Volunteer in Ukraine

Michal
Michal
UNITED STATES
Ukraine

I went to the Cherkasy Orphanage for 2 and half weeks it was a wonderful experience. I wanted to get involved as much as possible in activities and the daily life's of the children. It was an amazing time spent with the children, they had lots of love to give and were very curious about my life in Tampa, Florida. 

I must admit that I learned something about all of them but I did find that at times communicating was sometimes a little struggle but we all managed to understand one another and harmony was great within the Orphanage. I loved the games and activities we did with the kids, which was initiated by Tonya, Olga, Irna and Angelina who were good leaders. I also had a fun time teaching the kids new games and directing them, had some funny and comical moments.

I got to meet all the other teachers and workers who all were very professional and outstanding to work with. I also felt very much at home at my host lady's apartment and I thank Natalia for been my host lady.

I want to thank Alexander (the Love Volunteers local manager) for always being there if I had any questions or help, thank you kindly. Then to the supervisor Svetlana, thank you so much for healing my bronchitis and for showing the medical and rehabilitation facilities that is well organized and run very professionally. 

I want to thank all Cherkasy Orphanage staff and workers for making me feel very welcome and making me feel at home and especially to the children of Cherkasy that gave so much of their love to me, I feel truly blessed for my experience and I would urge other volunteers, to try this experience. Thank you again Cherkasy friends, and thank you Love Volunteers!

Joshua
Joshua
Joshua
Joshua
AUSTRALIA
Ukraine
The past four weeks in Ukraine have been some of the most memorable times of my life. I have been wonderfully cared for in my home stay and, most importantly, have been given the opportunity to work with some of the most fantastic children one could ever hope to meet.
 
Ukraine is still somewhat of an obscure country, one that I think many travellers still feel uncertain about. Let me tell you, however, that a journey to Ukraine should be on everybody's destination list - especially those interested in volunteering. You will be safe, you will be cared for, and you are definitely needed to help brighten the future of Ukraine's children. 
 
I highly recommend all interested volunteers to take the plunge and make their next destination Ukraine with Love Volunteers.
 
Joshua Timms, 21
Adelaide, Australia
Karine
Karine
Karine
Karine
Karine
CANADA
Ukraine

I just finished my week in Ukraine, and I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life. So much that I plan on coming back for 5 weeks when I am done school this year. I had been looking forward to volunteering in Ukraine for a while now and my coordinator was very fast at answering any questions I had at least two months prior to my arrival. My week was very organized, I got to do so much for the time I had, see children from different orphanages, visit the area, enjoy plenty of the local food and plan activities for the children. I also got to teach English and, my Ukrainian/Russian grammar being far from perfect, my coordinator Alex acted as a translator and everyone was very helpful and understanding when he was not around. 

Another aspect of this trip is that, other than my love for Ukraine as a country and its beautiful culture, I was amazed by the children's view of happiness and their profound respect for one another. They were caring, grateful, protective, always smiling and very loving. All they wanted was to play and enjoy their afternoons together. It was so precious and simple.

As there were different types of orphanages, children differed on mental levels or physical illnesses, but I could never tell, because you'd be surprised how much children can communicate simply with a smile or a laugh! It is the most rewarding feeling.

All together it was a truly touching experience and I plan on keeping in touch, sending toys, crafts and pictures during the year (they promised to show me pictures of their art) and am very excited to make new memories with them in 10 short months!!! 

Karine Wlasichuk, Montreal, Canada

Autumn, 2015

Ted
Ted
Ted
Ted
Ted
UNITED STATES
Ukraine

The experience was fantastic!!

Adapting to the children's schedule the work routine was a bit disconcerting at first. Once I got into the swing of things, I was treated to a daily dose of friendship, love and accomplishment. The children were very accommodating, kind and loving. I definitely had a disadvantage in not being able to speak the language. The children have so much to say and express. Despite the language obstacle together we made it work. These children wanted to learn anything that was western especially Language. Crafts of any kind are a great way to interact socially while keeping their hands busy. Bring lots!

Alex my local volunteer coordinator and his family are very sincere and were really helpful, showing me around town and translating for me. My host family lady is a very friendly and caring person and a great cook.

I would recommend Love Volunteers and their partner in Ukraine to anyone who would like to help children and experience another culture.

Sincerely

Ted Misiaszek

Alicia
Alicia
Alicia
Alicia
Alicia
Alicia
UNITED STATES
Ukraine

Overall, I thought that my volunteering experience in Ukraine was a great one! I really enjoyed myself.  The volunteer coordinator Alex did a good job in meeting my needs and making sure I had a good experience!

I was able to volunteer at three different places, which I liked. The volunteer coordinator was helpful in placing me in the settings which I preferred. I enjoy working with people who have disabilities, as it is close to my heart, and I was placed at two different settings with people with disabilities. In addition to interacting with both kids and adults at these places, I also had the opportunity to teach English to some kids at another place. The kids really appreciated me and they taught me many things as well. I will miss all of them!

In addition to volunteering, the volunteer coordinator helped to arrange cultural events for me which I was interested in. He and his family invited me to different events in the city, such as traditional Ukrainian dancing, a bandura concert, and nice art exhibitions.

I couldn't have asked for a better home placement. I stayed with a very nice woman for three months. I am a vegetarian and she accommodated me and always made delicious meals.  She always made sure I was comfortable and was very friendly.

I will miss Ukraine and the people who I have met here. They were very welcoming and hospitable. I would recommend this program to others!

Carlos
Carlos
Carlos
GERMANY
Ukraine

Volunteering was something I wanted to do for quite some time but like many plans and dreams due to the flow of daily life it just never came to be. Finally within short notice I decided to participate as a volunteer and chose Love Volunteers. One of the reasons why I chose Ukraine is because I am learning Russian and thought that this could be as well an excellent opportunity to improve my language skills. This proved to be very useful as I was able to communicate with the children to a good extent without the need of translators. They were very curious and asked me all sort of questions about my home country, family, traditions, likes and dislikes. They taught me as well a lot of new words in Russian!

I spent a total of two weeks volunteering in this program and alternated orphanages between 2 towns. This alternation was also a good opportunity for me to experience two different models of orphanages with different needs and problems. What both had in common; was that they had wonderful children! The experience was very rewarding for me although I left with the feeling that my stay was too short. I hope that even though I was there only for 2 weeks, that my time spent with the children was a quality one and that it contributed a little bit to improve their lives.

About Ukraine in general I can only say that I leave with the best of impressions. This gave me the opportunity to know the culture deeper, staying with a local family. I also made many friends in my free time. Ukrainian people are very warm and friendly.

A lot has been said from previous volunteers about Alex, the program coordinator. I can only confirm all these positive statements. He was very professional, helpful and highly committed to this purpose. I for sure am looking forward to coming back for a second time.

Nilmari
Nilmari
Nilmari
Nilmari
Nilmari
Nilmari
UNITED STATES
Ukraine

I had a great time, once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget!  Thousands of miles away from home, different culture, food, weather, but it was worth it.  It is all about the kids!   You leave the orphanages taking those kids faces in your heart.  "By giving love, we become magnets of love."

We got a chance to bring the kids some joy, giving away some toys, clothes, cookies, candies!  We participated in class lesson classes with them, exercise routine, did a Gingerbread Christmas House with a kit we brought, crafted some ornaments, played games, taught the kids some English words and learned some Ukrainian phrases! 

The host family was wonderful. They made us feel welcome at their house! Thank you for such a wonderful experience,

Jerome
Jerome
Jerome
Jerome
Jerome
Jerome
FRANCE
Ukraine

Having a big amount of vacations to take before the end of the year, and being short of ideas, I came to think that it could be good to get far from touristic places for a real change of my everyday's life. When on top of that I could make it somehow useful, while not passing my time beside a swimming pool with a cocktail, that could be what I really looked for. Volunteering came almost naturally from there, and I picked Ukraine, I must admit a little randomly. The least I can do is that these three weeks were not disappointing. Ukraine is really a wonderful country, with very welcoming, nice and helpful people, even for a westerner like me not speaking any Ukrainian or Russian. 

Actually, most of my time as a volunteer was in schools, helping English teachers. The local focal point adapted indeed the content of my time Schedule according to my preferences and where I would be the more useful to the kids. In this case, main orientation was given to teaching, thus slightly deviating from what was originally planned, but also opening new contacts and activities for the local NGO.

I was the first occidental person most of the kids saw, and all were very friendly and appeared to be interested and motivated to learn and to discover always more, something quite missing nowadays in western Europe. I passed nonetheless some time in orphanages, "talking" and playing with kids, with however great difficulty due to my total lack of Russian/Ukrainian language proficiency. All were nonetheless very positive and we found ways to do some activities like puzzles, aircraft models or board games we could all understand. 

On the organization side, despite some difficulties adapting to local ways of working, very different from what I am used to, the local responsible was very arranging and helpful, aiding me to book transport for a week-end of my own in Kiew or arranging me to leave three days in the middle of the volunteering for business reasons. 

Overall, that was a great experience with great people in a great country I will for sure come back to visit in the future. I would, and already have, warmly recommend it.

 

Sasha
Sasha
Sasha
Sasha
Sasha
UNITED STATES
Ukraine

In early September 2013 I volunteered with Love Volunteers in local orphanages in Ukraine. During this time I lived with a Ukrainian family, whom graciously opened their home to me, fed me and were patient in my feeble attempt to communicate in a mixture of English, Ukrainian and hand signals.

When I walked into the wooden doors of the orphanages, slews of children waived at me, jumped up and down with excitement or mostly charged towards my nearest limb, hugging my legs with a death grip. I find it so amazing that despite the language barrier and my poor attempt at Russian and Ukrainian that the children’s behaviors were the same as any other child I had ever witnessed at home. I was asked by my friends how hard it was for me to communicate with the children having such a large language barrier, which surprisingly the answer was simple: it wasn’t. All children have the same wonders, curiosities, emotions and want to be loved and adored.

On my last day in Cherkasy, we made a final stop at my favorite orphanage in order to pass out some photos we had taken from the week and to say my final goodbyes to all the little munchkins. I stepped one foot out of the car, swung my camera over my shoulder and somehow managed to knock my earring straight out of its place and somewhere onto the muddy ground beneath the car. We searched and searched for this shimmering earring but it was nowhere to be found. Just as I felt despair, Alex told me that it was a Ukrainian proverb that if someone loses an earring, they are bound to return to that place in the future. Was it a sign? Most definitely. What a way to end the trip. :)

Kathleen
Kathleen
Kathleen
Kathleen
Kathleen
Kathleen
UNITED STATES
Ukraine

I really enjoyed my time in Ukraine. It was difficult at first since I was the only volunteer and barely anyone speaks English, but once I got into my routine I really enjoyed it, and found that the kids really soaked up any of the affection you could give them. I was saddened by the lack of attention and support that is provided by some of the staff but I guess that's why it is important to have volunteers who are willing to spend extra time with the kids. 

I felt that Alex was very helpful as the coordinator, but you definitely have to be flexible with your time over there, as things seem to change last minute or be running late. Overall, I loved the experience and the connections I made with the kids, I felt I gained a lot from it. I would definitely go back!

 

Kelly
Kelly
Kelly
UNITED STATES
Ukraine

This was my third time visiting Ukraine. Previously I have come to visit a friend I hosted as an exchange student in high school and her family who live in Crimea. The capital city Kiev and the Black Sea Coast in Crimea are lovely and I would recommend that people who visit Ukraine make sure to see them both. This is the first time I have been in Cherkasy, a town near Kiev, in the heart of Ukraine or volunteered and I enjoyed both throughly. Sasha my local volunteer coordinator and his family are very nice and were really helpful, showing me around town and translating for me. All of the children at the orphanage are so cute and sweet. They were always very excited to see me and very eager to practice speaking English. My host family lady is a very friendly and caring person and a good cook. I’m very much looking forward to returning to Ukraine this summer. I would recommend Love Volunteers and their partner in Ukraine to anyone who would like to help children and experience another culture.

Vinelle
Vinelle
Vinelle
Vinelle
Vinelle
Vinelle
HONG KONG
Ukraine

We travel for fun, leisure and business, but seldom have we traveled for love. Ukraine is an unfamiliar nation for the people in Hong Kong. My decision to join the voluntary programme in the country is totally out of curiosity. I cannot speak in Ukrainian, I am not familiar with the Western culture though Hong Kong is an international city, and I lack experience of being a care-taker. It turns out to be the most amazing discovery of my life. My love and respect to the people, for their generosity, kindness, happiness, and all other positive qualities, will never end. Kindness is everything. We broke-through the language barriers and tried our best to understand each other. Children’s laughter and smiles shined my days and became my energizer for the stressful work in Hong Kong. Remember one day when I first met a child called Anton. He has been a rebellious boy who always hopes to escape from the orphanage. He was kidnapped and later escaped from the trafficker, he has nowhere to go but he wanted to escape. He caught my attention and I wanted to protect the little boy in all means. On the last day of the program, he came to me with a gift made of chestnuts. Kindness is everything. All through the program, I have gotten much more than I give. I was not giving enough. “You should stay here for longer. One week is not enough”, Alex, the gentleman who chairs the local organisation told me. It is very difficult for a Hong Kong working person to take more than two weeks of holiday. I am very lucky to have my company’s support. However, yes, I was not giving enough. I hope I could stay with the children longer, to understand them and teach them my languages. Now, every night, I pray for them before sleep. I wish they will grow up healthily, contributing to the society and the world. This is a mother’s wish to their future. I regard every one of them as my children. They are the unique ones. Easy to do than say, please allow me to join the force and take care of the children. This will be my life-long project.

“Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace”, once Mother Teresa said. I firmly believe in the words.