Youth Care & Community Work- Enhance the lives of disadvantaged community members

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About

Our aim is to empower children, youth, young adults and woman by providing a educational platform where they can be supported in developing their potential and improving their own lives. At our "Mama Elba" school in Samana we are promoting the integration of special need students into the educational system. Our language and skill training programs provide volunteers with the opportunity to make a difference to our local community members who would otherwise lack these important opportunities. Assist with activities like computer literacy classes and teaching language classes in Englisch, German or any other language. In Las Terrenas volunteers assist with public school teaching and tutoring, but also swimming classes, sailing classes or first aid workshops can be offered to local youth. We are involved in youth, family and community development. We promote leadership and life skills, healthy lifestyle and constructive use of freetime. We promote gender equality and women empowerment.

Highlights
  • Organize and lead intercultural events and regular meetings for local community members and international volunteers, expats and travelers with cross-cultural activities fostering exchange and integration.
  • Assist in our school with recreational, developmental and therapeutic activities for children and young adults with special needs
  • Bring joy into the lives of disadvantaged children by taking care of them and playing with them and let their smiles brighten up your day!
  • Get fluent in Spanish by receiving up to six free Spanish lessons per week.
  • Make memories that will last a lifetime while traveling the Caribbean.

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

You would have to contact the volunteer coordinator. There might be a day long project needing more volunteers, but Aldeas de Paz is usually a live in community where each person is assigned to a program. So yes, I’m sure they won’t turn you away, but better suited for longer stays.

Reviews

95%
based on 31 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 31
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Sophie
10/10

A year full of valuable experiences

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Leticia
10/10

I enjoyed my stay and learned a lot

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

Yes, I recommend this program
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Linda
10/10

This year with Aldeas de paz

I worked in the Casa de los ninos school for one year. Mainly, I assisted Kari , the English teacher of the 5 to 9 year old children. Besides playing games, explaining little grammatic tasks, such as the “s” in the 3rd form Singular or how to form the plural of different words, and be there for questions, one of my main tasks was to create new games and learn material. For me, it was very lovely to see the children play with my games and having fun. Also the working climate was very pleasant and I had a good relation to all the other teachers, who are all very nice and good colleagues. I had the feeling of being able to choose my own focus of what I wanted to do while I was in school, which is another positive aspect about my year in this institution. That way, we could choose what our workshops in the afternoon would look like and which topics we would like to concentrate on.

About the Organization Aldeas de Paz, I like that from the very beginning the coordinators were there for us, and we could express any concerns given. Our housing is very enjoyable and I like the fact that our volunteers come from different countries and work, live and enjoy our freetime together. On the other hand I think it would be good if it was a rule to have a certain level of Spanish knowledge. I know that I also came here with a very basic level, but I was very focused on learning the language, and when I reflect that year now, I come to the conclusion that a basic level of Spanish plus the will to learn more should be a precondition to come here, especially when volunteers stay only for a short time. That would lead our work to be serving more for the community then for the personal enjoyment.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Sharon
10/10

The most special year of my life - el año más especial de mi vida

In my volunteering I worked a year at the Mama Elba school in Samana, Dominican Republic. It was very nice sometimes difficult and hard but with time you learn a lot about children, work with them and you find the solutions so that everything goes well. What I liked most about working at school was the love of children. They are very sweet with all the volunteers and they are always happy to see us and play with us. That for me is the most valuable of that work.

The organization Aldeas de Paz takes care of all the volunteers and their needs. The coordinators are always available if there is a problem, at any time you can talk to them. They help us the best they can in everything and that is very important to feel safe in a country away from family and friends.
The special thing about the Dominican Republic for me is tranquility. Everything is done without stress and life is like a vacation. People are very happy, open, affectionate and you feel welcome wherever you go. Everywhere there is strong music, not everyone likes it but I love it. Dominican food I like a lot, especially natural juices and fruits that in Germany there is not. Seeing the sea and the beach every day for me is a paradise. The malecon and bridges are my favorite places here in Samana.
I recommend volunteering with the Aldeas de Paz organization because they take good care of the volunteers. Also all the volunteers have a nice relationship and are very close. They are like a family, so I recommend it to all those who want to live an unforgettable time and a unique experience in this tropical paradise called Dominican Republic.

