Orphanage (Ayacucho)

Pick from one of two Ayacucho orphanages based on your interests and skills. The first facility is for abandoned or orphaned babies, age newborn to two years old. The second orphanage works with about 70 kids ranging from 2 to 17 years old. These orphanages provide shelter and basic care. Volunteers can help in many different ways, from daily tasks to playing, tutoring and offering mentorship. Questions? Click here

Wawa Wasi (Ayacucho)

“Wawa Wasi” is a Quecha word (the official language of the Incas) meaning “House of Children”. This is a state program that provides day care to local children in need, and is run by local mothers who look after about eight youngsters, age two to four. In Wawa Wasi, the kids receive breakfast and lunch and the supervising mother spends the day doing education activities and playing games with them. The volunteers work with mothers to organize educational activities, play with the kids, and help with meals. Questions? Click here

Child Laborers (Ayacucho)

In the main market of Ayacucho, children age 7-14 work carrying boxes, bags of fruit and vegetables from 4 AM until 9 AM. At 9 they turn to this center for rest and homework help before they go off to school in the afternoon. These children are very poor and their income helps support their families, so the center plays a critical role in their daily lives. Children of Female Prisoners (Ayacucho)

The Ayacucho Prison is home to more than 120 female prisoners, most of them incarcerated on drug trafficking charges. Many of these women have no choice but to keep their young children (newborns through four years old) in prison with them. The kids spend their day in a separate part of the facility, a daycare/kindergarten, where volunteers help with basic care and meals, play with the youngsters and organize educational activities. Questions? Click here

Street Kids (Lima)

The streets of Lima are a tough place for kids with nowhere else to turn. Many Peruvian children end up on the streets to escape extreme poverty, abusive home situations, or as a result of losing a parent or other family members. On the streets, these homeless children face serious hazards, including drug addiction, sexual assault and pregnancy. ELI volunteers join the staff of a group devoted to rehabilitating and educating street children in a residential facility. The organization emphasizes education and vocational training with the goal of integrating the children into the workforce when they graduate from the program. Volunteers will assist with teaching academic subjects, leading activities, and spending time with the children. This placement requires a minimum 12 week commitment to offer the youngsters much-needed stability in their lives. Questions? Click here

Orphanage/Day Care Center (Cusco)

Volunteers in Cusco can work with an orphanage providing shelter to orphaned and abandoned children or at a daycare center for children of impoverished, low-income moms. Both facilities emphasize education, nutrition and healthy child development. Volunteers can lead educational activities, play with the children, and help with various chores around the centers.

Volunteers in Cusco can work with an orphanage providing shelter to orphaned and abandoned children or with a day care center for children with low income working mothers. All centers place a large emphasis on education and nutrition ii order to promote the healthy development of the children. Volunteers can lead educational activities, play with the children, and help with various chores around the centers. Questions? Click here


Teach in Schools (Ayacucho)

ELI volunteers can support various schools in Ayacucho, from kindergartens and primary schools to low-income high schools. Peruvian children usually start schools at the age of six, and are about 17 years old when they finish high school. They study in classrooms with 30 - 40 students. Volunteers are needed to support teachers with the day-to-day classroom activities, tutoring, teaching English, art classes and joining sports activities. Questions? Click here

Teaching in a Progressive School (Cusco)

Volunteers with an interest in teaching are welcome to work at a school that places a special emphasis on local culture. This progressive school focuses on preserving traditional knowledge and customs while also providing a rigorous education in math, science, and information technology. Volunteers can assist in a wide variety of areas including helping with English, math, the arts, sports, science, and after-school activities. Volunteers are also welcome to participate in teacher training activities. Questions? Click here


Special Education and Physical/Occupational Therapy (Ayacucho)

Join the staff at a school for special-needs children. The facility serves 41 youngsters with different disabilities, providing care, education, therapy, counseling and vocational training. The education services are matched to the kids’ abilities and age; meals and nutrition evaluation, medical care and physical therapy treatment are also offered at the school. Volunteers support the staff in areas of their interests, skills, and educational background. Questions? Click here


Gain hands-on experience at an Ayacucho clinic or hospital. ELI offers placements at several low-income facilities where volunteers support staff doctors and nurses based on their experience and training. The hospitals and clinics provide a wide variety of services, including first aid, midwifery, dental care, pharmacy care, gynecological/OBGYN care to pregnant women and laboratory work.

Public health students here will also gain valuable insights into Peru’s medical system and the local public health campaigns that focus on vaccination, hygiene, environmental protection and care for the home-bound.

These placements are open to pre-medical/nursing/dental and public health students, as well as the more advanced medical students and residents. The tasks carried out by each participant depends entirely on their experience and is at the discretion of their supervisor. Internships can be arranged in the following medical/health fields:

  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Physical Therapy
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Public health

Questions? Click here

Human Rights/Women's EmpowermentTop

Mother’s Club (Ayacucho)

The city of Ayacucho created Mother’s Clubs as a way to organize, educate, and empower the local low-income women. One of the Clubs’ big goals is to train and offer practical skills the women can use to lead independent lives or help support their families. Volunteers are needed to share their own skills and knowledge while supporting the clubs’ educational and enrichment activities. Questions? Click here

Female Prisoners (Ayacucho)

Work with the women of the Ayacucho prison, a group of more than 120 inmates, most convicted of drug-trafficking related offenses. The prisoners engage in various activities throughout the day, including making artisan crafts such as rugs and weavings, as part of their rehabilitation process and to help them earn money. Volunteers help participants with their craft-making and help sell these products in the Plaza de Ayacucho market. Another popular activity for volunteers is teaching exercise classes, English, and anything else that will help these often-marginalized women succeed in life after prison. Questions? Click here

Teen Mothers (Cusco)

Statistically, one in four Peruvian mothers is under the age of 18. Many are victims of sexual abuse or family abandonment. ELI volunteers work with a Cusco organization that shelters and educates these young women in need, teaching them about effective parenthood and offering vocational skills. Volunteers help in many ways, based on their own skills and interests. Some help care for the smallest children whose mothers are in school. Others help school-aged children and their mothers with homework, chores, or lead enriching activities. This placement requires patience on the part of the volunteer as well as a high level of Spanish proficiency. Please note that a $150 contribution to the local organization will also be added to the program fee for this project. Questions? Click here

Domestic Worker’s Rights (Lima)

Over the last century, Peru experienced a massive rural-to-urban migration. Many of the people pouring into Lima are female domestic workers from the countryside, hoping to help support their families back at home. Once in Lima, alone and friendless, they often find themselves exploited or in abusive domestic and personal situations. ELI volunteers and interns work with a Lima education center that offers adult education, training, advocacy programs, and assistance with job placement for this very vulnerable population. The group empowers newly-arrived domestic workers and encourages them to become a part of this crucial support system where participants can also take skills-boosting workshops or classes in English, Spanish as a Second Language, child development, cooking, arts and crafts, family planning, and other subjects. This program requires a four week minimum commitment. Questions? Click here


Soup Kitchen (Ayacucho)

The local Mother’s Club (see Human Rights/Women’s Empowerment, above) has organized a soup kitchen serving nutritious lunches to the local disadvantaged population, children and the elderly in particular. Mother’s Club members cook the meals; volunteers assist in meal planning, cooking, serving, and clean-up. The soup kitchen is run by all volunteers so any extra help is greatly appreciated! Questions? Click here

Senior Citizen’s Home (Ayacucho)

This charitable institution serves 120 elderly men and women, and is run by local nuns. Due to chronic lack of resources, the staff needs volunteers and interns to help cook, assist with serving meals, help with every-day activities and in particular to provide these elderly people with much-needed companionship and engagement. Questions? Click here


Marine Reserve

This 133-acre reserve on the southern coast of Peru (see their site) has been a wildlife conservation research base for the past 30 years. It includes over 4 km of protected maritime land where scientists study local wildlife with a focus on how the animals interact with their environment, and how they’re affected by human activity.

The area is home to a wealth of marine predators and features great biodiversity due to its unique geographical location within the Humboldt Current System (HCS) that runs along the majority of Peru´s coast. Its rich bird population includes Inca terns, Belcher´s gulls, snowy egrets, black oystercatchers, kelp gulls and many others. It is common to see many marine mammal species on site, animals such as marine otters, humpback whales, sperm whales, common dolphins, dusky dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, orca whales and other cetaceans.

ELI interns and volunteers work alongside the professional staff in data collection, conducting surveys, monitoring breeding populations, conducting diet analysis, nest checks, gathering photographic documentation, implementing community engagement initiatives, and much more. Depending on the season, participants can expect to work primarily with fur seals, sea lions, Humboldt Penguins, and other seabirds. Please request a PDF informational file for more details regarding seasonal activities. Volunteers must commit to at least one month and interns must commit to two months. Volunteer start dates are flexible, however, the internship program operates as a group project with set start dates so that everyone can go through an extensive orientation together. The internship start dates for 2015-2016 are January 12th, April 6th, July 6th, and October 5th. Please arrive to Lima the day before the start date at the latest. There may be some room for flexibility in certain circumstances. Please contact us for more details. Questions? Click here

Zoo Project (Ayacucho)

The Ayacucho Zoo, operated by a local university, houses a variety of wildlife from the coast, mountains, and jungles of Peru. Volunteers Participants will work with monkeys, many birds, wild cats, and rodents. Participants also help with animal care and cage cleanings, and assist with the zoo’s educational activities and campaigns. This is the perfect opportunity for veterinary students and qualified pre-vets who can work closely with the zoo vet. Questions? Click here




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