About International Humanity Foundation

Half of IHF's mission is to educate the poor and the other half is to educate the world about the poor. Our vision is to strive for a world of leaders and citizens who have interacted with, and are truly knowledgeable about the world's poor. We believe in a "pass it on" philosophy where education is free and available for all who seek it. Those of us who have received a free education pass it on by helping others less fortunate by teaching, interacting and learning. With just a few hours a week, our volunteers, children and sponsors are changing the world we live in. IHF is a non-religious, non-political, non-profit organization that strongly believes in an equal opportunity for all and in preserving the cultures, traditions and beliefs of the marginalized communities it works in.

Climbing Mount Rinjani in Indonesia.

by Kristine, Co-Director, Jakarta

I find that being in Jakarta really opens up options of places to go around Indonesia for me.  Because it is basically the hub of the country, I can easily catch a flight to just about any other place in the country.
And so it was that a couple of months ago, one Saturday evening, I caught a flight to Lombok because I had convinced myself that climbing Mount Rinjani was a great idea.  Forget the fact that I hadn’t exercised in months, since arriving in Indonesia, in fact.  For some reason that I cannot fathom now, I thought it was a great idea.  I think it was maybe something to do with Indonesia being a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and I thought it would be cool to climb an actual active volcano.  I wasn’t nervous before I started; all I felt was great anticipation for what was ahead.
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I booked a 3 day/2 night Mt. Rinjani climbing package and, I must say, my tour operator and climbing guide and porters offered excellent service.  But 2 hours into the climb, I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. At first, it was idyllic – gentle slopes, grassy fields, and a herd of cows with bells around their necks gently clanging as they mooed and meandered and grazed; I felt like I was in The Sound of Music.  But then the slopes became less gentle and the cows disappeared and I was sweating and heaving my way up the mountain.

This would mark the next 3 days of my life.  Going up, there were parts of the trail that were so steep and slippery that I genuinely didn’t know how I would make it because I kept sliding back down.  Like everyone else on the mountain, I slipped and slid my way up and was relived to make it alive and with all my limbs intact.  Descending was just as difficult, and I confess that by day 2 as I stared at yet another ridge to climb in order to get off that darn mountain, I passionately hated myself, since I could have, at that very moment, been binge watching Game of Thrones in a luxurious hotel room somewhere.

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Eventually, after much misery, slipping, sliding, scrambling, and American Ninja Warrior style rock-climbing, I made it off Mt. Rinjani.  I hated every minute of those 3 days but I’m still glad that I went even just because I heard the volcano rumbling like thunder then saw it belching out smoke, while I clung to a broken railing trying not to break my fool neck as I snapped a photo.

Sigh.  It was beautiful.

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A new experience with IHF in Bali!

By: Xinyu, Voluntourist Bali.

I arrived to Bali at midnight of September 15th, 2016.

Since it is too late for the center co-director to pick me up from the airport, I checked into a hotel nearby the airport. I was really excited about this trip and I kept imagining the IHF Centre I was about to visit tomorrow. Finally, at about 12 a.m. the next day, Agus and Manna arrived at the hotel to pick me up. Manna was really kind. She shared her experience of volunteering here with me and was patient enough to answer all my questions. On my way to the center I already felt welcome on Bali. Manna also took me to a store to buy a few things I needed.

This was the first sight I saw when I arrived at the IHF Bali center. The center is set up close to the beach and it is very beautiful: 3107fe0f0a11d06c

On reaching the center, I met Agata, Clara and David, the co-directors of IHF Bali, and few children drawing and plaing in the house at that time. They were really cute!

In the afternoon of my first day of volunteering we did many activities. We played hide and seek with the kids amongst other activities. I found it was very easy to get along with all of the kids, even though we come from different countries. I love BALI, and I am enjoying my volunteering days here, but there is one challenge I need to face every day – I am totally scared of lizards, frogs and bugs. Actually, I was crying on the first night, because I was scared by a lizard. Agata helps me a lot, we are living in the same house, her room is just opposite of my room. She told me not to be afraid, because none of those animals will hurt me. She is kind and make me feel welcome.

2d10f9110a419a78On the first day of classes, I gained a new experience. I met a lot of kids from different grades and classes. I tried to memorize their names at the beginning, but it’s hard. Students are like a little angels, kind and warm in their own style. They work hard trying to memorize every word Manna brings to them. We also play English board games. They come to me whenever they don’t understand something. I try my best to help them do some of their class work.

I feel that I made a good choice to volunteer here with IHF in Bali. It’s a fresh and beautiful experience for me.

I am in love with Bali and I am very much enjoying volunteering here.

Life in Nakuru

By: Kenzo, Work Study Kenya

Although it feels as if I have been here for far longer, I arrived at the Nakuru centre just over a week ago. Now that I’ve settled into the swing of activities that happen at the centre and more generally in the Nakuru’s way of life, I can reflect on my experience here so far.

In many aspects the children at the centre live a life filled wih similar interests and aspirations I used to have when I was at school. All the children are now back at school, leaving the centre relatively quiet during the day and free for the herds of livestock which come to graze on the centre’s land. When the children return in the late afternoon and evening they studiously get on with their homework and revision, without complaint (This is different from what I used to do when I was at school :P).

Once they are at home, and all the work and revision is done,  many of the children relax by playing football (trust me, everyone are crazy about this sport here) or socializing with each other and staff.

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In spite of the interage group living and socializing at the centre there is a strong community spirit in which everyone is ready to pull their weight by doing different tasks for the centre, like buying supplies or cooking on the weekends.
Despitimg_1270e me being the only international volunteer here along with the amazing co-director Joyce, the proactive help from the children, and the local staff ensures the smooth running of the centre. Nevertheless, the weekends here can be a little bit chaotic as the children let off steam from a hard week of school and only settling in the evenings when we watch a movie. I have been trying to introduce them to some movie classics, like “The Shawshank Redemption”, but I fear many of them still favor the action and their superhero movies ( Can’t blame them for it, can we? )
However, there are some differences between my childhood and the childhood of children here. Having enjoyed a comparatively sheltered and a somewhat spoon-fed upbringing, it was only upon leaving the nest to go to university that I learned how to be independent. And even during my first week at the centre I had to be told how to: a) wash myself without running water; b) wash my clothes using a bucket; and c) navigate the country and town safely; along with countless other life hacks! In my defense, I was initially somewhat overwhelmed by all the new things during my first few days here in Kenya, this being my first time living in a developing country, especially in Africa . In contrast, all the children here have the maturity well beyond their years, and are able to live independently within the wider community.
I haven’t traveled extensively as of yet. I am looking forward to this experience, especially exploring the beautiful natural scenery and wildlife of Kenya, some of which we are lucky enough to wake up to every morning at the centre in Nakuru.

Kenya has already made quite an enormous impression on me, especially the children. I look forward to the rest of my time at the centre this month and with that knowledge I know, I will be reluctant to say goodbye at the end to my new friends here.

My life in Medan as a voluntourist!

By: Wenwen, Voluntourist Medan

This is not the first time I choose to be a voluntourist with IHF, the first one was three years ago when I went to the Bali centre in Indonesia. And it was during that time when I made my mind that I would explore the other places as a voluntourist. So this year I came to Medan, where I met three other nice volunteers who made me wanting to stay here for a much longer time.

On the first day I arrived at the Medan centre with my friend Ling we were invited to attend a local wedding ceremony, which was really impressive. We were really interested in experiencing Indonesian culture. The bride and groom wore traditional attires and took pictures with all the guests invited. The person who invited us introduced the wedding customs to us as well as shared some traditional food with us.

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During our stay at the Medan centre, we got to know many volunteers. Besides co-directors: Teresa, Leti and Tony who are from different countries with different backgrounds, we still met many other local volunteers. The co-directors arranged the meeting with them for us. when we had dinner together, we just couldn’t stop talking about our country, culture and education system. One of interesting things I find here is that most of the people here are Muslims. They have totally different dressing code and religious beliefs than we and we respect that.

During the weekdays, Ling and I are helping tutoring the classes. The teachers here are all very caring and supportive, and sometimes let us get very involved in their classroom activities. Surprisingly, some children said they are very interested in learning some Mandarin, so Ling and I gave them a few Mandarin language sessions as a part of special activities. This week, we are going to do a presentation to introduce the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival to them. We really enjoy spending time with the children here.

img_2308During the weekend, we visited many tourist attractions with other volunteers, including, the big mosque, the temple, the waterfall and the Lake Toba. It really gave us a chance to get close to the nature. Compared to the life in my own country,  life here seems to be more relaxed and meaningful.

Discovering myself at IHF!

Blog post by Mengjie, WS Volunteer, Bali.