En mi voluntariado yo trabaje un año en la escuela Mama Elba en Samana Republica Dominicana.
Fúe muy lindo a veces difizil y duro pero con el tiempo se aprende mucho sobre los niños, el trabajo con ellos y uno encuentra las soluciones para que todo salga bien.
Lo que más me gusto de el trabajo en la escuela fúe el amor de los niños. Ellos son muy dulces con todos los voluntarios y siempre se alegran mucho de vernos y de jugar con nosotros. Eso para mi es lo más valioso de ese trabajo.
La organización Aldeas de Paz se ocupa de todos los voluntarios y sus necesidades. Los coordinadores siempre están disponibles si hay algún problema, a cualquier hora uno puede hablar con ellos. Nos ayudan lo mejor que pueden en todo y eso es muy importante para sentirse seguro en un país lejos de la familia y los amigos.
Lo especial de la Republica Dominicana para mi es la tranquilidad. Todo se hace sin estrés y la vida es como una vacación. La gente es muy alegre, abierta, cariñosa y uno se siente bienvenido donde va. En todos lados hay musica fuerte, no a todos les gusta pero a mi me encanta. La comida Dominicana me gusta mucho, sobretodo los jugos naturales y las frutas que en alemania no hay. Ver el mar y la playa todos los días para mi es un paraiso. El malecon y los puentes son mis lugares favoritos aquí en Samana.
Yo recomiendo hacer un voluntariado con la organización Aldeas de Paz porque ellos se ocupan muy bien de los voluntarios. También todos los voluntarios tienen una linda relación y son muy unidos. Son como una familia, por eso yo lo recomiendo a todos los que quieren vivir un tiempo inolvidable y una experiencia única en este paraiso tropical llamado Republica Dominicana.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Alina
10/10

I would recommend this volunteer service to everybody who wants to experience an adventure

During my stay in Samaná, I did work in the Mamá Elba school, which is a school for children with special needs. I really liked my work there and for me it was interesting to see how every child acts differently in the same situation. Furthermore, they get to know you with the time and became less shy. The most amazing thing was to see the developments the children made when they suddenly started to count or know new colours. Even though I only stayed for a short time, the children grew close to my heart very quickly and I looked forward to seeing them every day and playing with them.

I like the aim of the organization Aldeas de Paz, but sometimes the communication didn‘t work properly and it was a little bit chaotic. But the coordinators are very helpful and there for you at any time and help you with every problem you have.

I quickly fell in love with Samaná. It is a nice little city close to the beach. I love the culture of the Dominican Republic – they are always happy, listening to music and ready to dance. The whole mentality is very easygoing without any stress.

I would recommend this volunteer service to everybody who wants to experience an adventure, is willing to help people and wants to get to know himself better. In my time here, I learned more about myself and noticed that you don‘t need much to live. Already one little thing can make a big change in your life.

All in all, I really loved my work here and would do it again at any time.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Melina
10/10

I loved my time in Samana with Aldeas de Paz

To start, during my stay here I had the chance to work with the kids with special needs in school. I enrolled in that particular project because I wanted to gain experience in my feild of studies. I really enjoyed working with everyone in the school, but mostly the kids who great you
everyday you arrive in school and are all just very adorable. I had the opportunity to work with a variety of children with disabilities, which is what I was mainly here for. Also, changes and improvements are being done in the school which I think will greatly benefit the kids attending.
Finally, I was able to contribute to the school with a project involving pictograms that will greatly help these children, more so the ones that have language disabilities.

In addition, I had the chance to be in contact with Kim an amazing Canadian that has been living here for over 30 years and is taking the rights of animals here to heart. I had a chance to work hands on with the animals, mostly dogs, and actually had the opportunity to start a totally new project in association with Aldeas the Paz.

I really appreciated the encouragement and interest expressed by the coordinators and
volunteers. I am very proud of my contribution and participation, which turned out to be more
than expected. Aldeas de Paz is the only organisation that I saw that had a good variety of projects to work on, which provides a lot of flexibility. I was able to participate in a lot of different acitives and programs such as the english classes and café intercultural. For a month was able to give intermediate english classes to dominicans, as well as dancing classes in the café. The responsibles really encourage us to participate in a variety of projects and the
options are really there for us to explore.

