Fundación Aldeas de Paz

Program Reviews

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Patricia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I really liked my stay in Las Terrenas at ADP. During my time I made so many experiences, which mostly were really interesting and good. I met a lot of nice people, got in touch with new customs and culture, enjoyed the beautiful landscape and learned a lot.

I enjoyed working at Casa de los Niños for one month. The school is so different to the ones we know from Europe, which made my experience even more interesting. The classrooms are mostly outside, the do not have a proper curriculum for English and books/exercise sheets are only limited available.

From day one on we had a lot of responsibility because we had a lot of different clases and the job to teach English. Sometimes it was hard, because we had to prepare the clases and organise everything on our own, but I learned a lot. I developed many new skills and improved my spanish. The downside of the school was, that many children were really loud and unorganised, so it was hard to teach them sometimes. But in the end everyone tried to improve their english, which made us happy. Beside from school I got in touch with many other volunteers and enjoyed my time in Las Terrenas. We went to many nice beaches, ate the tipical food, listen to dominican music and studied Spanish!

All in all I really enjoyed my stay at ADP and I would recommend it to other people.
Thank you for your help! I wish the fundation and all the volunteers only the best for their future!

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Elisa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

During my placement in Samana, I took part in two different projects; NGO Management and Mama Elba.
I really enjoyed working in both of them, and I think these two projects combined together are the best way to understand and experience the core of the Foundation.

The NGO Management project gave me a better idea about how an NGO works, what the main challenges of this kind of environment are and how to deal with daily issues regarding not only the Founding itself, but the local community as well.

The other project I was working at, Mama Elba, was definitely enriching from both a personal and professional point of view. The children and young adults attending Mama Elba are absolutely lovely, and, while my hope was to help them somehow, what I received from them was way more.
I also had the chance to learn different approaches to education, special educational programs and tools, and the interaction with the students and their families allowed me to learn a lot about the Dominican society and culture.

I really enjoyed living in Samana and I would definitely recommend it. I loved the relaxed and friendly vibe, the kindness of local people and of course the stunning nature.
I would recommend this placement to whoever wants to learn more and get engaged in the local community, it is a great way to acquire new knowledge about another culture, different teaching techniques and the basics on how an NGO works.

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Jordan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

To all future volunteers around the world:
After 15 months spending with Aldeas de Paz, my stay comes to an end.So it's an occasion for sharing my experience, point of view and recommendation.

My place abroad was Las Terrenas on the peninsula Samaná in the Dominican Republic. I worked mainly in the cities public hospital.
It' been a long time. 1 year and 3 months is an extensive period spend abroad for a volunteer service, but for all that everyday was worthwhile.

Conception of time in the Dominican Republic is different to the ones a foreign person is used to. Schedules do not work out flawlessly nor appointments will always take place at the exact planned day and hour.
Gradually the progress is made.

Hence you, as a future volunteer should have in mind: the longer the stay the better!

You can not rapid start work in the Dominican Republic from day one on, neither will you see a terrific change and colossal impact during your stay.
This can be arduous to an arriving volunteer filled with creative urges, ideas, motivation and expectations.

During your stay you will face challenges. Nevertheless you will grow with each and learn about yourself and others. By and by you will master a new language, meet various people from around the world, exchange and put things into perspective and experience.
Which I had the great opportunity to.
Likewise myself, the organisation was growing and still is.

Aldeas de Paz is a sprouting and forthcoming NGO.
I am more than thankful for the opportunity of being a part of this Fundacion.
It is a chance of expansion of your own horizon - and for both sides for though the dissimilar living environments and - maxims plus savoir - vivre can fertilise one another.

Exceptional thanks to Vito, Coordinator of Las Terrenas, more of a friend, for always being amiable, available and keen.

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Clara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

During the 6 weeks I spent with Aldeas de Paz in Las Terrenas I have learned a lot. At first, I was a little disappointed because it was really different to what I expected. But after a while I realised that my expectations simply weren’t realistic. The foundation has only been in the Dominican Republic for three years which really isn’t a long time. That means there is still lots of work to do and room for improvement. But that’s not a bad thing it simply means you have the possibility to help shaping the foundation. My work in the NGO management team taught me a lot about all the little but important things that need to be done to keep the Foundations growing. Like searching for foundations or universities willing to support our cause. Looking back, the experiences I made really had an impact on my life and assured me that working for an NGO really is important and something everyone should do at least once in their life.

