My name is Yasien, and I am an undergraduate student at Austin College in Texas, USA. I am pursuing a career as a physician, and hope to someday work on international health issues. This summer I am volunteering with the International Humanity Foundation in the Aceh center located in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. This center is an education facility for children, we hold many classes daily that are free and open to any children in the area.
At the center I am in charge of teaching English, Math, and the newly added Arabic class. Each class is held for one hour two times a week from Monday to Saturday between 2 and 6pm. We also teach English and Math in classes in a village outside of Banda Aceh called Blang Krueng. All of our students come to us in the hope that they can be better equipped for their future academic challenges. At IHF Aceh we do our best to ensure that every student is engaged and we work alongside them to master topics they have difficulties with.
I love to make use of things I have learned to benefit others, especially children. With IHF’s focus on passing it on, I am able to do what I love and have some unique experiences I never would have expected to have. I am learning more everyday, and cannot wait to see what there is for me to learn tomorrow!
With the beginning of my senior year of undergraduate studies approaching, I had decided to do something really valuable with my summer. I have studied abroad in numerous countries, and have a record bursting with service and volunteering. Thus, I began my quest to find a volunteering opportunity abroad the way any other sane-minded individual would; a google search. It wasn’t long before a free volunteering search engine had suggested that I apply to the International Humanity Foundation.
My involvement in the IHF happened entirely by chance. I found the foundation in a wide-sweeping search, researched the Foundation and immediately fell in-love with its cause and the varying opportunities they offered volunteers. I applied, completely willing to be placed in any of the IHF’s centers across Indonesia, Thailand and Kenya, and finally was offered a position at the center in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
My work as a volunteer in center has truly been life changing. The Chiang Rai center is unique to any of the IHF’s other centers in that it is a home for 13 children, all of whom are from Hilltribe villages. I came to Thailand expecting to teach English and interact with children who have had difficult childhoods, but what I have experience here has been so much more.
Living in center, sharing meals and playing cricket and surfing facebook with the kids has made me a family member, like an older sister, rather than a worker. I feel as if establishing real relationships and friendships with the children has made more of an impact on someone’s life than any other community service experience I have done.
Working with IHF in the community has contributed hugely to my professional and educational development. Witnessing the empowerment that comes from education, the realities of poverty, the multifaceted contributors to social marginalization, as well as understanding all factors of international developmental issues (i.e. lack of social systems, lack of infrastructure, social and economic inequality ect.) have given true insight and hands on experience into the issues pertaining to my studies of international relations.
Despite how long and tiring some days may be in-center, when I stop and consider all that I have accomplished I realize that my experience with IHF has been valuable beyond words. It has enforced my chosen educational track, and inspired me to pursue a more specific and focused trajectory in my graduate studies. I have grown as an individual and made incredible connections with the children and staff that I have been so honored to work with. I came to work for IHF expecting to do good in a community of under privileged children, and while I was none-the-less successful, it had never occurred that I would come out the experience being the one who changed the most.
My name is Adam Gloser. At 17 I decided to take a gap year in Prague, where I worked in 7 different jobs from a street salesman for a charitable company to a tourist guide. It was my goal for the entire gap year to get into a university and to travel to a foreign country with Thailand being my first choice. I got into the university of Herriot-Watt for Urban Planning and Property Development, and earned enough money from tour guiding and being a waiter to travel to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. But I thought it would be a shame to travel to these foreign countries with so much time to spare without using the time productively and volunteering at a charitable foundation. My friend and travel companion found the IHF centre in Chiang Rai, Thailand, and we both signed up.
Expecting a very poor centre with a few very young children, we were both very pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the centre to discover that all the basic amenities were present. A working kitchen, a water supply, gas, basic food, mosquito nets and electricity all worked relatively well. The main point of the centre is to provide a caring and nurturing home for children with poor backgrounds. The IHF provides the children with free education (the education system in Thailand is not free, the IHF relies on donations and sponsorship programs), food and water, a caring director, the provisions needed for mental development (books, pens, access to the internet, musical instruments etc.) but most importantly of all; a safe home.
As a Work-Study Volunteer our main task is to attend to the children. This means creating a fun programme for the afternoon, after the children come back from school. We arrived at the end of the school's long holiday. Therefore the children, who did not go to school, had almost too much spare time. We organised trips to the local riverfront called “the beach”, or to the local waterfalls, to the night markets, or spending the day cleaning the “pool”, tending to a possible herb garden. Plainly we tried to occupy them before boredom got hold of the children. Another task we had was providing entertaining but educational English classes. These were carried out after school 3 times a week through songs, flash-cards, games, reading and general conversations. However, some days the children were simply too exhausted from waking up at 6 in the morning and spending the day at school, that by the time they came home (at 4PM) their concentration began to drift away from studies, but their determination and eagerness to learn created some very memorable lessons.
I guess what I had learned from my experience at the IHF is what wonderful people exist in this world. I know this sounds cheesy, but the circumstances from which the children came from would prevent any other child from functioning in the ‘normal’ world. But the children at the IHF centre have smiling faces, are kind and are extremely eager to learn. Most of the things we did with them, they could do better. The best example is cooking; we thought we would have to cook for the children, but to our surprise the children would usually cook for us and make the food better than we ever could! I learnt a great deal of humility, and came to the realisation that I am in fact spoilt. The children here have next to nothing but no problem is unsolvable. It has been a great moral boost, a feeling of actually doing something notable on this planet is a feeling I hope will not leave me in the near future. Most of all, the experience has created a new understanding of poverty, development and human generosity.
I’m 24 years old, from England and a professional ESL teacher. I am interested in volunteering and NGO work because I like to ‘give something back’ and I would like to work for NGOs full time in the future.
Firstly, a bit of information about where I volunteered: the IHF center in Aceh is primarily an Educational center, although they are currently looking for orphans to live in-center. It holds free English, Maths and Computer lessons six days a week for students from the first year of Junior school to college level. It has many local volunteers who teach and help with the daily running of the center and two full-time local volunteers; the director, Philippe, and the co-director, Joko.
While I was at the center I taught English classes to all ages five days a week as well as helping with things such as recruitment campaigns in local underpriveliged areas and the running of events such as workshops. Teaching these kids was great fun because they really want to learn, they have a motivation which is really different to the children I have taught before and they are always up for a laugh. The recruitment campaigns were eye-opening for me because we generally visited slum areas of the city and it made me realise all the stuff that I take for granted back home.
I was also involved in a project where we visit a school in an area far away from the center twice a week to teach English and maths. These classes were crazy because sometimes there were over 25 kids in one class but awesome because they spent the whole time laughing and smiling. I made them run around a lot which might have added to the craziness but they were still pretty well-behaved when I asked them to be quiet or when I was trying to teach them something new. These were my favourite classes here because there is so much energy bouncing around and I’d always finish the two hours sweaty and exhausted but with a big grin on my face!
As the center is small it is a great place for your own ideas and input. Whilst I was there I spearheaded a project where I created a yearly curriculum for all the English classes for the center to use. I also organised putting on a charity fundraising concert which was stressful but really easy in a lot of ways. I had the idea for it on a Monday evening and by the Saturday night the concert had started! People here are really helpful and businesses and the media are easy to reach so it is comparatively simple for your ideas to come to life when you look at all the red tape you would have to go through in many other countries.
I wanted to volunteer with IHF because they offered a varied volunteering experience and the chance to learn about NGOs by doing international tasks daily online. I was involved in the fundraising, volunteer recruitment, media and university relations teams. I have learned a lot about these different aspects of the running of NGOs and it has been a great experience. It was cool to see the results of my work, for example in the fundraising team I was given a lot of freedom and was able to create an email template with photos etc for volunteers to use when contacting their friends and family about IHF.
I chose the Aceh center particularly because I wanted to experience a vastly different culture to my own. It has been fascinating learning about the 2004 tsunami as there is a museum and there are many monuments in the city. I was initially a little nervous about going to volunteer in a predominintely Muslim community as I thought that I might do something wrong or offend someone. However, it has been very enlightening, the Acehnese people that I have met have been extremely friendly and have been keen to explain their religion and culture to me. I have made lots of friends and I love the taste of Acehnese coffee! The scenery here is gorgeous as well, they have loads of white sand beaches and towering tree-covered mountains. On days off local volunteers usually come to the center on their motorbikes and drive us round the city or to the beach.
In general I have had a great time at the Aceh center and I can’t believe that it’s almost time for me to go! I have learned a lot about the running of NGOs and the processes involved in keeping a education center like this open. It requires a lot of hard work and long hours but is also very rewarding. Through my online international work I have gained experience in other areas apart from teaching. I have also learned about the pressures of organising an event and how to use them as a fundraising tool. If you come here I reckon you will have an awesome time and come away with a new set of friends and experiences just like me!
