. They are kindly and friendly a lots.
I had wished that I would have more time than to teach and play with children in Jakarta, Indonesia. So If I have a chance, I surely take part to become a volunteer in other center of IHF again.
Let's be an international volunteer. it makes you're better than ever :D
I couldn't have asked for a more enriching experience within my 2 months at IHF, Bali center. Their welcoming spirit and encouragement helps create a beautiful platform for young professionals from all around the world to grow together and make a difference.
IHF does great work within the communities it works in. I volunteered last year in one of their Indonesian centers and it was one of the best experiences of my life!
Deanna, IHF Chiang Rai, Thailand.
At the start of the year I finished my university degree in Australia and thought it would be the perfect time to travel and do some volunteering work. I found an ad posting on my university website and was immediately drawn to doing the Work-Study Program in Chiang Rai. I liked the idea of not only volunteering in the centre but also getting hands-on experience working for an NGO and seeing how an organisation run by volunteers worked. The thing that attracted me to volunteering at Chiang Rai was the young ones who live here are from a Lahu Hilltribe village, an extremely marginalised group that I wanted to learn more about and understand the challenges they face.
I had done a small amount of volunteering work in Australia but had never undertook something like this. I always had an interest in International Development and thought, if I don’t do this now then I will never do it! So I applied, was accepted and before I knew it I was on a plane to Thailand. I am coming to the end of my four weeks of volunteering and cannot believe how quickly the time has gone. Before I arrived I didn't know what to expect, luckily, everyone here has been welcoming & extremely kind. I am living with 5 incredible teenagers who are intelligent, funny, at times cheeky, but also caring. They look out for each other and I often find them looking out for me. We have had a lot of fun together, especially teaching guitar and playing music around the house. Music can work in such a special way, as it has demonstrated to me that it can help to overcome language and communication barriers. My time so far has not been without its challenges, and getting to know each other has, of coarse, taken time, but that is all part of the experience.
I feel so lucky to have this opportunity and will miss everyone dearly when I have to go. I feel extremely fortunate to have meet these incredible young people.
Co-Director in Chiang Rai, Vounteer experience with IHF
Hi I'm Sarah, I'm from Switzerland and I'm a financial advisor.
I have been in Chiang Rai, IHF center for more than one month.
I really would like to explain to everyone how special this opportunity is.
You will meet 5 smart, clever, funny, happy, intelligent and self-employed persons.
They don't need us,.. in this reality sometimes we need them and they can do whatever.
They would like to receive attention, affection, and time to show us all what they are able to do but at the same time remember, they are not able to ask for important things.
They feel that they already receive a lot and are always thankful for all that they can have at the center.
They are young men and women, they are proud and know that in order to secure a future they must and will continue to fight against many prejudices and against the ignorance of others, and with those who have achieved things more easily due to their advantages and financial stabilities. That's why they don't like to say thank you too much.
But if you thank them for all the amazing and wonderful things that they are able to do and to teach you, then they will be very grateful. They are very respectful and they have so much to give and share. You will be surprised to see how much they can give when they don't have much, they will share that little bit that they have with you. One face, one smile, one word here is able to open and melt the heart of anyone.
Whoever is going to have a voluntary experience should remember that this is their home, we are guests, we need to adapt ourselves for them. It is only in this way that the young ones are able to open up to you, and allow you to participate in their lives and share with you the good and bad moments. Yes, sometimes there are some misunderstandings and some problems, but this happens in all the best families too. What these young ones need is someone that is able to demonstrate that they can take care of them, like a big, strange but lovely family.
I had volunteered a little before, but never for an actual NGO. When looking for possibilities in Asia, I found IHF and was inspired by the work it does for children and the local communities. I needed NGO work experience for my future and IHF seemed like a good choice, so I applied and was placed at Medan. I work on my international online tasks in the morning and early afternoon, then in the evenings, I help teach English to some of the classes. The center here offers additional education to supplement the lacking school system. On Fridays, I lead the Special Activities class that allows the children to experience things outside of standard curriculums, such as arts and crafts or cultural exchange programs. The center also visits TEP students who don’t attend the evening classes, but who have sponsors to help them with daily living and their school costs. The children are full of energy and always smiling and the volunteers enjoy being with them. In my short time here as a Work-Study Volunteer, I’ve learnt a lot about how an NGO works with it’s staff and community and skills that will be useful in my future.
