Nicaragua, "The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes", provides a spectacular backdrop to our volunteer and internship programs. Our programs are based in Granada, a beautiful colonial city popular with ex-patriots and backpackers alike. Granada is centrally located and a short distance from the world class surf beaches of San Juan del Sur, the famous artisan market in Masaya, and the volcanic isalnd of Ometepe. International Volunteers can arrange volunteering and internship placements with orphanages and after-school programs, a girl's home, with a Physical Therapy clinic, and with a conservation project on nearby Volcán Mombacho.
In-School and After-School Programs:
In Nicaragua, primary education is free and compulsory. However, this has never been enforced and some 700,000 school-aged children never enrolled this past year. Although the government has introduced numerous social programs to provide children with free meals, supplies and transportation, enrollment only improved slightly over the years. We work with a variety of in-school and after-school programs in Granada, where volunteers can help with a wide-range of tasks including: Teaching English, Leading Dance/Art/Sports Activities, Helping to Care for the Young, and Meal/snack preparation. Volunteers for this program must be creative, flexible, and able to work with little resources.
Participants should have at least high-beginner Spanish skills.
Volunteers can help care for young children (ages 1-6). Volunteers spend most of their time just getting to know the children and giving them a lot of attention and love. Volunteers will engage the children in a variety of activities aimed at building self-esteem, learning, and just having fun.
Volunteers should have a high-beginner level of Spanish skills and commit to a minimum of 2 weeks.
Volunteers also have the opportunity to work with huérfanas, orphan girls, who have endured physical and psychological abuse. The organization strives to help huérfanas overcome their traumas from physical and emotional abuses by providing a safe and caring environment where the girls can develop their self-esteem. Volunteers will support local nuns, nurses and care providers in a variety of tasks aimed at healing and nurturing these extraordinary children.
Participants with background on Psychology and Social Work can work together with the proffesional staff on site, providing self esteem workshops and helping with transitioning.
Volunteers for this program must commit to at least 4 weeks, and have a strong intermediate level of Spanish language skills. These programs are only open to female volunteers.
Volunteers may work at a physical therapy clinic helping provide direct care to patients. The center works with people of all ages and who suffer from recent injuries or are born with disabilities. The physical therapy clinic also welcomes volunteers with knowledge of occupational therapy.
Participants will work in the following areas.
• Direct care to patients at the clinic
• Help with physiotherapy sessions to children at a special education school
• Help with physiotherapy sessions at local nursing homes
• Discuss and share experience and knowledge with local doctors and staff and the Center for Physical Health
• Research and develop a proposal for occupational therapy at the health center (only for those with an appropriate background in occupational therapy).
This program is open to students on their last years or professionals of Physical Therapy. An Intermediate to advance level of Spanis is required.
On the slopes of Volcán Mombacho there are several farming cooperatives, made up by local farmers (campesinos). Here, on a small scale, farmers offer lodging, food, tours, and other services that enable visitors to experience the country life of these farmers. Tourists can stay on site or visit from nearby locations. The cooperatives offer guided tours to the plantations where corn, beans, coffee, and watermelons are grown, among other products. Many of the cooperatives also sell handicrafts made by the local women of the area. Volunteers are needed to help strengthen the cooperatives agricultural production as well as help create infrastructure for their eco-tourism programs. Volunteers will define the scope of their work based on what they can offer, but also on what the cooperatives need at the time. Volunteers are welcome to work at a cooperative with the goals of promoting fair trade in coffee and creating eco-tourism centers in order to benefit the local economy without massive environmental damage.
Volunteers will assist with chores in the cooperative as well as help develop income generating activities to sustain the cooperative.Participants should have an intermediate level of Spanish language knowledge for this program.