Volunteers Peru

Program 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!

Katie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I stayed in Arequipa and worked with Volunteers Peru for two months in June and July 2017.
I had a fantastic experience in the girls home where I felt welcome from the first minute due to the enthusiasm and kindness of the girls.
When I started looking for programmes to go abroad with I was worried about finding the right organisation to go with, that would make me feel safe and I wanted a small organisation so that I wouldn't get lost in masses of volunteers.
Volunteers Peru was in that sense the perfect organisation for me. At most we were 7 or 8 volunteers and the whole organisation felt like a family environment. Marita and Megan, who work in the office, were always available for us to contact and we had a really close and good relationship with them which made it easy to settle in and feel comfortable throughout my stay.
When I went to Peru I spoke very little Spanish, which in itself wasn't the biggest problem as I was eager to learn more, but I think it is a lot easier if you go and speak a decent amount of Spanish as it makes it easier for you to communicate with people.
I have now been back home for a couple of weeks and I miss Arequipa and the project as well as the people I met durning my stay. It has been a fantastic experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

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Pilar
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Translated from Spanish:
My experience with working with the organization was beautiful.
At all times I felt accompanied and supported by the project workers. I felt very well.
My work or activities with the girls were beautiful. I felt very good developing with them.
My reflection throughout the entire process was "it is more what we receive than what we give" I felt very at ease. This experience is totally recommended. Would do it again if I could.
Girls have a beautiful energy despite their reality and give a lot of love

Original Review:
Mi experiencia con el trabajo con la organización fue hermosa.
En todo momento me sentí acompañada y apoyada por las trabajadoras del proyecto. Me sentí muy bien.
Mi trabajo o actividades con las niñas fueron hermosas. Me sentí muy bien desenvolviéndome con ellas.
Mi reflexión durante todo el proceso fue "es más lo que recibimos que lo que damos" me sentí muy a gusto. Es totalmente recomendable esta experiencia. Lo volvería a hacer si pudiera.
Las niñas tienen una hermosa energía a pesar de su realidad y dan muchísimo amor

What would you improve about this program?
No noté ninguna falta en el programa.
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Elizabeth
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Beautiful area, safe community, great coordinating staff!
Megan, the volunteer coordinator at Volunteer Peru was extremely responsive and helpful during my 3 week experience. She coordinated airport pick up, showed me around Arequipa (including a very important first grocery store visit) and made sure to purchase bus tickets to the more remote region of Cotahuasi and even helped getting me to Cusco after volunteering.
While I was teaching, the other maestras were very open to having me jump in and lead the lesson at times. Staff and students were friendly and open as well. The classes themselves were quite different from those in the US. I would definitely suggest bringing in some of your own ideas for helping students practicing the language after they learn the initial content.
The area itself is quite picturesque and people here were the friendliest I met in Peru. Tomepampa has a close knit community and as female traveling on my own, I never felt disrespected or unsafe here.
If you are looking to really get away from it all, bring some creative teaching ideas to an open community, and enjoy the natural beauty that this region has to offer, this is the place for you!

What would you improve about this program?
Having someone at the hostel consistently to receive new guests, discuss resources available, and explain how to get to towns like Cotahuasi would have been helpful during that first week. I think with the kids coming back from London and me going up at the same time, the orientation kind of got lost in the shuffle.
The remoteness of the region did lend itself to some challenges as well. As it is mostly made up of farming communities, when school was out, shops and restaurants did not keep regular hours. Wifi was hard to come by but there is Wifi in a few shops about a 25min bus ride away from the town where you stay. A basic level of Spanish is certainly required to travel in this region as almost no one in the area speaks English.
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Melanie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a great time as part of Volunteers Peru! With a helpful staff, lovely girls and flexibility within the home, I was able to mold this experience to what I wanted to do (i.e. Tutoring, playing in the yard, etc.). It was nice to find that the girls are being treating very well at the home and are provided such a nice atmosphere. In addition, Arequipa is a beautiful city to spend your free time with the other volunteers and friends you meet along the way! Overall an awesome time spent!

What would you improve about this program?
I think having more time at the home would be better for the volunteers although it's difficult to find the time since they are at school. I think more organized activities with the girls should be taken on and encouraged as well!
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Gregory
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I taught in Tomepampa through Volunteers Peru for about two months and it exceeded my expectations. I spent 20 or so hours per week in class as an assistant English teacher, with another few spent conducting after-school conversation classes. The workload is light, making this a great program for new teachers, experienced teachers looking for a bit of a break (like me), or anyone wanting to gain some cross-cultural experience. Outside of class, I spent a lot of time playing sports with the students and exploring the surrounding area. The Colca Canyon is easily one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places I've ever been, full of scenic vistas, quaint towns, and friendly people. I had so many memorable experiences in Tomepampa in only two months, that I wish I had stayed longer. I would recommend this program to anyone looking for a rewarding experience that is off the beaten path!

What would you improve about this program?
I've already made some suggestions to the coordinator, but there is very little I would change.