This is my second week at the IHF Bali center, I’m very happy that I made the decision of coming here. Even though we never knew each other, the kids gave me the best welcome I’ve ever had. They are so zealous and have enthusiastic! At first, I thought it would be hard for me to even remember their names, but now I am familiar with all the kids , their characteristics and fortes. Everything just happened naturally.     img_2810

The kids are always curious and passionate to learn something. They are naughty sometimes, but they do know when to stop. Most of times, they just do that to play with you. They have even took the role of being my teacher! They taught me two magic tricks and how to make a flower using tissue paper. I learned so much from them and the environment at the center makes me a happy and seems to convince that life is so easy!

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Living  here is very different from living in the cites, In the latter, There are so many not so important things that become very important to us – Branded apparel, A Big House, Make up, which turns out to be unnecessary once you get here. The kids love and respect you for who you are. You can definitely throw those things you find hard to give up there. It feels good to be here and one should definitely experience life at IHF,  I am sure it will be one of the most wonderful memories in your life.

img_2844 And since this is my second week here, I started teaching. Writing lesson plan is a new experience for me. My co-director here keeps giving me some great advice on how to make it more understandable and easy for the kids to absorb the lesson. What’s more?  The way IHF staff work and communicate through internet efficiently is worth learning. All the files in the drives are clearly sorted and  spreadsheets are clear and helpful. It’s a pity that as a voluntourist I can’t do those online work, but overall I enjoyed my time so much and think this is a wonderful experience being a volunteer in IHF center.

Welcoming the newcomer!

By:  Soufian, Co-Director, Thailand

As this is my first blog post with IHF, let me Introduce myself to you, my name is Soufian, born and raised in Agadir, a coastal city in the southern part of Morocco.  Being a social worker has been a lifelong dream of mine, and I have taken the first step towards fulfilling this dream by being a part of a few local organizations, volunteering inimg_2088 children centers and by participating in the social and cultural events in my city. Such experiences over the past several years have made me into a highly self-motivated, energetic and creative enough to seek for a volunteer opportunity abroad. Surprisingly, hearing about IHF and (YES) being a part of IHF is a great opportunity for me to fulfill my dream to serve!

I arrived in Thailand on the 15th of August, at Chiang Rai airport and I started my new journey of life through volunteering with IHF. I initially planned and tried to apply two years ago when I was a student but then I was lacking experience. Anyway, Now I am here!

Being new to the Thai culture even though there are a few similarities between the Thai culture and my culture, I get confused on numerous occasions and I had to struggle to communicate with person who can’t speak English with a Farang (Foreigner) like me. When I arrived at the center I met a great young IHF kid, Pratya, he is a good help to me and I can see in him a great independent man. I didn’t know anything about the city or img_1943culture, all I know is some Thai cuisine and that I WANT TO LEARN how to cook. This was a great integration tool for me with local people. The market is a very interesting place in Chiang Rai, and going on shopping spree with the housemother is a great way for me to understand food culture, bargaining and more importantly learning how to count in Thai, Whoa!

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Even though she doesn’t speak fluent English, we always find a way to communicate as she challenges herself to find the words to explain things to me and satisfy my curiosity. And cuisine language was a great way for me to get acquainted with the kids. Even though it’s hard to find all species I need in Chiang Rai, I tried to cook a Moroccan dish. I used “Pani”, a local fish and baked it with spicy sauce and vegetables and cooked it in a typical morocco style!

– The kids just loved it!

Being the only co-director here and I had to look for information, but on other hand I don’t want to be a burden on Pratya as he is going into a busy work schedule and will be having exams soon.

Nevertheless, I am looking forward to having a wonderful time here in Thailand!

Education is Life Changing

By:  Sylvia, Voluntourist Jakarta

You might ask what difference can you make in two weeks? As a voluntourist in the Jakarta IHF center, I have been trying my best to help the center. Basically I work for four hours each day, and the timing of the work is unrestricted for voluntourist to arrange their time. With a flexible schedule, I work more effectively.whatsapp-image-2016-09-03-at-13-26-11
My main mission has been to simply make them understand the importance of education. I believe in the short term, my impact on these children’s lives is temporary. Therefore, I hope to mainly focus on my mantra, that education is life changing.  As learning is a life long process, I have been promoting the importance of education in these children’s lives.
whatsapp-image-2016-09-03-at-13-26-08Besides work, I have a day off every Sunday. I spend my time travelling with my friends to local destinations. I’m glad to meet friends and experience the Indonesian culture!
This summer of 2016, I am having the best summer of my life. I have backpacked to many countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and Mexico. Jakarta, Indonesia is my last stop for this adventurous summer! I will always remember every journey taken and all the people I’ve met along these trips. I’m very grateful to be part of the team in such a short time. So what are you waiting for, get out of your comfort zone and be strong, smart & courageous!
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My First Week With IHF Kenya

