Affordable Volunteering with Love Volunteers

Love Volunteers

About

We are just a handful of passionate people working hard to help volunteers and local communities around the world. We don't have huge overheads - no company cars, no downtown office - we're just volunteers who thought we could do a better job. We work with local organisations wherever we can to keep administration costs to a minimum and also to return as much money and skills to the local communities where we operate. We can offer the lowest possible fees, but also ensure that you are immersed in the local culture and are actually making a difference!

Website
Headquarters

PO Box 199
Pukekohe
Auckland 2679
New Zealand

Reviews

Default avatar
Kaveri
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Going to Ghana to volunteer with children sounded like the best idea when presented to me by my friend and travel companion Bailey. Little did know how much the experience would fill my heart! The beauty of the Ghanaian culture and people were like no other. I felt safe, welcomed and very well taken care of at all times. The kindness and warmth in each one of their hearts was pretty extraordinary, unlike some other countries I have visited. The affection, smiles and laughter from the children I worked with will be in my thoughts and heart forever. The Love Volunteer staff members were so helpful in creating a smooth process from start to finish with regular check ins, and always being available to assist. I have already recommended this experience to family and friends and would love to go to Ghana!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
How quickly you can adapt to a different culture and grow so extremely close to the children.
Default avatar
Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I could write about my experience in Cusco for days. I spent exactly 12 weeks from March to May of 2018 in the beautiful city I grew to call home. I began my stay working with disabilities and special needs, but soon discovered that volunteering in an animal shelter was a better fit for me after seeing so many stray dogs on the streets and knowing I had to help in any way I could. I can't even describe the feeling of waking up each morning with such a sense of purpose and love for what I was doing. Dogs are looked at as a means of protection for the household and nothing more. They are often mistreated, thrown out on the streets, sold on the black market, and even killed. The owner of the shelter was incredible - I have never seen such passion for animal rights and she taught me so much. At the shelter we took care of some of the animals that had been rescued every day by cleaning up after them, feeding them, and spending time with them and on the weekends we often did spay and neuter campaigns with local veterinarians. I even adopted two street dogs from the shelter myself - two sisters named Patricia and Bonnie. I was with Patricia for her surgery (spay) my second day at the shelter and was appalled at what I saw. The anesthesia is just awful there and she woke up three times during it. After that, I took care of her in her recovery and we bonded immediately. Three weeks after I arrived in the US she came home and five months later her sister joined us!

My host family was incredible and consisted of a mom and dad. I still consider them family. Because they didn't speak any English, my Spanish skills increased ten fold. It's a myth that people in Cusco speak English, so definitely practice your Spanish before hand! I was able to take Spanish classes at a local language center for two weeks which helped a lot.

Life in Cusco was so easy. Public transportation is only 80 cents by bus or you can catch a cab for around 5-6 soles (4 soles only for locals). The rain was constant my first month there, but soon it became dry season and the sun was out every day, however the cold was still a shock to my system as a fourth generation Floridian; the heat is definitely in my blood! My first two weeks I was alone since there were no other volunteers at the time. As awful as it was in the beginning I am so grateful for it now because it made me get out of my comfort zone and really immerse myself in the culture. The locals are definitely hustlers. You will have prices increased as a foreigner, but you can bargain with them - definitely stand your ground! On the whole, things were incredibly cheap with the exchange rate. We had a volunteer dinner every week which was a great way to get to know new people coming in (at max there were eight of us total). I could go to dinner with two other people and get two appetizers, three meals, dessert, and drinks for around $60. This also made extra traveling much easier in terms of price. I felt safe even late at night and usually walked home (about 45 min) if I was coming from the Plaza at night with no problems at all.

