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 3 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|
|Accommodation||Private room in a student residence|
|Support||Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support|
|Airport Transfers||Airport pickup included upon arrival|
|Insurance||Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage|
|Pre-Departure Kit||Full project details will be sent following registration|
|Spanish Course||1 week Spanish language intensive course upon arrival|
|Orientation||Cultural introductions will be given upon arrival to Sucre|
What's Not Included
Sucre, the country’s capital, is located in the south-central part of the country. Situated within a valley, the surrounding mountains provide a mild and stable climate all year round. Interestingly this city is where Bolivia claimed independence in 1895, making it a historically and culturally significant spot. Its colonial history is exhibited in its whitewashed stucco buildings and red tiled Spanish-style roofs, which can be seen across the city.
About the Project
Orientation and Spanish Course
Before your placement you will participate in a Spanish course and orientation. The Spanish course will have 20 55-minute classes per week with a maximum of 5 students per class to increase the amount of individual attention. You will be placed in either basic, intermediate, or advanced levels and will work to improve their speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills with peers learning at the same level. You should receive continuous support and advice from the knowledgeable staff, a welcome package and a participation certificate upon completion. You will also have the opportunity to participate in organized tours and recreational activities during the course.
Important Note: In order to have a more successful experience and overcome the language barrier, applicants with little to no Spanish are recommended to take extra Spanish lessons before volunteering.
Extra fee of Spanish course: $325 USD per week with accommodation as stated below.
Volunteer Work and Contribution
Before arriving to Bolivia, you will choose between two placements: an orphanage and a kindergarten, both in Sucre.
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 infants and children, from newborns to the age of 6. They attempt to provide these children with the stability and affection they need. The orphanage is a multi-functioning center which takes care of a wide range of basic needs of the children, including 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 your presence here is highly valued and appreciated for the extra care and attention they give to the children.
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: If you choose this placement, you 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 you have a unique opportunity to make a real difference in individual children’s lives.
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 your 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: During your placement, you will be lodged in a student residence with individual rooms. The residence includes: shared bathroom and shower, towels, bed linen and kitchen access. The accommodation is located about a 20 - 40 minute bus ride from the school and volunteer project sites. Local busses cost around 50 cents per trip and you will be required to travel independently each day.
Food: Meals are not provided, however a fully equipped kitchen is available for use in both the accommodations. You should budget approximately US$40 a week for food in Sucre.
Internet: internet is available
Laundry: laundromats are available around town if needed
You 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. You can also 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