Ive volunteered at two IHF centers and was always met with warm smiles and genuine people. Its a refreshing change from other organizations I've worked with.
I have been in this nonprofit since one month ago. Our labor here is giving an opportunity of learning English and Computer to a lot of children and help them to improve the basical indonesian education. I really love this, what we do in an awesome enviroment.
I stayed at IHF in Bali earlier this year and felt at home right away. The impact that IHF has on the community around it is evident. When people know you volunteer for IHF they always greet you warmly. I cant recommend IHF enough. The children really need help with their English and IHF gives them the conversational skills they need.
I volunteered with IHF Bali and had such a great experience. The children were so eager to learn and the staff really took care of me. Ive used other volunteer organizations before but always ended up feeling like it was just a money grab. With IHF, I saw how the money went directly to the children's care.
I am Ilya Katrinnada from Singapore and I am a student at Yale-NUS College. Over the summer, I interned at the IHF Banda Aceh center in Indonesia as a work-study volunteer. Since I was in elementary school, I have been wanting to work at an international NGO that deals with poverty, and being there meant that my childhood dream had come true. I decided to apply for an Indonesian center because I can communicate in the local language, and also because I wanted a place to comfortably experience my first Ramadan (the Islamic month during which Muslims fast from dawn till dusk) outside of my home country. And also because Indonesia, for various reasons, has a special place in my heart. Three months ago, when I first told some of my friends that I was heading to Banda Aceh, I received mixed reactions. A handful warned me about the strict enforcement of Shariah Law, some told me that there is nothing much to do here, and many others were really excited for me. Regardless of what people had said, I was very happy to be spending my summer break with IHF Banda Aceh. From teaching introductory sentences to kids as young as seven years of age and facilitating intellectual discussions amongst high school students, to receiving an Acehnese birthday bash involving flour, bird eggs and water from the drain, and smiling at passers-by while riding through the countryside en route to watching the sunset at the beach, my days were nothing short of amazing. My experience had taught me so much. Firstly, I learnt the intricacies of running an international NGO. My online tasks exposed me to what occurs behind the scenes, such as promoting IHF to people all over the world and finding sponsorships for deserving children (which is always very rewarding). On the other hand, my at-center tasks showed me the importance of being spontaneous and flexible – no matter how many students turn up for lessons or activities, the show must go on. Secondly, I learnt that in order to win a child’s heart, it is important to know how to play his game. During my time there, I taught taekwondo to some of the younger kids. Some of the boys already had some knowledge of martial arts, and I feel that this common ground really helped me establish a connection with them. We moved from martial arts to playing football and volleyball, and just talking about life. Thirdly, I learnt the value of community. There was a strong sense of community in Aceh, and this was portrayed every day when kids and volunteers from various ages and backgrounds walked through IHF’s gates. We taught each other and learnt from one another. We always had a good time together, and the more people there were, the merrier it was. To me, IHF was more than just a center – it was indeed a family. And the moment you decide to join us, you will immediately be welcomed with open arms.
I am a rising senior at a college in New York, United States, who is nearly finishing her volunteering time for the International Humanity Foundation in Bali, Indonesia.
At school, I am studying politics, with an international focus so traveling experiences are a huge supplement to my education. I decided to volunteer for IHF to learn more about the running of NGOs, live in a different part of the world, and contribute my time to the betterment of others.
IHF is an international NGO that has education centers (Indonesia) and children homes (Thailand, Kenya) where people can volunteer and donate money towards improving the lives of young ones in need. The IHF Bali location hosts activities and supplemental English, math and computer classes for locals in the neighboring areas. As a volunteer, I am awarded the opportunity to help teach these classes and host activities to have fun with the kids.
It has been an enjoyable experience to interact with so many sweet kids. Everyone in the community is so friendly, as it is impossible to walk past someone without expecting a greeting. I have learned that, despite cultural difference, the Indonesian children are very much similar to ones back in my country. Indonesian kids love to dance, sing, play around, and learn from volunteers, such as myself, and others of IHF. Overall, I feel that I have learned a lot from the experience and appreciate the chance to have lived in such a nice community in Bali.
I was originally following the one-month program, but after all the fun that I had I have changed my program to 6 weeks. This has to be one of the best experiences I have ever had so far. I can never imagine I could have this much fun teaching and traveling at the same time. It is one of the best things to see kids' smiles and how much they are keen to study just shocks me. I would make the same choice again if I ever get a chance like this.
Already finishing up my third week volunteering with IHF, it's today I officially start counting down the last week. This work-study volunteer opportunity is a life experience I will never forget. The welcoming Banda Aceh community, loving children, beautiful scenery and fascinating attractions are just a few of the reasons I will really miss this place once my time here is done.
I've always thought it would feel great to volunteer for an NGO overseas whether it be administrative work, natural disaster clean-up, building or teaching but could never find a short-term opportunity. Knowing I was not in a position to leave for more than a couple months at the most, I left the idea on the back burner. Then I came across International Humanity Foundation on the Volunteer Canada website. Now, instead of having no option, I had 2 short-term options to choose from!
I knew two weeks would not be enough time for me to get an experience which would fulfill my expectations (IHF's voluntourist program), so I chose the four week work-study program; I am so glad I did, and part of me wishes I could stay longer. Although three weeks is a relatively short period, it's enough to give me idea of what it's like to life with less at my fingertips and in turn have such an appreciation for what I have.
The families here are so friendly, always wanting to take the international volunteers around to show Aceh's attractions; museums, shops and beaches to name a few. They enjoy hearing stories about where the volunteers are from, their culture and stories from back home. Wanting to introduce us to their friends and expose us to much of the beautiful Aceh life as possible in the limited times we are all here for.
Along with the local volunteers, the other international volunteers here at IHF Aceh make this a really comfortable experience; I've never had a moment where I didn't feel safe or taken care of. We spend most of our days in each others company and really look out for one another. I could not have asked for a better “fill-in|” family to spend these last three weeks with.
Not only are the people here amazing, the experience in itself is what makes this so memorable. Teaching these passionate, dedicated students to piece together proper English sentences, making new friends from different parts of the world, eating authentic Indonesian meals and even learning a bit of the Indonesian language along the way is just a small slice of my Aceh life list.
Now having a better idea of what's it like to be more involved with IHF; how they operate, spend their money, connect with the community and recruit for volunteers (international and local) and students, will give more confidence in applying for the next short-term volunteer opportunity which comes my way. My passion for volunteering for those in need has increased over the last three weeks thanks to the experience I'm having here. Fundraising, recruiting and forever telling stories about my life changing adventure with IHF Aceh will continue on for a very long time.
My name is Heidi and I am coming to the end of my time as a work-study volunteer in Jakarta, at IHF's education centre here, and I urge you to volunteer too, if possible! I've had a lovely time; it was a rewarding experience and I learnt so much, and my only regret is not that I came here, but that I didn't book a flight in the more distant future.
My name is Beatrix, I am currently volunteering at IHF's Chiang Rai Center. This center has a great potential to expand and I hope someday IHF Chiang Rai can reach out to other children. The children here are so full of life. They have such a bright futures ahead of them thanks to IHF. It saddens my heart to think what their lives would be like without IHF. I can just picture these beautiful faces with tears in their eyes because they don't have a choice but to work in horrible conditions. When I think about this, one word struck my heart. Trafficking. Trafficking is such a huge part of Thailand now and it makes my blood boil to think these children, MY children can be trafficked. But I know that IHF have played such an important role in their lives. IHF have given these children the opportunity to escape these horrible cycles and give them a better future. I wanted to volunteer because I want to help those who are in need. God has always put this in heart since I was little. Getting to know the children here in Chiang Rai has been a big blessing to me. Seeing their smiles and hearing their laughs makes my heart smile. Whenever I think about what IHF have given these children so generously, I stop and thank God for IHF and my time here with these beautiful children!
After a long hard journey of 24 hours , I came to Bali night. Agus was waiting me at the airport , in the car we were talking about Bali.
I was really looking forward to IHF, there were all volunteers, some were eating and others were going to sleep. I also went to sleep .
The next day, I woke how I met the middle classes, children ... the center is amazing, very nice and very large, I feel very comfortable here, with pool too.
The kids are great, they are eager to learn and they are very funny, they always ask me things about my country, my family...
I really like the culture of Bali, the lifestyle of the people , especially how everyone is respected and climate , of course
I still have four months here, I hope enjoy here like these early days.
I work as a co-director for IHF in Nakuru, Kenya. I've been here for three months already and I can tell that joining this organization was a good decision to made. The team is very solid and everybody tries very hard to make the center a better place for the children. As a master's graduate in Conflict Resolution the opportunity to work hands-on for an organization such as International Humanity Foundation is very full-filling at the professional and also the human level. This is a huge learning experience which is already shaping the kind of person I aim to be. I would recommend any of the options (volunteer, work-study, co-director) that IHF offers to anyone interested in development.
