Spent 19 days with a team of volunteers in Kenya/Common Ground for Africa. Village Volunteers managed all right down to the finest details of the trip. It was a life changing experience. I plan on returning to Africa and would like to be a part of the Empowering Women Period initiative in Nepal. They continue to manage monthly donations to sponsor children at the school I had the privelege of serving.
In July I joined a team in Kenya at Common Ground for Africa. It was the first of what I am hopeful will be more experiences through this organization. The planning, preparation and management of this 19-day volunteer experience was superbly executed by the VV staff right down to the finest details!
Upon our return to the U.S. our fundraising , grant seeking and sponsorship efforts for CGA have continued. The support, enthusiasm and dedication of Shana and her team have made these endeavors less complicated.
While my team does not plan to return to CGA for another four years, I am hopeful to return before then and would only consider volunteering through VV. While I have been home for close to 80 days, I left my heart behind with 450 children, endless villagers provided with healthcare and a team of staff and volunteers at Pathfinder that I think of many times a day. My life has been forever changed by this treasured experience.
I have been involved with Village Volunteers over the past 12 years. I first served as a volunteer in Kenya with the Namunyak Masaai Welfare in 2007 which had an important impact on the trajectory of my career. Since that initial experience, I've stayed in close contact with Shana Greene on a personal and professional level from regular check ins about Village Volunteers to using my graduate school capstone about the sanitary pad project. Now, as the executive director of Global Playground, I have had the privilege to work with Shana and Village Volunteers to help fund two science labs at the Sirua Aulo High School. Village Volunteers works to dismantle the Western Savoir Complex and Nonprofit Industrial Complex to support change makers and impactful programs on the ground. An investment in Village Volunteers will benefit communities around the world for years to come. It is because of this that as the new executive director I decided to have the first project funded under my leadership be with Village Volunteers.
I first was introduced to Village Volunteers in 2017 as a recommendation from someone who had volunteered in Kenya. I've had a lifelong desire to volunteer abroad. The mission of sustainable development is an effective approach and I appreciate the partnership with extraordinary NGOs in Africa and Asia. The experience was fantastic and I've since become a donor of a child that I met while there. I'm also support the purchasing of sanitary pads on a monthly basis. I'm hoping to volunteer again next year.
This organization's power comes from the genuine relationships that are formed when volunteers meet the people they went to serve and find themselves forever changed and engaged! After four trips in affiliation with Village Volunteers, my respect for Shana and her team have grown deeper. She and her team just keep doing more and more! They are a blessing to the world!
Our team has worked with Shana and the Village Volunteers staff since 2009 and cannot say enough good things about them! We have traveled four times with teams of 6-14 people to the Common Ground for Africa site in western Kenya that Village Volunteers supports. The VV team handles all the logistics of room, food and transportation seamlessly. That enables the team to focus on getting things done and achieving our goals. Without their help, we would have to spend countless hours doing this work ourselves and would lack the connections to do it so smoothly.
In addition, the people that Village Volunteers partners with are truly great people! Director Joshua Machinga at Common Ground for Africa dedicates countless hours and resources to children, women and widows. The more recent addition of Empowering Women Period, a biodegradable sanitary pad project in India and now Kenya, has added even more game-changers to the equation.
I can wholeheartedly endorse Village Volunteers as a non-profit that truly sacrifices for the good of others, is intensely service-oriented and in whom I can reliably place my trust to "get things done"!
Village Volunteers helped my family be part of a mission trip to Kenya, Pathfinder Academy in 2018 and 2014. For my kids it was an adventure they would never forget. Village Volunteers made it easy, helped make connections in Kenya, guided us along the way for planning and were a great support even after the trip. I can only say great things about this organization.
Hello! I am Lyra Malaba, in form one at Lenana Girls High School. I was brought here by my dad when he heard about the school that creates a safe, loving environment where students can express what they enjoy and believe. There is a strong anti-bullying program in this school which makes everyone feel included and loved. This has been made possible by volunteers who come to us through Village Volunteers. We all see God in one another and love our neighbor as ourselves. Everyone involved at Lenana cares about others and strives to live a faith filled and loving life.