The organisation has a really great team of coordinators that work really hard to make our experience here the best it can be, even if there job is not always easy. It was my second time in the Dominican Republic and more specifically Samana. I really wanted to come back here because the first time I really fell in love with the spirit of the people, the culture, the dancing, the music, the scenery and saw that there was a need for volunteers. I wanted to make sure for my second experience that I was to be part of the community, the people and meet different
Dominicans. I have so many good memories with the volunteers and dominican friends I made. I found it very important to have an interest for the people here and an open mind. By doing
so, I was able to know, see places and live experiences I would of never had if it were not for my dominican friends. Also, when spending time with them it was the perfect occasion to pratice and learn more spanish, which was one of my goals when coming here.

We did so many great trips and activies that really made my time here that much memorable. I can say that I fully experienced Samana and the DR and would do it again without a doubt.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kaitlin
10/10

A special place that I hope to return to

My experience in Samana has been a great one! I feel like I’ve had
some highs and lows making it a great learning experience in a short
amount time. First off, it doesn’t get any more beautiful than the
view. The first few days were overwhelming meeting all the other
volunteers and kids at school, while not yet knowing where to find
anything in town. Being in an apartment definitely comes with it’s
pros and cons as well. I didn’t like that the majority of other
people were in the shared apartments and particularly at night
couldn’t safely get to hang out with them. This has gotten better
making in advance plans to have a travel buddy. I love how welcoming
everyone is and no one is shut off or out of any group or activity.
Once I knew people had been here for months, I feared it would be hard
to make connections quickly when so many friendships have already been
established. I was happy to find that is not the case at all and
everyone is always included.
Having basically no prior Spanish knowledge, I feel like this has made
a unique experience. It has been difficult communicating with
Dominicans, especially at school. However, it also has been cool to
overcome that barrier. I’ve had to quickly learn some key phrases and
feel like I can successfully order food. Kids have been patient and
we have tried to teach each other Spanish/English words. No matter
where you are kids are the same and have a great spirit about them.
They have been fun to play and learn with. With the scheduling
changes and addition of Jessica, it is a cool time to see the
transition and growth in ADP. I’m excited to see the progress even
once I leave! I am looking forward to comforts of home (water not
turning off, air conditioning, not loud to sleep), but the atmosphere
and people make this a special place that I hope to return to.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Fabienne
10/10

When I get time, I will come back for sure

My name is Fabienne and I worked as a volunteer in the Mama Elba School for one month. I really enjoyed the work with the children and I was able to gain a lot of useful experience for my future.

When I arrived here I couldn’t speak Spanish. First, I was a bit worried about that. But over time I learned the important things in Spanish because of the free Spanish lessons and the work with the children.

During the time here in Samana, I was living in a guesthouse apartment with two other volunteers. I was really happy with this kind of living, because I like to have people around me.

Furthermore, the organisation of my stay here was well planned. This included also the pick-up service, which worked very well.

All in all, I enjoyed the time here in Samana with the organisation Aldeas de Paz. When I get time, I will come back for sure.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Cecilia
10/10

Trip of my life!

First off, I officially decided to take the leap and register for the NGO Management Program about 1 month before I was due to leave. The registration process and introductory things were super easy and helpful. The director of Aldeas de Paz was patient and excellent with getting back to me quickly with answers to my many questions.
Once in country, I met with the local team and all the volunteer and I have to say, they are an incredible group of people who truly want to make a difference and help make my experience there a great one. I really enjoy the time I spend in Las Terrenas and one day I'd love to return to help out again.
The town of Las Terrenas is absolutely amazing. It's beauty and charm will grab you, and hold a little piece of your heart. There is much to do and see in and around the town. So many shops, markets, restaurants, and beaches to see. Honestly, I could just sit on the beach and look at the waves all day.
One piece of advice I would give would be to just jump in. Ask what the need is, meet it. You're only there for a short time, so make the best of it. Jump in with the culture. The food. The town. The way of life. The pace. The language. Try everything. Go in the shops. Take a trip. Jump in with both feet. You won't regret it.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Bruce
10/10

