Otra Cosa Network

Program Reviews

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Marketa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Where should i start? I did my internship for 8 months with this amazing group of ladies who have changed my life for ever as they inspired me for my final university dissertation topic and career. I started working with them when my Spanish was very bad but they did not mind. They support me and slowly we build our new friendship that keeps growing even I left.

I really enjoyed work with those ladies. When I started I was not extaly sure what i will be doing but later I used my knowledge of the sewing and stared leading the sewing classroom. I doesn't say it was easy but I can say after our hard work we were able to deliver our first delivery of tone bags and present our brand new sewing classroom, which is available for the whole group and any of women can join the free sewing class.

I would recommend to come and help to this group of ladies who wants to learn new skills, however they need push. The facilities are available to run any of classes like sewing, baking, hydroponic garden or even business class. It just waiting for you who are independent, does not mind working alone and willing to take this opportunity to empower women and give them new opportunity in their life.

I really recommend this program as I had strong support form my manage who always found time to listen me, give me advice and support me while I had hard time with the project. I would never made it with the women thought if i would not have huge support behind me.

I hope somebody will come and take over the job I have done and will have the amazing experience as I had.

What would you improve about this program?
Just more volunteers are needed :)
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Julie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

By the ratings I gave the program, you can already guess that I loved working on HELP Environment, and that it was a great project. I stayed in Huanchaco from September 27th to December 18th 2015, and I wish I could go back right away and stay there.

There are two main aspects that make HELP Environment an amazing program: first and foremost, the variety of projects that you can work in, from organising the Yo Cuido Mi Playa events to hydroponic gardening, from recycling workshops in the afterschool program to the environment workshops given by local university students to the kids in Huanchaco. It was great to be able to take part in all those projects, to see how much they help the kids understand the importance of protectiong the environment. The second aspect was the feeling of working as part of a big family. From the OCN staff to the volunteers, from the kids we worked with to the locals, Huanchaco is an amazing place to live and work in: safe, friendly and fun.

If you're not sure yet about going, stop thinking, pack, and get moving. You won't be disappointed!

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Beata
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Working with the women at the community centre through HELP Women was an amazing experience. We (the women and I) achieved several things, including planning field trips, organising english, swimming and surf lessons for their children, and sewing classes for the mothers and more, but it was something else that will stay with me forever. They taught me solidarity and friendship, and how a community centre can feel more secure, and more like your home, than your actual home, and the real impact of gender inequality in countries like Peru. It was a true privilage to listen to their stories, and try to work side by side with the social worker to find solutions to everyday issues, but also to work side by side with the women in their everyday life, where they again and again exceeded outside expectations for the sake of their children.
If you are a strong and independent woman who wants to work with other strong and independent women, this is the volunteer placement for you - especially if you have a background in social work.

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Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I chose Otra Cosa because from speaking to a former volunteer, the website, and speaking to the office, I felt as though this was an NGO which makes a real and positive impact on the community. I spent two months volunteering with Otra Cosa and I believe this is the case. There are opportunities to get involved with many different projects. I taught English in two primary schools, I helped run environmental awareness workshops for children, I visited the skate ramp and more.

Huanchaco is a fun and safe town, and a great place to immerse yourself in Peruvian life. I made friends with other volunteers (international and local) and other locals, which really helped to have a fab time in Huanchaco. Otra Cosa help you find accomodation, I loved staying with a family, as they helped me to improve my Spanish, and I got to experience their way of life.

Huanchaco is also a great base to explore the north of Peru, especially some small places that you might not otherwise visit. I went on weekend trips with other volunteers to some beautiful towns and cities in the north.

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Kara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I started volunteering with Otra Cosa in 2014. I had just graduated college and was looking for international experience. I worked in a school with the blind and students with autism. There is a strong need for special education in Peru. The school I worked at is the only one in the city who works with special needs.

I had an amazing experience! OCN is the best organization around. It's set in a surfer town with not much to do, but you will learn to love Huanchaco for what it is. I had supportive staff and met tons of new friends. I loved the school I worked at because I learned what I wanted to do with my life by working there. I enjoyed my experience so much that I returned a year after to work at the same exact school with OCN again! I even got to be in the same classroom with my head teacher.

The managers at OCN are amazing people. Juany, Peter, Jenny, Amy and Beata are some of the most kind hearted and dedicated individuals I have ever met! Huanchaco is lucky to have them as a team! If you decide to join OCN, you will NOT regret it.

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Nils
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Had an awesome time volunteering with Otra Cosa in Peru. I was working in their skate project which gives the children living in a poor shantytown an opportunity to play and enjoy themselves after school. Dope program, the coolest kids and there is skating as well. What could be better? ;)
I was able to greatly influence the direction in which the project was going and I feel like i was able to bring it forward a lot. In contrast to other volunteer work I had been doing in the past, I feel like my work actually had an impact and changed something. So, all in all pretty dope!

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Sian
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered with Otra Cosa for two months in 2015. Otra Cosa`s work and programmes are participatory which meant I was working with the community who help decide the nature organisation`s work, not something you often find with volunteering overseas. It was great because it meant that from day one we warmly welcome and felt part of the community and it immediately felt like home. I met some of the most amazing, open minded and welcoming people. The Otra Cosa Network`s support base was invaluable to my experience in Huanchaco, made up a group of group of friendly volunteers and staff, it meant there was always someone to could talk to about anything, no matter how silly. As cheesy as it sounds I made lifelong friends and I will definitely be going back to visit them!

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Sacha
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent nearly three months working for Otra Cosa as a Marketing Coordinator. I helped in promoting the Otra Cosa's work among its community and in recruiting news supporters. In such a structure, you can be sure every initiative you take will bring the ship further. Everyone's dedication is the key to go forward. You really feel part of a something. And besides doing something I thought truly useful, it helped me improve my professional skills as community management or English and Spanish speaking.
I think volunteering for Otra Cosa is the best way to have a concrete and positive impact for people who need it and take a break from our european/western way of life...

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Haley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time volunteering for Otra Cosa has been an invaluable experience. I've been here in Huanchaco for a little over two months now. The town itself is fairly small, but has everything you need and is situated right on the coast of northern Peru. The beach is a 5 minute walk from my house. I live in the organization's volunteer house (there are also homestay and apartment options) with three other volunteers and our three staff members. I volunteer in the office part of the week, and the other part teach English at a primary school. The office has been a great experience-I get to see what it takes to run a non-profit and get to know a little bit more about all the projects the organization runs. I have to say though, teaching English has been my favorite part about my time here. I teach in a shanty town right outside the town (about a 5 minute bus ride away). The school is very simple-classrooms, a central concrete area where the kids have recess, and bathrooms. The kids have so much personality and love having English teachers there. They are so curious and hilarious. What a rewarding experience.

What would you improve about this program?
My only recommendation for volunteers coming here is to learn some Spanish first!
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Frida
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent five months working mostly at the Casita de Madera in Villa de los Angeles just outside Huanchaco.
It was truly a life experience to be part of the daily life in such a non-developed society. I did really enjoy my time over there, but it would be like lying to say that everything functioned smoothly. You have to be prepared that this is Peru, not an industrialised well-functioning country. Some days non of your fellow staff members will show up, some days the kids wont attend school and sometimes you just don't have much to do.

But you can be sure that even if it might not feel like you are doing very much, the kids -and their parents- love just the fact that you are there playing with them, caring for them and spending your time at their kinder-garden, I felt really welcomed and the people in the village always had s smile on their face and some nice words the say to you.

It is really good to know Spanish, the more you know the more integrated you will get into your work. But you dont have to be fluent, the youngest kids dont care wether you speak spanish or not, just play with them and both you and them will have a good time! Another tips is to be creative, the resources are quite few but the staff are willing to improve the project so don't hesitate to ask questions and come with solutions or activity ideas etc.

If you want a really nice experience of working with amazing children and doing a difference in a quite poor community in south america, i would definitely think about working with Otra Cosa, you get the most out of Peru if you see the 'non turistic' spots as well, at the same time as you live in Huanchaco which is a wonderful little city right on the beach famous for its surfers, fresh fish for almuerzo and a touch of Chimu culture. A nice combination of being a volunteer and having vacation!

What would you improve about this program?
Peru is Peru, be open-minded, things will not always work as it was supposed to, and you might not feel all that useful all the time, but you are. I believe that it means a lot to the kids that you are there with them.