Every weekend I took a tour and I took off one week of volunteering to travel. From spending a weekend in Quillabamba, seeing Sacsaywaman, Puka Pukara, Qenko, Tambomachay and Qoricancha, Easter at the church of San Francisco, hiking Rainbow Mountain at 17,000 ft, white water rafting the Urubama, getting two new tattoos, taking an airplane over the Nazca lines, riding a dune buggy through the sand dunes of Huacachina, visiting a monestary in Arequipa, discovering Lake Titicaca in Puno and on Taquile Island, to seeing the incredible Machu Picchu, my tirp was nothing short of spectacular. Being in a place of such history and culture was like stepping into a book.

I learned so much about myself and really learned to take every chance that comes my way so I can look back on my life and say I truly lived it through both traveling and helping those in need. I have gained everything from my time in Peru and have made friends from all over the world that will last a lifetime (I am going to Jordan with one of them this coming July!). If you're even considering going to volunteer in Cusco, DO IT. You will not regret it. Love Volunteers was there every step of the way. They answered my emails so quickly and were checking up on me constantly. As a smaller volunteer organization, I feel they really created an authentic experience! I am forever grateful to them!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing would be for volunteers to know who is picking them up at the airport. I wasn't sure who I was meeting on arrival and even though the driver had my name on a board, I wish I had known his name just to double check for safety since it was my first time in another country by myself. Other than that everything was great!
Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Rachel,
What an inspiring and motivating review! Thank-you so much; not only for taking the time to recount your amazing experiences in Cusco to encourage and assist future volunteers - but most importantly for your incredible contribution to the animal shelter, including providing a permanent home for Patricia and Bonnie!
Placing volunteers like you is what it's all about and we love that you took challenges in your stride, embraced the culture, language and opportunities available and made the absolute most of your time in Peru.
Thanks again and please do join us again if you get the chance :-) Enjoy your new family members and all the very best for your future adventures.
The Team @ Love Volunteers

Default avatar
Ahmed
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I don’t know where to start from. But in a nutshell, this was the best experience and the best month i’ve ever had in my entire life.
I arrived to Cherkasy on December the first, it was snowing. Too cold and new people, new language, however, i felt home in a very short period. The people here are great and friendly. The local staff in the orphanages are friendly and respectful as well. My coordinator Alexander was absolutely helpful and made it really easy for me to accomplish my volunteering work.
About the kids, nothing can describe how lovely they are, they are so amazing, they participate in every activity i prepare and made me feel really happy. I brought tears to my eye in my last day, whey came and asked me not to cry :(
Also they ask me to come back and made my promise to do so, and i will visit one day.

This month had changes my life, i realised how simple things can do for these kids.
Thanks for every one in Cherkasy, thanks Alexander and thanks Love Volunteers.

What would you improve about this program?
Can’t think of anything really, all the program and the local team are really helpful and supportive. Also the kids are happy to participate. So all depends on the volunteers
Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Ahmed,
You are most welcome! Placing volunteers like you where they are needed the most is what we are all about.
Thank-you for offering so much to the children and we too hope that you can return one day and see how they have grown and how their English is coming along thanks to the dedicated volunteers who will follow in your footsteps.
We really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience to encourage and inform others and we wish you all the very best for the future.
The Team @ Love Volunteers

Default avatar
emanuela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

General Impression
After a long and patient research on the net about volunteering organizations around the world I chose Love Volunteers because of the genuine, altruistic and confidence-building vision they were able to transmit to me.

Very useful and understandable pre-departure information and helpful tips from Love Volunteers.
Informative and detailed three days induction program at their partner organization in Nepal.
Uninterrupted and devoted help and support from both LV and their partner throughout my whole volunteering adventure.

Impression about the country
Nepal is an engaging country with a fascinating collection of magic landscapes. Its people belonging to many different ethnos are warm and welcoming. I experienced it as a very «spiritual» country, very proud of, and anchored in its profound values, and at the same time equipped with an enviable humility, openness, tolerence and acceptance for different views of life, ways of thinking, religious and not religious beliefs. This «spirituality» I could sense and see just strolling in the streets invited me to take a deeper walk into myself and reflect about my way of thinking and perceive the world. Day after day I felt encouraged to become more open to the new and the unknown, to work with my prejudices and to become more curious about life, people and all resources and possibilities which I was able to grasp through unpartial observation and dedicated receptiveness. The country is beautiful, its people is charming and the handmade clothes, jewels and food are definitly delightful ... BUT what I really liked most and nourished me in an enriching and instructive way was its nonmaterial dimension, the trust and the broad-mindedness of its people and their contentedness and generosity even in situations of material poverty. YES many people in Nepal need better living conditions and a better economy. We who live in richer countries CAN IN FACT HELP THEM WITH THAT, IF WE JUST DARE IT. It is a very healthy exercise for us -who are bathing daily in material abundance- to become more detached from «things» and to win a more sober relation to material objects. We discover very quickly that we actually don’t need so much of all this stuff, and it turns out very soon that it is much more fulfilling to learn to enjoy it moderatly and more consciously. It is sharing which gives us the biggest joy. We are just able to prosper if we learn to share prosperity. In Nepal, through sharing and giving I gained lightness in my mind and more happiness in my heart. Now in Norway I feel more free and real, and happy.
It was a therapeutic material weight loss!

Project and staff
I chose undoubtedly the right project for me this time «Women’s empowerment». Thank you very much for having it on your list! I wished to do field work, research, interviews with women (people) in their daily surroundings and to meet an authentic and natural reality. I wasn’t disappointed. On the contrary… I hadn’t particular expectations, but I feel I got more then I ever could have imagined… This project gave me the chance to challange myself and my limits, to meet very different people who contributed to my growth, to expand my knowledge and to open my mind, my heart and my ears in an innovative way: I learnt «to listen» in a more genuine and sensible way. This is a BIG DEAL for someone like me who is very fond of «talking». I still like to talk, but I became more conscious about it and I do know now much better how good it does and what a source of knowledge it is, to «hear and listen».

All the people I was/am in contact with, I met and I worked with, both at Love Volunteers and their partner were helpful, cooperative, committed and prepared to support me in the best and more satisfying way through my whole volunteering experience from the day of my application to this day. THANK YOU. I would choose Love Volunteers again, without adventuring into new internet researches next time I will embark on a new volunteering project.

Tips for other volunteers
I don’t like really to give tips to others about travelling or other matters in life and don’t rely so easily on tips from others because I believe that we are all individuals and have a unique way to experience and live our own life and our adventures. I also believe that every single human being has the right to choose and try things and experiences out of her/his own needs and convictions without mediations from others. I also believe that it is constructive and empowering to find the courage and inspiration inside you and in your deepest self because this will give you more tenacity, power, joy and success in the end. But if you really wish a tip from me… Well: Don’t miss volunteering in your life. It is the most effective career training you can get on earth.
Love from Emanuela.

