Building - Volunteer Reviews


Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about the Building project

Jim - 2017 

“The whole process was very organized and virtually seamless between POD and the team in Madagascar.

Can you tell us about your time on the Building volunteer placement in Madagascar?
The build project in Madagascar was a very rewarding experience. This was my first time doing an international volunteer project and from beginning to end, POD and the team in Madagascar made it easy to organize. I'm 66 years old and their ability to make the process go smoothly was a testament to their experience and knowledge. 

The build project was successful and the Malagesh now have another 2 room school for their high school in Manambaro.

What did you find most rewarding?
The most rewarding part of my experience was the relationships built with the staff in Fort Dauphin and St. Luce areas. Working alongside these passionate and carrying people was an experience that will not be forgotten. Their impact on the Malagesh people is focused on improving their health, education and income which will last for generations.

What did you find most challenging?
In preparation for going to Madagascar, I spent several months getting in better physical condition. The physical aspects were fine, but I was really glad that I was good in physical condition.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
At my age, being in good physical condition is important. Also, be ready to experience an eye opening adventure in to the daily lives of the Malagesh.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?
The experience was so enlightening, I wouldn't change anything.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
The amount of choices that POD offers was attractive to me and the staff was very helpful in answering all the questions I had. They are able to set up flight arrangements and travel insurance which was very helpful.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Sarah –  2017 

“I felt thoroughly supported by pod prior to the placement and the information provided along with the support Gemma gave me was brilliant and helped me to prepare. It was especially useful to have had someone who has visited being the point of contact as they really understood.

The building placement in Madagascar is an amazing experience. You are instantly made to feel part of the team by not only the guides but the local construction team. You do not need to have any experience as the construction team show you how to do things and besides even if you did have previous experience there would probably be a local way to do it anyway!

What did you find most rewarding?
The fact that you feel you are really making a difference. Whilst I only had 2 weeks, in this time we lay the floor for 2 classrooms, completed a veranda, rendered the windows and doors, painted and even had time for a little bit of steal work!

What did you find most challenging?
The first day was probably the most challenging as you had to relearn how to undertake even the simplest of tasks or even learn new skills which in my case was how to put up a tent!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Definitely take a sleeping mat with you and consider packing cubes as they help to keep your tent organised. Don't be afraid to ask for tips on how to spend your day off with the local team, they are full of great advice. They are also great at teaching the local language which helps communicate with the children. Finally if possible look at extending your stay beyond your placement so you get a chance to explore.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I have previously used pod and found them extremely helpful in the past.”

Shian - 2016

“This summer I chose to spend two weeks helping to repair a school in Madagascar and it was definitely an experience I will never forget. When I arrived, I was welcomed by the local staff who were very welcoming and spoke great English, which proved to be very helpful during my stay as most of the people speak either French or Malagasy. The work was very physical; making benches for the local school, digging trenches and laying bricks but it was incredibly rewarding seeing the progress we made and knowing that the school would help the local community.

What did you find most rewarding?
Talking to the locals and building great friendships with them

What did you find most challenging?
Some of the lifestyle aspects such as eating mostly vegetarian, cold showers and no flush toilets but you soon get used to it so wasn’t really too much of a problem.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Definitely sign up its been the most fun and rewarding time I've had ever. The people are so friendly and the whole experience is something completely new and exicting

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Pod made the whole process of volunteering very clear and simple, so I didnt have to worry at all about the whole process.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Jack - 2016

“From the moment I arrived on the programme I instantly felt immersed into the Malagash community. The guides were the nicest people I have ever met and were there for anything you needed them for. Although the work was quite physically demanding it was all worth the energy put in. 

What did you find most rewarding?
Teaching English to the students

What did you find most challenging?
The diet

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Ask the cooks to make you some chilli sauce. It only costs around £1 and really helps with the repetitiveness of the diet.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
It seemed well organised and fitted in what I wanted to do

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

“The arrival and getting orientated was well organised and when we set off into the bush the adventure really started. We were lucky enough to be building a school that was in its final phase but there was still a lot to do. We were well aware of the importance of the school from our meeting with the local Mayor and were keen to finish it if at all possible.

The conditions were basic; tents, no running water - just a pump, no electricity, long drop toilets a short walk away across the building site and very basic food. However, the group were great and we all mucked in. The staff were helpful and made us feel welcome.

Compared with some other organisations I've been with, I can really recommend this charity. They take their projects very seriously and because they work in one small, very disadvantaged corner of Madagascar, they know what they are doing and look after volunteers. They made sure we knew about what they were doing across all their projects and got to know the staff in the HQ as well as in the field. I really feel they are making a difference and are well known in the community for their lasting positive influence.

Madagascar is extremely poor, extremely beautiful and full of unique flora and fauna. They need volunteers so please go!”

“My experience is one I will never forget. I made great friends, experienced new things and felt 100 percent safe and supported. I could really tell that our work made a significant impact in the community, and I am so proud to be a part of something so effective. They do such a great job at working and improving village life and creating a safe, fun and encouraging environment for its volunteers.”

“I had an absolutely brilliant time and met such amazing people, volunteers and staff alike. I felt confident the work we were doing was extremely beneficial to the local communities, and was well informed and very well looked after throughout. The work we did included building a school and latrines, planting trees and some health and environmental education in local schools.

It was often tough and very wet, but surrounded by such a great team, it was always enjoyable. Weekends in the town were a great chance to relax and have fun, and travelling afterwards was an amazing opportunity to see more of this stunning country. I am still planning on going back, and am still in touch with some of the inspirational people I met.”

“I loved my time in the village with the team - all the research assistants, staff and guides were really knowledgeable and I learnt so much about the Malagasy ecosystem as well as Malagasy culture and language. The country is beautiful and I felt like I had the best experience of it as we had the chance to live within a Malagasy community while working with the charity and really see what life is like there for a rural community.

I had an amazing time and would recommend to anyone who wanted to experience Madagascar.”

Find out more about the Building project


  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal