Our project has just reached 15 years of age, helping kids and youngsters who live on the streets of La Paz/El Alto to rehabilitate from various addictions and be able to get an education and learn to live and work honestly away from drugs, violence, abuse and street life.
As you can see in the photographs below (sorry but we are not allowed to publish the kids' pictures), our property is a huge terrain which inlcludes several living quarters, bathrooms and showers, laundry, football/soccer field, kitchen and dining room, music studio, TV room, yoga room, auditorium, classroom, carpentry workshop, sewing workshop, ceramics workshop, metal and welding workshop, a dozen greenhouses where we grow vegetables, roses, pinetrees, appletrees, and a stable where our animals stay for the night (llamas, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens).
In addition to all these, we currently have 4 very friendly dogs who guard the property and like to play all the time ^^
Despite our place oficially being a "rehab center", the door to the street is never locked and anyone can freely walk out at any time -- one of the main steps in the adjusting process for the kids is precisely that they voluntarily accept to stay in the project and work towards their goals.
In here everyone is a volunteer/helper, and we all contribute with our work and time preparing the food (sometimes for up to 20 people), making bread, cleaning the different areas, tending to the animals and vegetables, building new facilities, reparing stuff, teaching languages or just the basics of reading and writing in spanish, but above all we try to talk to each other and help during the difficult times when a friend does not see the bright side of life...
*** Please bear in mind this is a psichologically intense and very special kind of volunteering project, definitely not for the faint-hearted, the going can get tough when small children or teenagers (there are only boys in our project) display some violent behaviour or language, some of them come from very difficult backgrounds and giving a maths lesson is not as straightforward as in other places, in here authority does not work, as a helper you must gain the kids' respect (playing football helps a lot!) and teach more by example than with theory...all in all, it's a very different mindset, but we guarantee you will leave here with many great new learnings, with lots of new friends whom you will be sad to leave, knowing you helped make an impact in the lives of children who have known nothing else but rejection and abuse and maybe taught them something about the goodness in humans and life in general.***
Please contact us (preferably in Spanish!) for further information.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Helping with Tourists
Help with Computers / internet
*** Unfortunately, we can only host males or couples at the moment, since the majority of the residents are boys in their teenage years and we've had some very serious conflicts with single volunteer girls in the past (jealousy and passionate fights with violence) ***
We are constantly receiving volunteers from different parts of the world, some are travelers, others are students, musicians, artists, couples, engineers, retired teachers, builders, filmmakers or photographers...we only ask two things from our future helpers:
- Teach something to our kids
- Play football!! :-)
There is a small group (3-5) of children/youngsters aged 9-15 that take lessons in our project as part of a "home-schooling" programme, so every week we teach them spanish, maths, natural and social sciences (geography and history) and a bit of english. Above all, we try to make them practice reading and writing as much as possible (speaking/reading in public too).
We do not ask for specific daily working hours from a volunteer/helper, just that they become part of our family and contribute to all the daily chores -- preparing the food (sometimes for up to 20 people), making bread, cleaning the different areas, tending to the animals and vegetables, building new facilities, reparing stuff, teaching languages or just the basics of reading and writing in spanish, but above all we try to talk to each other and help during the difficult times when a friend does not see the bright side of life...
Of course, a basic knowledge of Spanish is highly reccommended, but not compulsory.
Also, there is no minimum stay period -- for example some volunteers could only stay for 2 weeks -- but we believe a month is the minimum time needed to "fit in" and get to know how things work around here.
You will be given a private room, it could be shared or not depending on availability and your preferences (couples usually don't share), access to the laundry machine, WiFi internet, 5 meals a day and you can work out free time with the rest of the group, we are very flexible in this aspect and actively encourage volunteers to "get out and breathe" of the project regularly.
As you can imagine, due to the nature of this project there is a very clear set of rules forbidding alcohol and of course any other drugs (except sugar and salt!) inside the premises, but we have had some volunteers who smoked cigarettes (only inside their rooms).
However, helpers are encouraged to take days off, go visit nearby lake Titicaca, do a nice weekend-trip to the Yungas mountains and the famouse Death Road, cross the border into Peru (a few hours away) or just take a quick and cheap transportation to La Paz (around 40 mins).
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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