IVHQrefused to refund registration

M Review updated:

I had registered to volunteer abroad as a nurse. Two days later a family emegency came up and I will not be able to keep my committment on March 15, 2009. I emailed and requested a refund and was denied. in the literature it was stated that you could get a full refund as long as you requested one 60 days prior to your departure date. I signed up 55 days before my departure date. There was nothing in the literature about a refund on a reg istration if you registered 55 days AHEAD of departure. I was always taught by law that if you canceled a transaction within 72 hours you would be able to get your full refund back. Can you help?

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  • Me
    Melissa J Feb 18, 2009

    I read the IVHQ terms and conditions and they are very clear. I think you are being unreasonable. You agreed toi the terms and conditions and if you did not receive then then this is your fault. I have volunteered abroad 4 times with IVHQ (Kenya, Tanzania, Peru and Thailand) as part of a world trip and they are amazing. A half witted complaint such as this is not worth listening to - ignore.

    4 Votes
  • Ja
    James Blored Feb 19, 2009
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I disagree with this too - IVHQ has very clear terms and conditions. They do an amazing job worldwide and the placement I did with them was fantastic. Of course they need to set up minimum dates at which they cannot refund your deposits. Otherwise they would get many people (like yourself) screwing them around, signing up at the last minute and then cancelling. Anybodu considering an IVHQ volunteer program - do it. You will love it!

    -1 Votes
  • Al
    ally18_ Apr 12, 2009
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Yeah, the terms and conditions say that the $220 registration fee is refundable, but the rest of the program fee is not. You should have purchased trip cancellation insurance.

    1 Votes
  • Me
    Me99 Aug 24, 2009

    Melissa, James, and Ally...all I have to say is WOW...if this organization is as good as you say it is...they should refund the money...I thought they where all about compassion...If she truely had a family emergency than no question they should refund...you cannot convince me that in 2 days they incurred any expenses. This organization really scares me...sounds like they are all about the money...

    2 Votes
  • Ry
    rye_zmtl Nov 25, 2009

    Here is the policy as outlined on the website. They are pretty clear about their policies, so I don't think you should have expected a refund...

    Refund Policy
    Compared to similar companies that provide comparable comprehensive volunteer service opportunities, IVHQ’s registration and program fees are significantly less than the fees charged by other such companies and volunteers are encouraged to compare IVHQ’s fees to the fees charged by other similar companies. As a consequence, IVHQ operates on a much smaller profit margin and is therefore unable to provide and does not provide a total refund policy.

    Registration Fees
    Details of our registration fees are set out on our website. The registration fee is refundable up to sixty days before the start of the volunteer’s placement in the host country.

    0 Votes
  • Pa
    Patty Marshall Jan 05, 2010

    I too have had a VERY bad experince with this company, but I did travel with. They say your safety is in their best intrest but indeed it it NOT. They state in the contract that you will be taken of but in fact you arent. There is never anyone to found in case of emergancy. The organazion is poor and what they send you in the handbook isnt what actually happens.
    Be prepared to pay alot of your own funds to eat, travel and survive with IVHQ, the homestays are not safe if you have belongings or cash on hand. Also be prepared to pay yet again for your program when you arrive in regards to buying food, sometimes paying the bills of your homestay family. IVHQ says there will attended to these issues but never do, and you are left in a country fending for yourself.
    There is no support when it comes to program details apon arrival, you get to orientation and you know just as little when you leave as did when you arrived. Expect to also be asked for money at this meeting for the "free" nights accomadation you were suppose to be provided unless you havent already been guilted into it by your homestay family. IVHQ will NOT refund it for it.
    Another point, your health insurance will not do any good in Kenya and IVHQ will not help you with any transport for emerganys unless you pay.

    There is so much more I could say and well as others about IVHQ ..PLEASE look around..yes its cheep and there is a very a good reason for that...

    4 Votes
  • In
    Intrepid Tourist Feb 01, 2010

    I volunteered with IVHQ in Kenya last year (late 2009) and I have to comment here because either the above comment is completely fabricated or whatever program this person went on is much different to the Kenya program. I had an outstanding time with IVHQ and Fadhili (the local organization) in Kenya and am going back in 2010. I can honestly say it was the best experience of my life. The Fadhili crew were amazing and I met Dan (director of IVHQ) when he was visiting the program and he was a nice guy too.

    I saw this post by "Patty Marshall" on here last week and informed Dan as I feel it is not a fair representation of my experience or the program I went on. He emailed back and told me they have had no-one by that name volunteer with them. He said it will either be another company trying to discredit them (which he said they have had a bit of since they started as their low prices have really upset a few other companies in volunteer travel) or maybe a disgruntled volunteer who did not want to use their own name. He did say they do have over 4000 people go abroad with them every year now and unfortunately with that many people, there would always be a small percentage that did not enjoy the program. However, he did also say the comments on the post were not true and if such things happened they would be sorted out so maybe someone trying to discredit them. I can second that - my host family were incredible as was the overall experience. Dan asked me to reply on this site if I could to try and portray a more realistic picture of their programs.

