Volunteer Work in Southamerica

Volunteer Work in Southamerica

Volunteer Work in Latin America



Becoming a volunteer in South America is an exciting and rewarding experience that will change your life. Prepare before you travel by researching each of the Latin American countries that you are interested in doing volunteer work in. Some specialize in certain types of volunteer jobs more so than others so it is important to be informed.

Country Spotlight: México, si señor!

When you say Mexico, almost by default, imaginings of mariachi musicians wearing big sombreros (and big moustaches!), tacos soaked in chili sauce or guacamole dip, day of the dead, white sandy beaches and the oh so notorious tequila shots spring to your mind.

Legitimately belonging to North-America, many parts of the country have more in common with neighboring Central American countries. A country so extremely rich in history and culture, yet so diverse and full of contrasts.

It boast one of the largest metropolises in the world, Mexico City with its bustling 20 – 30 million ‘chilangos’ (depending on which statistic to believe), and at the same time some of the most quaint and picturesque ‘pueblitos’, such  as Todos Santos, home to the Eagles’ Hotel California, where time has stood still since long ago.

Country Spotlight: México, si señor!
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Volunteer at a newspaper in Buenos Aires oldest barrio!

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!
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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:

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Working Holiday Chile!

Our Working Holiday programs take place in the most spectacular regions of Chile. The long stretched country is well known for its exceptionally beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities, and has therefore incredibly much to offer for tourists, adventure seekers and to the program’s participants!

You get the unique opportunity to live and work in touristic hotspots of your choice throughout Chile. Go and explore the northern Atacama Desert, the driest in the world famous for its contrasting landscapes and sand boarding thrills; the monstrous snow-capped volcanoes, skiing slopes, the Chilean Lake District with its rolling hills and distinguished vineyards and of course the end of the world, known as the Southern Frontier with massive blue ice fields. Chile is without a doubt one of the most naturally diverse countries in South America.

Working Holiday Chile!

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El Periodico de San Telmo is a nonprofit newspaper that is published every two months.  It is run by a small group of San Telmo locals who handle everything from writing stories to recruiting advertisers. The paper’s goal is to celebrate the neighborhood of San Telmo and create an open forum and dialogue for its community.

San Telmo is one of the most colorful neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. Historically, it was Buenos Aires’s first industrial area that eventually became inhabited by the well to do. However, in 1871 a yellow fever epidemic swept through Buenos Aires and the rich abandoned San Telmo and moved north to Recoleta, Palermo, and Belgrano. 

Volunteer Report of the San Telmo Newspaper project in Buenos Aires
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Volunteer at an independent theater in Buenos Aires

Most volunteer placements include offering help of some sort to the underprivileged. However, in this project you get to work with the hip arty in-crowd of Palermo, also known as the ‘Hollywood of Buenos Aires’.

This small theater prides itself on expressing independent art forms, with none of the commercial blockbuster attitudes that dominate the Hollywood scene. More than just a theater, it is really a cultural center featuring an eclectic program full of live music, theatre plays and art performances. In the afternoons there are also acting classes for children of the neighborhood.

What makes this project so unique is that the performers are encouraged to step out of the box, let their creative juices flow liberally while getting up and close to the audience. The space has room for maximum 80 equally free minded art devotees that all enjoy the personal interaction and cozy living room atmosphere, while having a glass of wine and some superbly prepared canapés by the in-house chef.

Volunteer at an independent theater in Buenos Aires

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Teaching English in Peru

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Volunteer in Buenos Aires at a rehabilitation home for boys

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. 

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Health program in Costa Rica – a volunteer’s testimonial!

The organization we work with in Costa Rica offer many opportunities for volunteers to get first-hand experience in the health sector.

Depending on your level of knowledge, specialization, and skill, you may check blood pressure, distribute food and medicine, weigh babies, accompany emergency response vehicles, and help with other first-aid procedures.

Examples of places where volunteers are needed are hospitals, senior care centers, the Red Cross and EBAIS (small clinics in individual communities). Assistance with public health community campaigns and other basic education can also be part of the job.

Health program in Costa Rica – a volunteers testimonial!

The projects provide a wonderful opportunity to doctors, nurses, medical and pre-medical students to become familiar with the challenges and health issues of Costa Rica, and they would benefit the most from this type of volunteer work.

To already get an idea of how a specific volunteer placement is like, read the following testimonial of Christel Bauló Estevez from Spain, who completed four weeks assisting at a senior care center:

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Ecological volunteer projects need you!

As is common in lesser developed countries ecological conservation is of no priority and under constant threat. Many local non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and non-profit associations strongly rely on volunteers in numerous environmental protection, sustainability and conservation programs.

In many cases, the main focus is on providing environmental education to locals in order to create awareness about correct preservation practices. This way, the relationship between the (industrial) society and the environment is strengthened, promoting a lifestyle that is in balance with nature.

Ecological volunteer projects need you!

We are continuously updating our offer of volunteering options. Currently, you can choose out of 21 ecological projects all over Latin and Central America. The following overview will give you a clear picture of what is involved being an ecological conservation volunteer:

Locations:

  • National parks and bio-reserves (e.g. tropical rainforest)
  • Eco-communities (e.g. reforestation areas and greenhouses)
  • Wildlife parks and natural breeding grounds (e.g. turtle hatcheries)
  • Zoos and conservation centers (e.g. butterfly gardens and research institutes)
  • Farms or schools where conservation practices are taught and demonstrated.
  • Animal rescue shelters and nurseries.

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