In July 2011 I had the amazing oppportunity to join the All Hands team in Ofunato for project Tohoku. This was my first volunteer experience and it started something inside me that wont be still. An urge and a wish to be part of somethign as amazing as this again and again. Working with the devoted and professional All Hands team was a wish come true and a once in a life time experience for me with rewards beyond my expectations. I'm from sweden and we dont have as many oppurtunities because the government and many companies only send trained professionals. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for accepting me on your team. Hope to be a part of it again in the future!
Having volunteered all around the world on different types of projects with different organisations I had become disheartened with the whole thing. It didn't seem like it was ever done for both the right reasons and effectively. But when I arrived in Haiti shortly after the earthquake I definitely found the organisation I'll be volunteering with for the rest of my life. An amazing ability to get groups of any size and skill set put to incredibly useful work and there's never a pressure on you as the volunteer to do anything other than work as hard as you can. You don't get bogged down with the (very real I'm sure) financial burdens of the projects but, also, it doesn't suit the lifestyle of the lazy traveller looking for a cheap home and a party as you will be working long and hard and testing environments. This is the real deal and the best volunteering can get.
My first experience with All Hands was after the earthquake in Indonesia. I went with no skills but plenty of determination. After my two weeks on project I walked away with more new skills then I imagined and a feeling that I had really done something good. Because I enjoyed my experience I also spent time with All Hands in Haiti and Japan.
I joined All Hands in Haiti for my first volunteer experience abroad. The people were fantastic and committed to helping where no one else seemed to go. I am anxiously waiting to get approved for my next trip to the phillipines with them this year!
These guys are organized and run a great operation. I did two trips to Haiti. Very community oriented without an agenda of their own. They take care of your food and shelter and you work your butt off and it's great! I worked with many locals and excellent volunteer crews. It was a great way to spent time doing hard work and it was really rewarding in so many ways. Highly recommend ALL HANDS!
I volunteered with them just a little over a year ago. No matter where the emergency, they are there on the scene right away. The man who started it all, David Campbell, still spends time helping out where he's needed. They are a bunch of hard workers and "walk a mile in another man's shoes." No fancy air-conditioned living accomodations or food. I would recommend them to anyone. If you need help, they will be there.
I have been able to volunteer with All Hands a number of different times and it is always very rewarding. I have worked in Haiti, New York, Massachusetts, and North Dakota on a wide range of disasters. We haven been able to help so many people in the communities that we have helped.
As a UK-based former resident of Japan I was desperate to volunteer in Tohoku, and thanks to All Hands' focussed, no-nonsense approach I was able to do this, and in the process experience something truly inspiring. Of the several organizations I contacted in summer 2011, only All Hands' had the flexibility, efficiency and pro-active attitude to ensure that my enthusiasm and willpower materialised into effective manpower. Put simply, if I had the motivation to get to our volunteer base, All Hands' would ensure that my services would be put effectively to use in the community. Prior to my departure for Japan, All Hands provided clear, concise information about what was required of its volunteers. Once on the ground, All Hands were not only organized in terms of coordinating activities to the extent that our work made a positive impact on the local area, but very supportive of its volunteers, and focussed on ensuring that volunteers understood and were sensitive to the cultural implications of our prolonged stay in Japan. Perhaps one of All Hands' greatest strengths is the way in which, through believing in people's ability to develop, volunteers with little or no experience in a particular area can learn from more experienced volunteers, and in the process become skilled and reliable leaders who are able to ensure the continuity of the organization's good work. All Hands is a fantastic organisation, and I would recommend them to any willing volunteers.
I worked with All Hands Volunteers in Minot, ND after the flood. They are a fantastic group of people who are there to simply make a difference. They do not have all the "bells and whistles" of other service organizations to try to sell you to their organization, and do not charge a fee to participate (although donations are encouraged). So if you're interested in having an adventure and making a difference, All Hands is the organization for you.
Fantastic Organization! Highly recommend! Grass roots style organization - low overhead, minimal (no!) bureacracy. They are flexible to help in any situation, in any way they can. When a disaster strikes, they work with the community to identify where they can lend a hand - so the opportunities vary from building homes, developing water filtration systems, restoring photos, etc. Anyone can help - no previous experience required and no financial requirement (but of course donations are always appreciated to help with the great work they are doing)I look forward to lending a hand with them again in the future -- and would recommend them to anyone I know. Fun, energetic environment. And a life changing experience indeed!