Partner Projects

Dog Shelter

In Peru, sadly, thousands of pets are abandoned by their owners every year for various reasons. The fact that most of them are cross or mixed breed, and therefore of no commercial value, is the main reason why they’re left alone on the street to either survive or die. The luckier of these animals end up in a refuge or family shelter, where they wait to be adopted.
Two small associations in Trujillo were really concerned about the situation and got together to form a cooperative aimed at minimizing this awful situation by opening a small dog refuge centre. They look after abandoned and sick dogs found on the streets, they also have a sterilization campaign in place to decrease the number of homeless pets.
The refuge centre is in a shanty town just outside of Huanchaco and can accommodate up to 40 dogs. The centre is run by Antonio, who lives on site but it is a lot of work to look after so many dogs, so volunteers are always needed to help with the workload. If you have any specials skills (veterinary skills) or experience (previous work in an Animal Refuge or similar), better still, but this is not necessary, all they need is someone with a genuine interest in and love for animals and a strong willingness to help. Make a difference for these poor creatures marauding about the streets, ill and starving. They sure will appreciate it!

Volunteer Roles/Working Hours

The main task of volunteers is helping protect the good health and well being of the abandoned dogs while trying to find them a new home if possible. Work at the Dog Shelter includes a combination of:
• Helping with the maintenance of the facility: i.e. cooking, feeding, and cleaning up.
• Taking the dogs out for walks.
• Rescuing abandoned dogs at risk.
• Generally speaking, the centre is open everyday. However, volunteers work at dog’s refuge centre from Monday to Friday, from 9:40am to 13:30pm.

Working with Abandoned animals part-time can potentially be combined with another project role.

Volunteer Requirements

• Minimum age 18
• No Spanish required, but some basic is useful for communication with the people who look after the animals. We can arrange Spanish classes for you to start on arrival.
• Minimum commitment: 4 weeks- the longer, the better.
• Volunteers must be animal loving! Volunteers must be adaptable and also flexible to work with limited resources.
• Relevant academic & professional background (veterinarian, etc) would be an advantage, but not expected or essential.

Teaching assistant at a special needs school

This school began as the only special education center in the area tailored to the needs of the 4,500 people in the area with visual deficiencies. 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. Now, the school opens its door to children with other types of disabilities such as down syndrome and autism.
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 but 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 this school 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.
  • Working hours in this position are Monday – Friday, 8am – 1.15pm.

Volunteer Requirements

  • Spanish Level required: Basic to Intermediate
  • 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 but it is certainly not expected or essential.

Supporting a local health clinic as a dr. nurse or medical assistant

In August 2011 the local government opened Health Office in Huanchaquito, similar to “COPC” (Clinic for Outpatient Care), in order to look after the health of the population in Huanchaquito, as people used to have to walk long way to Huanchaco for medical/health services.
The Huanchaquito Health Office only provides basic medical services and the very tight budget it works from (just 200 soles a month) allows them to afford only 4 part-time employees. This makes it hard for them to provide adequate healthcare for the local population. The mission of the Huanchaquito Health Office is to promote, protect and guarantee good health and life quality for the local population through a great and warm service. They work according to human values, respect and trust, with their main objectives being to adequately serve the local population as well as encouraging community participation.

With the aid of volunteers, Huanchaquito Health Office aims to reach out to a larger population and keep more contact with community through family visits, outreach work and public campaigns. Volunteers will be involved with helping to promote and maintain the effective, warm and efficient services provided by the Huanchaquito Health Office.

Volunteer Roles/Working Hours

  • For medical students: volunteer’s role at the clinic/health offices is limited to observing/assisting the doctors and nurses while they are attending patients and doing the visits to local communities and local schools. However, volunteers can work on awareness building campaigns and workshops on various health related issues with local clinics and other network projects. It is also possible to visit rural families throughout the area to share information about nutrition, vaccines and the services available for expectant mothers and children. Support with planning and implementing trainings and workshops on preventative care, vaccinations for children and families will also be very valuable.
  • For certified doctors/nurses: we can develop specific roles and tasks depending on skills and experience of each volunteer and the needs of the clinics, health offices and local communities
  • The role of volunteers can fluctuate greatly throughout the year depending on the number of staff available at the time.
  • The Clinic is open 8 am – 1 pm, Monday – Saturday (Can be negotiated, but Monday and Saturday are usually the busiest day at the clinic, especially at the nurse’s station.)

Volunteer Requirements

  • Spanish Level: Advanced
  • Time commitment: 1 month minimum – the longer the better!
  • Minimum Age: 21 years old
  • Medical students: must be in their final year of education, recommendation letter from the university (and then its translation in Spanish. it doesn’t have to be officially translated)
  • Copy of your certification as a doctor/nurse
  • CV and Motivation letter in Spanish

Working with children at a Kindergarten

The kindergarten project is located in a shantytown near Huanchaco. The poverty rate in this area is extremely high and this is the only social project around for the underprivileged inhabitants of the area; most of whom are immigrants who moved to the coast full of hope, leaving behind their roots in the highlands to find a better future. For most, the reality hasn’t been easy and many haven’t been able to get full-time jobs and have little option but to work in agriculture or construction, receiving very little money to survive.
Most of the parents never completed their own basic education and therefore they often are not able to support the education of their children. In 2010, the kindergarten started off in a little wooden cottage hosting 8 children to develop their basic skills before going to primary school. As their parents are not charged any fees, the group of children is growing. Since then they have built another wooden cottage, a playground and bathrooms to offer a better environment for the kids.

Volunteer Roles/Working Hours

  • Assisting the main kindergarten teacher in everything required ensuring the kids are making progress according to their age group.
  • Managing the nursery room and supervising the children using the playground and outside areas.
  • Organising recreational and enrichment activities and games for the enjoyment of the children.
  • The kindergarten is open most of the year (from March to mid-December).
  • Volunteers work Monday to Friday 9am-1pm.

Volunteer Requirements

  • Basic to Minimal Spanish level required
  • Minimum commitment: One month
  • Able to deal with streetwise children.
  • Creative, responsible and independent personality.
  • Genuine interest in working with children.

Music project

There is only one public music school of Trujillo. Since its beginning the school has been devoted to training locals to become professional and/or certified musicians and teachers. The focus for this volunteer role is on their children’s program. It is designed to provide children and youngsters with early preparation for professional musical studies in order to fulfil the demands and expectations in the growing market of music as well as give young people skills they can use for a lifetime.
The main goal of this project is to coach children and adolescence with a creativity and passion for music, encouraging in them individuality, musical values and instilling in them the importance of practice and hard work. As the school is a public school, it has a very small budget. Despite this, all the staff at the school strive to give the best musical education they can to the students, as well as creating a pleasant environment to study and work in. With the aid of volunteers, they can reach out to more students and provide a more comprehensive education. So, if you have music running through your veins, come here to volunteer and sing along!

Volunteer Roles/Working Hours

  • The main role of volunteers is giving classes/workshops to develop the musical skills of students- through the experience of various forms of orchestral music- and also organizing a schedule with activities that will do well to that purpose. As well as:
  • Teaching the children how to play music instruments
  • Showing children how important it is to practice every day and be disciplined
  • Giving advice about proper care and maintenance of instruments
  • Bringing new ideas to improve the musical techniques and other ad-hoc features
  • Setting-up special lessons, workshops and after-school musical sessions
  • Participating in the youth orchestra
  • Normally the project is open all year round. The Child Symphonic Orchestra runs on Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, while the Youth Symphonic Orchestra goes Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:30pm to 9:00pm. However, the times and frequency of the Orchestra rehearsals depend on the time year, as in the summer (December-March) they put on more concerts.

Volunteer Requirements

  • Spanish level: Basic to Intermediate Spanish level. The director is fluent in English and German so any knowledge you have of either of these too languages is a bonus!
  • Minimum commitment: 4 weeks- the longer, the better
  • Professional musical training
  • Empathetic, proactive and open-minded personality

Women's Social Enterprise Bakery Project

The idea with this new venture is to empower women and improve their lives through social enterprise. The women’s bakery trains and supports women in Huanchaco to source local ingredients bake and sell fortified breads, manage business operations and ultimately own their own bakery which will bring food to the community and enrich the local economy. The bakery group consists of four women . This project began in June 2016.

This project is looking for two main roles, Business Trainer and Baker.

Business Trainer

Running the bakery is more than just baking! The bakery also needs people with a range of business skills they can pass on to the women by training them, and working alongside them.

Volunteer Requirements:

• Spanish level required: Intermediate
• Time Commitment: Min. 1 month
• Minimum Age: 18 years
• Previous experience in any of marketing, sales, finance, inventory management and retail management would be an advantage, but is not essential

Baking Volunteer

The bakery is looking for volunteers who are able to commit to a regular shift, ideally for a minimum of a month or for a few months and who are fans of real bread. Shifts are generally in the mornings or afternoons

Volunteer Requirements:

• Spanish level required: Basic
• Time Commitment: Min. 1 month
• Minimum Age: 18 years
• Experience of baking isn’t completely essential but enthusiasm and willingness to get stuck in are.

Fair Trade Photography Project

The fair trade photography project is a social enterprise which produces fair trade photo products. The photos on the products are taken by teenagers from Peru. You see the face, name and age of the photographer on the back of each card. The project offers the young people involved photography training, a medical fund and guidance in making their future plans. The teenagers get 50% of the profits of the sale of their own photos to finance their housing and education. The other 50% is mostly used for investments in the company.
Your task as a volunteer is to contribute to guiding underprivileged teenagers in producing quality photos for the fair trade products, with the goal of personal development and income support for these teenagers. The activities consist of preparing and giving photography lessons and other training that contribute to the development of the teenagers their self-esteem, future plans and English language skills. This project has the potential to completely turn around the lives of the participating teenagers and already has some inspiring success stories of how these young people break the chains of poverty in which they were locked.

Volunteer Roles/Working Hours

The workshops for the young people run for three hours at a time, three days a week (at this moment on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday but this can change over time). The remainder of your time will be spent preparing the classes, helping to sort through the photos taken by the young people and meeting with the management. The work will take about 15 hours a week.

The following roles are available to volunteers:

  • Photography & creativity trainer for the 10 Peruvian teenagers
  • Trainer for social abilities and personal development workshops for the teenagers
  • Volunteer Requirements

    • Spanish level: Intermediate
    • Minimum commitment of 6 weeks
    • Flexible and open-minded
    • Interest and some experience with working with teenagers (13-18 years old)
    • Able to work independently and structured
    • Creative and flexible in organizing activities

    If you are interested in volunteering with this project, please also provide us with information about:
    a) Your personal motivation to volunteer at this project. Which of the vacancies mentioned suit you and why?
    b) What your expectations are. Describe how you imagine a day working at the project to be. Your expectations are important to avoid disappointments later on.
    c) Your resumé (stating age, education and past work and volunteer experiences).
    d) Your availability: when exactly do you want to come and for how long do you want to stay?

Assistant at a Children's Home

In Peru childhood is one of the most vulnerable and unprotected periods of a person’s life. Two thirds of children under the age of 5 live in poverty, and 2 out of 10 live in extreme poverty.
The boys who live at the children’s home (it is a single-sex facility, so there are no girls) mostly come from dysfunctional families with major economic problems, where they were often victims of abuse and violence, and are far more likely to drop out of school. Their personalities are often characterized by low self-esteem, frustration, irritability, deficits in self-control, distrust of others, problems with authority and exacerbation of sexuality and aggression.
Started in 2001, the children’s home is a non-profit organisation whose goal is to provide children and adolescents living in the streets and in extreme poverty an opportunity for a better future. It strives to generate the necessary means and resources needed in order to reintegrate the children into society. The house runs according to a very rigid schedule. When a new child enters the home he will learn the rules and regulations and have to adapt to living in a group, which helps in reducing anti social behaviour. The child’s integration into life in the home is aided by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals – teachers, psychologists, social workers – as well as a varied programme of activities.

Volunteer Roles/Working Hours

  • Supporting recreational activities inside and outside the home
  • Helping the children with their school homework
  • Developing activities and projects for the boys
  • Helping with the day to day running of the house including supervising the children while they complete their daily tasks
  • Working hours can be flexibly arranged but volunteers are required to commit 20 hours per week


  • Spanish Level to Start Project: Advanced
  • Time Commitment: 2 months min.
  • Minimum Age: 21 years
  • CV and motivation letter in Spanish
  • Appropriate clothing for working with children
  • Flexibility in working hours and ability to adapt quickly to change
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Proactive and able to work off your own initiative
  • Responsible and mature as you will be working in a challenging environment

Workshop Leader at an Educational Day Centre

To the North of Trujillo there is a shanty town called El Milagro (The Miracle). The poorest part of this shantytown lies in and around a big garbage dump. These families, often including the children, work on the dump to collect plastic and glass and anything else they can sell for recycling. This is a very difficult and unhealthy environment to work in, but all these families have to raise a little money to live on.
The educational day centre, tries to stimulate these children, firstly, to go to school – many families make the kids work during the school day, arguing that they need the money – and secondly to continue learning in order to give them some hope of a better future. This includes practical help with homework as well as providing fun learning activities and skill development projects
With the start in life that these children have, they need a miracle to end up with a real chance of a good career and future. We don’t expect you to perform miracles, but volunteering here can help enable the poorest kids to have some chance in the future, rather than repeat the cycle of their parents as some of the poorest and most deprived families. This project calls for serious initiative. The families can be resistant to the help offered by day centre and the volunteers. In order to work here you need to be capable of communicating with the families, gaining their trust so they are comfortable and happy for their children to attend the day centre.

Volunteer Roles/Working Hours

  • The main task of volunteers is to plan, prepare and deliver workshops using limited resources. This can be for primary or secondary aged children.
  • Volunteers are responsible for coming up with the workshop themes and content. Previous workshops have included a reading club, guitar lessons and a variety of sports activities.
  • There are also group activities for younger children where the centre sometimes requires extra assistance to take care of and play with children.
  • Since most children attend school in the mornings – with the exception of some of the teenagers – the workshops tend to be in the afternoons or on Saturdays
  • Please note: volunteers can only be accepted for this project between July and December

Volunteer Requirements

  • Minimum Age: 20
  • Experience with and affection for working with children (3-19 years old)
  • Spanish Level: Intermediate at least
  • Able to deal with chaotic situations
  • Flexible in organizing activities for the children
  • Be able to take a lot of your own initiative
  • Time Commitment: 6 weeks min.

Organic Fair Trade Coffee and Sugar Community Farm

Sícchezpampa is a lovely small village situated 1,500 metres above sea level in the tropical hills of Ayabaca province. It is about a seven hour journey from Piura although the road that takes you there only goes as far as Sícchez, the district capital. From there, it’s an hour and a half of steep walking (or an hour on a donkey) on an uphill path to get to Sícchezpampa.
The inhabitants of Sícchezpampa are mainly focused on sugar cane and organic coffee production, although now they also tend to a small herd of domesticated animals. The lifestyle here is based on an Incan socio-economic model of community strength. It relies on solidarity and mutual cooperation between the members of the community. For instance, all of them take part in scattering seeds and reaping crops on public and/or private pieces of land. When there’s a wedding, everyone helps out laying the foundations and then building the house of the newly married couple.
In Sícchezpampa the entire community works on the farm (chakra) of each member on a rotating basis. Working together is essential for the labour on the farms. The coffee harvest starts between June and July until December. Farmers really need the help of volunteers in the day-to-day operations as they cannot afford employees and the climatic conditions make the crop very difficult.
The main goal of this project is to help improve the quality of life for the people of Sicchezpampa. Volunteering here also contributes to the awareness and promotion of sustainable social development, a life force for this remote mountain community. If you have a brave heart, are happy in the middle of nowhere without the comforts of home and want to help sow the seeds of development in this remote mountain community then you should not miss this volunteer opportunity!

Volunteer Roles/Working Hours

The main task of volunteers is to assist the farmers of Sicchezpampa with all the agricultural work required to run the holdings. Tasks can include:

  • Harvesting & processing the coffee & sugar from June to December.
  • Helping out with the eco-garden (huerta) and the domesticated animals on it (from May to December)
  • Maintaining the land and getting it ready for cultivating by tidying-up, cleaning and ensuring a proper care and maintenance.
  • Bringing new ideas about how to improve the growing of coffee, sugar and other products.
  • Setting-up extra activities for the empowerment of the community.
  • Volunteers can only be accepted for this project between May and December.
  • Generally speaking, volunteers work from Monday to Saturday, in the morning (08:00 till 12:00) or in the afternoon (14:00 till 17:00). However, from June to December (peak season) you might work from 7:00 to 19:00. You need to be flexible in terms of season and weather conditions – making hay (or coffee) while the sun shines! In any case, you will always have at least one day free. There is not much to do alone in Sícchezpampa, apart from walking in the beautiful mountains, so don’t forget to bring a few books!

Volunteer Requirements

  • Basic-minimal Spanish level. However, it is recommended that volunteers at this level take Spanish lessons beforehand as nobody speaks English. We can arrange classes for you to take before you go there.
  • Minimum commitment: 1 month – the longer, the better.
  • High motivation to work hard (can be long tiring days at altitude).
  • Prepared to be partly vegetarian. Meat and cheese are very scarce. Former volunteers advise to bring vitamins and medical supplies.
  • Both physical and mental preparedness to work in an isolated community up in the hills with basic living conditions.
  • Empathetic, responsible and strong personality.

You are donating to : Otra Cosa Network

Your support makes it possible for us improve education opportunities and social development in the communities where we work around Huanchaco. Creating lasting change through local empowerment. You can Donate by Bank Transfer if you wish.

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