In the department of La Libertad there are around 4,500 people who have acute visual deficiencies. Tulio Herrera Leon is the only special education center in the area tailored to their needs. 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. Nowadays the school opens its door to children with other types of disabilities such as down syndrome, autism, etc.
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 center 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 however 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 Center asks for donations and external financial help in order to progress and move forward.
Volunteer Roles/Working Hours
The teachers at Tulio Herrera Leon are extremely dedicated, but very much in need of assistants. Every bit of extra help allows them to make better use of their time and therefore provide the students with a better education. Furthermore, every additional volunteer provides much more individual attention to children that are very much in need of it.
The types of roles open to volunteers at the school varies according to the different skills of the volunteer. Those who have experience in special needs education will find Tulio Herrera Leon a challenging and fulfilling environment in which to work. There are also possibilities for volunteers to work in physiotherapy, music teaching, IT teaching as well as more general positions, providing help and assistance in the classrooms.
The working hours will be negotiable and depend on when you are needed but are usually Monday – Friday, 8am – 1.15pm.
Spanish Level required: Basic
Time Commitment: Min. 1 month
Minimum Age: 18 years
Enthusiasm, motivation and assertiveness are much appreciated qualities in volunteers.
Previous experience with disabled children would be an advantage it is certainly not expected or essential.
Please note that this project only runs between March and mid-December.