I have an amazing experience at school because of the volunteers from different parts of the globe bringing a lot of inspiration to the campus. When I came here this year the students, teachers and volunteers welcomed me with open arms and I never felt alone.
Lenana Girls High School has a wide variety of fine arts programs like band, choir, violin, drama and musical theater, all taught by volunteers
I will carry the lessons I have learned throughout my entire life here and the years to come. Even now, whenever I have a struggle or quarrel I can count on these lessons to remind me to love, love and love!
Thank you Shana Greene and Village Volunteers for making Lenana Girls High School to be my favorite place to be. I have grown up with my class, having been at the school for only 10 months, and I feel as though we are all one big family. All of the teachers and volunteers act as parents and guide us throughout our learning.
Every day, when I walk into front doors, no matter what mood I’m in or what happened to me earlier, Janice Comps, a volunteer from the US found a way to put a smile on my face. I miss her.
Thank you, Thank you Village Volunteers.
My is Joshua Machinga, the Chief Executive Officer of Common Ground for Africa based in Kitale, Kenya. I have known and partnered with Village Volunteers since 2003, at its very beginning to date.
The way that the program works in partnership with communities in the developing world, rather than just dictating/implementing programs is a major reason why Village Volunteers is so successful. As a partner, Village Volunteers has made the progress of a partner must begin at the grassroots level with the participation of local people who want the best for their families and communities. We have partnered on several projects in Kenya and all of them are very successful and continue to yield fruits for the local people. Such projects include Pathfinder Academy, a primary school that currently serves 508 orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya. Most of children that have gone through school have completed universities and are in employment, and also giving back to the society; Lenana Girls High School, a secondary school that gives young women a second chance to complete their education; Kenya Ceramic Project provides clean drinking water 96, 000 people annually and over 7000 farmers have been trained on GROW BIOINTENSIVE farming in East Africa.
All the above would not be possible without the support of Shana Greene and her staff at Village Volunteers. I am so grateful to the organization for such an amazing work. Well done.
My name is Emmanuel Leina Tasur, Founder/Director at Sirua Aulo Academy/High School in Kenya. I have been fortunate to partner and work alongside Village Volunteers the last 12 years. It has been the joy of my life to witness how Village volunteers has fashioned grassroots development support through a bottom up approach in appreciating different cultures around the world. We have been connected through a marvellous community web from volunteers across the globe and many children have secured an education, where there was never a school is a number of schools looking forward to enabling creation of a university in one of the remotest locations on the planet. I will highly recommend Village Volunteers to anyone wishing to make an impact on the planet.
I have travelled to Kenya as a Village Volunteer to work with Common Ground for Africa located in Kiminini Kenya. This was my first experience traveling in Africa and I felt totally cared for by the Village Volunteers Organization because of excellent communication and their vetting of Common Ground and their leader. Living in the Common Ground community on the grounds of their primary school allowed me to get to know personally the children, the teachers and the women's groups that were supported by Common Ground. As a result of this opportunity, I was able to advocate for funding support by a Seattle based non-profit that lasted for 7 years. This is just one tiny example of the work that VV does. Shana Greene, the director of Village Volunteers, has worked tirelessly to connect volunteers from the US and Europe with small community organizations in Kenya, and India that support children's education, and women's health and economic development. These connections bring some immediate exchange of knowledge and technical support but most importantly from my perspective are life long friendships and a wider view of the needs of humanity as well as the goodness of the minds and hearts of people living in very difficult situations. Village Volunteers offered me the opportunity to see and experience pervasive poverty, tragic and preventable illness as well as the innate joy that can still shine through the beautiful faces of children when they are given an opportunity for education. This is the first step in "saving the world".
i began with Village Volunteers in 2006 as a volunteer, and have continued as a board member and donor to the present day. I have seen our projects expand, mature, and in some cases stand tall on their own requiring less from us as they become self-sustaining. Village Volunteers provides much more than excellent cross-cultural volunteer opportunities. We help "jump start" projects in African and South Asian communities that foster educational advancement, public health, sustainable agriculture, women's businesses and more. I especially encourage anyone desiring a fulfilling and enlightening volunteer experience to contact Village Volunteers, a truly great non-profit!
I first encountered Village Volunteers when I volunteered as a physician at one of their partner villages in Kenya in 2006. My teenage daughter, one of her friends, my best friend and I spent a remarkable time--just over 2 weeks--in a remote Kenyan village on Lake Victoria. I have continued to support and respect the work of Village Volunteers, becoming a member of the Board of Directors over 10 years ago. In that time we have been integrally involved in educating Kenyan women to become teachers and nurses, setting up sanitary pad manufacturing cooperatives in India and Kenya, starting ceramic water filter production in Kenya. All these projects and many more are run by the groups that they benefit and have lasting benefit for their communities. Our overhead is remarkably low, our supporters passionate and dedicated, and our goals and values of the highest caliber.
My interest began over 12 years ago when I met Shana Greene the founder of Village Volunteers. This organization has impressed me greatly with it’s agenda of compassion that includes building education in rural and underserved communities where there has been no access to education in the past, in it’s dedication to the search for ecological sustainability and creation and support of programs that offer change and growth in areas of greatest need. I began giving small donations, to now proud to be a volunteer board member. As a business woman for over 40 years I have never seen such tireless work from dedicated staff and program managers as I have seen with Village Volunteers and it’s partners around the world. I would not hesitate to recommend this for any student or individual looking for an amazing volunteer experience that will truly make a difference in your life and the lives of others that you will serve and learn from.
Fantastic organization reaching out to those in need!
The organization is fully transparent on how they handle donations and recycle...all above board and not wasting anything. Shana is an incredible leader!
From start to finish, Village Volunteers ensured a meaningful and safe experience. I contacted Village Volunteers looking for a volunteer opportunity that would double as a research project for my Master's in Public Health. Immediately, they were excited about this and asked questions to make sure my school requirements would be fulfilled - which was extremely helpful - besides making sure I was prepared for my experience in Kenya, Africa. Shana, the executive director, offered to have a phone conversation with me to help decide which location would fit best for what I wanted and needed to experience.
This was extremely helpful and so generous of her to share her time like that.
I had my experience volunteering and conducting research with Dandelion Africa, an exceptional grass roots organization that focuses on women's health and empowerment as well as educating school children on topics ranging from self confidence to puberty. Dandelion Africa is an amazing organization and I am so glad that they are partnered with Village Volunteers to give more people the opportunity to see what they are accomplishing.
Throughout the whole experience, Village Volunteers was there for every last minute question and helped me beyond the experience with Dandelion Africa (I traveled elsewhere in Africa after this placement, and Village Volunteers assisted in planning a tour in Nairobi on my way back home, a month later). Every single person I interacted with through Village Volunteers was exceptional - helpful, kind, and supportive of my experience. They would gracious to go above and beyond to ensure my school requirement would be fulfilled, and discussed specific aspects of the experience and research with my school advisor.
An aspect that helped my parents sleep at night, was the amount of effort placed on ensuring safety throughout my experience. Everything was planned with great detail from the minute I landed in Nairobi to arriving to the village Dandelion Africa is located (and back again). I was given all the contact information well in advance and was a part of the discussion on when I was arriving - so everyone was on the same page. While, I did not run into any issues during this experience, I am sure Village Volunteers would have been there to support me through anything and continue to ensure safety at all times.
I can honestly say, I would suggest anyone considering an amazing opportunity abroad to go through Village Volunteers. I will certainly be going through them if I have the opportunity. Thank you, Village Volunteers!
As a volunteer assisting Village Volunteers with administrative needs, I observed first hand an exceptional example of how an individual (Founder Shana Greene) can grow an international fundraising and support network though tirelessly initiating collaborative endeavors to assist local, community-based efforts in Africa and India (though not exclusively) to develop sustainable educational, economic, agricultural and social programs with excellence in practices. I witnessed how with merely grass roots operations, Village Volunteers reliably provides far reaching results and has been doing so for 15 years, improving the life of many. The Village Volunteers network continues strong because Director Shana Greene proven work engenders confidence that personal efforts are worth-while and monies well spent. It is a treasured satisfaction to contribute to this unique organization.
I love Village Volunteers and the tremendous work it does! It is a well-respected organization with a strong team - Shana, staff, Boards (Directors/Advisers). Founder and Executive Director Shana Greene is a brilliant, kind and compassionate leader. Extremely knowledgeable and dedicated, Shana works with the volunteer to find the ideal placement and prepares them well for the experience. From my first telephone conversation with Shana I knew that I had found the perfect organization through which to volunteer (I had found other volunteer groups online but none had "felt right" until then).
Several years ago I had the honour and privilege of volunteering at Sister Freda's Foundation in Kenya. Program Director Sister Freda is an incredible woman with great passion and vision. After my wonderful experience at Sister Freda's I was inspired to learn more and went on to complete a certificate in International Community Development.
I appreciate the importance Village Volunteers gives to sustainable development, environmental conservation, and social justice. This says so much about who Village Volunteers is as an organization: https://villagevolunteers.org/about-us/mission/
As well as the country programs, Village Volunteers is involved in many life-changing initiatives, one of my favourites being Empowering Women Period (helps girls' education; employs marginalized women; makes use of water hyacinth, an invasive weed) https://villagevolunteers.org/country/sanitary-pad-project/
Volunteering gives us the opportunity to learn about other peoples/cultures, to share ideas, and to learn about ourselves. I am forever grateful to Shana and Sister Freda for my wonderful volunteer experience and for sharing their gifts with the world ... thank you!!
Eleven years ago, there were so many volunteer organizations to choose from online, all sounding more or less the same. But when I came across Village Volunteers, I bookmarked it and kept coming back to it. It felt right in every aspect I care about:
- commitment to environmental care both in its administration and its projects on the ground
- local leadership within the communities, not top-down
- multi-faceted goal-focused solutions to community-identified problems
- volunteering would be customized to my skills wherever they fit the communities' needs, per the project partner's discretion
- I would be cared for each step of the way so I could feel safe and fed throughout the trip
Shana, the executive director, and I spoke soon after she received my application. Any concerns I had were immediately resolved. Aside from her confidently answering all my questions and talking me through the process, I had a gut feeling about her and Village Volunteers that I can trust her completely.
Those few weeks in Kenya in June 2007 changed my life.
I know most people say that about their first volunteer experience anyway, so I don't need to go on about how my worldview had shifted and I am still friends with the people I met there. But I am now much older and had since traveled the world over, including with Village Volunteers five more times, a couple other organizations just to compare, and other places where there are typically volunteers on my own.
Hands down, Village Volunteers always came out best, with the most integrity, care for its volunteers, and success in its partnered programs. Actual, physical proof of success, as in, there were more children and people fed and educated, gaining access to healthcare, and finding long-term business and agricultural benefit. Every cent and resource were always put to good use by its local leaders, and often multiplied so that the gains became self-sustaining.
A few years ago, I endeavored to establish my own non-profit to partner with Village Volunteers. It was as eye-opening as it was intense. It gave me another level of respect for the extremely hard work Shana and her team put in. I even attended seminars and conferences on evidence-based practice in international development work, and Village Volunteers, not surprisingly, has been doing it right from the beginning.
I cannot stress this enough - Village Volunteers is the best nonprofit organization I've ever come across doing the work they do. I support them financially and wholeheartedly, and will be volunteering with them again the next chance I get.
I cannot say enough good things about Village Volunteers (VV). They sent me on a 10-week, trip of a lifetime to Kenya. From the application, acceptance, planning, traveling and volunteering processes, VV was with me through it all. They listened to my passions, and placed me in a few different communities within Kenya. One thing I love about this organization is that no two VV trips look the same. You can go alone or with a group. VV places volunteers in communities where they can best use their strengths. VV set up my travel plans for me, and everything was seamless from arriving to Kenya and traveling to the different communities. VV was accessible to me in Kenya in case I ever needed help or had questions. I fell in love with the people of Kenya. I served in three different communities and met so many innovative and amazing Kenyan leaders. On my trip, I was able to teach first aid in the school setting and at some rural women's groups. I volunteered in several rural medical clinics, played outside with lots of children, provided first aid care in the school setting and so much more. I also was able to go on an incredible safari and taxied over to Uganda to explore for a weekend. It is hard to capture this amazing experience in a short review, but if you have a heart for adventure and serving, I would highly recommend a trip with VV. I am forever changed from my experience with them.
Village Volunteers and their project Empowering Women Period is helping girls and women in India and Kenya gain access to sanitary pads! But that’s not even the best part, women from the local areas are employed to make these pads. These are really miracle pads in every way, giving new options and new hope to women and girls who need it.
I organized a fundraising event for the Empowering Women Period project and it was a night to celebrate women! We had a silent auction and other donations and prizes and the whole event was around celebrating women. Everyone at the event was wowed by the full circle design of the project and it was a fabulous evening of women celebrating and supporting one another.
We love Village Volunteers not because we participated as a volunteer, but as parents of a volunteer. Our daughter had the extraordinary experience of volunteering in Kenya. Not once, but three times. It was a life changing experience for her. She had the unique opportunity to meet and work alongside Sister Freda, Joshua at the Pathfinder Academy and Emmanuel with Namunyak Maasai Welfare project. Our daughter fell in love with Kenya and her people. As a result of her experiences through this organization and meeting incredible human beings dedicated to making the world a better place, our entire family has become involved in giving and fund raising for VV. Shana and her staff at VV were available not just for our daughter, but her family for any questions or concerns we had during the whole process. We felt confident that our daughter was in good hands. Thanks VV for all of the hard work you do. Parents of a Volunteer . . . Pam & John H.
I worked for Village Volunteers for many summers during my college years. Shana is a truly incredible leader; she is kind, fair, and always prioritizes her work and helping others above all else. She has grown VV into an incredible non profit with massive global reach doing incredible work that is much needed. My favorite memory as an intern was working on the water hyacinth sanitary pad project. It was innovative, and tackled multiple issues simultaneously: water hyacinth is an invasive weed, and by removing it and using the fibers to produce sanitary pads, women were able to access hygiene products needed for them to attend school and boost education levels overall. VV has always engaged in important projects such as this, and has not only done the work, but helped expose people who otherwise would not know about these issues to what is happening in the world.
Village volunteers is one of the best organizations nationally and internationally because it focuses on promoting self growth within different Villages around the world. They approach it from a holistic standpoint, paying great respect to the people in need so that their traditions and Heritage is honored while also expanding and improving their quality of life.
The founder Shana Greene is one of the most compassionate and passion-driven leaders amongst her time. Her lifelong dedication has brought to light so many projects that help women, children and men in need.
This is by far one of the best Grassroots organizations of all time!
I have been an admirer of Village Volunteers for many years and have shown support through multiple donations. This is a straight up honorable organization that provides much needed support and guidance to needy populations, particularly women. I will continue to support the amazing work of VV!
I have never worked with an organization that's as authentic to its core values in execution of programs and volunteer services as Village Volunteers. VV's generosity and high attention to every aspect of volunteer program tailoring comes from the top-down, through the Executive Director, Shana Greene's caring involvement in liaising between country partners and volunteers (and their concerned families, if need be). VV's long-time partners in India, Kenya and Nepal are thoroughly vetted, sincere local community organizations working in sustainable development endeavors. In my own interaction with VV's partnering organizations, I found that the country coordinators cared deeply for volunteers' safety, health, and overall positive, enriching experience. Working with VV also led to my personal growth, as I learned more about the challenges + nuances of sustainable development practices, and the diversity of human cultural experience. For anyone looking for an authentic volunteer experience abroad, I would highly recommend going with Village Volunteers.