My Name is Vijay and I was an IT Professional. Now I am changing my career to Teaching English after completing the TESOL Course.
After having completed the TESOL Course in Bali, Indonesia, I was privileged to spend a month of quality time at IHF, Bali among the children and volunteer's of IHF.
I had the opportunity to be an hands-on English Teacher for Young Learners and Teenagers from the age of 8 to 16. It was very educational, and I learned alot of teaching knowledge from the time I spent here. Mainly, the different ways the Kids interact and the enthusiasm for learning.
There is so much satisfaction teaching kids and nothing can surpass the joy of helping others. Its great volunteering at IHF, Bali. I was really touched by the kindness of the kids, and I also had a chance to give back to the community in a meaningful way.
IHF in Bali gave me a opportunity to volunteer in the education center, to teach English classes to different ages of students as the students get to learn only a minimal English at the School. The friends I made at this center will surely live in my heart for a long time. The experience has been a very good experience in my life. Anyone looking to make a difference in the world, help children, the community and make great memories with some amazing people should join IHF.
This experience is a very good memory which will always remain throughout my life. All the volunteer's at IHF helped me very much at making this experience a success and also very educational.
IHF provides good meals and housing. The living conditions were suitable for any person from any part of the world since there were volunteer's from almost all parts of the world.
As a work-study volunteer, you get to be part of a team and complete tasks assigned by the respective Team Director. This is helpful for every volunteer to work as a team and communicate with other team members for a real life work experience.
At IHF, I had managed a class with around 4 students to a class with more than 20 students. Its a satisfying experience in my life. Through volunteering in IHF, around the most underprivileged families, you can become down to earth and also know the amount of facilities that the underprivileged families have. I highly recommend IHF to all who want to make a difference in their life and give back to the community and be selfless.
It's a experience that I will always cherish for the rest of my life and will do the same in your life too.
Wish you all a very Happy New Year 2015.
My name is Andy and I am currently as a local volunteer at the center of the IHF in Aceh . I have something new experience when I joined the organization, such as learning about the culture and language with all my directors and this is an opportunity for me to improve my English skills . As a nurse, focusing on studying nursing, but in this time, I had to teach math to students of elementary school. I had to learn again and anyway, this is a rare opportunity. When seeing them enjoy learning , laughing , I found happiness, can be very close to the childrens.
My name is Shylie and I am currently a work-study volunteer at the IHF center in Bali. In signing up to be a Work-Study volunteer at the International Humanity Foundation, I was unsure as to what I should expect from the experience. On arrival, the first thing I noticed was how beautiful the center is. Beautiful flowers and trees surround both the main house and the smaller house where we sleep. Everything is made from bamboo and wood and the garden is so well maintained.
However, after meeting the children, I was no longer so pre-occupied with my surroundings. Getting to know the kids and the ways in which they learn and study has been the most difficult yet challenging part of this whole experience. The kids here don’t learn the way I learnt at school in Australia and getting used to that is a big part of this whole experience. The most rewarding aspect of my time at IHF is knowing that these kids leave the center every day having learnt something new that you have taught them.
In my time off I have also seen some amazing places in Bali with the other volunteers that are here and it’s been great having our own little family. It’s truly been a home away from home.
I’ve been here for two weeks now and have two weeks left of my time volunteering. Sadly, I wish I had more time but it’s great to know that I will be welcomed back whenever with open arms.
I'm a graduate student from China, I wanna a break after I finished the research report this term, that's the why I decide to be an international volunteer. I can say that IHF(International Humanity Foundation) is not hard to find on DOUBAN website, which is very famous website in Chinese youth people.
My classmates, friends, professors are jealous of the international volunteer stuff, especially the place is Bali. When you talking about Bali, everyone will think of honey moon, swimming pool, wonderful beach, blue ocean... We know it's beautiful~
But please understand that IHF Bali Center is not the land of dream, we are volunteers here and the weather is really hot. Talk about those Balinese children, they really need a lot of help with education, some kids are smart, cute and shy, I really adore them~ We have classes every afternoon expect for Sunday, English classes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, Wednesday is computer class and Saturday is special class (painting, cooking, dancing, yoga and so on).