An eye-opening experience

Going to a new country as a volunteer is an eye-opening experience, both personally and culturally. Furthermore, it allowed me to reinforce my desire to apply my skills and knowledge to help others. The accommodation and guidance from Julia and Manfred made the trip really comfortable. I have learned a lot from Manfred, he has great ambitions for the organisation. Aldeas de Paz is having a real positive impact in the local community and it is rewarding to know that you have contributed somehow. I met so many amazing people and had so many intense experiences along the way, working with the children from Mama Elba school remains the most wonderful experience of all. I have truly enjoyed my time with Aldeas de Paz and would definitely recommend the NGO to anyone. Thanks again for everything and I will be back again some day!

Bruce

Yes, I recommend this program
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Nicole
10/10

Six weeks in Samaná

During my six weeks in Samana I worked at the school “Mama Elba“ and in the hospital as an english teacher for the doctors and nurses.

I remember my first day at school. I was really nervous because of my missing spanish skills. But when the first kids walked through the door, asked me about my name and were just happy to meet someone new, I started to feel comfortable and really enjoyed class. I got used to the course of a schoolday and started to tackle with teaching methods and the montessori concept the school is working with. My aim was to learn more about how to teach children with special needs and what could be interesting for them. With the help of a kindergarden teacher from my hometown, I compiled a list with different ideas and activities, especially for the two kids with a mental disability. She also explained the concept of basal stimulation, the concept the ideas based on, to me and I began to investigate the topic. I got more and more interested in this subject.
For the beginning I decided to start with something small. I bought pegs and used a jump rope we already had at school. The exercise was to fix the pegs on the jump rope and I thought this could be interesting for maybe 15 minutes - but I was wrong! It was not something small and it was not something interesting for 15 minutes. The girl I worked with did it for an hour and it war great to see her progress! At the beginning she didn't know how to do it but after a while she managed! She was so proud and had a lot of fun, she even found other things to put the pegs on and worked really concentrated. During the following weeks I introduced some of the other ideas at school and it was amazing to see how the children changed and improved!

The other part of my work was teaching in the hospital. This was easier than school because I already had experiences with teaching english. It also helped that their english was on a good level so that communication wasn't a problem. This and their enthusiasm for learning made it pretty easy to enjoy the lessons. We talked about different topics and I learned more about their hobbies, their work in the hospital and life in the Dominican Republic in general what was very interesting for me. As a counter we prepared a lesson about Germany, typical food, favourite sports and the culture. Teaching in the hospital was not only teaching english, it also was an intercultural exchange!

A big part of my life in Samana was spending time with my host family. From the first day on I felt really welcome and like a real family member. I joined them to family parties, trips or to visit friends and was always welcome to go to church with them.
Because of their help I improved my spanish very fast and was able to communicate with them. They were patient teachers and always proud when I learned something new or understood what they said. I also learned more about their culture and typical food what was very interesting for me because I love cooking. On the one hand they showed me how to prepare a typical dominican meal or my favourite foods and on the other I made some cakes and explained them how to do it.
During my stay my host brother and sisters had university vacation so that they stayed at home for three weeks and I got to knew them and we did a lot of family activities. I really enjoyed this. Because of my family I really felt home in Samana and I am going to miss them a lot!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Scott
10/10

The most exciting, enjoyable and rewarding experience...

I joined Aldeas de Paz for 6 weeks and have had the most exciting, enjoyable and rewarding experience. I came to volunteer but also to add my own ideas and experience to the organisation and Aldeas de Paz allowed me to do that. The organisation accepts open minds allows everybody to contribute to improve the charity. I was able to use my guitar in the school and we planned our own english classes to teach at the local hospital. This environment I found to be very relaxing and stress free which allowed me to be more creative. The area where we volunteered also had a very 'tranquilo' (chilled) vibe and we all organised regular weekend trips away to explore beaches, waterfalls and snorkel which were amazing experiences.
Aldeas De Paz offers so many programs but I spent most of my time at the school which was such a wonderful experience. A lot of the children have special educational needs and at first I thought it would be hard to develop their skills in the 6 weeks I was here. But the differences in the children and the changes in their confidence were amazing. I felt so rewarded with these changes and it just shows that any amount of time you can spend here is valuable for them.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Olivia
10/10

My time at Aldeas De Paz has been amazing...

