Volunteers Peru

About

Volunteers Peru is a small grassroots NGO based in the city of Arequipa in the Andes of southern Peru. We are currently working in partnership with two projects where volunteers can make a positive contribution to the local community. The first is a home for girls at risk in Arequipa; the second is a public school in the village of Tomepampa, Cotahuasi Canyon.

We are committed to helping the children that we work with to fulfil their personal and educational needs and to promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding. Long and short-term opportunities are available. Both projects are greatly in need of support.

Founded
2013
Headquarters

Cruz Verde 300B Cercado
Arequipa 04000
Arequipa
Peru

Reviews

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Caitlin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you have a true love for children and adolescents, lots of energy, and creative skills to share, you will thrive in this volunteer position. Come ready to give 110% to these girls!

My 3 weeks in Arequipa with Volunteers Peru was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I absolutely loved running up to the girls in the morning to give them a hug, sharing my entire repertoire of Disney songs with them, jumping on the trampoline, helping them with English, and having conversations with the older girls in the library.

Not only did I fall in love with the girls at Casa Hogar, I was totally enamored with Arequipa. The city is warm, light, and bright, with good food and friendly people, not too many tourists, and the center is a very relaxing place to chill out after spending the day with the girls. My room at Honey House was huge, like an apartment, and I had tons of room to cook, dance, and lounge.

I strongly suggest that you stay at least 3-4 weeks to get to know all the girls and have enough time to plan and implement any projects or workshops you want to do; that you truly love children; that you speak good Spanish; and that you wear bug spray to the park, because those little brown flies will eat you up!

Last but not least, the staff are superb. Megan, Sarah, and Marita go above and beyond to make sure you are safe, happy, and taken care of. They are genuinely kind and caring and helped me with my every need.

I would do this project again in a heartbeat and hope to return next year!

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Diego
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Even before I arrived in Peru, the staff at Volunteers Peru were sure to make me feel welcome. They picked me up at the airport and bought the bus ticket to Cotahuasi. Furthermore, they provided me with a cellphone so I could communicate with my family while I was in Tomepampa.

I taught English in Tomepampa for 5 months. It is a beautiful, quiet little town surrounded by mountains and the people are very friendly. I taught in both elementary and high school level. In high school, I would assist the teachers with their class. Usually, this meant reading a text, helping with the pronunciation, writing at the board or helping the students complete their homework. At times, I was asked to take a more active part in the class, but those times were rare. There are two teachers: Maribel and Julissa. Both were very kind to me and made sure I felt part of the community.

Since there are no official English class in elementary school, I made my own classes. This was particularly insightful because I got to learn how to make my own lessons, how to improve my teaching and how to interact with the students. While there were days when the children would make my life difficult, they were still eager to learn. They were adorable and I am glad I got to teach them.

What is great about this experience is that it is very flexible. You do not have to teach in elementary if you do not want to. On the other hand, if you wish to take a more active part, you can teach your own lessons in English. I heard that a previous volunteer taught in science as well.

The hostel is very well equipped. The bedroom is spacious with its own bathroom and shower. The kitchen has a refrigerator, an oven and a microwave oven, and recently they added a television. Dominga prepares lunch (and dinner as well if you want). Her food taste great and she usually gives large portions. So large in fact that usually, I would only eat a snack for dinner. Dominga has four children, two of which interact a lot with volunteers: Mayli and Moises. Without them, my stay would have been very boring. They would show me around town and we watched movies together. Watching the Dragon Ball series with them was very fun.

If you are going to stay in Tomepampa for a long period of time like I did, I recommend bringing something to keep yourself occupied. It can get rather dull after school hours. Also, bring some pictures or some souvenirs from your home country. The children at school are always curious about where you come from.

What would you improve about this program?
I have already made some suggestions to the project manager. The program is very good as it is.
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Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent 2 weeks volunteering at Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte in October 2017 and my only regret is that I couldn't stay longer! The staff at Volunteers Peru (Marita, Megan, and Sarah) are truly amazing women and it was such a joy to get to know them. They are kind, friendly, and very knowledgeable about Peruvian culture. If you have any questions before or during your trip, don't hesitate to ask them!

As a first-time solo female traveler, I was a little nervous about safety, but I felt completely safe in Arequipa and especially staying at Honey House.

I would recommend learning as much Spanish as you can before you go, but don't let your lack of Spanish prevent you from going. I do not speak Spanish but I was still able to play with the girls and make bracelets with them.

