Volunteer with Hogares Comunitarios
The Guatemalan government sponsors the hogares comunitarios project aimed at helping the children from very poor neighborhoods by providing day care and meals. The day care centers are in the homes of women throughout the country. Each project has an average of 12 children from infants to six years old. The children are either from single parent households or households affected by alcohol or drug abuse.
The children are provided with breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day along with educational activities and a safe place to spend the day. Volunteers with this program will help with meals, play with the children and are welcome to introduce early development activities such as simple English, basic math and more.
Participants need to be flexible, take initiative, and be creative. Placements can be arranged in a variety of rural and city locations. Volunteers should have a high-beginner level of Spanish language and be comfortable in a 100% Spanish-speaking environment.
Woman Empowerment Programs
ELI partners with women’s offices in the Highland region of Guatemala that advocate for women’s and children’s rights and provide services such as training, support and advice. These organizations focus on education, self-esteem, and other initiatives which give women the proper tools to improve themselves and their family's economic and social conditions. Programs center on issues such as domestic violence, women's rights, women's health, and economics/ entrepreneurial projects. Participants may help with different projects which strive to improve the living conditions of women including: training workshops on handicrafts, clothing, cooking, ceramics etc.; business training; presentations and forum discussions on home violence, leadership, women’s rights and health consultations.
Participants for this placement must be able to speak Spanish at an intermediate level and commit to at least 4 weeks.
ELI works with primary and secondary schools throughout the highlands region. Participants can help with teaching English or computer basics. Volunteers can either assist or take the lead with classes, and extra-curricular activities. Importantly, international volunteers provide the students with the unique experience of getting to know a foreigner and serve as mentors and role models to the students.
Volunteers teaching English should have an intermediate level of Spanish. In some schools you will act as assistant to the teacher and once your confidence and ability have grown, you may be allowed to take classes on your own. In many of these schools, however, you will immediately begin as the primary instructor for a class. Aside from working with the students, participants may be asked to help train teachers and staff so that they can properly instruct students in the future.
Life Skills Education Program
Participants in this program will help create, teach and evaluate a variety of life skills classes aimed at high school students. Participants can be involved with subject matter that he/she feels most comfortable with, and wants to teach. In most situations, participants will be working with limited resources, and overworked & underfunded organizations. Participants need to be flexible, creative and resourceful. A good sense of humor can also come in handy.
Volunteers and Interns must have a high-intermediate level of Spanish to teach computer classes and know computer-specific terminology. Volunteers and Interns with the life-skills program must have an advanced level of Spanish. This program has an 8 week minimum time commitment. The school year in Guatemala runs from February through November.
ELI works with a variety of microfinance institutions (MFIs) that provide micro credits, training and business advice at a community level in Guatemala and have changed the lives of many small scale entrepreneurs.
Interns work with Savings and Credit Cooperatives in Sololá and Quetzaltenango helping educate and train small businesses to identify, prioritize, program, execute, and evaluate development projects. Additionally, participants focus on increasing income, improving the environment for businesses, and helping businesses find new markets to work with.
Experience within the fields of accounting, business administration, marketing, or finance is very helpful.
This placement requires a minimum of 4 week commitment and an intermediate to advanced level of Spanish.
Work with government Health Posts that provide curative and preventative medicine. There are approximately 800 government & military sponsored health posts throughout the country. Participants will travel with a team of medical professionals to different posts in the Highlands region. Participants will not only help with patient visits, but will also engage in education outreach programs, teaching the community about healthy living.
Volunteers with these programs can work on a variety of issues including: education, promotion, prevention and treatment. Participants will assist staff both in and out of the clinic. Tasks are assigned by the local staff based on what they feel is appropriate given a volunteer's background.This is a great opportunity for doctors, nurses, PAs, and medical students to learn about Guatemala health system while also giving back to the community in a very appreciated way.
This internship requires at least a 4 week time commitment.
ELI works with local groups that promote open communication, aimed at educating the public about HIV/AIDs. Participants in this program will learn about their host communities’ needs and from that help design and implement activities and workshops, awareness and education campaigns, and assist with documentation and evaluation of the campaigns.
Physical Therapy and Psychology
Participants with an appropriate background in psychology can assist the staff in administering psychological tests to mentally handicapped children, work to create proper treatment strategies, and help provide counseling and support to the children and their families.
Participants in physical therapy school can shadow and assist the two trained physiotherapists who work in the clinic. Tasks vary greatly depending on the intern’s skill level, language abilities, and the needs of the physiotherapists and the patients.
Volunteer opportunities are open to health professionals and medical students on their last year of school. Internship opportunities are open to students who have completed their first year in medical school, nursing school or physical therapy school. Participants must have strong Spanish language skills and have a good grasp of medical vocabulary. Pre-meds may not apply for this program.
Sea Turtle Conservation
Guatemala’s Pacific coast is the nesting ground of several species of sea turtles, including the Olive Ridley, Leatherback, Hawksbill, and Eastern Pacific Green. These turtles are keystone species in the health and function of marine and coastal habitats. However, threats from egg poaching, pollution, habitat destruction, and fishing bi-catch have put Guatemala’s turtle population at great risk. ELI works with local organizations in the conservation and protection of this ancient reptile. Volunteers will be able to contribute to this project through hands-on work and research at the local hatchery and throughout the costal villages. Duties will range from egg collecting to promoting environmental and conservation education to the surrounding communities. Volunteering with the turtle project will provide a unique opportunity to live along Guatemala’s beautiful Pacific coast while perfecting your Spanish in this small rural comunity.
ELI works with a variety of programs to help address the country’s agricultural and environmental challenges. ELI’s programs strive to assist poor communities in rural regions throughout the country through education and vocational training. In both aspects we work with local groups who teach responsible practices and sustainability. Volunteers may help at large education centers, or work with small local eco-communities. Locals receive education and assistance to improve their personal lives as well as better their communities. Educational centers train local farmers to improve their techniques, produce, and market their product. While the emphasis is on agriculture, these programs realize that the well-being of the farmers is just as important, and many institutions offer classes on basic hygiene, health, and literacy.
Volunteers with this program must speak Spanish at a high intermediate level.