Some little kids can’t understand Eglish a lot, and we learned a little Indonesian which is fun. Apa kabar? (How are you today?)
When the work-study volunteers finish their teaching and online job, we have time to enjoy the local life, like I just said before, swimming pool, wonderful beach, blue ocean(LOL). All of the local people I met are really hospitable and sweet.
I have always wanted to volunteer but I was studying and I could not do it in summers because I had to work to pay for my studies. So when I completed my Master’s degree in law last September in France, I had two choices: finding a job straight away or applying to be a volunteer. I am 23 years old, I love travelling and sharing cultural experiences, and I knew that I could not take this opportunity when I will have more important obligations such as a permanent job or children (or at least it would be much more difficult to leave for 8 months). That is the reason why I chose the second option.
IHF Bali center is located in a small village, Buitan, in East Bali. The good thing is that it is very easy to meet locals and share a part of their daily life, to talk to them and to learn from them.
Of course it is quite isolated but it is always possible to reach other places with a motorbike. Anyway, the week is quite busy with class preparations, the international tasks on the internet for IHF and games and special projects with the children before classes or on Saturdays. It is only my third week here but I already feel very comfortable with my work as it is exactly what I wanted to do: sharing a little bit of my knowledge and positive energies with the children, sharing a daily life with the other volunteers and directors, being part of a local community (of course not like a Balinese person but what I like is that I am not considered as a tourist which is much more different from my other experiences as a traveler). I like working a lot at the beginning of the week and having more time to spend with the children and the local community at the end of the week.
Our center provides free math, computer and English classes for Indonesian children. They go to the public school in the morning and are free to come to the center in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm according to the schedule. Our classes are relevant because of the absence of a good educational system in Indonesia. Children often come before their classes to play and speak together and with the volunteers. It is not always the best time for us because it is lunch time but I think it shows that they feel good in this place and that is the most important thing. Moreover, they convey such a nice and positive energy that it is impossible not to appreciate their presence. They are always eager to learn a few words in another language, to dance or to show us the most popular Balinese songs. I think I will try to follow the same students during my stay here as a teacher so that I would know exactly what they have learnt and what the specific difficulties are for some children. I used to be youth leader in summers and it helps me a lot to teach the younger children with playful educational tools.
I started to learn Bahasa Indonesia from the first day I arrived in Bali. I think there are lots and lots of advantages to be able to express yourself and understand the local language (actually, they speak Balinese but everybody understands the national language which is much easier to learn and which you can speak in all of the 18,000 Indonesian islands). First of all, it is really useful to teach the younger children. Of course it is not good for them to translate every sentence they hear in their own language but using Indonesian when they do not understand what you are expecting from them is really interesting. Moreover, when they start being too naughty (even if they are always respectful), they listen much better Indonesian warnings than English ones. Of course I repeat them in English as they should know the class instruction in this language.
Speaking a little bit of Bahasa Indonesia also enables me to be in contact with the local population. I often go to the beach, sharing a few words with the fishermen for instance. It is also part of the culture to ask a lot of questions about how old you are, if you are married, what you did during the day… so they are not offended and they even like it when you are interested, and even more when they see that you are making the effort to learn their language (they actually know how hard it is since a lot of Balinese people had to adapt to the arrival of tourist flows and learn English).
I do not want to try to think of what I gained from this experience yet since I am staying 5 months in IHF Bali Center and this is just the beginning for me. I can just say for now that this experience is even richer than what I expected, culturally speaking and in terms of sharing with the population, the volunteers and the children. Hopefully, I will take the best of this opportunity for a deeper immersion in the Balinese culture in the next few months.
My name is Kerri. I am currently a volunteer at the Bali IHF center. To an outsider, the center provides supplemental English, Math and Computer classes to children who live in the area. To anyone who knows a bit about IHF or who comes here, knows that it offers so much more than that. The center is a place for the kids. On any given day there are children running around, playing cards, talking with the teachers or just hanging out. The center gives them a safe place to go and provides them with opportunities and resources that most of them would have never had without the IHF. At the IHF – the children are the number one priority. I’ve learned that you can do a whole lot with a little and that sometimes it’s the smallest things – like taking the time to have a conversation about the latest Indonesian pop song – that mean the most. So far, my experience has been extremely fulfilling. It’s great volunteering with an organization where you actually feel like you are making a difference.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While I was thinking about applying for a volunteer experience with International Humanity Foundation, I went through a YouTube video about IHF, and in one of the comments there was written: “Don’t hesitate to apply”. I’m now nearly at the end of my experience with IHF here in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and would really like to thank the guy who wrote that comment, because it made me more confident about applying.
