Volunteer Work in Southamerica

Volunteer Work in Southamerica

Volunteer Work in Latin America




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Argentina Bolivia Buenos Aires children Colombia Cusco donations ecological project latin america Latinamerica Machu Picchu Mexico neighborhoods in Buenos Aires opportunity Palermo Peru positive attitude San Telmo south america Volunteer Volunteer in Bolivia volunteering volunteer in Peru volunteer placements volunteer project volunteer project in Buenos Aires volunteers volunteer work volunteer work Latin America work

  • I visited Ecuador for the first time in 2011, while vacationing with a friend, and from the moment I stepped out of the plane I fell in love this this amazing country.  Ecuador is full of happy people who enjoy a life without luxury.  I toured a majority of the country, getting to know the different customs of the coast, mountains, and jungle.  We made such a strong connection to the country that in 2012 we decided to return and acquaint ourselves with the places we hadn´t visited yet. 

    When I got back from my trip, I realized that the country needed many things that that I could help contribute! I began looking to volunteer and stumbled upon the web page for VOLUNTEERWORK LATINAMERICA. They organize volunteer placements in Latin America and have amazing opportunities such as volunteer projects in Peru, work holidays in Chile and volunteer projects in Argentina and other countries such as Ecuador.

    Report of Volunteering in Hospital for Kids in Quito Ecuador

    As a nursing student, I liked the looks of the volunteer work in el Hospital Pediátrico Baca Ortiz in Quito, and I chose that volunteer project in Ecuador because I felt I had the necessary tools available to help to support children who have to spend a long time in the hospital away from their families, feeling alone, scared, and in pain.   It was hard to watch the children suffer alone because their parents were unable to visit them because they had to work or stay home to care for their other children.  This time I came alone for 3 months, and I worked at this project Monday thru Friday for a month and a half. 


    Medellin, the second biggest city in Colombia, has recently been named the “most innovative city” in the world, beating New York and Tel Aviv in the running. The Urban Land Institute said Medellin had seen one of the most dramatically urban transformations in modern history, praising its environmental policies and network of public parks and libraries, museums, schools and efficient metro and cable car system, allowing people from the poorer hillside neighborhoods to easily access the city center.

    Volunteer in Medellin Colombia, the most innovative city in the world!

    Medellin, which used to have the reputation as the most violent city when it was in the grips of Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel, is effectively rehabilitating its image since the dark 90’s. These days, the city is a fantastic place to visit and as safe and cosmopolitan as the rest of Latin American’s major cities. Of course, like any big city, there are parts that you’d rather avoid, and it’s generally advised to use your common sense and keep a low profile, i.e. not flaunting expensive jewelry or electronic gadgets when out and about.


    How could you learn Spanish in South America while discovering places and cultures and also doing something useful? It’s a question many of our volunteers initially have asked themselves before they started to plan their trip.

    Working as a volunteer in Bolivia is for many the perfect answer. Volunteer Work Latin America arranges placements at an integrated child care center in a beautiful semi-rural valley surrounded by the red and green Andean mountains at only 15 km. from La Paz, capital of Bolivia.

    The center, or “the Nursery” as Emma (one of the humble founders of the project) affectionately calls it, has caused a tremendous impact on the largely indigenous population, pulling them out of very vulnerable situations and social, economic and political exclusion. We have asked her a few questions about the project and the involvement of volunteers.

    Volunteer in Bolivia at a children’s center (Interview part I)

    Can you explain your role in the organization?
    The children’s Centre started in my home with 30 children. We now have a lovely purpose built children center with just under 90 children, between the ages of 6 months and 4 years that come to learn, to play and to be nurtured. Whilst I was very involved in the first two years raising and managing the project, the Centre is now run entirely by local women, many of them indigenous Aymara who wear the traditional bowler hats and wide skirts. My role is now mainly concerned with fundraising to ensure the sustainability of the project and coordinating the work of the volunteers to provide vital hands-on support in the classrooms and for the care of the children.


    In continuation of the first part of the interview with the founder of the childcare centre in Bolivia we continue the interview with more questions:

    Briefly, what is your overall experience with volunteers?
    We are constantly moved and inspired by the people who come to volunteer with us and share so freely their talents and time. The first week can often be overwhelming as hardly anyone speaks English and the children are all clamoring for your attention. But from experience we know that by the end of the second week, our volunteers feel very at home in the nursery and understand the routines and activities and realize that they are really being helpful. We recommend a minimum stay of 1 month, as too much change can unsettle the children and also the local staff. Actually, many of our volunteers choose to extend their stay as they see the true benefits of their presence in the nursery and for their study Spanish in Bolivia.