I went to Kenya last summer with my boyfriend. We were both only 18, so it was a pretty scary experience. This organization prepared us for anything we could have expected. They answered all our questions and were always available whenever we needed anything. They matched us with an organization that was able to give us both some good experience (him with business and me with special needs kids). They checked up on us while we were gone, and kept in contact after we got back. Truly a life changing experience I would recommend to anyone.
It's been 11 years since I had the pleasure of volunteering with Village Volunteers in Kenya. I remember filling out the online application and the next day receiving a phone call from Executive Director Shana Greene. Over the course of multiple phone calls she asked various questions and recommended a program offering that would most align with my interests. As a freshmen in college, I was so fortunate that I came across Village Volunteers during such formative years of developing my philosophy of international development. From the first conversation with Shana, this experience was framed as a learning experience for me and not a traditional volunteer experience where I'd have unknowingly false expectations that I'd "make the world a better place" on this short 5 week trip. Instead, I was prepared to learn from local leaders and community members the challenges they faced, the solutions they had, and the obstacles they encountered to implement some of those solutions. My experience with Village Volunteers kick started my belief in community-driven, community-demanded, and community-lead solutions in a global and domestic context. This framing alone is why I continue to support Village Volunteers in all their efforts. They are on the cutting edge of dismantling the Western Savior Complex that is far too prevalent in the international development community. Having worked for domestic and international volunteer programs after my time with Village Volunteers, they continue to be the gold standard of my personal experiences and I've strived to adapt programming at other organizations to model that of Village Volunteers. For those seeking to understand the complexities of international development, learn about creative local solutions, and learn from extraordinary local leaders then Village Volunteers is the program for you.
Village Volunteers has been helping women and children in some of the poorest countries in the world for nearly 15 years. VV partners with outstanding leaders of grassroots organizations in those countries to help them reach their goals, including women's empowerment, children's education, and economic self-sufficiency. VV does this by placing qualified volunteers in those organizations for weeks at a time, promoting goodwill between cultures and in the process providing needed funds. Those volunteers typically go home and raise funds to further the work of their hosts. I've seen firsthand VV's work with Common Ground in Kiminini, Kenya, where an extraordinary leader has built a first-rate elementary school and girls' high school, while teaching the children and their parents (mothers) sustainable farming methods to increase their nutritional intake in this rural area. Several children who have come through Common Ground's PathFinder Academy have gone on to graduate from university. None of this would have happened without the funding and, more importantly, technical assistance, from Shana Greene, executive director of Village Volunteers.
brilliant experience with VV. excellent, well researched projects. loved living in with local families and excellent communication before and during the project. sustainable projects really fit with my values and helped me feel I was making a difference.
I volunteered with Village Volunteers on some economic empowerment projects and had such a great experience that I decided to go into nonprofit work. In addition to working on some meaningful and exciting small business projects, I got to spend quality time with my wonderful host families and learned a great deal about Kenyan culture. I highly recommend this experience to anyone looking into volunteering abroad!
I spent a few months volunteering in Kenya with the help of this organization and have recommended it so highly that three of my friends have volunteered with them.
If I wanted to change my plans when there VV was there to pivot with me. I got sick and they sent the best doctors putting me totally at ease.
On my way back from my journey I met some other girls who volunteered with other organizations and they had horrible experiences. They showed up to their location and no one knew they were coming. All sorts of stuff. I couldn’t think of a single negative remark on my time with VV, seriously. The absolute best. I hope to have the time to volunteer with them again someday. Also shana is the best. I give VV my highest recommendation!
Village Volunteers is a great organization. It works in partnership with rural villages to support the development of sustainable solutions for community survival, education and growth. There are a number of non-profits out there that organize volunteering aboard, so it can be a hard choice knowing which one to go with. But with extremely low operating overhead and staff to help you through each step of the process, you can be assured that by using Village Volunteers you'll have a smooth, seamless experience, and the knowledge that you're getting the most bang for your buck. If you're ready to have the experience of a lifetime, check out the website at www.villagevolunteers.org