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Maya
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

During my time in Santa Barbara de Samaná, I worked as a hospital volunteer, school volunteer at Mama Elba, as well as initiated my own project at the school Mama Elba. Although it was a short 5 weeks, I learned so much during my stay. Along with really experiencing the difference of healthcare that is found in Dominican Republic, as well as for the first time experiencing what it is like to teach, I learned a lot about myself and the culture of the Dominican Republic. Aldeas de Paz, more specifically Sebastian, did an amazing job making sure my trip went as smoothly as possible from the time before arrival all the way until the end. I really appreciated his support with everything and admired how hard he worked trying to make sure the foundation was running smoothly for all volunteers involved.

My time in the Dominican Republic, is truly indescribable. The food, the people, the music and the tranquility of the town really causes you to fall in love with the country. Creating the special connections I did with some of the hospital staff, my host family, and the students of the school really tied me to Samaná and has made my Dominican adventure unforgettable. The town is easy to grow accustomed to and to really meet and enjoy the company of the community members and local population. I would recommend either hospital placement or school placement because not only will you learn a lot about Dominican life, but the students and patients you see will teach you lessons in life and patience that no other job or university class will. Thank you so much Aldeas de Paz for an amazing time in Samaná, but I can assure you that I will be coming back soon.

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Luisa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I‘ve been in the Dominican Republic for 2 months and worked in NGO management. It has been the best experience of my life and I can only advise you to do such an internship or volunteer work abroad. It is an enrichment not only for your working experience but also for your personality. Additionally you come to know a lot of people from different countries and in order to this, gain some language skills, especially in Spanish.
I lived in a really nice apartment in Las Terrenas and went on some awesome trips on the weekends as they most of the time are for free.
The organization is always there for you if you have questions and helped me with the transportation from the airport and back. Sometimes there are some communication problems between Samaná and Las Terrenas but I guess it’s totally normal as the organization is still improving. However I also saw a lot of progress and new ideas, but that’s why the organization also depends on the volunteers as they can bring a lot of experience from other countries and different schools, universities or companies.
Thanks especially to Vito who works really hard to further improve the organization and is always there if you need something.
Everyone was just so nice and I am so thankful for this special time. I will remember it para siempre :)

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Maximilian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The time with Aldeas De Paz is one of the experiences you will never forget. You get to know the country in a totally different way than just doing a holiday. And you are working on something, that makes a difference to other people's lives. The good thing about Aldeas De Paz is, that you really have a lot of different opportunities to volunteer and work on projects you like. Wether you want to work with kids, animals, the ocean, or experience the work place in a local hospital. Even if you choose one specific project, you have the chance to get to know other projects and places as well. I worked for one year in the NGO program in Las Terrenas and was one of the first volunteers in this location. ADP in Las Terrenas is still developing its work and things take time in the country. So to volunteer here, you have to realize that you won´t find a lot of standard processes and typical everyday’s work, for now. But that also means that you will have a lot of opportunities to bring in your ideas or develop your own projects. The Foundation is still small and you get to know each other very fast. And that´s where it comes to the other fun part: the weekends. Here you have really a lot of options to spend them. Beside of visiting some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, you have enough opportunities to have a very good time after work. You can do boat trips to islands, mangroves or whale watching, or you rent a quad and visit the peninsula or even the whole country with the local Guaguas. But even if you want to stay in town you can spend the time, like most of the dominicans, drinking beer, ron or having a dinner at a comedor or a restaurant if you want. When it comes to this, you have to decide in which location you want to volunteer, both are very different. The main things in Las Terrenas, where I was located, are the many beautiful beaches and the good restaurants you have here. You can take a walk on the beach in the morning or at lunch and go to an italian restaurant in the evening. But also if you volunteer in Samaná, you can visit on the weekends or meet the other volunteers. Anyway you will have enough opportunities in both locations to meet each other sometimes. The biggest benefit in Samaná is the interaction with the dominicans. Because Las Terrenas has a lot of europeans and americans, you are more treated like a tourist. In Samaná you will experience more the typical dominican life and be in touch with the locals. Both Locations have its benefits, but it is for sure, that you will enjoy your stay. The coordinators do their best that you can enjoy your trip, while working on multiple projects to keep the foundations work growing. Especially with the Mamá Elba School in Samaná and its different side projects, ADP and all the volunteers and employees, really do a difference to the local community. The country is very beautiful but there are a lot of things to work on, and the whole foundation is doing its best to help and to the most as they can. In total, volunteering at Aldeas De Paz will be an experience nobody will never forget.

