Bolivia - Orphan Care, Teaching, and Spanish Immersion
Improve your Spanish and volunteer in Bolivia's capital city, Sucre, with vulnerable children in either an orphanage or kindergarten placement. Help secure the future of these children and experience Bolivian culture with volunteers from around the world.
|Location of Project||Sucre, Bolivia|
|Project Length||Min 2 weeks - Max 8 weeks|
|Arrival Airport||Juana Azurduy de Padilla International Airport|
|Volunteer Work||Informal teaching, work with children|
|Number of Participants||Up to 3 international volunteers|
|Age||18 - 70|
|Support||Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support|
|Airport Transfers||Airport pickup included upon arrival|
|Travel Insurance||Comprehensive travel & health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage|
|Pre-Departure Kit||Full project details will be sent following registration|
|Spanish Course||2 week Spanish language intensive course upon arrival|
|Orientation||Cultural introductions will be given upon arrival to Sucre|
What's Not Included
Located in the heart of South America, Bolivia is an amazingly diverse country with a rich history and culture. Bolivia was the largest state in pre-Columbian America, with a thriving community ruled by the Inca Empire. Following European colonization, Bolivia has carried on its ancient Incan roots through its unique culture and vibrant society, creating a fantastic mix of modern influences with ancient customs. Its geography remains diverse, with the Andes Mountains in the west and the lowlands of the Amazon Basin in the east.
Sucre is a historically and culturally significant city in Bolivia; it is the location where independence was claimed in 1825, as well as the country’s current capital. Its colonial history is exhibited through its beautiful architecture, which paints the city in white-washed stucco buildings with red tiled Spanish-style roofs.
Sucre is located within a valley, surrounded by low mountains, providing a mild and stable climate all year around. With its intricate churches and interesting museums, Sucre is a great destination for any curious traveler.
About the Project
Volunteers on this project will be providing support for babies and children up to the age of 6 that come from difficult circumstances such as extreme poverty, parental abandonment, physical or psychological disabilities, or other such situations. Volunteers will have the option to be placed in either an orphanage or kindergarten, depending on their preferences.
Orphanage: This orphanage provides a safe haven for children who have been taken from their parents due to alcoholism, child abuse, death, and/or economic issues. The orphanage cares for about 65 babies and children, from newborns to 6 year olds, and attempts to provide these children with the stability and affection that they are not able to receive from their parents. The orphanage is a multi-functioning center which takes care of a wide range of basic needs of the children, from feeding, clothing, bathing, educating, and providing medical care when they are sick. After the age of 6, the children are either fostered by willing families or moved to a new center for older children. The orphanage cares for many children, and is severely understaffed, so the volunteers here are highly valued and appreciated for the extra care and attention they can give to each kid they encounter.
Kindergarten: Volunteers who choose this placement will be working in one of four different kindergartens around Sucre which are severely under-staffed and under-resourced. The children here come from difficult backgrounds and the volunteers have a unique opportunity to make a real difference in individual children’s lives.
Orientation and Spanish Course
At the start of this program, volunteers will participate in a 2 week long Spanish course and orientation to Sucre. The Spanish class will have 20 55-minute classes per week with a maximum of 5 students per class to increase the amount of personal attention each student gets. Volunteers will be placed in either basic, intermediate, or advanced levels and will work to improve their speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills with peers at their same level. Volunteers will also enjoy organized tours and recreational activities in the area, support and advice from the knowledgeable staff, a welcome package, and end of course completion certificate.
Please note that volunteers who are fluent in Spanish are eligible to skip this portion of the project, although this is not recommended as the orientation is a fun way to get to know the area and volunteers with whom you will be working.
Volunteer Work and Contribution
Before arriving to Bolivia, volunteers will be choosing between a placement at an orphanage or at a kindergarten in Sucre.
Orphanage: Here, you will be helping the orphanage staff provide care to the children as well as with daily duties around the orphanage. Your tasks may include:
- Helping children with their homework and reading
- Preparing recreational activities
- Helping with preparation and cleanup of meals and snacks
- Assisting teachers with educational initiatives
- Raising vital funds for the orphanage
Kindergarten: At this placement, you will be placed in a classroom working alongside the fulltime teacher to support him/her as well as provide extra attention to the children. Your responsibilities here may include:
- Preparing fun and educational lesson plans
- Teaching English
- Providing help with homework
- Assisting the teacher with any daily duties
- Leading classes for dance, theater, art, sport, music, etc.
- Teaching students about your country and culture
Please remember that volunteer tasks may change according to the dynamic nature and needs of the program. It is important to have an open mind and be flexible.
You will work Monday through Friday for 4-6 hours each day. Additional weekend help may also be needed.
Accommodations: volunteers will stay in fully furnished houses with shared bedrooms and bathrooms between about 3 other people (including bed linens and towels, changed weekly), a fully equipped kitchen, and living room. Volunteers will be staying in a residence either within the Spanish school or very nearby for the orientation part of the project, and then will move to a residence closer to the volunteer site after the first two weeks. The residence for the second part of the project is located about a 20 minute walk from the project site, and a 5 minute walk from the Main Plaza, museums, restaurants, and the central market.
Food: meals are not provided, however a fully equipped kitchen is available for volunteer use in both the accommodations. Volunteers should budget approximately US$40 a week for food in Sucre.
It is possible to upgrade to a local home-stay style accommodations with half-board (2 meals a day provided).
Internet: WIFI available
Laundry: laundromats available around town if needed
Volunteers will have ample free time to explore all that Sucre and the rest of Bolivia have to offer. Explore the deep-rooted history exhibited through ancient Incan ruins, old cathedrals, the Palacio de la Glorieta, and the Dinosaur Marks, a naturally preserved area with dinosaur footprints, prehistoric plants, and animal fossils.
Get a feel for authentic Bolivian life strolling through the Sunday Market in Tarabuco, a small nearby town that has held true to its ancient culture through the people’s bright, indigenous clothing and lively traditions.
- Minimum age 18 years old
- Police background check
- Ability to adapt to new environments
- Open minded and creative
- Basic level of Spanish – tasks will be assigned based on Spanish level