By: Xinxin, Voluntourist Kenya

A week ago, I arrived at Nakuru and started a two-week program at the IHF children’s home. This it the first time I have attended a volunteer program like this, so I felt nervous when I first arrived. When our car drove into the center, many kids gathered around and img_5316-1said “hi” to us. Some of them even helped us carry our luggage! It was really surprising to me that kids here are not shy at all. On the contrary, they are very happy to come up close to us. The co-director, Joyce, showed us volunteers around the whole center and our room.  The facilities at the center are quite basic, only few small blue houses and no hot water, but its actually very comfortable and able to satisfy our needs.

The kids are interested in geography and I happen to bring a book about geography with me! With that book, I img_5407taught them some basic information about geography and they seemed to be very interested in it. The kids here like to watch movies very much, especially action movies. We selected some movies and played one movie each day. To entertain them, we have also brought some board games to play with them. They really enjoyed those games.

I had a very pleasant time here. The children here impressed me a lot. They are kind, positive, and it can be seen that they really like us.  Co-director Joyce is fantastic. She helped us adapt and deal with everyday life here . Other staff at the center are also very friendly with us, and we appreciated it! It is a very special and unforgettable experience in my life. I will remember it forever.

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Catching Up With Aceh

By: Sahat, Co-Director Aceh

We have a new co-director at our center!  His name is Tony and he is from India. We are happy to have him at the center. The children love to hear about Bollywood stars; actresses and actors DSCN3449from India. They also have many questions for Tony about food and traditional clothing from India. The parents love talking to him and sharing Indonesian culture with him. We went out to see a festival night market with the local teachers and we let Tony try some different foods. We had so much fun! This week we also got a visitor named Doris from China. She was a volunteer at the IHF Aceh center a few years ago. She is traveling with her mom, so they stopped by the center.  The teachers and students like talking to her and we all took DSCN3347photos together.

One of wonderful local teachers, Ms Riska, is teaching math for SD1 students at this time. She loves teaching math for young learners. Before, she was teaching older learners at the center. The children are fond of learning about math and English, and they are very active in the classroom. We have started holding a short fun quiz at the end of each lesson. Whoever can answer the question gets to go home first. Everyone gets excited to answer and participate in the quiz. Riska is a super friendly teacher, and she is a great help to us. Not to mention that the children really like her!

DSCN3383This week, we held a workshop about making flowers from banana branches. The materials we used were papers and many paint colors. We divided the students into two sessions, SD2 and SD3, and SD5 and SD6. There were about 20 students who joined in this workshop. Everyone was asked to make two pieces of paper with flowers drawn on them.

We also held a cleaning day at the center. We started cleaning from the inside of the center, including the classrooms, living room, kitchen, and yard. Everyone participated in this activity and they were so helpful! We also decorated a stage that we want to use for the upcoming celebration of the 17th of August. Students, teachers, and co-directors all helped!

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Adapting to IHF Bali

By:  Anabel, Voluntourist Bali

My name is Anabel, I’m from Barcelona and I’ve been a voluntourist in IHF center in Bali for two weeks.  The first week passed quickly, just getting used to the house, the other volunteers, the co-directors and the kids.
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At the beginning, everything was strange and not great in the center. Children are all from different ages, have different interests and difficult names that seemed impossible for me to learn. In addition, it was raining during the first days so it was dark by 6 pm. I was with seven other volunteers and felt that there was not much to do.However, same as the weather, things brightened up. In a few days I got used to my new room and shared spaces in the house, the food and my colleagues. Also, I started to feel less scared of the Balinese creatures living in the garden and around, such as the geckos. Most of the children came often to the center and I learned some of their names and ages. I realized that the children like painting and playing cards, while the teenagers prefer staying around by themselves. All of them like making shapes with paper, something that my Chinese colleagues were very good at and could teach them.
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Regarding the English classes, I became more comfortable after the first one. At the beginning I had only two classes with same group each week. Fortunately, in my second week I had the opportunity to do some classes with other groups, as one of the co-directors was gone and also I assisted in the computer classes. The more I was with the kids, the more ideas of games and activities came to my mind.  Also I felt that they were more comfortable to see me around and some even knew my name.  It was a very rewarding experience.

When I was starting to have a daily routine in IHF in Bali, it was time to leave. I wish to have stayed longer to spend more time with the children and know more about them and their lives.  I think IHF is doing a great job in Bali and I’m happy to have been part of it at least for a few weeks!

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