A new beginning in Chiang Rai

by Esme, Co-Director, IHF Chiang Rai

So, I’ve been here a week now and, let’s say, there is a lot to get used to; like the gecko I share my bathroom with and the extreme humidity! The other co-directors here have been very kind and patient with me, whilst they show me around everywhere and get me used to the routine here. I now know where to get the vegetables and meat (I think), where to pay the bills and where the night bazaars are! I’ve also been helped with buying a bicycle so I can get around easily and begin to acclimatize!

The children have been lovely. They have all helped with cleaning and are always polite. Pratya, our university student, came home this week to deliver his four sponsor letters and to see the other children. We have also had Arisa’s birthday this week, she is now 17, and was spoilt with fried chicken and a birthday cake. The children, all seemed to enjoy it! I spend my time in the evenings watching Thai movies with the youngest, Chichiporn. I don’t understand what is being said, but I get the gist!

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Making friends in Aceh

by Ning, Jenny, Amie and Vincent, Voluntourists, IHF Aceh

It is a wonderful experience to stay here. As soon as we arrived at the Aceh’s airport, we were attracted by the beautiful sightseeing. Then, the kind driver took us to the IHF Center, where we were warimage (1) (3)mly welcomed by many friends. Our director, Jessica showed us around the house and patiently answered our many questions. Except for us, there are four other volunteers here, Julie, Amy, Jie and Quan. We had a nice dinner together in the living room, like a family. In the following few days, we also made some local friends. The local volunteers are all friendly and passionate. We usually go to a local restaurant, a coffee shop or a museum together. Our new friends here help us a lot with information about living in Aceh, teaching children and other things. We really appreciate meeting them.

Before the start of our teaching job, we were asked to attend the other volunteers’ classes. This helped us to fit in the Center’s routine quickly. These children are so lovely and enthusiastic. We all enjoy the time we spend with them. Sometimes, they are noisy and naughty, but they always have the most beautiful smiles on their faces.

image (2) (1)We also took part in some very interesting activities with some new friends. On Sunday, we went to the beach and joined a fantastic campfire party. We meet some interesting people and we also got some advice.


It’s so great to be a volunteer here! We think it’s important to contribute to the education of children. In addition, living within a new culture provides a new way to consider and evaluate our culture and former life.


A first week at IHF Bali

by Jason, Voluntourist, IHF Bali

Hi, I’m Jason, I’m a fresh volunteer at the IHF Center in Bali and this is my view and experience in the first week here. Let me show you some pictures of this trip.

The first one is the beach under the sunset, how amazing it is!

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And the second and third pictures are from the outside of the Center’s yard, it is silent and peaceful without any doubts:

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Now you must get the environment where we live in. Is it beautiful? No matter if you are a volunteer or a student here, we all feel happy and have fun in this peaceful environment.

The second part is about the life and work here. The next picture will show you how people organize their jobs and work.

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And also this picture shows you the situation inside this Center, wood makes you feel warm and relax.

Basically, we teach children English and computer here; they all love to say hello to us with warm hearts and good faith. And they are also eager to communicate with you, which makes you feel comfortable and satisfied.



How do you feel about IHF Bali after reading this story? Come on and join us!

Dreams in Nakuru

by Alice, Voluntourist, IHF Kenya

‘Dream’, maybe it is a little bit difficult for the children at the Kenya IHF Center to think about it. More or less, the children there suffered because of their unfortunate past experience. However, if you see their shiny smiles, you would never believe how bad their lives were.

I want to introduce a lovely boy to you, he is Emmanuel. You can easily recognize him by his small size and the cutest smile!

picture 1‘What is this, Manu?’ I said curiously.
‘It is a motorbike’, he said.
‘Have you ever thought about buying one in the future?’ I said.
‘Hehe’. He chuckled somewhat shyly and kept drawing.

For most people, at first sight, they can not even recognize that it is a motorcycle. But to Manu, it may be one of the most beautiful things in the world. That is his DREAM.

Now, let me show you another picture drawn here at the Center:

picture 2It is a kind of African flower, but Loboo shows much creativity in painting it. And the use of different colors and patterns makes it vivid.

No matter what they have faced once, we must be aware of the dreams in their eyes!

Deforestation and Cuddly Apes

by Rob, Co-Director, IHF Medan

A few weeks ago we welcomed in a special guest speaker. Panut, from the OIC (Orang-utan Information Centre) came to Medan, accompanied by a large toy ape, to talk to the kids and local volunteers about the Sumatran orang-utan, its disappearing habitat, its endangered status as a species and the importance of environmental conservation both inside and outside Indonesia.

The deforestation talk was especially pertinent given our location. North Sumatra, along with Borneo and much of Malaysia, has seen vast amounts of its natural rainforest stripped and flattened by palm oil plantations. It is a continuing problem, both for the communities and the wildlife that live in what little rainforest remains. Panut and his organisation hope that by educating children about this issue a more eco-minded generation will emerge in the future – they may well be the last generation with the power to stop the eradication of certain species and habitats.

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As you can see from the photo, the room was packed with enthusiastic kids from across all our classes. Panut was also kind enough to donate some books and calendars for the centre. They now sit in our slowly expanding library for all to peruse.

