Volunteer in Guatemala Educational Project for Children with Disabilities
Educational Project for Children with Disabilities
Project Overview: An educational center for children with a range of different disabilities, founded 9 years ago. The original idea for the project came about when the current director – having a son with ADHD and dysgraphia – found the services available for such learning disabilities to be lacking in Guatemala. With her son unable to attend a mainstream school, she decided to set up a center dedicated to providing education to children with special educational needs. The center currently provides education to approximately 60 children, between the ages of 3 and 14. Around 30% of the students have a disability or learning deficit – for example ADHD, dysgraphia, dyslexia, sensory difficulties (blindness/deafness), developmental or learning deficit, motor problems or psychological, emotional and behavioral difficulties, along with gifted children.
Location: The project is located in a small village around 15 minutes from Antigua Guatemala by local bus. There are bus services every 20 minutes that will drop you 2 minutes away from the center.
Project Mission: A comprehensive educational project that aims to change lives through education, rehabilitation and the personal and integral development of the student. Emphasis is placed on fostering self-esteem and providing individualized support to each student depending on their specific abilities.
- Support role as a Teaching Assistant – helping with homework, individual one-on-one mentoring to improve literacy, language and handwriting.
- Carry out sports activities – motivate the students to take part in activities related to physical exercise and more energetic games.
- Specific roles available for volunteers in the areas of psychology, teaching and teacher training, social work, physiotherapy, speech therapy and more. These volunteers will work on an individual therapeutic basis with children with specific difficulties and/or will train the teachers to deal with children with specific difficulties.
- Volunteers can work with students to improve behavior or address family problems.
- Each volunteer can suggest and carry out their own activities based on their specific experience and skills, and their level of initiative.
Specific Volunteer Roles:
- Volunteer as a Coach: A specific profile is not required – simply to be a person who enjoys sport and is able to coach students in football or other sports, motivate the students and implement games and activities.
- Volunteer as an IT Tutor: Carry out maintenance and repairs on the IT equipment in the project, install new programs and games and teach students basic IT skills. The school has a small computer lab on-site.
- Volunteer as an Assistant in Vocational Cooking Class: As somebody who knows how to cook and enjoys teaching students about gastronomy, this volunteer will work alongside a chef twice a week to implement a vocational cooking class.
- Volunteer as General Handyman: General maintenance of the center (electricity, painting, carpentry and other tasks).
Each volunteer will have a chance to carry out a specific volunteer role and/or develop other general tasks in collaboration with the project team.
Working Hours: Mornings, 8.30am-1.00pm approx.
Suggested Volunteering Dates: Volunteers can participate in a placement at any time of year, except for the 2 weeks that the center is closed over Christmas (20th December-10th January).
Minimum Length of Placement: Minimum 2 weeks.
Location: Situated in Central America, bordered west and north by Mexico, east by Belize and Honduras, southeast by El Salvador and south by the Pacific Ocean. The capital is the City of Guatemala.
Climate: Often described as the ‘land of the eternal springtime’, due to its tropical and sub-tropical climate. A country with varied climates, but remains warm and sunny most months of the year, with lower temperatures at night. The mountainous geography of Guatemala – varying from sea level to 4200m above sea level - creates many variations in weather and temperature.
Culture: The ethnic diversity of Guatemala’s current population is reflected by the presence of descendants of various peoples – Mayan, Spanish, Afro-Caribbean, Mexican and (to a smaller extent) Northern American. The typical weavings and traditional dress are still made according to Mayan tradition, and there are still numerous Mayan ruins found at important archeological sites across Guatemala. The enduring mystery and magic of the Mayan civilization can still be felt at sites such as Tikal, Aguateca, Quirigua and Yaxha. Guatemala stands out amongst other Latin American countries for being the country with the highest population of indigenous people.
Tourism: Over the last few years Guatemala has become one of the most visited countries in Central America, with its Mayan traditions, vibrant history and incredible volcanic landscape proving to be a fantastic tourist attraction.
Language: The official spoken language is Spanish, but there exist 24 different Mayan languages. Years ago there were many more Mayan languages that have disappeared over the course of time.
Currency: The official currency of Guatemala is the Quetzal, $1 (7,65Q), 1EUR (8,35Q).
These details could vary according to future currency fluctuation.
Each volunteer will be provided housing with a Guatemalan host family in a charming house – either located in the small city of Antigua or in the community in which you will be carrying out your volunteer placement. The majority of rooms are single-occupancy, although some are shared with other volunteers. They are simple, clean rooms with all the basic necessities and the families are incredibly warm and welcoming. Each volunteer will be provided clean bedding and a home-cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner from Monday-Saturday.
- Volunteers must be 18 years old or above.
- High level of Spanish fluency if not a native Spanish speaker.
- Must have a positive attitude and be motivated to work with children and adults in situations of extreme poverty and social exclusion.
- Must be highly responsible, flexible and adaptable.
- We place great emphasis on the fact that the cultural and personal adaptation should be a process that the volunteer goes through, not the people who they meet in Guatemala.
- The volunteer must be open-minded and have a desire to learn about a different culture and help people with few resources.
In the majority of cases we do not demand specific qualifications or experience, but do require each volunteer to commit themselves completely to the experience of volunteering.
4 weeks: 575 Euros ($640)
3 weeks: 470 Euros ($525)
2 weeks: 385 Euros ($430)
Extra week: 72 Euros ($80)
(These prices could vary slightly according to fluctuations in the $-EUR Exchange Rate).
These prices include:
- Pick-up and transport from Guatemala’s national airport, La Aurora, to your accommodation (one way).
- Accomodation with a host family, including 3 meals Monday-Friday.
- Presence of a Volunteer Coordinator to support you throughout your placement.
- Organization of your volunteer placement in a project of your choice, and a donation to the project.
These prices do not include:
- Plane ticket
- Travel insurance (obligatory)
- Contact us either by phone, email or by filling in the following application form.
- Once you have chosen your volunteering project and have confirmed your start and end dates, you will need to provide us with your exact flight dates (date, flight number, arrival time).
- We will send you a breakdown of the price of the program that you choose.
- Before departure we ask you to make a deposit of your program cost to the ONGVoluntariado Bank Account (the balance of your program cost will be settled in-country upon arrival).
- Before departure you will also receive all the information pertinent to your volunteer placement, Volunteer Contract, travel recommendations and useful info, and we will be available to resolve any doubts or issues you may have before commencing your placement.