Volunteering in Huaraz 2013 (trabajo voluntario en Huaraz)

L ike the previous year, The Huaraz Telegraph brings you all the options on trabajo voluntario in Huaraz for the 2013 season. While being on home soil it´s sometimes difficult to predict what to expect. Although most of the information can be found online, as most of the organisations we contacted have websites (often in better shape than their premises). Please note that volunteering can be quite expensive but the most important things in a volunteer experience is that you enjoy it and that the money you pay or donate is going to benefit those who need it most. Volunteering is not something that should be undertaken lightly and usually requires proper mental and physical preparation as well as professional commitment.

In the States, it is customary to charge people for volunteering. If readers were under the impression that volunteering is expensive in the Huaraz area, bear in mind that it doesn’t have to be. All businesses, organisations and NGOs have been contacted by using the email address or booking form mentioned in the article. The goal of The Huaraz Telegraph was to give you an insight of what options these businesses, organisations and NGOs would offer when contacted and what would be the differences between short and long-term volunteering. Feel free to contact them if you think you would like to make a contribution to one of their programmes. All information was correct at the time of writing. Businesses, organisations and NGOs are listed alphabetically to avoid any suggestion of preferential treatment. Prices, projects and conditions are subject to change as is any information gained from the organisations’ websites. The Huaraz Telegraph accepts no responsibility as a result of these potential changes.

Andean Alliance

By sharing skills, time and experiences with others in need, you can help to create the opportunities to change their circumstances, which may have not been possible before. Andean Alliance is a local family-based NGO working with households in four small communities eight kilometers from Huaraz, close to the entrance of the Quebrada Llaca. Specifically, their latest long-term sustainable project is called El Centro de Desarrollo de Yurac Yacu. Thanks to a locally formed community association and small donations, this community centre is quickly taking form and a life of its own. At 3.3 km walk up from the Hamlet of Marian, the physical centre provides: a permanent room for Early Childhood Education which takes place five mornings a week, a second room for a community library and computer centre, and in 2013 the first pilot project of a community-run café. Some of the projects are profitable for the centre and for the community members. All the programmes and the common themes are there to help people of all ages to develop skillsets to gain self-esteem, become leaders and informed risk takers, to question and make decisions, to take responsibility and actions to make a difference to their communities, their families and themselves.

There are many programmes being offered within this project that continue throughout the year as well as some which are short term. A daily activity would be helping in the education of children 3/4/5 years of age and includes support for the local elementary school called Rivas. There are bi-monthly workshops for teaching methods and materials for local early-childhood teachers. Weekly activities include helping and organizing computer classes for mothers and women or young people. Ania, Tierra de los Ninos, is a programme that connects children with their environment. Throughout the year volunteers can train young people (15 -22 years) in leadership and skill development. From May through September volunteers have various options at the café: training course for cooking, serving, promotion and even some accounting. There is also weekly help needed with homework and on Sundays, English can be taught.

There are opportunities that arise throughout the year for volunteers. The main prerequisite is that volunteers have at least a minimal level of Spanish in order to communicate. Your skillset should match the area you wish to work in, for example: education, sports, outdoor activities, leadership, small businesses, etc. Short-term volunteers need a commitment of one month. There is a charge of 20 soles per day to cover your living costs where food and accommodation are provided on site at the Lazy Dog Inn in a volunteer cabin. People who have an interest in volunteering or would like to know more about the programs offered at Andean Alliance are welcome to contact Diana Morris: dbmorris@andeanalliance.com.

Arco Iris/Turmanye

When we contacted Turmanyé, María Jesús Hernández, the president of the foundation, informed us that there were opportunities at their organisation but that a training week was also required before a volunteer could start. When the volunteer arrives it takes a week to visit the different programmes with one day spent at their casa hogar, three days in the community, one day to see the workshops and two days for the comedor calle (dining street). After the first week volunteers are taken to a meeting where a schedule will be presented and explanation will be given about responsibilities and tasks. Volunteers are expected to work 30 hours a week. Lodging is not included but food during your working hours is. Arco Iris requires a minimum commitment of two months and stresses that there is no additional fee paid by volunteers, though donations are welcome to support their programmes. People interested could contact Sra. Hernandez at: mjhernandez@arcoiristurmanye.com.

Bruce Peru

We have contacted Bruce Peru through their three email addresses mentioned on their website and this year we got a result. In a written reply, we were informed that Bruce Peru is no longer active in Huaraz, contrary to what it says on their website. We obtained this information from bruceorgorg@gmail.com.

Changes for New Hope

This NGO, registered at Omprakash.org, is run by Baltimore native Jim Killon who formerly worked in sales for 20 years. Killon started his project in 2009 after leaving another NGO in Huaraz disillusioned when he found out how funds were being allocated and the fact that volunteers seemed more interested in partying than helping. This information is derived from an interview we found on the web. According to the donation history on Omprakash, Changes for New Hope has received (at the time of writing the article) USD 13,979.45 and spent USD 9,683.00 on various things such as construction and materials for a playground at the Secsapampa project, teacher salary, transportation costs and shoes for the children. Changes for New Hope´s core slogan Do The Right Thing has been supported by the local government and many volunteers to date.

Volunteering for Changes for New Hope requires a one-time donation fee of USD 200. According to Changes for New Hope´s website, this is what volunteers can expect: ¨A volunteer should be able to stay for at least one month, however shorter times can be considered. Flexibility will be needed to adapt to, what may be for you, a dramatic lifestyle change. Huaraz is in a third-world country. Water is boiled before you drink it, taxi cars are ten years old, food in restaurants is quite different. Having said that, a volunteer can expect an experience that will deeply move you. It is because the needs are so vast that everything and anything that you do with the children and the project makes an enormous impact. It is why Changes for New Hope was created. The volunteer fee which is used to keep our project going is a once only contribution of USD 200.¨ To contact Killon´s NGO go to this link: jimnollik@yahoo.com.

Juventino’s Family Home

Juventino Martin Albino Caldua and Eric Raul Albino Lliuya invite tourists to become part of their community tourism family house in Unchus, located five kilometers from the city of Huaraz, east of the Cordillera Blanca. Their purpose is to improve local living conditions and maintain the traditional culture of the area. Though they do not offer complete volunteering programmes, they are interested in having an English teacher in their community at a cost of 12 Soles a day which would include bed and breakfast., a great option for short-term volunteers. Are you interested in volunteering for Juventino’s Family Home? Contact them at: office.peruexpeditions@gmail.com.

Respons

Respons offers volunteers the opportunity to become involved in one of the community projects in the Huaraz region. The mission of Respons is to offer, develop, stimulate and broaden sustainable tourism in Central and Northern Peru. Their mission is in sharp contrast with the fact that Respons´ founder decided to open up offices in Lima and Cusco last year, hence expanding southwards. Established on the 10th of February 2009, this travel agency focusses its attention on sustainable tourism fulfilling a bridge function between local communities and the tourism sector. Respons was set up by Dutchman Guido van Es and on his website he explains his reasons for setting up Repsons: ¨When I got back in August 2008, I visited the community projects. I saw that they were still doing great on certain aspects, giving a quality service and an unforgettable experience to their clients. But they had not grown in the years that passed, even though demand had. The problem lied in the marketing and professionalization of the center in Huaraz. Also, a more active contribution to conservation of natural resources of the communities was lacking, caused by a low project income and thus logically different priorities. In other words, the CBTs [Community based tourism] were ready to be taken to the next level. I felt I was just the right person for the job

The two options Respons offers volunteering are either teaching English in one of the communities, or building improved stoves for the Vicos campesinos (peasants). On a flyer The Huaraz Telegraph received from Annika, a German intern currently working in the Huaraz´ office of Respons, we were informed that ¨This voluntourism programme allows you to improve the health and economic conditions of a selected family in the community of Vicos, one of the most authentic, but also poorest, communities of the Ancash region. In an improved kitchen, the cocina mejorada, a stove that uses less wood and eliminates smoke in the kitchen, improves the health of the family tremendously. In two days, you will help them build their own improved kitchen, funded in part by your donation.¨ For short term volunteers, Respons provides a packed two-day programme with noncompulsory the option of hiring a Dutch, French or English-speaking translator for an extra S/. 145. The one night-two days building an improved kitchen program will cost volunteers a total of S/. 540 if a translator is hired, where lodging, meals and the donation of a steel plate for the kitchen (which the volunteer will purchase himself) are included, taxis, snacks, drinking water and tips or souvenirs are not. Volunteers will share a bungalow with a bedroom, living room with chimney, and one bathroom.

Respons also offers a third-day option participating in a Patchamanca ritual with the hosts. Pachamanca is a typical dish of the Peruvian Andes consumed during harvest and other celebrations. Hot stones are used to cook the food underground. Participants are invited to help with the preparations; preparing the meat, constructing the stone oven and covering it with the right combination of herbs, grass and soil. Long-term volunteering involves teaching English in the community with full meals and accommodation provided for between 50-60 Soles per day (S/. 1,500 per month). Teaching English in Vicos would mean working in the mornings from 8am until 1pm at the school, which caters for approximately 370 pupils. during the first few days of teaching, a professor will accompany volunteers, as the school currently doesn’t possess very good English teaching material. There are two professors who teach English, but no books are available for the students at the moment. If volunteers are able to bring materials from their home country (books, magazines, games etc.) to share with the students, this would be greatly appreciated. People interested in volunteering for Respons can contact them at: huaraz@responsibletravelperu.com.

Seeds of Hope

The mission of Seeds of Hope is to support children living in extreme poverty in Huaraz, and to provide vocational training for those without economic means, so informs their website. Founded in 2006 by Yuri Chavez and three others, this registered charity (2007-00007936) provides students with a strong academic and personal education, founded on values and principles which will improve their prospects for the future and develop their potential for independent thought. At Seeds of Hope, children’s parents are educated about the importance of schooling and the long term benefits that this will bring to their family. The Seeds of Hope website emphasises that the charity works mainly with children who are at risk of dropping out of the educational system. Daily activities include helping children with their homework, enhancing their basic reading, writing and arithmetic to a level appropriate for their age and ensuring all children understand the importance of personal hygiene, including showering, brushing their teeth, and washing their face and hands, especially after using the bathroom. Potential volunteers can go directly to Seeds´ website if they are interested.

Another option available is the website Omprakash.org where people can either donate or sign up to volunteer. This website also shows the amount of donations and the expenditure in details. Seeds of Hope have received USD 22,992.33 (at the moment of writing the article) since a certain Mark donated USD 25 on January 5th 2008. Their total reported expenditures are calculated at USD 13,795.56 since their first visible expenditure on January 1st 2010. Apart from what seem to be irregular reported expenditures, the chart also shows that Seeds of Hope haven’t had any expenses since March 31st 2012. The latest (registered) payment on Omprakash.org shows a field trip with 28 students, including lunch for their school at the cost of USD 37. Internet, electricity, water, gas and fire extinguisher expenditure was declared on February 28th 2012 for USD 310. The latest donation (at the moment of writing the article) was made by Steven from Portland, USD 29,10 on the 30th of April 2013.

For a monthly contribution of USD 200 volunteers can expect to work directly with the children or behind the scenes. The contribution fee goes directly to the operation costs of Seeds of Hope, so we were informed by email. In the same email the international coordinator of Seeds of Hope tells us: ¨Being still a small organisation we rely on this contribution fee to sustain our work with our 55 students.¨ Seeds of Hope is still looking for, like last year and as described on the website, teachers, social workers, psychologists, project coordinators, language professionals, marketing and fundraising professionals. Sally Gissing informed us that the accommodation was not included in the donation fee. Seeds offers a large range of options between S/. 400 for a shared room per month and S/. 800 for a private room at their volunteer apartment in the heart of the city which is within walking distance of their school. Seeds´ apartment is fully furnished with WI-FI, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, access to a large roof space and laundry facilities. According to Seeds: ¨The rent is very affordable for such a central location and includes water, electricity, linen and internet but not food.¨ If you are interested in volunteering for Seeds of Hope, contact them at: seedsofhoperu@hotmail.com.

Semillas de Vida

Seeds of Life are a small, Waldorf-inspired community school located on the outskirts of the city. This is a community of parents (among them the owner of the Sierra Andina Beer Company in Huaraz) from different walks of life, different cultures, languages and economic classes yet with very similar beliefs regarding what helps children grow into balanced, informed, inspired and compassionate adults. Semillas has identified their building blocks – their seeds of life – and have come together to create an educational institution that honors those principles. The community garden was started by a few friends´ living in Huaraz, at the foot of 6000-meter peaks in a practically fairy-tale natural setting where wholesome, chemical free, natural food is grown who came together to work, learn and grow healthy food that they would share between their families.

The founders choose the name Semillas de Vida to capture the vision that the foundation of their children’s lives be harmonious, aesthetic, filled with movement, color, balance, light, love, crossover cultures, economies and languages. Semillas is now in its second year of operation with 16 students divided between two classes: a kindergarten (3-4 years old) and a multi-grade primary class (6-9 years old). The school and garden function largely due to the gargantuan efforts of parents and volunteers. Semillas de Vida has limitless projects for anyone interested in rolling up their sleeves and taking part whether it is gardening, chicken-chasing, construction projects, music, art, classes, workshops with the kids, or some other idea you may have for joining in on the fun.

According to American co-founder Jennifer Hrinkevich: ¨We’d love to hear from you and see how and where you could fit in. There is no excuse anymore to be bored in Huaraz with such exciting things happening around you. Get in touch!¨ Semillas de Vida can be found on Facebook or contacted directly at jhrinkevich@hotmail.com. We almost forgot: volunteering is free of charge.

Sernanp/ National Park Huascarán

As readers have seen, there are plenty of short and long-term options on volunteering in Huaraz. We also found volunteering options at the National Park Huascarán but never came any further than two emails between us and Juan Carlos Heaton who directed us towards the director of the National Park. Heaton did inform us that there is a minimum of three months required for volunteers to commit themselves but as mentioned before, we found it difficult to contact them. As far as we are informed, volunteering for Sernanp is free and if you are interested in volunteering for the National Park Huascarán, you could find more information at their website.

Social Well Being

Thirteen days after we sent our email we finally received a reply, given by Patricia J. Hammer Ph.D. and director of the organisation. She stated: ¨We appreciate your message of interest with regard to our work with Quechua communities in Peru, and apologize for the delay in response – we’ve been busy in remote regions. With regard to possible volunteer opportunities with our civic association, we require volunteers to first train in our intensive field program to both develop required skills in the methodology we are committed to – Community Participatory Action Research – as well as become familiar with the culture, politics and particular populations and programmess with whom we collaborate. We have a training session scheduled for August 1st-21st 2013 that may interest you. We recommend that you review our website, particularly the University Field School section, and click on History at the foot of the page to see visuals and reports from previous participants. Please feel free to send us your further inquiries.¨ If people are interested to contact Social Well Being, please write to: phammer@wayna.rcp.net.pe.

Stichting Wees Kind

This Dutch charity organisation, founded in 2003 by a group of friends, is run by seven board members and among them Ana María Houben-Quirós, daughter of the in town’s well-known Albergue Churup family. In Huaraz, Katherine Liakos from Leeds (UK) and Sabine Honing from the Netherlands work as the on-site coordinators. Stichting Wees-Kind (“To Be a Child” in English) has projects located in Los Pinos, Ichoca, Huaraz Centre and Monterrey. On their website they state the following: ¨We are a group of friends who use our professional experience to better the lives of deprived children. Our main focus is helping children in deplorable circumstances in Peru: children who cannot lead a normal life due to bitter circumstances

Be aware that after you have submitted your application and are (hopefully) accepted, you’ll have to undergo an interview. The minimum period for volunteering at SWK is normally one month with many options to extent this period. SWK offers its volunteers a total package deal from between 800 Euros (S/. 2,684) and 1,000 Euros (S/. 3,356) including lodging and Spanish lessons in town. Due to the economic crisis in Europe and probably the (too) high financial contribution, SWK is not receiving enough volunteers from the Netherlands and therefore no longer operates their volunteer house in Huaraz. Depending on vacancy, volunteers will now most likely stay at Albergue Churup.

For tourists visiting Huaraz, there are options to assist a couple of days in the soup kitchens, preparing food, handing out plates and drinks and doing the dishes/cleaning. This is an excellent way of meeting the local population, helping the children, and contributing to the projects. On the first Friday of every month at Pizzeria La Rotonda at Parque del Periodista, Katherine and Sabine organise a joyful Trivia quiz night to collect money for the children in need. For people abroad willing to contact SWK, go to info@stichtingweeskind.nl. For tourists willing to contact Sabine or Katherine, leave a note at La Rotonda.

Teach Huaraz

Teach Huaraz is one of the lucky organisations that have regained a mention in the newest edition of the Lonely Planet. Teach Huaraz Peru is a family business run by father and Jauja-born Luis Delgado, recently married daughter, executive director of Teach Huaraz, Sindy Zarela Delgado and finally mom, who does the cooking. Teach Huaraz Peru specialises in creating tailored volunteering programmes for English speakers to suit a wide variety of interests and skills. The tailored programmes are arranged and confirmed with the volunteer prior to arriving in Huaraz and involve full support and interaction throughout the process. Volunteering comes with a placement fee of USD 210 plus USD 420 homestay accommodation. The placement fee includes, among other things, an airport pick up in Lima and 24-hour support from Delgado and his family for the duration of your volunteering programme.

Homestay at the Delgados’ for USD 110 per week or USD 420 per month, which includes the use of a private bathroom, three meals a day shared with the family and the opportunity to become an integral part of Peruvian family life so informs teachhuarazperu.org. Not included in the prices mentioned are Spanish lessons, given by daughter Cindy, available for USD 10 for a private hourly tutorial. Their mission statement as mentioned on Facebook: ¨Teach Peru was originally established as a low cost volunteering organisation with a fee structure that covered costs while providing opportunities for as many volunteers as possible to be become involved,¨ doesn´t really explain the vast fee of USD 630 you are expected to pay the first month. Volunteers are mostly sent to teach at the Fé y Alegría School, the Language Centre of the UNASAM or Robert M. Smith School where Luis Delgado works as the English coordinator. If you´re interested in volunteering for Huaraz Teach Peru, contact them at www.teachhuarazperu.org/contact.

The Huaraz Telegraph

Should we include ourselves in this article? Well, why not? At The Huaraz Telegraph we are looking for English speakers willing to make a contribution to our paper. This contribution offers a variety of possibilities from setting up and analyzing surveys, improving and updating our website, working on articles, liaising with the printing company, helping with the distribution or promoting The Huaraz Telegraph in the city. Volunteering is free of charge at The Huaraz Telegraph and for long-term volunteers we even have a free room with private bathroom in offer. Are you interested in volunteering for The Huaraz Telegraph? Contact us at: info@thehuaraztelegraph.com.

Volunteer Work Latin America

We also contacted Volunteer Work Latin America who offers volunteer work in Cusco, Arequipa, Lima and Cajamarca for example but unfortunately not in Huaraz. All Cusco-based projects’ rates start at USD 905, including an airport pick-up in Cusco, an orientation meeting upon arrival including practical information, accommodation, and meals and for all Cusco-based projects a welcome programme with activities. In case you´re interested in volunteering for Volunteer Work Latin America, you could contact them at info4@volunteerworklatinamerica.org.

Research and text by Thomas Kristianson

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