    From my experience 99% of the volunteers I met loved the program and Kenya. However, like Dan said to me there were some people that did not enjoy it (I would say 1 or 2 out of the approximately 50 I met in my 2 months in Kenya). I would put this down to unrealistic expectations and expecting to live in luxury ... also some had the wrong motivations for going with some looking just to party. My advice to future volunteers is remember that you are going to a third world country (it will not be the same as America or Australia) and your home stay while being very welcoming and comfortable is not a 5 star hotel and the family are not your servants. If you have a problem with anything, go and see the local staff. They were incredibly helpful with any issues I had and always wanted us to be happy. Finally, to help you prepare for your trip, go to the IVHQ Facebook page on Facebook. It was great in helping me network with other volunteers before I left and getting GENUINE feedback from past volunteers. I have posted regularly on there since I got back and try to get on there occasionally to answer questions future volunteers have. I plan on going back in November and December this year so hopefully will see some of you then.


    -1 Votes
  • Ja
    Jason Californication Feb 08, 2010

    Some of these posts do look kind of suspicious like Geoff said, so I guess I'll throw in my 2 cents because I had checked this site out before I signed up with IVHQ and now I've just gotten back. IVHQ is so-so, I went with them to Peru and they were fairly well organized although they picked me up at the airport an hour late. The project in Cusco that I was on was good because there were a lot of other great people. However, in terms of whether I was really needed I doubt it and a lot of us volunteers were pretty horrified in realizing that IVHQ and their company in the field that they work with are basically just offering picture taking opportunities. I did a little more research, and it's pretty clear that IVHQ is run by a nice guy although he is pretty much just a businessman who stumbled on this "business." I'm not even sure he's ever volunteered and, although I know I sound a little US biased here, it did bother me a lot when I found out IVHQ is based in New Zealand which is not exactly close to South America where I was. Overall, they're not a scam like people are saying but I would not go through them again.

    1 Votes
  • Mi
    Mike Big Feb 15, 2010

    Jason... maybe you should try a little less supposition, put your camera down, and try to be a little more reasonable.

    Yes, Dan has volunteered, in Kenya in fact. That is why he started IVHQ - because other similar organisations were charging too much. And of course it's a business. How do you pay your bills? Not everyone can suckle from Daddy's trust fund teat while helping improve our world. Being a business doesn't change the impact of the support they give to the host families and wider communities.

    You judging an organization by a local driver being an hour late to pick you up??? That doesn't even deserve a response. I just hope you didn't need to use the toilet - you would have had no one to hold your hand.

    And a New Zealand base is irrelevant. I know for a fact Dan spends most of his time travelling between the various programmes they run.

    1 Votes
  • IVHQ-Dan Feb 15, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    To Whom It May Concern

    I am Dan Radcliffe, Executive Director of IVHQ. We do not usually like to comment on feedback about us online as we like to leave it neutral and up to past volunteers to post their own opinions for future volunteers, however in this case, a number of past volunteers have emailed concerned about the nature of the comments and their legitimacy. We also seem to have some very passionate past volunteers supporting us here and it would be nice to stop this "discussion" before it gets out of hand.

    Unfortunately, the only name I recognize from the negative reviews above is Melanie Fouchi (original post) who did indeed have a problem with our registration fee policy. We are strict with our policies and do not feel a 60 day refund policy is unfair. "Patty Marshall" is not a past volunteer and we have never had a "Jason" in Peru (we have one at present who we contacted regarding this and he said his experience is great - exactly the opposite of what "Jason" above felt). Although it is sad, we have had a few cases of feedback being posted about us online in the past 12 months, which is not from past IVHQ volunteers. Since we started 3 years ago, we have made a big impression on other organizations offering volunteer trips abroad.

    IVHQ was established to offer more affordable volunteer trips abroad as we felt there were simply not enough options and too much money was being taken by the middle man. We also wanted to ensure more money made it to the country in which you work (we have a very transparent fees structure - registration fee comes to IVHQ to cover costs here and program fees go to the country in which you work - if you want more information on this, then feel free to email us ask). We have been very successful with this, and had a great response from people, sending over 4000 volunteers abroad annually, but unfortunately not making many friends with one or two other volunteering organizations as we have taken many of their customers. In the last year a smear campaign has started to emerge where we get some comments online from anonymous people or names that do not match up with our volunteers that contrasts the feedback we are receiving.

    If there are genuine volunteers not happy with something in the country they are placed, we ask them to let us know immediately so we can fix it. If "Jason" was unhappy with his placement, had he let us know we could have changed his placement. We want your trip to go as smoothly as you do.

    I do not wish to point fingers here at different companies, but all I ask is that if you are thinking about going on a volunteer trip abroad, then research the organization you go with. Research them online, look at blogs and ask the coordinators and people at the organization questions before you make your decision. IVHQ has a Facebook group with over 7000 members where you can find hundreds of past volunteers by scrolling the discussion boards and walls, check out thousands of photos and hundreds of videos posted by our past volunteers. Approach these past volunteers directly and ask them questions. We are proud of our programs and thousands of satisfied past volunteers can support this. Do your research on organizations before you register with them and get genuine feedback from genuine sources, to help you make the right decision when choosing an organization. If you have any questions of us, we are always approachable.