So now I want to give the same advice to whoever is reading: if you’re staring at this testimonial now, trying to figure out whether it is a good choice leaving your country and spend two weeks, one month or more, volunteering in one of IHF’s centers: stop thinking! Don’t hesitate anymore and send the application form! Volunteering with IHF is an absolutely unique and incredibly enriching experience. You will have the possibility to pass your knowledge to students, who are extremely eager to learn, but also to get to know a different culture in a deep way, to experience what real travel is. I met incredibly welcoming and nice local and international volunteers, and had the possibility to work in an international and highly stimulating atmosphere. Also getting to know, from the inside, how an international NGO works.
Often teachers says that teaching is a two way process, in which the teacher also learns from his students: this has been specifically true in my experience! In fact, working with IHF largely widens your perspective about the world and gives you the possibility to get to know cultures, ways of life and traditions different from yours. This experience will leave me life-lasting memories.
My name is Yuxuan Zhu. Originally from China, I’m now studying Economics and Psychology at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. As a psychology major, I always want to put my professional knowledge, passion for work as well as love for disadvantaged children into serving those who need us.
Volunteering is a way for me to learn about the world, to create value out of my skills to help others, and to tie myself with the world together with love and care. From my past two years of experience in volunteering in Youth Volunteer Association in University of Science and Technology Beijing, it generates happiness for both others and me at the same time. Bringing love and warmth to acquaintances is the best way to help us seek brightness out of the dark and give us strength to overcome difficulties throughout our lives.
Being a volunteer is not new for me; but it’s the first time that I have devoted such intensive time and energy to an underdeveloped country and that I have lived with children day and night. I was not only refreshed by the peaceful and gorgeous scene in Chiang Rai, but also touched by enthusiastic local people, especially the smile of our kids in the center. We are like a big family – though from different countries with various race and ethnicity, we feel as if we are jointly parenting our kids, paying attention to needs and characteristics of every single one. You are never worn out because the lovely faces will cheer you up.
I used to think this month in the IHF center might be hard for me, but after these two weeks, it turns out that it’s more heart-warming and encouraging than tiresome. Admittedly, we volunteers have been going through lots of challenges both physically and mentally - weeding the garden in the hot sun, picking up kids from school in gloomy weather, and sleeping at night with dogs barking and mosquitoes humming. It might be hard to imagine for those raised up in cities and fed by their parents. However, it is the very contrast of living conditions and the fact that the kids are so independent and cheerful that teaches me that it’s the optimism and hard work rather than physical satisfaction that brings us real and long-lasting happiness.
My name is Yanyi and I’m from Shanghai, China. I’m currently spending 4 weeks in total at IHF Jakarta center. My main local task is to teach English to first to fourth grade. Since teaching small children can be very hard for beginners like me, the staff here has been incredibly helpful. And when you see the children giving their efforts to learn and making progress, it’d be eventually worth it. Plus, the children are really cute :) I first came to Jakarta partly because I wanted to see Indonesia’s culture and local life, which would be new and exciting for me. But now I’m here, the more impressive thing I’ve found is how warm the people in Jakarta are, even though it’s such a big city. I have learned a lot from my colleagues, students as well as the local people and I’m just glad that I made the choice to come here.
Being a Volunteer at Banda Aceh, Indonesia
My name is Qihui ZHENG. I just finished my sophomore year. I am now at the International Humanity Foundation's Banda Aceh Center. I am eager to teaching kids and knowing more about the people around here. Though I just came here for about 10 days and get annoyed by the mosquitos, I have already been impressed by the kids who are so excited about new knowledge and local volunteers who are very friendly and sincere. Sometimes, we would hang out together; they are very enthusiastic about local food and places with good views. We had a lot of fun. As for recruitment task for centre on field along with local volunteers after the school year, we visited the neighbourhood by motor bike and walk. The scenery around is actually stunning. People around are really friendly even if we are strangers to them. I will leave at 27th July, but for a moment, a-month-stay seems to be too short for me.
