Volunteering in Peru

  • Volunteer and make new friends in Peru
  • Volunteer and travel in Peru
  • Discover an amazing culture in Peru
  • Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.-William James
  • Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns. -Author Unknown

Homeland of the condor and the llama, Peru is the perfect destination for the inquisitive traveler who needs something more than just beautiful natural landscapes and breathtaking sights to be impressed.

One of the most visited countries of South America, Peru is also the one  with the most remarkable disparities in wealth distribution and social  development.

The Andes mountain range sloping down into the Pacific Ocean and dressed up with the Amazon rainforest treasure more than one bewildering jewel. Lake Titicaca, one of the highest lakes on earth, the enigmatic Nazca lines, the amazing Colca canyon, the Huacachina oasis; as well as the ruins of ancient cities that were part of the Inca Empire, such as Machu Pichu and Saqsaywaman, are some of these jewels.

Cusco is one such city and was once the administrative capital of that emblematic pre-colonial empire. Nowadays it is a perfect blend of that original civilization and the colonial influence, with its typical urban colonial architecture and expressions of religious art.

Many tourists come to this enigmatic city hoping to achieve some sort of spiritual initiation or enlightenment experience, and for this, they are ready to embrace the endurances of walking the Inca trail or to search  for a local shaman to help them expand their consciousness. But most of these adventurous travelers go back home with a sense of disillusionment. They have probably been seeking in the wrong place…

Perhaps nobody told them that in order to have access to that sort of transforming experiences, one must first leave the ego behind and be willing to offer his or her best in a selfless and joyful way. And for this, Cusco is the right place!

With half of its population living in poverty and in a country where corruption is endemic, where women, children and disabled people are often victims of abuse, domestic violence, discrimination and abandonment; these poor people are entirely dependent on charitable and religious entities to help them out of marginalization and break away from the vicious cycle of poverty.

Although Peruvian economy has been expanding in the past years, this improvement is not being reflected in social policies to help those in greatest need and a relatively small percentage of the national income is destined to education and health services. So generous, empathetic and motivated volunteers are key to make the non-governmental organizations and religious institutions focused on this crucial issues achieve their goals.

Cooperating with these organizations and institutions in Cusco may sometimes be a very challenging and tough experience, but it is guaranteed to be a deeply transforming and wonderfully rewarding one that will not only change the lives of those in urgent need of care and assistance for the better, but also those of volunteers.

What’s included in our fair-cost policy?

 

All our programs include a fixed price Registration Fee of US$249 and a Program Fee that varies according to the duration of the program and the services included.

 

The Registration Fee covers the costs of all that Connecting Worlds has to do in order to organise the experience in an efficient manner and offer each participant a quality program. These costs include marketing, staff salaries, travel costs of staff who visit and inspect each of the programs on offer and Connecting Worlds’ solidarity fund among others.

 

The Program Fee is the total cost of everything related to the services that the volunteer will be able to take advantage of upon arrival to the destination of their choice. For example, accommodation, meals, transfers, the donation made to the volunteer project, welcome orientation and constant 24/7 support. The payment for this fee goes directly to the country in which the volunteer will be stationed, directly benefiting the local community. It’s a fee which helps organisations that work in the country associated with the program at hand to move forwards with their projects and generate work opportunities for the local community.

 

Thanks to our fair-cost policy, the volunteer benefits from not having to pay high fees and our local partners benefit from being able to invest in their projects and keep things moving forwards. Connecting Worlds also benefits from keeping the costs of its programs as low as possible because we get the opportunity to support local communities and make a difference in our own small but important way.

Most of our programs take place in and around Cusco and are aimed to help local groups and institutions that provide shelter, contention, loving, assistance, healthcare and education to the most underprivileged local people: impoverished children, women at risk and physically and mentally disabled people of all ages..

All these institutions are understaffed and underfunded, so volunteers willing to lend a hand with whatever assistance they can provide are greatly appreciated. Without them, most of these organizations and institutions would not be able to offer their valuable contention to those who depend almost entirely on this support. 

 

These programs are:

 

-Orphanage centers program

-Non-medical health program.

-English teaching programs.

-Women’s empowerment program.

-Disabled children programs.