What would you improve about this program?
I think continuity and reliability in the program are decisive cardinal points both for survival and success of the program. The involved women should be provided constantly with them!
Otherwise it would be very unfair and distressing for the women's community if the program would suddenly stop and if the activities and running classes will be interrupted because of lack of volunteers… The women will feel that we didn’t take our mission and their needs seriously enough and will loose trust in us, in the program and our mandate. To interrupt the work from one day to another would in addition have unpleasent effect on the motivation and self-confidence which our beneficiaries just began to build up during the first training’s weeks and would have undesiderable effects on the quality and strenght of their learning, involvement and enthusiasm.
We are working with human beings who live in difficult and vulnerable conditions and who most of all need more stability and constancy in everyday life.
It is crucial to aim constantly at clear objectives which can be achieved through progressive and constant implementation of both human resources (volunteers with their knowledge and skills) and economical investment.
More accurate and detailed information is necessary, so that we volunteers will be able to answer the questions when the community women ask them (and not let them wait some hours or a whole/more day/s for a reliable answer). More explicit information would be vey useful for us volunteers to see and understand better the work prosess in which we are involved, so that we can contribute in a more constructive and confident way.
I also feel and think it is right, that the program has to provide enough money for the purchase of materials, instruments and equipment needed, in order to support the target group during the training time and after training, and promoting the women’s skills and marketing the products they manufacture. The volunteering organization shouldn't save on books neither!
Books ARE IMPORTANT AND NECESSARY in order to democratize teaching and knowledge, so that the women learn/know knowledge and learning are not the program’s or volunteers’ monopoly, bounded/limited to interaction between them and the volunteers who come and go … KNOWLEDGE can come into life in a similar dynamic way through the direct interaction of their own motivation, talents, aptitudes and capabilities with accessible sources and instruments of knowledge, like f. ex. books. For the illiterate women would books displaying a consistent number of pictures be very useful to approach language or other issues in a quicker, easier and more effective and sensible way.
I would like to see very soon that the program implements more resources to the DIRECT benefict of the women we are assisting. Help needs to become operational in practice, so I would like to see that «money» is primarily used to offer concrete and effective help and support to our target groups, in order to underline and enphatize their dignity and human rights, and motivate them to further constructive and more autonomous action.
If we go this way, then I feel we are going some steps in the direction towards authentic and sustainable empowerment.
Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Emanuela,
What an absolute pleasure it has been to work with you in arranging this placement. Thank-you for taking the time to share your incredible experience and encourage and assist others.
Your commitment, enthusiasm and passion are infectious and made such a positive impact on the Women's Empowerment program in Nepal.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the women could be provided with sufficient books and other resources!
As an aside, we don't include a large donation of money in our program fees as we prefer this to be at the discretion of each volunteer once they are familiar with the program. Instead we focus on enabling volunteers to contribute their time and experience and believe that each volunteer is better able to judge what they can contribute in each situation.
We wish you all the very best for your future endeavours and truly hope that you will be able to join us again in the future.
The Team @ Love Volunteers

Default avatar
Dil
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing amazing experience!!!

Although it was not what I expected no program is ever what you expect. But what I will say is this program exceeded my expectations!!

Not only was the local organization super helpful and amazing, every person I met left me with an amazing personal connection and great memories. The program was incredible and I learned so much about Moroccan culture and had an amazing experience with my host family as well. As someone who has never really travelled before, I am amazed at the experience I've had here. The culture, the people and everything else is something I will take away with me for life.

Response from Love Volunteers

Hi Dil,
Thanks for this great feedback on our Journalism Internship program in Rabat, Morocco. It's fantastic that you had such a great first experience travelling and volunteering! Your comments are a wonderful encouragement to future volunteers.
Thanks for being an amazing Love Volunteer, we hope you join us again in the future.
The team @ Love Volunteers

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Loren Irene Sandoval Arteaga

At the age of 19 Loren has lived in five different countries. A travel addict, a coffee lover, and sunset chaser, you can never find her still in one place.
Loren Irene Sandoval Arteaga

Why did you choose this program?

As a woman that grew up in Mexico I was witness to the inequalities between men and women in my society. These abuses often let me angry, frustrated and wishing that I could have an active role in stopping it.

The program in Morocco attracted me even more because no only was the organization working with women but with indigenous women that had even less opportunities and political voice in a country that is still prominently male dominated.

The idea that I was able to make a change and contribute to the world gave me motivation to take this opportunity.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Love Volunteers was a great mediator between me and my organization. They took care of contacting the NGO and arranging the accommodation in Rabat.

All of my questions were answered quickly and they made sure I had all the necessary information. The only thing I had to do for myself was find the flight and get medical insurance/vaccines.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I think the most important thing is not to have expectations. Most of the time, things never go as we imagine and that leads to disappointment.

Being prepared for the idea that you might be working in an office and doing logistical work, rather than hands on work, is also helpful. If you are hesitant about volunteering abroad, don't be. It is one of the greatest, most profitable experiences one could ever have.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

A normal day consisted on going to my organization around 10 am and working at the office translating documents, organizing workshops or looking up information.