This is the third week we came here and it is a good chance to review about what we have done and learned here. As one member of volunteering team, our work is mostly about the advertisements postings on websites. During the time I did the work, I know more about our volunteers and directors of IHF. Every time I was posting, the only wish was that more people can see it so that we can help center get more good volunteers and directors. I believe, there will continually more people come here because helping others is really a happy thing. Although our time here is almost running out of and work is almost finished, I will remember what I learn from here. Volunteering team, I am grateful that can get a chance here to contribute my helping!
This is my 9th week at this center. The weather was just amazing, the rain and the sun were taking turn off and on a few times in a day. The field beside our center was flooding, a lot of dragonflies with different colors and tiny bugs flying around. Every morning the day start with very fresh air and the surrounding just looked so green and nice. It was really joyful!
On Wednesday’s computer class, Emelie and I were teaching the children regarding some theory knowledge and how to handle and keep the computers well. The children were sitting on the floor, according to them it was the Pagarwesi Day and they were not allowed to sit on the chairs. So they were a bit exiting and distraction because of sitting on the floor and quite close to each other.
We are a bit busy this week because of preparing the new curriculum and test papers. When I told the children regarding the test and the prize award day, they seems like quite expecting for that. Hopefully we could have something special and exciting on that day.
I have been volunteering at the IHF Bali Center for one month. Everything is just so interesting to me: the beautiful garden with all kind of plants and flowers, fishes in the ponds, the cows, chickens, bugs etc..
The center is located by the seaside and there are two small villages nearby. Although one is a Muslim village and the other one is a Hindu village, all the residents seem to live in harmony. Most of our children come from these two villages. Every time we pass the village or buy something from the stores there, everybody will just try to greet us and speak to us. I found that they really have a simple and yet contented life.
The children here are mostly very enthusiastic and active. I have been teaching some classes and I was always encouraged by the children’s laughter. I am trying my best to teach them English and Computer, they always turned up so eager to learn and improve themselves.
When I decided to join IHF as a volunteer, I just hoped that I could get some good experience while teaching the children and mixing with them. Other than that, I have been assigned for some international task work to do as well and these were another good experience to me. So far, I really have a fulfilling and enjoyable life here.
I have been a volunteer at the IHF center in Chiang Rai for three weeks now and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Most of the kids here are teenagers, so it was a bit of a struggle at the beginning to get their attention, but the more I get to know them, the more I realize how amazing they are. The children live at the center and we spend most of the day with them, we work, play and cook together, so you get to know them really well. IHF is doing some amazing work in helping these children and it is a privilege to work for them.
I came to the IHF centre in Thailand in July as a voluntourist for two weeks and loved it so much that I'm already back again, this time as a work/study volunteer for one month. Initially what attracted me to IHF is that it is transparent, unaffiliated with any religion, respects the Thai culture and is affordable. Having worked within the organisation I now respect it on a whole new level. The Thai centre does a lot with a little, encourages a 'family' environment, and the directors work tirelessly.
I feel very fortunate to be part of IHF; an organization that cares for education and in spite of all the challenges it faces, it keeps pushing towards the goal of providing education for the most vulnerable children. This organization has inspired me to keep contributing to causes that focus on education.
Volunteering with IHF Bali has been great because it allows me to interact with a genuine part of the island. Life here is traditional, and the needs of the surroundings are in coherence with local customs. Volunteering with IHF also allows me to work with an NPO and to be apart of every part of the organization, it's an allrounded learning experience - albeit intense. Between teaching and tending to regular maintenance I get a chance to play with the children that visit our center, at those moments makes all the hard work worth it.
I volunteered with IHF in the Jakarta center, and it was a great experience. Teaching the kids was challenging, but a lot of fun, and I learnt so much about how important education is, and how to get it to the kids who need it the most. I still miss the friends I made, and I would definitely go back and do it all again!
IHF is distinct from other NGO’s in this field as we practice the ‘Pass it on’ ethos in marginalized regions. I volunteered for the Thailand center in Chang Rai which houses 12 young people ranging from 8 to 17. I am currently undertaking the position so far I have learned so much, not only about looking after the children and teaching but of their culture of the culture in the hill-tribes of Northern Thailand, in particular the Luhu. It has been a rewarding challenge so far. I have also gained so much knowledge about the ins and outs of running and NGO, the issues that go on day in day out. Its been a great experience in not having comforts of home. I have gained so much so far from this valuable opportunity. Please take the time to familiarize yourself further with the organization - www.ihfonline.org. And the blog http://ihfblog.wordpress.com/home/.
If you have any questions at this time, feel free to e-mail one of the helpful volunteers - email@example.com . If you’re ready to apply visit: http://www.ihfonline.org/volunteering.