    Best Regards

    Daniel Radcliffe
    Executive Director

    0 Votes
  • Ni
    nikkiball13 Feb 23, 2010

    Has anyone been to costa rica through IVHQ? I would like to know how it went as I am hoping to head there in June.

    0 Votes
  • Sa
    Sarah Bainbridge Apr 10, 2010

    The one thing that I will say about the fees of IVHQ is they are not as clear as they first seem- I was quite happy paying the $220 for the registrastion fee and had the money, only to find there was an extra 5% charge on this no matter which way I paid. Once Id paid that I was told there was also a 5% charge on the programme fee- this was not made apparent when looking at programme fees before booking. All in all I think im paying an extra £42 i didnt know about, and is just another thing to find money for.

    0 Votes
  • An
    Anon1243454asbrv May 01, 2010

    I have just signed up to volunteer with IVHQ so I can't really comment much yet, but in regards t0 the 5% fee, yes I was a little annoyed about that too but at the same time, if you pay $220 by Paypal, they're going to charge IVHQ close to $11. If you pay by check/bank account, IVHQ has to pay banking fees on that too. So they might make a buck or two, but they're not pocketing an extra 11 from you.

    0 Votes
  • He
    Helen Charnock Jun 07, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    June 2010.
    An old post, but as the thread is still running...

    I have recently returned from a Volunteer program in Nepal. I found IVHQ and their partner team in Nepal, very helpful.

    The staff at IVHQ continuously emailed us before we left the UK and continued to do so while we were in Nepal.
    If we had a question, they answered.

    The staff at Hope & Home in Nepal were fantastic. We all exchanged telephone numbers and all staff were available 24/7 .

    We also left Nepal to go sightseeing in Tibet after our program finished, but both IVHQ & Hope & Home remained in contact and helped us on our return both with accomodation and ensuring we were safe & happy.

    Although the original post was over a year ago, i would like to say, I sympathise with the family emergency situation that Melanie found herself in, however agree with the comment from James.

    Quote "IVHQ has very clear terms and conditions. They do an amazing job worldwide and the placement I did with them was fantastic. Of course they need to set up minimum dates at which they cannot refund your deposits. Otherwise they would get many people (like yourself) screwing them around, signing up at the last minute and then cancelling."

    Unfortunatley, sometimes things like this happen. Think of it as a donation to charity.

    I would recommend IVHQ.

    0 Votes
  • Lb
    LBVokey Aug 22, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I volunteered with IVHQ in May of 2008, and to say the least there were a lot of issues, too much to get into here. I did write a very extended, polite, detailed email to Daniel Radcliffe, and he did not even have the decency to respond to me. Just that was enough to turn me from IVHQ and from recommending it to others. Since it is a "business", isn't the customer always right? Unfortunate. Of course some people will be very happy with the service, and others not. It is important to address those who did not have a good experience, which IVHQ did not do for me.

    0 Votes
  • Dd
    ddkenya Feb 09, 2011

    I actually thought IVHQ was great. However, there volunteer company there in Kenya-Fadhili- was a complete joke. I had money stolen from a third party account through PayPal, yes PayPal. They harassed me for the money even though I sent them proof-written documentation from PayPal. They actually made threats to have me removed from household and even country. They threatened house mother to not bring other volunteers to her if I were still in house. IVHQ needs to think about who it is they have representing them in these countries. There were many other complaints made about Fadhili during my 6 month stay. They never called to check on you like they promised, did not pass out certificates at end of volunteer stay, just dropped you at doorstep not to be seen from again, etc. Oh yes, they sent me to a school that was closed for the month I was there to volunteer teach. They said it was my fault for not contacting them, I should have known school was closed I guess. Again, I have nothing against IVHQ, it is a wonderful thing they are doing. My beef is with their affiliate Fadhili. No class.

    1 Votes
  • We
    Wecken Feb 28, 2011

    I used to work for a sals office and in the area of tourism. In addition I Volunteered in the past twice. I can totally understand, that companies and NGOs have to stick to refund polecies. Otherwise you give every other chancellation the same right to be threated/handeled as an expectation. then, you have to check every case individually. And surely, you can never be sure of "emmergencies".

    Also a lot of people come with expectations which are just above average. By any means. You come to a development country and things can go wrong. if someone wants a certificate, ask for it. If you feel bad, call someone. A basic service should be provided but please keep in mind, that you are in a different culture and also Volunteer organizations work with local staff. YOU have to addapt more then the local staff has to. Expect basic food and accomondation. And this is good... a cool experience. Immagine it would be done all by westerners... an totally comfortable. Very sustainable. Surely there are intercultural issues. Misstakes happen. That is life. before you Volunteer think twice for what and whom you Volunteer. And if you spent a bit on top: you did it in a development counrty and it reached the people. Difficulties are part of the whole experience.
    Also I am sure there are some Organizations who are ennoyed that Volunteering has transformed. paying rediculas high fees... and a lot is not reaching the country or a non profit. They are loosing custommers. And business has always been dirty. So I am sure some feedbacks are fake. Expensive Volunteering. This used to be years ago normal. More and more better Organizations pop up which are transprent. Look into the prices and partner Organizations within the country you will Volunteer. There are expensive once, IVHQ isnt.