Casa Hogar is less organized than a lot of programs in the United States, so staying flexible is key. Volunteers Peru has some supplies (craft items, coloring books, etc.) that you can bring to the house, but if you want to do something specific you will need to bring the supplies.

Overall I would highly recommend this program. You have mornings and weekends free to explore Arequipa, and what better way to spend your weekday afternoons than impacting girls' lives? Not only will they be blessed by you, but you will be touched by them. Exploring the world and immersing yourself in other cultures will change, shape, and grow you. Do it!

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Anna Magdalena
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I really enjoyed the friendly and women only atmosphere of Volunteers Peru. I really appreciate how every volunteer can be himself, is accepted just the way they are ; nobody is pushed to do something they don't feel like doing. It's also a great opportunity to learn and practice Spanish in an easy going way with kids ;)
And of course I loved the girls at Casa Hogar, they are so giving and rewarding, it is a true exchange. Yes you give your time but you receive so much in return ! So if you're hesitating, don't, go for it, you won't regret !!

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Karlee
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you are trying to decide whether or not to do this program, I have two words of encouragement, DO IT!

The opportunity to practice Spanish, experience different cultures, and become a better global community member are just several of the opportunities you are exposed to when you volunteer with Volunteers Peru at Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte.

I volunteered with this group for two weeks in September 2017. The entire staff is incredibly supportive and caring. Arequipa is a beautiful city. The girls you get to work with are kind and loving. I connected with and made new friendships with people from all around the globe. I couldn't imagine a better volunteer experience.

Thanks Volunteers Peru!

Programs

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Sarah Jeter

Job Title
Project Coordinator
girl with sunflowers

Sarah recently graduated from Appalachian State University with two degrees, one in Creative Writing and one in Spanish. Sarah was interested in working with Volunteers Peru because she wanted to experience different cultures through ordinary, day-to-day experiences, but she was also specifically intrigued with Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte and the concept of working with young women. When Sarah isn’t working, she likes writing, running, reading, and inventing new recipes.

What is your favorite travel memory?

One of my favorite travel memories is from when I was able to travel to Morocco. A friend and I spent several days in Chefchaouen, Morocco, and on one of the days, we went outside of Chefchaouen to hike to a waterfall.

I loved this hike because I love being outdoors and the landscapes were amazing. About halfway through our hike, we passed someone cooking meat over a campfire. The smell of the fire made me think of my home and my family, and roasting hotdogs and marshmallows with my sisters when I was younger—I was struck by how specific and nostalgic that smell was for me.

For me, this is one of my favorite traveling memories; I loved being able to connect the new and different things I was experiencing with the things I have always loved. I think that is the best part about traveling -- being able to expand your definition of home while also understanding what home means to other people.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working with Volunteers Peru, especially at Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte, has taught me a lot about what it means to love other people.

Despite the backgrounds the girls at Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte come from, they are always kind, eager to share, and ready to love. On my first day with them, the girls had a popcorn snack and they all offered to share with me.

While this is a small, seemingly insignificant gesture, it reminds me that loving other people doesn’t have to be a grand and romantic ordeal—loving others can be simple and straightforward.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Though both of our projects are amazing, I would choose to involve myself in our Tomepampa project.

Tomepampa is a very rural village with only about 200 people. As such, it has a slower pace of life that I really enjoy. People stop to talk to one another, and they seem to take time to enjoy the present situation.

Apart from that, the town is absolutely beautiful—it’s located in the Cotahuasi Canyon—the air smells sweet, and you can hear birds singing in the morning.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our company is different in that we did not start our own projects. Rather, we support pre-existing projects. This means that we are able to more fully invest in the pre-existing societal structures in the hopes of helping them improve so that they can further improve their own community.

It is also nice because, being that the projects already existed when we decided to partner with them, Volunteers Peru has the opportunity go beyond preliminary establishment work — for example, last year we got to organize a student exchange between Tomepampa and England, something Volunteers Peru wouldn’t have been able to do if we were working alone.

Even though these larger endeavors are wonderful, I am most proud of Volunteers Peru during routine, daily trips to Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte when I see volunteers connecting with girls, making them feel loved.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I think the biggest factor in company success is honesty. If people working within a company are able to be honest with each other, then the company can work more efficiently and in the best interest of everyone involved.

Honestly helps eliminate unnecessary frustration, conflict, and allows for healthier work relationships—which are essential for a positive work atmosphere and productive company.

More Interviews