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Sample Volunteer Abroad Projects — Guatemala

We work with a variety of projects in Guatemala in the fields of Education, Social Welfare, Environment, Small Business, Health and Construction. Available host projects reflect changing needs and priorities and may vary from those described below.

We partner with a wide array of projects where volunteers are placed based on his/her profile and project choice.

Education

We work with various organizations that focus on education in low income, rural areas. We partner up with rural schools and after school programs to provide better education for children across Guatemala.

There are many organizations working in areas where the literacy rate is low, such as in rural highlands and in some Mayan populations. Providing education to this sector of Guatemalan society will help them achieve their dreams for a better future.

In Guatemala access to education in rural areas is very scarce, and English education is not an exception. Knowing English and basic computer skills gives children in impoverished areas a chance for better opportunities as they become adults- far better odds of breaking the cycle of poverty.

In the education program you can work as a teacher for a subject you know well. You can:

-Teach English or another language

-Teach Math

-Teach Computer skills

-Teach Sports

-and much more!

What will you be doing?

-Teaching what you know

-Helping other teachers plan their classes

-Assisting other teachers and volunteers in class

-Helping teachers conduct environmental awareness classes and self esteem workshops

-Teach income generating skills

-Help after school programs by strengthening class subjects

Availability: Mid January to late October

Minimum commitment: 4 weeks

Level of Spanish: Intermediate

 

 

Social and Welfare Services

Organizations that cater to the most disadvantaged in society are always in need of volunteers. Placements are available in projects such as day-care centers for children of single mothers and respite centers for the disabled.

Volunteers must be patient, caring and able to cope with difficult or distressing situations.

Working with Handicapped Individuals

We partner with organizations that work in rural areas serving disabled children and adults to receive proper treatment and stimulation. In this program you will be working directly with disabled people who are in much need of help.

You can help by:

-Assist staff with day to day chores

-Play games that stimulate the mind

-Help in physiotherapy exercises

-Prepare meals for patients

-Play with the children

 

Community Day Cares

These day care centers are for very poor children whose parents have alcohol problems or are single parents.

On average, there are 12 children per project from infants to 6 years old. Children receive 2 meals per day, breakfast and lunch, and 2 snacks.

A teacher comes once a week to teach the children and to assess the volunteers on the teaching program for the week. Even though there is a teacher once a week who comes to the project to teach the children and coordinate the program for the week, it is very important for volunteers to take initiative, to be creative and organize games for the children.

Volunteers can also help with the chores of the daycare such as: cleaning, cooking,helping with brushing teeth, etc.

You can help by:

-Playing with the kids and inventing games

-Helping staff with the day to day chores

-Helping to prepare the kid's meals

-Teaching

-Helping the kids to develop good self esteem

Availability: Mid January to Mid December

Minimum commitment: 2 weeks

Level of Spanish: Beginner

Environment

Guatemala is one of the region's most environmentally diverse countries, but many natural habitats are being destroyed by deforestation and desertification.

Conservation projects have been established to slow down environmental degradation in protected areas, municipal nature reserves, and other areas where natural resources are particularly threatened (especially rainforests and cloud-forests). The rapid environmental deterioration and depletion of Guatemala's natural resources is undermining its rich bio-diversity and limiting its potential for economic development.

Environmental projects have the goal of preserving Guatemala's dwindling natural resources and educating the community on the regeneration of these resources.

Our environmental program is divided into- ecological projects and wildlife projects.

Volunteers who are physically fit and enjoy the outdoors are needed to assist in many of these conservation projects.

Ecological Projects

You will be working in environmental projects, natural reserves and parks where you can help our environment by educating the population on good use of their resources and working in the eh expansion of the park.

What will you be doing?

-Implementing projects of recycled materials

-Helping to devise ecological solutions for resource management

-Building and maintaining trails

-Cataloging plant species

-Giving workshops regarding eco-friendly practices to locals

-Promoting eco-tourism

-Helping in organic gardens

Availability: Mid January to Mid December

Minimum Commitment: 4 weeks

Level of Spanish: Beginner

Wildlife Sea Turtles
"Guatemala is an awesome country with people who are even more awesome. I enjoyed every second of being there and made lots of great experiences. Working with turtles was one of the best things I have done in my life."
                                                         Josie from Germany

Sea turtles are now endangered species who need constant protection from poachers, pollution and the developing world. As a volunteer you will be working in a sea turtle conservation project that works toward helping these great animals survive and thrive on the Guatemalan coast.

What could you be doing?

You will help a sea turtle conservation project prevent egg poaching and teach locals about the importance of marine wildlife by:

-Helping with night patrols for eggs

-Monitor the incubating process of sea turtle eggs

-Release young turtles into the ocean

-Conduct workshops about the importance of sea wildlife protection

Availability: Turtle season is June to December

Minimum Commitment: 2 weeks

Level of Spanish: Beginner

Requirements: Volunteers must be reasonably fit and able to work under the sun.

*Sea Turtle conservation incurs an extra fee due to accommodation options, please consult your sending office for details.

Small Business

27% of the Guatemalan population lives in extreme poverty, especially in rural areas. Unemployment in these areas is high, particularly for women and youth. NGO's in this sector provide micro credits, training and business advice to small entrepreneurs to better manage their businesses. Volunteers can bring a new perspective and knowledge to the beneficiaries of these programs.

MICRO-FINANCE ORGANIZATIONS AND COOPS

These are cooperatives and micro-finance organizations aimed at the economical development of indigenous communities through small loans and business advice.  Volunteers can assist them on marketing strategies, advertisement, design and business administration.

You will be working with micro finance organizations and co ops that play an important role in low income communities by giving micro credits and help loaners manage it. More specifically you will be:

-Helping the organization present workshops to small community entrepreneurs

-Working on marketing strategies

-Helping the IT Department of the organization

-Brainstorm new strategies

-Help with events such as the Farmer's Fair

-Advise small community business

-Use your skills to help the co op staff better serve the community

Availability: Mid January to Mid December

Minimum commitment: 4 weeks

Level of Spanish: High Intermediate

Health

In Guatemala, public health care is often under funded and understaffed. So qualified volunteers are always welcome. We work in low income communities to create better access to health in these areas of need.

We partner with rural clinics that provide free or very accessible service where volunteers can work with local doctors and nurses.

Depending on the volunteer's experience in he medical and health field, the level of responsibility will vary.

RURAL CLINICS

These are health clinics located in the western rural areas of Guatemala.  The projects aim to provide medical assistance to poor people who are unable to afford medical care.  Volunteers with a medical background are particularly needed but non-trained volunteers can assist in a range of daily duties.  Volunteers can also work with rural health posts from the state health department.

Another possible assignment would be at a hospital for children who are HIV positive.

Minimum commitment: 4 weeks

Availability: Mid January to Mid December

Level of Spanish:High Intermediate

Volunteers with a health or medical background are preferred.

Construction and Appropriate Technology

Volunteers can work in various projects focusing on the construction of water deposits, latrines, low-income housing, wood-saving stoves and recycled material construction techniques.

This program is focused on appropriate technology using what is available locally to create useful infrastructure.

Minimum commitment: 4 weeks

Level of Spanish: Beginner

Construction and Appropriate Technology

Availability: Mid January to Mid December

Requirements: Volunteers must be reasonably fit.

Fraud Alert
Be advised that there is an individual misrepresenting himself as a participant in a VIP program who is trying to sell/rent property to unsuspecting individuals.

This is not a legitimate offer and this person is not in any way associated with VIP.

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