Fancy a career in teaching or as a social worker? We can offer you a variety of exciting opportunities for you to gain much needed experience in these fields while you immerse yourself in the cultural gem that is Peru!
In Peru the English language is part of the government designed school curriculum. It is technically a requirement for schools to have English lessons. However, the schools in our area, like many others, are neglected and are not provided the resources or teachers to have English in their schools. So this is where HELP English comes in. The goal of this programme is to provide equal educational opportunities to students in local states schools as those who attend private school in the form of English classes. This will provide greater to more job and educational opportunities.
We work with three local schools in and around Huanchaco. The first and by far the largest of these three is located in central Huanchaco with over 400 students, grades kindergarten-6th. The school is comparatively well-resourced and maintained and you can expect the children to have their own stationary and books, and the concrete classrooms to have blackboards and writing materials.
The second school we work with is based just on the outskirts of Huanchaco. The school has grown into five classrooms to support 8 grades, pre-kindergarten through 6th grade. In this school we teach 1st-6th grade. This school generally only has access to running water 2 or 3 hours per day. These students do not always have access to their own resources and the resources of the school are scarce.
The final school in this area that we work with is based in a shanty town just before Huanchaco. Very recently, in 2009 a head teacher was appointed and she taught all pupils from 1st-6th grade in one room. Now there are over 90 students attending this school but there are only three fully constructed classrooms. The only access to water in this school is through a small spiket in the ground. As well as with the previous school these students do not always have access to their own resources and the resources of the school are scarce.
On top of the local schools in our area we also partner with the mountain community of Yanasara. More information can be found about this opportunity on our website.
For this project you can choose to work as either a HELP English Coordinator or an HELP English Teacher
HELP Youth Projects
The children living in Cerrito did not have access to a particularly stimulating environment, or much to amuse themselves with and as a result they tended towards misbehaving and acting up. However, our volunteers saw a lot of potential there, realised that with a little attention and some activities, these children could really flourish. With some land donated from the local surf school, the volunteers mobilised and built the Skate Ramp to offer a fun and stimulating environment for the children to play in. In 2015, thanks to a massive fundraising effort from volunteers and supporters locally and internationally, we changed location (two blocks away) and built an all-concrete Skate Park with a proper side classroom for non-skate activities for children in Cerrito de la Virgen to enjoy. The main goal of this project is to offer children a safe place to play, while providing the children with positive role models.
For this project you can choose to work as either a HELP Youth Coordinator or an HELP Youth Volunteer.
The main goal of this project is to coach children and adolescence with a creativity and passion for music, encouraging in them individuality, musical values and instilling in them the importance of practice and hard work. As the school is a public school, it has a very small budget. Despite this, all the staff at the school strive to give the best musical education they can to the students, as well as creating a pleasant environment to study and work in. With the aid of volunteers, they can reach out to more students and provide a more comprehensive education. So, if you have music running through your veins, come and volunteer with us here!
Teaching Assistant at a Special Needs School
his school began as the only special education center in the area tailored to the needs of the 4,500 people in the area with visual deficiencies. The mission of the School is to offer education and vocational training to those in need in order to ensure their participation in the socio-economic development of Peru. Now, the school opens its door to children with other types of disabilities such as down syndrome and autism.
The school is run by Madre Nelida, who ensures the excellent state of the facilities and does an amazing job of looking after the books and equipment. There is a wonderful familial atmosphere at the school and it doesn’t take long to become attached to both the staff and students. The school offers primary school education and assistance with secondary and university school work for students that have moved on to higher levels. It also offers multiple workshops including music, handicrafts, typing and IT as well as teaching how to carry out domestic tasks to help the students become more independent and self-reliant. Some older students also have the opportunity to participate in a unique program offering training in massage therapy, reflexology and beauty treatments and they’re always looking for people to practice on! Once they have completed the training and received certification they have the opportunity to work in a therapeutic centre in the city.
Attending the school is free for families with low incomes (families with higher incomes pay a minimal annual fee), and the state pays the salaries of the staff but does not help with the transportation of the students to the school, nor with the purchasing of textbooks, adapted materials or renovation of old equipment. It is because of this that the Centre asks for donations and external financial help in order to progress and move forward.
Working with children at a Kindergarten
The kindergarten project is located in a shantytown near Huanchaco. The poverty rate in this area is extremely high and this is the only social project around for the underprivileged inhabitants of the area; most of whom are immigrants who moved to the coast full of hope, leaving behind their roots in the highlands to find a better future. For most, the reality hasn’t been easy and many haven’t been able to get full-time jobs and have little option but to work in agriculture or construction, receiving very little money to survive.
Most of the parents never completed their own basic education and therefore they often are not able to support the education of their children. In 2010, the kindergarten started off in a little wooden cottage hosting 8 children to develop their basic skills before going to primary school. As their parents are not charged any fees, the group of children is growing. Since then they have built another wooden cottage, a playground and bathrooms to offer a better environment for the kids.
Assistant at a Children's Home
In Peru childhood is one of the most vulnerable and unprotected periods of a person’s life. Two thirds of children under the age of 5 live in poverty, and 2 out of 10 live in extreme poverty.
The boys who live at the children’s home (it is a single-sex facility, so there are no girls) mostly come from dysfunctional families with major economic problems, where they were often victims of abuse and violence, and are far more likely to drop out of school. Their personalities are often characterized by low self-esteem, frustration, irritability, deficits in self-control, distrust of others, problems with authority and exacerbation of sexuality and aggression.
Started in 2001, the children’s home is a non-profit organisation whose goal is to provide children and adolescents living in the streets and in extreme poverty an opportunity for a better future. It strives to generate the necessary means and resources needed in order to reintegrate the children into society. The house runs according to a very rigid schedule. When a new child enters the home he will learn the rules and regulations and have to adapt to living in a group, which helps in reducing anti-social behaviour. The child’s integration into life in the home is aided by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals – teachers, psychologists, social workers – as well as a varied programme of activities.
Teaching Assistant at an Educational Day Centre
The educational day centre, tries to stimulate these children, firstly, to go to school – many families make the kids work during the school day, arguing that they need the money – and secondly to continue learning in order to give them some hope of a better future. This includes practical help with homework as well as providing fun learning activities and skill development projects
With the start in life that these children have, they need a miracle to end up with a real chance of a good career and future. We don’t expect you to perform miracles, but volunteering here can help enable the poorest kids to have some chance in the future, rather than repeat the cycle of their parents as some of the poorest and most deprived families. This project calls for serious initiative. The families can be resistant to the help offered by day centre and the volunteers. In order to work here you need to be capable of communicating with the families, gaining their trust so they are comfortable and happy for their children to attend the day centre.
Many of these roles can be part-time, so volunteers can combine this work with some part-time work on one of our other projects. Volunteers are requested to commit 20 hours per week (although this could be split between more than one project), and working hours can be coordinated upon arrival.
Working with OCN is a great opportunity to get an inside look at a small NGO. You will gain hands on experience working side by side with our Peru based staff.
For more information on what Otra Cosa Network is all about go to our website
Otra Cosa Network is a registered Peruvian non-profit NGO and Registered UK Charity that offers a wide variety of affordable and satisfying volunteering opportunities to well-motivated volunteers from around the world for them to support the needs of our community-run partner projects. We are based in the beautiful coastal town of Huanchaco, Trujillo in Northern Peru and most of our projects are local to us but we also offer volunteer positions in other locations around the Northern area of Peru.