Opportunities for Volunteer Service
If your goal is to integrate Spanish study with a short-term volunteer opportunity, or if you're hoping to study Spanish as a first step toward a longer stay working here in Guatemala, Xela is really the perfect city for you. You will be placing yourself in the heart, not only of a beautiful Mayan culture, but also of a large-scale effort of civil society to build solutions from the grass-roots up.
Here at my Home/School, we have lots of information and contact info for local NGO's. I can also connect you with students who have come here to study Spanish previously and have either had positive volunteer experiences or, in the case of some, are still here in Xela doing community service. In any case, we will help you match up your skills and goals with local groups who need the help of volunteers like yourself.
Whether your interests is in Reforestation and Water Conservation projects, Working with Children, Community Organization, or Teaching English as a second language, I am confident that I can help you find what you're looking for.
As for myself, I am volunteer at a local "Guardería," or day care center. There are three Guarderías of this type here in Xela, all are affiliated with a center for women who have been victims of domestic violence.
GUARDERÍA CANTÓN CHOQUÍ
The Guarderia Cantón Choquí was established as a safe place for underprivileged children. Most of the children stay at La Guarderia while their mothers receive counseling and basic work skills at a home for women who are victims of domestic violence. These Mayan women are illiterate and have no skills or means of making a living. As of this writing there are 25 indigenous women in the nearby village of Choquí participating in this program.
One or two days a week, students can visit La Guardería Cantón Choquí to facilitate art projects, help with homework, and play games with the children. Since the other teachers and myself look after this particular Guardería, a lot of what happens at El Mundo En Español is connected with our work at La Guardería. For instance, $10.00 per week of every students tuition goes towards buying supplies and food for the children at the center. And, naturally, many students have chosen to go there with me to work and play with the children, which is always a rewarding experience for everyone. Also, from time to time we have parties for the children in my home.
See Photo Gallery for more images of La Guarderia Cantón Choquí.
OTHER LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS
At El Mundo En Español we will work with you to match your skills
and your schedule with organizations who would benefit from your help. And we try to be as up front as we can about limitations and expectations of these local organizations. We can also share with you some of the organizations (see below) where previous students have volunteered.
CLINICA DE COOPERACÍON ALEMANA
The Clinica de Cooperacíon Alemana is a general health clinic for those that are not able to pay high prices for health care. Medical students and nursing students have gone to make observations in the clinic and to follow the doctors as they examine and diagnose the patients. The volunteers' participation depends on their studies and or experience in medicine or nursing and their level of Spanish.
CASA HOGAR RAYITO DE LUZ
Casa Hogar: Rayito de Luz is an orphanage for children from birth to 10 years old. The majority of the children are from battered homes; children of mothers that died at childbirth or children who were abandoned at birth. We try to have various activities with the children including playing games, parties and piñatas.
NISGUA is solidarity organization that focuses on an accompaniment program placing foreigners as observers and with work teams in various communities. Many of the teams are working on exhuming some of the mass graves that are found throughout Guatemala as a result of the 36-year internal armed conflict that occurred here. This organization works with some of the poorest and most isolated communities in the area .
is a NGO (Non Government Organization) which works with handicapped children. They are providing therapy to improve quality of life through increased mobility and improved social skills. The work takes place in the mornings (8am-2pm) Minimum one week and the work requires basic Spanish skills. Therapists, Physiotherapists, Medical Professionals, Occupational Therapists and those with a desire to help are welcome. Contact - firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE - Many organizations require a minimum commitment and a minimum level of
Spanish in order to volunteer your services with them. There are however organizations
that are more than willing to work with students for varying lengths of time with a very
basic level of Spanish.
- Enjoy Learning Spanish at El Mundo En Español -
8 Avenida Calle B, A-61 - Zona 1 - Quetzaltenango, Guatemala