For more information on the OIC, please visit http://orangutancentre.org/

The start of a new adventure as Aceh Co-Director

by Timea M., Co-Director, IHF Aceh

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Thursday evening I had a very nice farewell dinner with my lovely Jakarta family, eating Ayam penyet which is one of my favourites here in Indonesia. Next morning, I had to leave very early for the airport to set off for a new adventure and a new life in Banda Aceh.

Once I’ve arrived at the centre, I received a warm welcome from Jess and the two work-study volunteers, Julia and Amy. They told me a lot about how the centre works and what they have been doing here since their arrival.

On Saturday, I could watch the classes and get to know some of the local volunteers. They arrived pretty early in the afternoon to prepare everything for a genuine Indonesian dinner. They made perkadel, chicken curry and omelettes, and for dessert, we had very nice jelly.

Of course, we didn’t stay at home on Sunday, four of our local volunteers, Bella, Tari, Zee and Reihan took us out in the city on their motorbikes. We rode by the Tsunami Museum and the Grand Mosque. We went to some traditional stores, so Julia and Amy could buy some souvenirs for their families and friends. What they wanted most was batik and coffee, these are trademarks for Indonesia and Aceh.

After the shopping session we had lunch together in one of their favourite restaurants, Zakir and I ate Mie Aceh. I tried it for the first time, it was really delicious. Looking forward to other treats here!

After the busy day we spent together, we came back to the centre and were chatting on the terrace and they told me about their lives and their experiences with IHF. It’s so great to see so many young people getting involved in volunteering and wanting to help the children we provide education for!

Exam Season in Jakarta

by Mindaugas S., Co-Director, IHF Jakarta

Hi there,

One more busy week in Jakarta. Everyone is preparing for the incoming IHF exams. Reviewing the material; checking the exams and modifying them according to the center’s needs; checking if we have enough presents, certificates, etc. Everyone is working really hard.

On Friday, our Co-Director Timea had to leave the IHF Jakarta Center; however, she did not leave IHF, but was transferred to the IHF Banda Aceh Center, as there was an urgent need of an experienced Co-Director. We had a ‘see you later’ dinner and wished her all the best in Banda Aceh.

On June 14th, we had to bid farewell to two Chinese volunteers, who did really well and helped us a lot in the Center. However, the next day we were welcoming one Italian and three new Chinese volunteers. Thus, our center is full now. Everyone got involved in our activities immediately as exams started from the 16th of June!


Simple Pleasures at Nakuru

by Nora S., Work-Study Medical Intern, IHF Nakuru

The other day, I was washing my clothes at the center and a young girl named Chembalaw was following me.  Mostly, she was laughing at my futile attempt to wash my clothes for the first time.  She and her friend Susan followed me into my room and almost immediately spotted my markers laying on my bed.  They settled right in and got to coloring.  Before long, they were playing with anything I would let them.  They were playing with my bandanas, my airplane pillow, or my phone.  It didn’t take much to entertain the two.  It was refreshing to see the two so happy at such simple pleasures.  As I’ve gotten to know Chembalaw better, she is the type of girl who is always smiling, always running around. When I come home from town, she will be the first to greet me with a huge bear hug.  She keeps my energy up.


In other news, on Saturday I took the older Chembalaw shopping.  She had some money sent from her sponsor.  We went shopping for about three hours.  She was so excited to poke around the market.  The kids rarely get to go shopping and buy new things just for themselves, so when they get a chance, they really take advantage of it.  She bought a lot of new things, and was particularly excited about getting a new phone.  It just goes to show how much the sponsors mean to these kids.

DSCF0584Lastly, we got a new volunteer the other day! His name is Wei, which is funny because wei in Swahili means “you.”  When one of the kids asked his name, there was a pretty hilarious lack of communication and she stared at him waiting to answer her question, not realizing he already had.  I took him into town yesterday and the kids spent all night in his room playing. He has adapted quickly and well, and we are excited to have him be a part of the IHF Nakuru family for the next month!

Exam Time in Bali!

by Candice D., Voluntourist, IHF Bali

For students around the world, the word EXAMS instils fear and panic. It is a time to study, re-learn and remember everything you have learnt in previous classes. At The IHF Bali Centre, the end of year exams occur at the end of June. This week, the students have started preparing for their exams. On completion, they will be recognised at a ‘Pass it on’ celebration, to congratulate them on their hard work.

My favourite part about being a Voluntourist at the Bali centre has definitely been watching the students and how they apply themselves to their studies. They are always happy to participate. They are not scared to sit at the front of the class, speak up, be the first one finished with their work or ask questions.

Yoga bogaOn Saturday, which is ‘project day’ at the centre, many of the children participated in making bubble art. This was a welcome break to their studies, and they had lots of fun in making lovely, colourful pictures which we have now hung around the centre.

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Another distraction from studies has been the welcome arrival of the centre’s cutest resident –Bessie. Bessie the puppy has been inundated with lots of love and cuddles from both children and volunteers alike. She is being cared for by the centre until she finds a new home. Although, she is so sweet it will be hard to give her up! Thor, the head dog of the house is clearly not impressed.

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Whether it’s work or play, we can learn a lot from these children. Always keep a smile on your face and happiness in your heart, and enjoy life – it’s an adventure!