    -1 Votes
  • Al
    Alyssa Spence May 29, 2011

    I volunteered with IVHQ in Tanzania this past September for 3 months and I have got to say that it was the best trip I have ever been on. I felt so safe while I was there and never once felt that I was in danger. The fees were very, very, very fair compared to the almost $5000 Projects Abroad was going to charge me while IVHQ cost me $1400. All in all, don't let this ONE (real) upset person stop you from volunteering with this company when her situation had absolutely nothing to do with the programs themselves.

    0 Votes
  • Ni
    NicoleW1603 Jul 01, 2011

    I am looking to volunteer in South Africa, has anyone done this? How was it?
    Any info would be appreciated,

    0 Votes
  • Ro
    ROGER MARKUS Jul 23, 2011

    It is HORRIBLE whats is happening in IVHQ programs. Did you know that the owner of this program is a 25 year old guy that abuses of poor people instead of helping them? Thats a shame for all volunteers ins the world!

    The New Zealand authorities should do something!

    His name is DAN RADCLIFE and here are some pictures that show his behavior while poor people suffer.

    In PERU -SOUTH AMERICA is the worst case because some friends told me that a lady called LIDIA is a psychopat with volunteers and with money for poor people.

    Check this out.

    -2 Votes
  • Ha
    harrybkenya Aug 18, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    What a load of rubbish! I volunteered in Kenya and met Daniel when he visited ... 25???? Who is writing this stuff? Clearly, not somebody with a grasp of English given that last post or has actually met Daniel. For the record I had a great time in Kenya. Daniel was a great guy who was really into the program and we were well looked after by the Kenya staff. Loved my host family, my project in Nakuru and the other volunteers I met. Ignore these negative posts. My guess is they are from another volunteer company as I have not heard one bad thing from any genuine volunteers I have met.

    -1 Votes
  • De
    Dewey Kerr Jan 16, 2012

    I have done 11 Volunteer Trips since 1998 with five different Organizations. This last year I did Cambodia with IVHQ. Since I have already done many trips, the 2 day orientation was a bit much for me. But it is needed as most young volunteers are not used to having to think and work for themselves. Its not a Vacation, On some Volunteer Trips I have stayed in Thatched Huts with dirt floors, eaten Stir Fried Dog and Fried Crickets and Scorpions. If you want comfort, go with www.CrossCulturalsolutions.org I have made four trips with them. They are First Class, but you will pay over $2000.00 per trip plus air fare.

    Its not a Vacation...Read the Fine Print... Quit complaining...go to Vegas for your Vacation...

    -2 Votes
  • Am
    amerie Feb 22, 2012

    Hmmmm... I'm planning on registering with these guys and I'm getting mixed reviews. On one hand, the negative comments could be coming from someone from other organizations. On the other hand, the positive reviews could be coming from people who work for IVHQ. Please someone, tell me how the trip went for you? (To Kenya I mean). (And also, the experience is what you make it!)

    0 Votes
  • Lo
    Louise001 May 09, 2012

    how much is the programme fee and is the flights included. how much is it overall me and a friend or interested in going to mexico but are unsure about the overall prices. and if u are staying with a family do u ave to pay them as-well??


    0 Votes
  • Be
    Beeen there May 15, 2012

    IVHQ are fine. They are cheap and safe. They won't hold your hand - you can pay top dollar for that at other organisations. I have met hundreds of volunteers who have gone with them, the vast majotry are pleased they went with IVHQ as they are the cheapest, organised group I know of.

    As for a refund with less than 60 days to go - it is stated clearly that won't happen, so I'm afraid it's a no go for me. The customer is not always right, otherwise everyone cancelling would cry 'emergency' - sad but true

    LOLing at some of the 'bad reports' though - I notice they never reply with proof they went with IVHQ!

    0 Votes
  • Ca
    Carrie93 Jun 22, 2012

    I am signed up for Peru in August...and now I am kinda nervous. I have realistic goals however I am now worried about safety.

    0 Votes
  • Je
    Jem. n Aug 27, 2012

    Im so excited for my trip to Vietnam Going in 2013. Super excited

    0 Votes
  • Ju
    Julie123456 Sep 05, 2012
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I wonder how much it really costs and how transparent this Travel 'volunteer' agency is with there finances. How much money are they making from vulnerable countries/people in need and those that genuinely want to travel with a conscious and see if there skills have are of help to others. How much of this 'registration fee', pays for marketing?, wages? etc... and how much if any goes to the NGO in the country. The registration fee may seem fair in comparison to other agencies but are the fees fair at all?