-Healthcare and medical programs.

 

Except for the Healthcare and medical program, volunteers are not required to have any previous experience or related background. But to participate in these programs, an empathetic, flexible and proactive attitude is indispensable to deal with the very heart wrenching circumstances and a constant lack of human and material resources inherent to all of them.

A high-beginner to intermediate level of Spanish language skills is also necessary for most of these programs and we strongly encourage our volunteers to take advantage of the Spanish courses offered by our local team.

 

Orphanage centers program

Due to extreme poverty circumstances and in the absence of governmental assistance, many children are abandoned or orphaned and end up living in the streets, pray to drug dealers and all sorts of criminal organizations.

This program is aimed to provide these children at risk with a safe, loving and stimulating environment, so that they can have better future prospects.

The programs take place in orphanages, after school programs and community centers that are severely underfunded and understaffed, so volunteers will help in a variety of tasks that include looking after children and helping them with their hygiene routines, homework, playing with them and instilling them self confidence and hope.

As a volunteer you may also be required to help with daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, serving meals and helping to feed the youngest, as well as providing entertainment activities and company.

Orphaned children are particularly vulnerable and often in desperate need for a role model, so as a volunteer you may become a reference for many of them; which offer you a unique opportunity to make a real difference in their future.

This may be a challenging experience but a highly rewarding one, too!

Minimum duration for this program is four weeks and a high-beginner Spanish language level is necessary.

 

Non-medical health program

Peruvian government doesn’t provide its disabled citizens with appropriate inclusive policies, and funds destined to the non-governmental organizations and charitable institutions is often deviated by corrupted intermediaries. With such circumstances and with 22 percent of the population living in poverty, the three million Peruvians with some physical or mental disability often become invisible to the eyes of most people, including their own families who sometimes abandon them.

This program is placed in a home that shelters twenty children and fifty adults lodged in three departments: women’s, men’s and children’s. It is run by religious sisters and although volunteers don’t necessarily need to be religious themselves, they need to be respectful of other people’s beliefs.

The program is aimed to provide a safe and loving environment, companionship and essential care to the most vulnerable people in the city. Due to the permanent lack of funds and staff, these charitable women need volunteers with a big heart and the willingness to help them in any way possible.

Tasks vary from routine household activities (cleaning, laundry, cooking, serving meals, etc) to entertainment  and educational activities such as  reading,playing games, singing, dancing, going to the park, giving training in handcrafts, cooking, baking, carpentry, etc.

Volunteers don’t need to have any previous experience or specific skills to participate in this program and any extra pair of hands is greatly appreciated. Yet any skills or  background in physiotherapy or occupational  therapy are particularly useful. Volunteers are also encouraged to bring forward creative ideas to improve the quality of life of these misfortuned but wonderful people and to organize recreational  activities as well as fundraising campaigns.

Working with the most vulnerable of people and in challenging circumstances is by all means a truly initiatic and deeply transforming  experience; as well as a wonderfully rewarding one that a volunteer will look back upon with great joy and pride!

 

English Teaching program

This program is placed in nursery, primary and secondary local schools and community groups in Cusco and is aimed at providing impoverished children with free English classes. Staff and material resources are  often scarce and volunteers with native skills in English language are crucial to help this program achieve its goals.

Volunteers to this program are encouraged to bring their own material and to prepare their classes even though no previous teaching experience is required. They should be creative, proactive and flexible to work in schools that are sometimes chaotic and overcrowded, and they must be aware that children are equally eager to learn regardless of the circumstances in which they are being educated.

In a city with booming tourism activities English is an essential tool that greatly increases woking opportunities, so providing impoverished children this language skills will make a big difference in their future lives prospects.

As a volunteer you may be required to assist a local teacher in the classroom or to lead a class yourself. You can also help local teachers improve their own English language skills by organizing workshops and cultural exchange activities that may reward you with new and long lasting friendships.

This program requires intermediate Spanish level language skills and is a fun and fulfilling experience.

