So, I just recently retuned home after five weeks of volunteering with all hands at their kathmandu, Nepal base. While there I learned that I had many choices as to what I could be doing as a volunteer. There was a project called 50 homes and another known rubble. 50 homes was broken down into sections that ultimately come together to form a temporary shelter for people who lost their homes. The sections: structure/wires/walls/roof. Rubble consisted of removing rubble from completely damaged homes in order to create a flat surface so that he families could one day rebuild. Out of these options I truly loved to rubble. It's hard, intense, and a great way to make sure you get a good nights sleep. From when I arrived to when I left everything felt well organized and I loved every moment. The staff was great and the volunteers were amazing. I have made friends that will
Last a lifetime and done something that I feel served a dire need. Overall, this was the best experience of my life thus far. Raffi's Rubble Rules!!!
This is an outstanding and amazing organization. I volunteered 3 months last summer and 3 months this year for project leyte. You meet amazing volunteers from all over the world and you really make a huge difference in the communities, from building homes to reconstructing a basketball court. All hands does whatever it takes to really make a positive difference in disaster relief areas. I had never volunteered before I joined all hands and it was the best thing I have ever done. It is a lot of hard work but there is plenty of fun while doing the work. The experiences I have had with this organization have changed my life forever in the best of ways. I highly recommend this organization it really makes a difference in the world and you can play a part by just volunteering. Ill be back again that is for sure.
I volunteered for project Leyte, and went into it with little expectations since it was my first time volunteering. Since day 1, I was shocked with how organized All Hands was. Especially considering there are 60-70 interchanging volunteers they are managing at a time. The work was not easy, but didn't feel like work in the end after seeing the impact we were making on th community.
I volunteered abroad with All Hands on their project in Leyte for a month doing deconstruction and building of temporary shelters. It was an amazing experience and a truly incredible organization. They are clear on their mission and the work they do is based on community needs and involves appropriate community partners. There is opportunity for volunteers to really get involved with the organization and to learn about humanitarian disaster responses. They were accepting of volunteers from all ages and walks of life and met the volunteers where there were in terms of appropriate work and expectations. Safety of their volunteers was paramount but they also ensure they had fun as well. It was an extraordinary group of incredible people to work with - and no egos which is rare. It doesn't surprise me at all that a year and a half after I left there are volunteers I started with that are still volunteering on various projects around the world with them - I would be doing the same but actually discovered I was pregnant while volunteering with them. And they were amazing supportive when I told them and modified my duties as I requested. Having worked for over 15 years in the non-profit arena I was very impressed with All Hands in so many ways including their passion, commitment to community directed projects, volunteer management, development and engagement, fundraising, and administration. A truly exceptional organization I look forward to volunteering with again in the future.
All Hands is an amazing non profit. I worked with them for four months in Bohol, Philippines. Planned on staying one month and extended until the project ended. Then I volunteered one month in Nepal and am currently volunteering in Dominica. They are organized and take excellent care of their volunteers. Everything is set up for volunteers from water, food, housing, work sites, tools, PPE, medical, etc... Everyone I have worked with in this organization is not just knowledgeable but also friendly and down to earth. The organization does a great job at being completely transparent. Anyone and everyone can know exactly how the money is spent and why. In addition they are willing and make an effort to teach volunteers how everything works so that anyone who is interested could potentially take on a role as staff. For every site that is worked on there is a team leader who is trained by the staff to be prepared for anything out in the field and who can take care of their team by making sure everyone knows what is being planned for the work site and have enough water etc... I can't say enough about how wonderful All Hands is. It's a true non-profit helping wherever and whenever they can.
I joined All Hands back in January 2014 to help with the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. Our first jobs were to bring down the structures that were not safe for people and clear out the debris left by the typhoon. We were able to build great relationships with the families and the people we helped that we were practically adopted as part of the family. We were invited to dinners, family parties, family outings, even including family events such as baptisms. The success in building structures such as transitional homes, core/single family homes, fishing boats has endeared the volunteers even more to the families. Some of the locals voiced their sadness knowing that eventually the projects will end and the volunteers will leave. They have even equated the volunteers leaving as a family member moving away.
I worked as a residential volunteer for 4 weeks in Kathmandu, Nepal. I was impressed with the rigor of work, the scope of the projects, and the level of local community engagement on the part of All Hands Volunteers. While on site, I worked 6 days per week on a variety of projects (home building, learning center building/repair, displaced persons camps, rubble removal). AHV does not proselytize and is a secular organization.
Mushy as it sounds, volunteering with All Hands Volunteers has been by far, one of the best experiences of my life, and I expect that this organisation will always be a big part of my life, whether going to projects or helping from home.
Initially, I accidentally signed up for three months in the Philippines, thinking that was the minimum amount of time I had to stay. Although I was warned by staff and volunteers to not overwork myself in my first week, I classically thought I was a superstar and could do anything, crying my first night and taking strong painkillers – making escape plans with my dad over whatsapp, as didn’t think I could hack it there, especially not for three months. Actually, I loved it, and extending to stay for 6 months. Reluctant and crying (common emotion in my life apparently) I had to leave as my VISA started in Australia. I stayed in Australia for 6 months, constantly and excitedly thinking of going back to project, signing up to volunteer with All Hands in Nepal as soon as they accepted volunteers, staying for another three months.
I thought as a volunteer in disaster relief, I would be faced with overwhelming sadness and hardship, with evenings spent alone and bored with nothing to do, I cleverly thought ahead downloading a nutrition manual on my tablet to read when I wasn’t working. Just in remembering that I thought this feels utterly ridiculous, funny though.
This is so far from what I experienced, with the beneficiaries, the AHV team, the work, or the downtime.
Although challenging, working for the beneficiaries in a team of amazing people, made it easy to get up in the morning, instilling in everyone a determined motivation to do manual labour all day in rain or shine (but actually usually taking cover in the rain, as it was often torrential and slightly cold and not health and safety appropriate – but you get my point).
We were fortunate to meet many of the beneficiaries we worked for, who greeted us with such hospitality and love, giving us food, helping when possible, smiles, waves, encouragement in general – just really lovely. I even got a few hugs from the old girls, and a very memorable kiss from a toothless old lady who said I could take her back to the UK with me (she got someone to translate this to me). It was delightful - workday after workday of doing fulfilling necessary work.
Evenings were so much fun, never a dull moment, unless I snuck off to sleep early, as was just so exhausted from the day. The AHV family were amazing, and I genuinely feel nothing but pride and love for the staff and volunteers who work their bums off to get the work done. I feel privileged to work alongside them, finding more best friends in this time, than I have accumulated in my little lifetime.
All Hands was a rare time where I never questioned my life choice or happiness, knowing the amazing work we were doing and the connections I was making with people.
The staff are fantastic, although it took a little longer to make friends with them, as they are usually super busy working all the time, they were really wonderful. On the whole, the project ran really smoothly, the work was really needed and necessary in the communities, and the beneficiaries seemed really truly happy with us. I felt an incredible sense of family and support from this group, with a ridiculous amount of laughs, and tears, and joy, and many many tired times.
I am really not one to force any of my ideas on to anyone, but All Hands seems to be an exception… and breastfeeding – but that’s different. I have accidentally become an advocator for the organisation on my travels, finding myself recommending All Hands to so many people – including my family and friends – many of whom have never travelled before. It truly is such an incredible experience, sorry I am cringing before I even say this (I know), but it is life-changing and completely wonderful.
I still haven't read the manual.
I volunteered on Project Leyte back in August 2015 for two weeks. It was an incredible two weeks and I met some really great people. The Filipinos are so friendly, welcoming and a true inspiration. If you're interested in doing some volunteer work I'd definitely recommend AHV's , they're organised and well run with a great team atmosphere among all the volunteers. I got to try things I would never usually do such as mix cement by hand, help build a septic tank and chisel wood by hand. You really felt part of the community and you can see the results of your work. If anyone is thinking about joining a project with All Hands then please go! I'm already planning how I can get some time off to go volunteer again!
I planned on staying at Project Leyte for 2 months and ended up staying for 4- it's one of the best experiences I've ever had. I think there will be other times in my life to travel and see new places, but working in the one community 6 days a week for 4 months was honestly beyond. Getting to know the community, and the carpenters we worked with everyday was hands down my favourite part of volunteering. 10/10 recommend.
I don't think any amount of words could explain how amazing my time with all hands volunteers usually is. I have volunteered in couple of their projects and I will still go back for more. We are a big multinational family ready to help disaster affected communities at very short notice. We believe in making a difference.
I volunteered with AHV in Nepal in May and it was a very positive experience. I had the opportunity to connect with the community and have an impact on people's lives. The organisation is very well run and everyone chips in to ensure that volunteers get the most of their experience and beneficiaries are the number one priority. I would definitely volunteer with All Hands again.
Great chance to offer to help affected communities without having to pay for the privilege.
Great organisation, focused on helping in coordination with other parties, but without the bureaucracy.
I spent 5 months volunteering with All Hands this year. They are 5 months I will never forget. All Hands provided an extraordinary volunteer experience where I met volunteers from all over the world who will now be lifelong friends. We had the opportunity to become a apart of the community and create strong bonds with the people we served.
Fantastic meaningful experience. Honest and transparent organisation with fantastic staff providing a productive working environment.
I worked with this group in Mississippi, Staten Island, Detroit, and Colorado. All Hands gave me the opportunity to contribute to something completely outside of myself and my comfort zone while teaching me new skills that will benefit me for the rest of my life. There's nothing like the feeling of working your butt off all day, every day for a week, just to get up the next week to do it all over, and never question why. I said it when I left, and I still believe it: I had the privilege of working with the best people I've ever met, and I'll never forget any of them.
I just returned from my first deployment . They exceeded all my expectations. All Hands are like a big family. The supervisors I met were great. They genuinely appreciate, respect and care about the volunteers. All the volunteers follow their example and operate as a cohesive team. I highly recommend all hands to anyone wanting to volunteer for short term disasters or for their longer term building projects.