    My point is... would possibly it be fairer and easier to swallow for the complainant if the fees hadn't been used in the 2 days for any out of pocket administrative expense and she then had been told that the fee has already been donated to the project in need?! Maybe that should be written into there terms and conditions. I don't know because its not written but how much of these fees go the project if any at all or are these companies just making a living for them selves from good hearted people and the vulnerable countries in need that they send them too?? Can any one offer a response to this?

    0 Votes
  • Cr
    Craignews Nov 07, 2012

    IVHQ do not refund the registration fee even when there is over 200 days before you go, fortunatly i paid with Paypal and opened a dispute, for them to promptly threaten me with legal action. Considering i had to cancel due to being diagnosed with a terminal illness - I find their blatent refusal to be in very poor taste. My advice would be to avoid these con artists at all costs, I should have been suspicious when their only payment options are cheque or Paypal. All the more reputable agencies have options for Visa/Mastercard etc, banks do not offer card payment facilities to companies that do not meet their criteria for financial integrity.

    0 Votes
  • Ma
    Marley62 Feb 12, 2013
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I would love to see some more recent reviews. The most recent review is going on 2 years old! One question: After you pay your registration fee, how soon can you actually leave?


    0 Votes
  • Tr
    Travelnin Jul 24, 2013

    This organization is a scam - with the guise of helping people - they are actually stealing precious time and money from people around the world. Would avoid IVHQ at all costs.

    1 Votes
  • Tr
    Travelnin Jul 24, 2013

    Absolute scam of a business - Daniel Radcliffe is a thief.

    1 Votes
  • Ci
    Cindy150 Aug 06, 2013

    I am DISGUSTED!! With the way people are being discredited as even being real people because they have a negative issue to place against IVHQ!!! I would've also like to point out to those who have had a bad experience may have chosen a "fake name" as this site is open to anyone to view!!! I would also like to point out to those that are not smart enough that. Read both positive & negative feedback with an open mind. There is & always will be a good & bad story to every organisation. I am so sick & tired of reading statements where people have put "this negative review has nothing to do with the organisation itself or the placements" the whole point of this site is to put complaints in! For those of us who are complaining about IVHQ there will be certain aspects we are complaining about & these will not always be complaints about the placement itself (I.e - what it is like to work in a Kenyan hospital or orphanage) !! For e.g - complaining about having no support over there is a complaint against the organisation & has everything to do with the organisation!!! Open up your minds & use your bloody common sense!!!

    I have just come back from Kenya & was absolutely & 100% disgusted with the way the organisation has & still is being run!!.
    From day one I had trouble contacting Jamie- lee in regards to basic questions I needed answering (for example: my visa, criminal history check etc.) I then had to contact the second in charge to get this information. When I did receive an email back from Jamie she acted as if nothing had happened (even though this was info I needed ASAP & in my numerous emails had put that I could not get in contact with her).

    I then arrive in Kenya. Get met at the airport by - to this day I still do not know who as they never introduced themselves. Myself & the other girls who had arrived did introduce ourselves, as obviously we had to & to state which one of us was the one written on their sign. After we had all arrived we got put on a taxi & taken to a place in Kenya. I still do not know the area in which we were put. The lady we were staying with introduced herself then went back info the kitchen. There was no discussion for basic orientation. Like "these are the areas you don't go into", safety measures to take, where to find stuff, where we actually were in Kenya. We had nothing. Absolutely ### all. We had no idea where our placements would be - we had still not been told & we didn't know who would pick us up for orientation the next day or even what time.

    Now for people who have never been overseas before it is a massive shock. It is an even more massive shock because we were now in a third world developing country with no knowledge of safety precautions, basic directions, & no support.

    I can also not stress enough to those who will discredit my story & accuse me that... I was NEVER EVER dumb enough to assume that Kenya would be anything
    Like Australia, I can also not stress enough to those who will accuse me that it was going to be easy, that we would be in 5 star luxury, & that communication & orientation would be a synch. I was, however dumb enough to believe the lines that if we got stuck over there IVHQ would help. So to those dumb ### that will now start saying IVHQ told you I never existed in this program or will start saying ### about how I expected this "journey" to be easy & full of luxury. Your only ###ting yourselves. My complaint is as true as what the sun is & is a complaint about the -0% service IVHQ gave me.

    So I continue on from my story. I was at the "house" with the other volunteers & sad to say, they were the ones who gave us information on where not to go etc. sad considering this is what IVHQ was supposed to do & what they are getting paid for!!! I then received news from back home & needed to go urgently. I IMMEDIATELY RANG IVHQ AS WHAT WE HAD BEEN INSTRUCTED TO! & got the response of "can't it wait until tomorrow?" I was DISGUSTED!! To say the least!! I then tried asking how I would go back to the airport & both cleopus & Joe (who are the coordinators & first in charge over there could not help) I then asked the lady we were staying with where we were & how I could get back to the airport. Even narrowing my English down to "where is the transport" & she could not help. She could not tell me where we were & could only understand basic English. I eventually gave up on the realisation that IVHQ COULD help you!! & luckily with the help of one volunteer WE OURSELVES WANDERED AN UNFAMILIAR AREA LOOKING FOR HELP - HOW PATHETIC!! I then found the locals to be incredibly helpful & straight away got a taxi back! I was & am to this day so fortunate that I had the help of a volunteer & enough common sense & street sense to be able to get me out of a tough situation, in a third world country back to home. Once I left I immediately lost all feelings of feeling unsafe & lost all feelings of having my initial bad gut feeling!! I had to stay in Kenya for another 2 days until I could get my new flight back home but I am so grateful & lucky - NOT FOR IVHQ FOR HELPING IN AN URGENT SITUATION, BUT FOR THE LOCALS WHO WERE KIND ENOUGH TO HELP ME OUT!! If it was not for them I would still be stuck in Kenya or worse. I would also like to add in that I was overwhelmed by an extreme culture shock BUT! After j left I did not go into a fancy 5 star accommodation. It was a basic motel. With only a bed, toilet & shower (no hot water) &&& I engaged in the daily life of Kenyans walked around outside BY MYSELF!! & had an absolutely AMAZING TIME!! So NO I did not leave because I could not hack a third world country because after leaving the organisation I had a bloody blast! & have exchanged contact information with locals for when I come back again!!! : )
    After arriving home I had then found out from my partner & father that they had both been lied to by IVHQ. IVHQ - (which luckily my father has copies of on email!) in more detail, an email from joe Gichuki, that I had arrived for my orientation & was doing fine. This was a complete & utter lie. I had left their organisation the same day I had arrived... My family had also tried numerous times contacting IVHQ after I had rung them to tell them what had happened & "surprise surprise" thy were unable to get a hold of any of the staff who were supposed to be the coordinators. So to sum that up. IVHQ LIES directly to family members of volunteers so that they appear to not be in the wrong!!! It is disgusting because I lost contact with my family, & for all they know they were under the impression that IVHQ had done its job properly & were protecting me! When IN FACT EVEN BEFORE I LEFT I WAS MOST CERTAINLY NOT SAFE!! & MOST CERTAINLY NOT GETTING CARE!!
    I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO ADD IN THAT 3 DIFFERENT LOCALS HAD SAID THE AREA THAT I WAS IN WAS NOT SAFE FOR FEMALES!!! (I was able to show them where I was as we drove through the area by taxi!!!)

    So I let the haters judge, the people with brains to allow this information & for the people who have also had bad experiences to find some comfort knowing you are not alone.
    My story may get wiped - actually I'm 100% sure it will get wiped because it is so negative against this organisation & I know I will get discredited like so many before me because I have the guts to speak out.

    But as a warning. I will be taking this matter further & will be involving higher organisations. I want to warn people of the concerns regarding IVHQ.
    What happened was & still is disgusting!

    ! I was put in an unsafe place in a third world country & with no support in an emergency situation to me!. I have had no response from ANY of the organisational leaders even after replying to an email from Jamie stating my concerns. & I never will. I don't expect the organisation to do anything apart from discredit my story & say I never existed in the program.
    They will not own up to having faults & accepting that they did not Help me in a time of need - even down to just my basic need of wanting to know where taxis were to get home by myself!!! - i did not ask for a refund & do not expect one. i want IVHQ to own up to its faults & accept the fact that i am not the first to have a bad experience. & to not simply pretend that I was ever there (like they have done to so many others) I am not the first & am not the last who will have a bad experience through this organisation! But I urge those who want to volunteer as a nurse in Kenya, through IVHQ using YOUR OWN FUNDS! To re think travelling through this organisation. Ill recap.
    - I had an emergency back home & needed to get out ASAP
    - I IMMEDIATELY rang the organisation & got the response "can't it wait"
    - I asked where the transport was & got no response.
    - my family & partner THEN BOTH got lied to in regards to me "apparently" being looked after by the organisation & already starting my orientation. These emails & calls were received 1 day after I had left the organisation & had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with them
    - I had difficulty getting in contact with Jamie & those necessary organisers. My family could also not get in touch with them. Calls were ended or blocked & emails were rebounded back to them.
    - information given in the booklet ISNOT CORRECT. You need more money that what is stated. Most places do not accept US dollars & will only accept shillings (their currency) a card is needed that will work over there for emergencies!!! & numerous other information is incorrect.

    I would in ending like to state. That yea I did not get to go through to orientation or even begin one day of volunteering. I can not state, there for that you will not have a blast on placement love the area & want to go back!! : ) god knows when i left i met the most incredible people & the best local driver & absolutely had a blast doing toursity things!!!
    i am simply discrediting the fact that. If you are to get in trouble expect yourself to be the only person to get you out of it. & another concern I must strongly point out. If you have a bad gut feeling about going through with it. Then don't. Walk away money can be replaced but your life cannot. My experience is not rare, many have had exactly the same experience - & in different areas that they had been placed. Even parents of the volunteers.
    I know there will be hate - go for it. You have not travelled my path or experienced what I experienced so you don't know ###. I am real & so is my story.
    For those of you who have had a bad experience I am more than happy to combine my story & give you help. It is hard to tell your story when so many others on here are saying you are fake person because they don't want I believe that IVHQ has it's downfalls. But you are not alone! They're are possible hundreds of other people go have probably had even worse experiences than you!!
    If you would like to contact me you can do so on:
    My email address is: [email protected]

    1 Votes
  • We
    Wecken Aug 07, 2013

    Yes: IVHQ is doing more harm than Good. And Yes: IVHQ is a company using poor people and young Volunteers to make huge profits. And Yes, the guy running the show is a young men having studied economics.
    The Company is right with its refund policies and of course they are cheaper than most other company. That is good and brought fresh wind into the market. But the is not everything! The price local communities pay for the low prices and big numbers of Volunteers is a nightmare. The company is dominating the market and even fighting with other companies and bad practices to keep their position in the market.

    The company, New Zealand based, is choosing local Organizations (companies) without evaluating them. With sending high numbers, they basically rule the partners. Not sth international development would benefit from. They send uncontrolled Volunteers to orphanages and teaching placements. An online company, that is advertising proudly to send 5000 Volunteers to maybe 24 countries cannot be managed sustainable. The impact this has on the orphanages and communities has not been evaluated. In addition hardly any NGO is REALLY profiting from the Volunteers. The companies goal is not to make the placements get less dependent on Volunteers. The opposite is the case.
    International Volunteer HQ says often, they cannot send the placement details beforehand as the need within the country can only be seen close to the arrival. This is not true. IVHQ prefers not to give out placement details as this keeps the work simple: Volunteers will not research the Placement, they wont contact them, they will not have any questions and they will not be scared as they wont fiend any feedback. IVHQ is run with very little staff, most of the work is beeing automatized and being done by the Organizations they teamed up with in the undeveloped countries.

    Before signing up with IVHQ I recommend to ask yourself the right questions: Would you buy a trouser from the cheapest manufacturer? If you say No, you should not Volunteer through them. It is a mass sending company which is ruining the reputation of Volunteerism!

    Ask them the right questions:

    How do they evaluate the impact
    How can they control the programs when working in 24 countries
    How many staff members do they have
    How do they ensure the security of the kids in the orphanages
    How do they chose their local partners

    Also contact Tourism Concern or Tourism Watch, Friends International, UNICEF or other REAL Organizations with a good reputation and ask them about their opinion: I am sure they will tell you not to chose this company. No Structure is in place to secure a sustainable development. The Volunteer experience is only sustainable for us volunteering and IVHQ through making the big $$$$ .

    0 Votes
  • Le
    LelaB Oct 13, 2013

    As a former IVHQ volunteer, I’m disappointed to say that IVHQ doesn't appear to properly vet their Uganda program or take volunteer concerns seriously. I was placed in an illegal, unregistered orphanage during my June 2013 placement and returned to Uganda in September of 2013 (independent of IVHQ) to continue to seek resolution for these children. The Ugandan government ordered all children removed from the home and yet IVHQ’s local partner insisted that his volunteers return to help facilitate construction so this abusive institution could reopen. I took my concerns all the way to Daniel Radcliffe, IVHQ director, but was disappointed at his complacency and lack of communication. In my opinion, the director of the Uganda program (James Kange Nadiope of International Volunteer Network/ IVN) is corrupt and doesn’t have sufficient regard for the wellbeing of his volunteers. I’m certainly not alone in that opinion. A lengthy recounting of recent events is posted on my blog. Please, please, please demand to know your placements before you get on foreign soil. Research IVHQ’s incountry partners and your actual placement before turning over your money.

    I blogged the events in a series of 5 blog posts. If you are keen on skipping ahead, blogs 4 and 5 are likely the most helpful to future volunteers.

    Part 1: http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/blog/gods-grace-orphanage-in-uganda-part-1/

    Part 2: http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/blog/gods-grace-orphanage-in-uganda-part-2/

    Part 3: http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/blog/gods-grace-orphanage-in-uganda-part-3/

    Part 4: http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/blog/gods-grace-orphanage-in-uganda-part-4/

    Part 5: http://www.luckybreakconsulting.com/blog/ivhq-volunteering-abroad-responsible-volunteering/

    Addendum: After waiting 2 full weeks for any sort of acknowledgement of my concerns from Daniel Radcliffe, he managed to delete my post at the IVHQ Facebook within 90 minutes and reply, in part:

    “…while we have said we will treat any allegations she makes seriously, providing she has proof, all we have received so far are very dramatic allegations with no base which makes it difficult for us to look into things further.”

    Daniel hasn’t asked me for a thing. Would he like the police reports? Eyewitness accounts of James trying to muscle his way into my hotel after Daniel told him not to meet with me? I’d be happy to engage IVHQ in a conversation and answer any questions they may have and provide any proof they seek. The problem is: they’re not concerned with critical opinions of the program. They dismiss and move onto the next group of potential volunteers. Shameful.

    0 Votes
  • Tm
    T. Mooney Sep 16, 2014

    I am in the process of filing a complaint directly with CEO, Daniel Radcliffe; who has declined so far, to even offer apology for the horrendous conditions I experienced while a volunteer. He is in denial. His name should be Denial Radcliffe. The follow-up posts on this site (to complaints) appear staged; perhaps not all of them. Either way, IVHQ has some serious accountability issues it needs to clear up. If I don't receive justice from Radcliffe, I'm going to post the photos I have, which should make it abundantly clear - to everyone - what kind of a sham IVHQ can be. I strongly advise anyone, who is considering IVHQ, to think twice. It is not what it advertises itself to be; and, if you encounter a problem, Radcliffe won't likely take responsibility for it; and you're not apt to be treated either respectfully, or justly.

    1 Votes
  • Be
    Ben Brown - IVHQ Nov 17, 2014

    Hi there, I thought it would be useful to add a comment so that anyone considering IVHQ would know where to go for further information.

    I am IVHQ’s Head of Sustainability and if anyone has any questions or concerns about how we operate, in order to ensure we are acting responsibly and in the interests of all communities where we have programs, please contact me directly via [email protected] I’m happy to answer any questions directly, and there’s also a wealth of information available on our website: http://www.volunteerhq.org/responsible-volunteering

    We always value feedback from previous volunteers and take complaints very seriously. If we become aware of complaints about our programs, we seek to address them directly with the individuals involved so that we can understand what has occurred and how it can be resolved. If we find that an issue has occurred because of a something we've done, we will own up to it and remedy the situation. I encourage anyone thinking about volunteering abroad to do plenty of research and one way of learning more about IVHQ is to engage with our active community of more than 33, 000 past, present and future volunteers, to ask questions and gain feedback or advice. This community is accessible here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/volunteerhq

    Kind regards, Ben

    0 Votes
  • No
    Noelia Santa Ana Sep 20, 2015
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Please save your money at least for the programs in Hanoi Vietnam! the organization is so poor! I have been treated so poorly.

    I'm very disappointed how everything is going s far. The agreement was that I will pay the a fee of $270 that includes: Program Fee – airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

    So, since I was already in the country I sent an email letting you and program coordinator where my hotel was, so you can pick me up at the hotel I was staying instead of the airport. Here is when everything start to go wrong. Someone call my hotel and gave instructions to get me a taxi, so they send me in a taxi with a driver who doesn't speak the language. We get to the address we call the phone number that was given to the receptionists, and it was a clearly wrong number. The taxi driver who don't speak english start to get frustrated with me since he wants his money. In signs I communicate with him that I will look for the apt number, so I can get in touch with the person who called my hotel. Of course, I have to leave my travel bag with him. This was a very uncomfortable situation and scary too!! Try to imagine yourself in a country where you don't speak the language and having a very angry driver!

    So, I leave my travel bag with him, and I go and look for the apt number, which you might know or may be not know is wrong! I go and ring and ring the bell!!! in this apt they lady comes out angry talking in Vietnamese. I'm trying to explain the situation in english she just shut the door on me. So imagine my surprise! I'm here in Vietnam in a place I have never been before, and I get to be treated this way! This is acceptable.

    Once of the reason I pay for a program to volunteer is so someone can help me in the process of getting around in this country.

    I finally get to the place, and I all the volunteers start to share their similar experiences. Everybody has horror story. I'm in the process of recording their testimonials, so you can hear them. Maybe in another countries the volunteers had a good experience, but not me. Please avoid Vietnam.

    Real testimonials to come! Stay tune.

    0 Votes
  • No
    Noelia Santa Ana Sep 20, 2015
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Please don't let this comments full you. This is a true story maybe some volunteers were lucky that they got a good institution. Sadly I agree with T. Mooney. I strongly advise anyone, who is considering IVHQ, to think twice. It is not what it advertises itself to be; and, if you encounter a problem, Radcliffe won't likely take responsibility for it; and you're not apt to be treated either respectfully, or justly.

    1 Votes
  • Be
    Ben Brown - IVHQ Sep 30, 2015

    Hi Noelia,

    I'm sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your pick-up and I understand that our local coordinator has now discussed this with you in detail. We regret that the receptionist at your hotel did not record the contact phone number correctly and we encourage volunteers to keep a copy of the phone numbers provided by IVHQ, so that they can contact our local team directly when they arrive in-country.

    We appreciate you sharing this feedback with your IVHQ Program Manager while you were in Hanoi, and we're looking at whether improvements need to be made to how they manage the pick-ups. The team are committed to ensuring that all volunteers feel safe and well-supported from the time they arrive in country, to the time they depart the program, but it seems like something didn't go quite right here and I'm sorry that you had a poor experience! I'm grateful that you took the time to inform us and please be assured that your feedback has been taken seriously. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any further comments or questions: [email protected]

    Kind regards
    Ben Brown - IVHQ

    -1 Votes

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