 

 

 

Women’s empowerment program

Like most Latin American countries, Peru is far from guaranteeing equal rights and working opportunities to men and women. Gender discrimination and domestic violence are stunningly common in Peru and in fact this country has one of the highest rates of femicides. An estimated 50 percent of Peruvian women have suffered some sort of abuse at least once in their lives and very often the only alternative they find to escape from the domestic violence vicious cycle is to leave everything behind and seek for shelter and support to start anew.

This program is aimed at providing these vulnerable women and their children a safe and caring environment where they can overcome their traumas and hope for a brighter future.

These shelters for women at risk are often low funded and understaffed, so volunteers with an empathetic and proactive attitude are highly appreciated.

As a volunteer to this program you can assist the local staff in a wide range of activities according to your skills and preferences but you’ll also be expected to lend a helping hand where mostly needed at any particular time. These tasks include day-to-day household routines, recreational and educational activities, offering company and contention and bringing forward any initiative that might make these women and children lives easier, happier and give them renewed hope for their future.

Working with people that have suffered so much and making a difference in their lives is a wonderful and very rewarding experience and may leave you with lifelong friend and a great sense of fulfilment.

High-beginner to intermediate Spanish language skills are required.

 

Disabled children programs

These programs are aimed to provide essential care and improve the future prospects of mentally and physically disabled children and youths aged from three to twentyfive. The programs are placed in various facilities and schools for mentally disabled children and youths, deaf schools and practical training divisions for students with multiple complex and difficult behavioral issues.

A physiotherapist, a psychologist and a Speech therapist are part of the programs’ local staff but volunteers with some professional background in this area are very welcome to participate and cooperate with them.

Yet volunteers with no previous experience in working with the disabled are also very much appreciated. All you need to participate in these programs is a lot of compassion and patience. With ten to fifteen children in one classroom with one teacher to attend to all their specific needs, any assistance is always highly valued!

Complex behavioral classes are smaller and focused on teaching basic social and practical skills.

Practical training is designed to teach the older skills that will enable them to generate some sort of income. These activities are carpentry, crafts, sewing and baking, among others.

Volunteers can help with workshops and are encouraged to bring forward initiatives for extracurricular activities.

The children in these programs often participate in the many Peruvian holidays and volunteers can help them to dress-up, organize plays and dances for these very special occasions.

Helping to improve the lives of these very special children and youths is certainly one of the most amazing, challenging and wonderful experiences one could possibly dream of!

 

Healthcare and medical programs

Peru suffers of a high rate of infectious diseases such as waterborne bacterial diseases, hepatitis A, typhoid, dengue, malaria and yellow fevers and leptospirosis among many others.

Cusco has 435.000 people and public health facilities and services are poorly equipped and underfunded. So professional in the healthcare and medical area willing to supply quality medical care and share their knowledge are very welcome to join these programs.

CWs’ local team will place international volunteers where they are mostly needed and will be of greater help accordingly to their specific background and expertise .

To volunteer for these programs you’ll be required to bring the appropriate certificates and to have intermediate to advanced Spanish language skills. We also recommend you bring your own working supplies such as white coat, stethoscope and scrubs.

The programs take place in local hospitals, clinics and dispensaries in and around Cusco, and as a volunteer you may be asked to undertake routine hospital tasks such as visiting patients, sterilizing equipment, doing laboratory work, making beds, cleaning etc. You can also help prepare and carry out educational and health awareness campaigns and engage in enriching cultural and experience exchange.

Please keep in mind that Peru is still an underdeveloped country in many aspects and you must be tolerant, flexible and open-minded to make the best of this experience. But be reassured that with the right attitude, this may also be a wonderful, enriching and very fulfilling experience.

Requirements

Volunteers must be 18 years old or older on the date of the commencement of their program, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Some Spanish language skills are required for most project and we recommend volunteers whose Spanish is not so good that they leave the first two weeks before beginning volunteering, to take advantage of the very affordable classes in site, that will help them make the best of their volunteering experience in Peru.

Volunteers with some expertise or previous experience on the field of their chosen project is highly valued, what we value most in our volunteers is a sincere willingness to help those who are in need and to be responsible, proactive, positive and compassionate.

Location and duration

CW programs are located in Cusco, a beautiful and lively town annually visited by 2 million tourists and the gateway to the legendary Inca trail that leads to world famous archaeological site of Machu Pichu.

