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.