The International Humanity Foundation (IHF) has a small children’s home in Chiang Rai. As a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) we are registered in the US with the IRS as a 501(3)(C ) organisation. We are also legally registered with the Thai authorities as a Foundation in Chiang Rai and as such are operating and have been since conception as a legally recognised NGO. We have a Thai Council (albeit who has been inactive for some years). We have been contacted by the Thai authorities to file our financial statements and are currently in the process, through approved auditors, of submitting our financial statements.
Our volunteers come to us as either voluntourists using a tourist visa or longer term volunteers come to us on a Non-Immigrant ‘O’ visa. Thai law is contradictory on the visa requirements currently and we follow (as do all other NGOs in Chiang Rai) the guidance that an NIO visa is sufficient to work legally as a volunteer and a work permit is not required.
Therefore in both instance IHF is working legally and responsibly towards our volunteers and to state otherwise is in error. Visa rules and conditions change rapidly in Thailand and as such we give the best advice to our volunteers that we are able to at any one time in a very fluid situation.
Executive Director, Thailand and Kenya.
My name is Mary Stuart Wannamaker. I am a 22 year old from Charlotte, NC who lives in Madrid, Spain studying international relations, political science and foreign languages for my Bachelor’s degree. Yet, this summer, I am happily living in Nakuru, Kenya with the International Humanity Foundation family as a Work-Study Volunteer for 2 months (just shy of 9 weeks). Knowing that I am interested in a career goal concerning international development, human rights, and NGO organizations, when I heard back from IHF Kenya, it was an opportunity I could not pass as a summer internship. Upon my arrival to Nakuru, I was loved and greeted by many kids home from school on a Sunday and a handful of my co-workers. It was a great start to what is a great summer – or should I say winter as I am now in the Southern Hemisphere? I knew that Kenya deals with famine going into it, as each IHF center (centers are also found in Thailand and Indonesia) declares a focus on the particular issue within its country. Yet, I have learned much more of all the work that the center embodies since my arrival. As many of the children are from a Kenyan region known as East Pokot, a handful of our IHF team recently traveled out to the homeland for a famine feed, and from this, I was truly able to better understand what famine conditions exist with valuable second-hand stories as I stayed behind with the kids (yet, I hope to embark on a similar trip as well in the future to the communities so special to IHF Kenya). Though food is semi-plentiful in Kenya’s fourth largest city, still at the center, we depend on generous sponsorships to continuously feed the children through the weeks and send them to school with everything they need. Thus, play-time and study-time with the children is equally important during one’s time at the center to guarantee and maintain their fortune as happy, healthy, and loved by continuously focusing the attention on them, the reason why I, and all of us, are here in Nakuru. Though, as a work-study volunteer, I am involved less in all of the obligatory local tasks and more with the online international work to maintain volunteers and directors in all of the centers (including Thailand and Indonesia), I find that my time with the kids, helping around the center’s farm, and aiding as well as building relationships with our local ladies who help and cook and clean are all equally important in not only making a difference, but becoming a part of the Kenyan family. Though I seek to be involved in large-scale global issues regarding human rights and development, the personal connections between persons-to-persons and grass-roots movements are where real change begins for the individual when it comes to an improved and fair lifestyle, and I am very thankful to IHF Kenya for granting me the opportunity to embrace all aspects of local and international work, learn the ins-and-outs of how an international NGO runs, and continue to grow more loved ones around the world with an improved sense of cultural competency and leadership as well. I know already, that IHF Kenya is not only allowing me to love and learn from the Kenyan children and community, but it is also shaping me for great work in the future.
I’m a college student from China, have been stayed in Jakarta centre for 23 days, just left a week to leave this wonderful place. It’s a really impressive experience for me. The first reason I came here is want to help the local children. But they conversely teach me a lot. The longer time I stay with them, the more I can find how lovely and warm of them.
At the centre, I taught SD3/4 students. The boys in SD3 are sooo naughty but smart, I should always say “Duduk” (means ‘sit down’). For the SD4 students, I love them very much!! When they finish the homework, they will call you see it. The crazy thing is they almost finished it at the sometime, you could hear everyone called “Miss” and you didn't know who was the first, ha-ha! The exciting news is that all of them have a great grade in the final exam, and enjoy the “pass it on” ceremony!!
Certainly, the directors in centre are all nice, they helped me a lot. One of direcyors- Ayu, recommended the so many snacks near the centre, reeeally delicious and company with me to supermarket for buying necessities of life. Even take care of me when I have a favour, soo warm! Whatever, it is a unique trip in my whole life, knowing how to cherish what you have and being able to get on well with children.