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Zoe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the chance to work in the public hospital ”Dr. Leopoldo Pou“ in Santa Barbara de Samaná for one year. Sent by the German Red Cross I helped out in different areas of the hospital where they needed help. That gave me a great opportunity to see how the medical system works in the Dominican Republic. I helped out for six months in the laboratory doing administrative work and helping improve procedures and the workflow. Then I had the chance to help for a few months with the digitalization of the patients' records at the HIV Station, to assist and observe a pediatrician and to assist the doctors and nurses in the Emergency Room.
While the services of the doctors and surgeons from the United States took part three times while I was here, act as a translater for them and assist in surgery. That was a great opportunity and one of the highlights of my voluntary service.
There were not just surgical services for humans but also for animals where I could participate in several times by assisting in the recovery station after the animals came out of surgery.
Beside my work in the public hospital (mostly in the morning), I gave first aid classes to tourist guides, members of the Dominican Red Cross, disabled children, vounteers and teachers in the Mamá Elba School. I also gave a computer class once a week and English classes twice a week to the community.
Regarding the organization itself, I really liked how our coordinator Sebastian supported us with everything. He was always there for us and motivated and willing to help.
I really had a great year here with Aldeas de Paz! I learned a lot of things, not just of medical nature. I would say that this year in the Dominican Republic helped me become more open-minded, more mature, able to integrate myself in another culture and able to live without having access to everything I am used to. It was a great enrichment for my personality.
That is why I can warmly recommend doing a long-term voluntary service at Aldeas de Paz in the Dominican Republic.

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Sophie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

During my time at Aldeas de Paz I worked in the school, participated in medical missions and gave German classes. All the experience together and the whole year was a highlight for me and I liked about the organisation that it was never static, there were always new people coming and the group was always changing.
The Dominican Republic is a very special country with a strong culture. It is very different to Germany or to Europe and it gives you definitely another point of view on many things.
Finally I can say that I would totally recommend this placement! Even though working in the school mostly is really hard and takes a lot of energy and patience, the kids give you so much love back. For me, it was the best decision to work at the school!

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Leticia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

During my volunteer service in the foundation I worked in the Montessori school “Casa de los Niños”. I mainly worked with a group of pupils at the age of 7 to 12 with dyslexia, which later changed to one-on-one work with a student. I created exercises based on my research on the internet and on materials given to me by the director, Susy. Furthermore, I helped the teachers, for example by keeping the children quiet, copying things and helping the students with the tasks. The other teachers and everyone who worked at the school were welcoming and lovely, and were always happy to help if I didn’t understand something, it was a great working environment!
In the afternoon I did workshops, sometimes with Linda, other teachers or alone. Over the year I did a Portuguese-, decoration-, Art-, Geography- and German workshop. I created my own exercises for the workshops. Because of the workshops (and also because of my main task) I had a lot of freedom to create something and choose my focus. It was a really great experience and I learned a lot.
At the end I assisted Zena and Vito by doing small tasks, I also gave swim lessons alongside three other volunteers.
I had many highlights over the year;
Mostly, it was a highlight when the students understood something and would do the task on their own. For example: at the beginning of the year, the one student was very slow in reading and would change the letters “a” and “o”, so it wouldn’t make sense what he was reading, but throughout the year he read with more attention and began to read faster. Also, in math there was a progress to be seen. In addition to this, I also saw the progress of our swim students, this made me really proud of them.
Another highlight was meeting many different people, mostly short term volunteers from all over the world. Also the coordinators came from different countries and they were friendly and welcoming. I am really glad and thankful that I had these Coordinators (Zena and Vito).
Over the year I learned a lot, not only did I gain new experiences, I was also able to learn from the people and their culture.
I was also given the opportunity to learn about the gender equality project and assisted during workshops, which were really good and I got to know/ learn about new and useful things about the culture of the Dominican Republic.

I think it would be more sustainable for the community/people if the organization would focus more on helping the community with certain projects, the Mama Elba school is a good example but also the gender equality project (in a way the other program are also helping the community). For that it would be better if the volunteer would stay longer than a month and could speak a bit of the language. I think if you are only staying a week or a month you are just getting to know the city you are living in, the culture, the people and the language and then you have to leave! To do more and better help you must stay longer to get accustomed to your surroundings, in this sense I think even one year is not enough to make a large impact!
Even though there are these things I criticized, I enjoyed my stay and learned a lot.
Thank you