My time at Aldeas De Paz has been amazing. I have spent 6 weeks here and got to experience a range of projects. I worked in the youth, care and community project and being able to see the change in the children in such a short space of time was really rewarding. Also seeing how much they enjoy school and really want to learn puts a lot of things into perspective. They all arrive everyday with smiles on their faces, sometimes mischievous, but they will always make you laugh. I also helped out teaching English at the hospital which is something I didn't expect to be doing but really enjoyed. It challenged me to do something different and be creative planning different classes each week. The doctors all really appreciated this, especially when it involves games and competitions. On top of this I volunteered in the NGO management program which was really insightful in seeing how a grass roots organisation is run. I was able to shadow Julia in her daily tasks and it showed me that everyday is different and unexpected.
To make the most of your time here you have to be open minded and absorb and live in the Dominican culture which is a very relaxed and slow paced way of life, perfect for me. If I could change anything about my experience here I would have wanted to know more Spanish before I arrived so I had more of a base to build on and was able to connect more with the locals. However it has not hindered my time here, it has made me want to work harder to learn Spanish and continue learning when I get home.
Outside of volunteering I met a lot of amazing people from all over the world that I will never forget and hopefully will stay in contact with. We had some incredible weekend trips to see more of the Dominican Republic, one of the highlights was swimming with turtles in Sosua. So thank you to everyone and to Manfred, Julia and Junior for making the time here so special. Aldeas de paz is doing amazing work in Samara and I believe it is only the beginning.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Xavier
10/10

A short placement filled with many experiences

i, my name is Xavier and I just completed my 3 week volunteering placement in Samaná. My placement, although short, was filled with many experiences; working in various programmes, spending time with other volunteers and exploring the town of Samaná and the various attractions around. As part of my placement I assisted a local computation class, helped out at the Mama Elba school and taught English to medical staff of the local hospital. These programmes although all aimed at a different audience allowed me to interact with(teach and learn from) all these members of the Samaná society.
Next to these programmes I used my free time to explore the town and the peninsula. It amazed me to see how much there was to do in and around Samaná. I had the most interesting conversation with locals, played dominoes with them, spent hours just taking in the views and went on various adventures with other volunteers on the weekends.
Samaná is a beautiful province, the people are friendly and helpful, all it really takes to have an awesome experience is to embrace the culture and little things with open arms.
I must thank Aldeas de Paz for giving me the opportunity to be part of what they are doing there in Samaná and creating a very positive and open environment.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Aurelia
10/10

A lot to tell about my experiences in Samaná...

I don't know how to start my experience report in Samana, because there is a lot to tell. I may start with my arrival seven weeks ago. It was my first journey alone for such a long time, far away from family, friends and my home. On the way to Samana, i had some worries about the time here, but the flew away when my likeable mom came to fetch me on the busstation. We went home and they all welcomed me with balloons and flowers. Then I met the other volunteers and we made friends immediately. After my first week I was beat-up, because of the heat and the work. My task at work was to teach the children in a special school. The most of them have difficult to concentrate or are disabled in a mentally or physically way. The kids demanded so much from you during the class, but after seven weeks I assert that some of the kids made an effort. This is so lovely that you can see that you reached somethig, that you were able to change something during the short time. And not only that kids were grateful to attend the class but also their parents, we especially the volunteers got a good feedback, which also made me proud. My second workplace was in the hospital, where I teach the doctors English. Sometimes it was hard, because they were not on the same level, but anyway it worked! All of the doctors are strained to learn something and I noticed an effort, too! On the weekend was time to relax and to travel, which was maybe the best part here. My highlight here was Jarabacoa, it's a town in the mountain(actually at the height of 2000 ft.), we stayed in a such a beautiful hostel, went paragliding and horse riding! 

Yes, I recommend this program

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About Fundación Aldeas de Paz

We promote a Culture of Peace through enriching cross-cultural exchange for people of all cultural backgrounds and nationalities and we practice voluntary community service where we provide additional opportunities in education, sports, health care...