    Volunteer in Bolivia at a children’s center (Interview part II)

    Preparation Tips for Volunteering in Latin America

    To volunteer in Latin America you can really contribute and give something back to the local communities where you are travelling. It does, however, require a lot of effort and dedication on your side. The following tips will go a long way to ensuring that you are well prepared for your time in Latin America:

    • Learn some Spanish! Either study a bit before you come or take classes when you arrive. The ability to communicate with others is indispensable, wherever you are volunteering. This, along with a bit of country research, pays dividends as you will feel settled-in much faster. We can arrange for online Spanish lessons over Skype with some of most established Spanish Schools in South America. The teachers, from either Peru or Argentina, will be able to teach you some important verbs in a very intuitive manner and meanwhile you can get used to the accent!
    • Preparation Tips for Volunteering in Latin America

    • Keep in mind the reasons for volunteering; there may be times where things get a bit too much and have your reasons set clear will help you when you’re feeling low.
    • (más…)

    If you are particularly interested in culture and history as well as supporting the local population, than our volunteer project in Cajamarca is your destiny. The Cajamarca district, located in the northern highlands of Peru, is one of the poorest in Peru. It is here where Volunteer Work Latin America has been arranging volunteer placements at a nutritional and educational center for underprivileged children.

    Thanks to the help of our volunteers, 40 children living in extreme poverty now have a chance to enjoy recreational activities and get help with their homework, as well as receive a warm meal, medical attention and counseling to which they otherwise never would have access to. Volunteers are also invited to participate and organize weekend trips, fundraisers and family workshops.

    In the two months that you live and volunteer in Peru at this social volunteer project you will get acquainted with an exceptionally friendly and noble culture. The following video gives you an impression of what life is like at the center:


    Spanish & Volunteer in Peru: full immersion!

    The "Spanish + Volunteer combo" provides you the unique opportunity to experience first-hand the rich cultural diversity of Peru, while developing your Spanish skills. If you want to truly enjoy your time in Cusco while integrating into Latin American culture, than this is the ideal program for you!

    The Spanish language course consists of 20 lesson hours per week and is held in a group environment and based on a total immersion model with a lot of practical fieldtrips. The native teachers focus on quickly teaching you the necessary vocabulary and conversational skills enabling you to communicate while volunteering, even if you arrive as a complete beginner. You may also decide to study Spanish for a week in one of the other locations offered by the language institute, in the beautiful and peaceful Sacred Valley of the Incas or the sensational Tambopata Reserve part of the Amazon jungle.

    Spanish & Volunteer in Peru: full immersion!

    The newspaper of San Telmo is a small bimonthly publication with the aim of exploring and bringing together the people that live there.

    As one of the most noticeable neighborhoods in the city in terms of culture, history and tourism, San Telmo and its surrounding barrios all part of the Old Quarter and a rich source of human and social resources.

    We have interviewed the newspaper director and editor, Catherine, to share you her perspective of collaborating with volunteers through Volunteer Work Latin America:

    What are the goals of the organization?
    Currently the area is experiencing the positive and negative effects of rapid gentrification. Using a framework of community development and social journalism, the newspaper provides a forum where diverse groups of residents learn about current affairs, meet and educate each other and foment more awareness about conserving the identity of San Telmo for the future. Every edition is centered on a different theme, e.g. how we should take care of ourselves, our neighbors and the whole community.  

    Volunteer at a newspaper in Buenos Aires oldest barrio!

    Examples of volunteer activities with children!

    Every volunteer has different talents and comes from a different cultural and professional background. Before starting your volunteer work in South America it is good to know what your strengths (and weaknesses) are. Talking to the project leaders about the possible activities you can do can be helpful, but often it is expected and appreciated that you come up with your own ideas and take initiative.

    For this it’s important to take into consideration the age group of the kids, whether the volunteer project is set-up for girls or boys only and their social situation. For example, if you choose to work at an orphanage, you can encounter children that have problems with trusting others, and sometimes don’t want to talk or just walk away. At a social rehabilitation home, most children have problems with their families and at an afterschool project it’s difficult to coordinate group activities due to many different schedules.

    Examples of volunteer activities with children!

    Still it is possible that they do not like your prepared activity. Therefore it’s important to always have a plan B and know how to improvise a little. There are literally hundreds of activities you can do with children, and here we share some of the more popular ones:


    Volunteer Work Latin America offers a social rehabilitation program in Argentina at a therapeutic household providing support and guidance to boys aged between 10 and 20. In general these youths have a hard-knock life from having lived on the streets or coming from situations of domestic violence, abuse or poor backgrounds. Some have mental disorders and behavioral problems.

    There are about 25 boys living there at a time. The organization has the wish to build a common room for them to play games and also fix up the beautiful old building as it is currently in a rather rundown shape. Normally the boys go to school in different shifts, but some of them may also stay at home.

    Health program in Costa Rica – a volunteers testimonial!

    A big requirement to work in this volunteer program is to possess a certain sensibility towards working with boys in difficult situations. It is particularly important to share time and interact with the boys.