At 16:00 I would be out of the office and be able to wander around the city and grab a coffee, walk along the beach, or visit one of the many touristic sites in Rabat.

I would often meet friends as well and go out to explore the Medina and ruins near the city. In the evening I would go back to the volunteer house to meet with the rest of the volunteers, have dinner and talk for a while before going to bed.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was without doubt the religious difference between Morocco and my own country. The media has spread stereotypes about Islam that have really affected the way we see Muslim countries and sometimes family members are not very encouraging.

However, once I was living there I found it ridiculous that it was my fear before coming. Once I started immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people I realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and felt at home in a matter of days.

How is it for a woman to travel alone in Morocco?

This is one of the questions I was asked the most. I think that traveling as a woman in Morocco has its own challenges but at the same time was very empowering.

It is normal for men to cat call women walking on the streets and approach them with inappropriate comments and questions. It is not something to be afraid of, and the best thing to do is simply ignore them and keep doing your own thing. However, it can be a little scary for those of us who are not used to the attention.

On the other hand, being able to travel alone and be independent in a country where the society is mostly male dominant, can give a woman a lot of self confidence.

Staff Interviews

Staff interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Mike Brackenridge

Job Title
Programs Manager
As the Programs Manager for the fast-growing global volunteering organization Love Volunteers, Mike plays a key role in ensuring volunteers are placed in only the highest quality projects where their help is truly needed. A proud ‘kiwi’, he is a key member of the LV management team, a self-confessed ‘travel-junkie’ and a 'bit of a foodie!’. If you have any questions about any one of the 200+ projects LV currently offers, Mike is the guy to ask!
male headshot

What is your favorite travel memory?

Being part of an organization that has intrepid, meaningful travel at its very heart, I have had the privilege of spending A LOT of time visiting amazing community projects all around the world. Each project has been unique and special in it own way, and every location has had something new and exciting to offer me personally. Aside from the project visits though, I'l never forget Aguas Calientes (aka Machu Picchu Village). A must-see for anyone volunteering with us in Cusco, Peru!

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

Honduras! For one reason or another this amazing country has had a seriously bad rap in the media over recent years and consequently a lot of people are put off going there, which is such a shame as there is such great need for volunteers. Yes there are some less than desirable parts of the country (as there are in any country), but we only operate projects in areas that are completely safe. There is so much to see and do in La Ceiba and El Porvenir, where our projects. The Honduran people are so welcoming and with palm fringed, white-sandy beaches literally on your doorstep, it is like volunteering in paradise! I don't think any location is 'overrated', and each has its own unique flavor, but I would certainly suggest considering Honduras! You won't regret it!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Easy. Our focus is on the projects, not on maximizing profit! Unlike some of the large 'corporate-type' organizations out there, our aim is to meet the needs of each project, not fill spaces in volunteer houses. If a project only requires 2 volunteers at a time, then this is the limit we set. With Love Volunteers you will never find yourself at a school or orphanage with 20 or 30 other volunteers when only 5 are needed. Our volunteers are part of our global family, not just a number.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

I believe that despite rapid growth and now offering the widest range of projects available globally, Love Volunteers has maintained the ethos and values that were at the very heart of its inception back in 2009, and these still form the solid foundations of our organization. All decisions and actions are based around one single goal: Helping as many people as possible - where help is truly needed. To achieve this our focus is on making volunteering abroad as affordable and accessible as possible, while providing the best support and guidance we can to all of our amazing volunteers.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

This is such a wonderfully fulfilling sector to be involved in! At any given moment there are upwards of 150+ Love Volunteers out there working hard and changing lives on meaningful service projects around the world. Our volunteers are always in constant contact with us and almost daily we receive amazing feedback from them telling us all about their individual achievements, or recanting how the experience has changed their own lives. Each time we receive feedback we read it aloud to the entire team here. Its incredibly uplifting and makes us all very proud of what we do.

More Interviews
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