Volunteers to our programs in Cusco may begin any day of the year and the minimum duration is one week. There is no maximum duration limit to our programs here.

Accommodation and meals

Volunteers are placed in local host families carefully chosen by our local team. Depending on the time of the year, they may have to share the bedroom with other volunteers and of course they’ll have to be flexible and adapt to the local lifestyle.

Living with a host family provides a unique opportunity to be fully immersed in the local culture and to have the chance to greatly improve your Spanish language skills.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided by the host family, but there are plenty of excellent and very affordable restaurants, cafes and bars in and around the town that are worth exploring.

Orientation

On arriving at the airport volunteers will be met by a member of our local staff and, depending on the time of their arrival, they’ll be either led to their homestays and be introduced to their family hosts.

The first day is dedicated to an orientation tour around the area led by a local coordinator who will fill them in with basic information about the program regulations and rules, some safety tips and travel advice and it’s the ideal moment for volunteers to clear out any remaining doubts. This is also a good opportunity for volunteers to exchange money, buy sim phone cards, get acquainted among themselves and exchange contact details for future outings together.

 

Volunteer schedule

Volunteers tasks and schedules will vary from project to project, but a working week will usually start on Monday and end or Friday; leaving the weekends free for relaxing, socializing, sightseeing and travelling.

We try to be as flexible as possible and allow volunteers to take an additional day off now and then, on special request and with notice given well in advanced. Yet volunteers must be aware that most of our projects depend greatly on their assistance and that they have a responsibility towards the people involved in their program.

A typical weekday may look something like this:

Between 7:00 and 8:30 AM you’ll have breakfast at your homestay.

Depending on the project you’re volunteering at, work can take place either in the morning or the afternoon, and for those Teaching English or involved in extracurricular activities some working hours in the evenings can also be required. So you may work four to five  hours either in the morning or afternoon, or up to six hour throughout the day.

Evenings are free and you can take Spanish lessons, go out with friends, have dinner at home with your host family or go to a restaurant.

Weekends are free and they are the ideal time to go sightseeing and exploring the many tourists attractions with your new friends.

Basic facts

• Peru’s official language is Spanish, but there are many communities which still speak indigenous languages, including Quechua and Aimara
• It’s capital city is Lima
• Peru is home to an estimated total of 30,814,175 people
• It’s populations density works out to approximately 24 inhabitants per kilometre squared
• Peru’s currency is the Nuevo Sol (meaning the New Sun)
• It shares borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile
• It’s one of the most biologically diverse countries across the entire world and one of the richest countries on the planet in terms of natural mineral resources.

 

For more information, visit the following link:  http://www.cwabroad.org/peru-p-14.html

Program Fees:

 

Volunteer period (weeks) 2 3 4 5 6
Teaching and Childcare in Orphanages - - USD 690 USD 840 USD 990
Healthcare USD 390 USD 540 USD 690 USD 840 USD 990
Teaching English USD 390 USD 540 USD 690 USD 840 USD 990
Women's Empowerment - - USD 690 USD 840 USD 990
Working with Children with disabilities USD 390 USD 540 USD 690 USD 840 USD 990
Medical USD 485 USD 635 USD 785 USD 935 USD 1085

 

*Please note: All Volunteer programs in Cuzco attract a refundable*Registration Fee of USD 249 on top of the program Fee.  If you want another type of volunteer program without the accommodation for example, please contact us directly. We will be happy to personalize your program.  You can calculate the value of your currency in US dollar using this currency convertor.

 

*Please read our refund policy.

What do my fees pay for?

 

Registration Fee:  Discounted program fees, Support and guidance from CW staff, program marketing costs, pre-departure assistance, CW Solidarity Fund, administration costs, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with volunteers.

 

Program Fee:  Accommodation and 2 meals per day (homestay), airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

 

What’s no included:  Air tickets, Vaccinations, transfer back to the airport at conclusion of program, Certificate of Good conduct, Spanish lessons (optional), Visa, Local travels, Personal expenses and International Insurance against sickness, accident and 3er party liability. In addition to providing health insurance, the plan must cover medical evacuation and repatriation. Our participants in Perú generally find USD 60 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses.