The School is run by a Catholic non-profit organisation in a very poor area of Arequipa. It is a large school, catering for 800 children from the start of primary right through to the end of school. The organisation also runs services for younger children nearby, as well as dining halls and a home for the elderly. The classes are run by professional teachers, who are paid a wage from donations secured by the organisation that runs it.
The children who attend the school range in age from 4 to 17 years old. Living in poverty often brings with it many problems such as domestic abuse, addiction, neglect, alcoholism, risk of early pregnancy, malnutrition, health issues etc. Attending school offers these children a safe environment and an opportunity to create a better life for themselves.
Volunteers at the school help the professional teachers in their classes. The teacher will normally be present but may leave the class at some points. For volunteers to make a valuable contribution in this role, they must be able to use their initiative, be confident, have a good level of Spanish (intermediate am/) and have some experience of working with children/teaching. The school accepts volunteers from 21 to 60 years old with an Intermediate level of Spanish. If you do not currently speak Spanish, you can take a course with us before you start your volunteer placement.
The minimum volunteer period for this project is 4 weeks, although we strongly recommend that you stay for longer as we can almost guarantee you won’t want to leave after such a short amount of time!
Volunteers work at the school from 8am to 2pm, and may also choose to stay on to help with the English club, and music, art, theatre and sports activities in the after-school club from 2pm to 4pm. This later shift may also be available to other volunteers, without the requirement to work in the mornings.
The school is open Monday – Friday from March to mid-December (with a 2 week winter break in mid-July)
Any donation is welcomed and helpful for the organization. It could be money but also clothes, games, toys etc. We recommend that you do not bring items from your own country however, as we have found it is more effective to wait until you arrive and find out what is needed at the time. If you buy items in Arequipa it is also beneficial for the local economy and you will probably find that your money will go further (plus it doesn’t take up space in your luggage!)