Are you a warm hearted individual dedicated to helping low-income individuals especially those with special needs? Would you like to experience new places while committing your time to a good cause? Then join us in Peru as part of the Otra Cosa Network team!
About Otra Cosa Network
Otra Cosa Network is a well-established UK Registered Charity and Peruvian registered not for profit (NGO),addressing the educational needs of children and vulnerable adults in an extremely impoverished area of Northern Peru. We work in informal settlements where many community members have been displaced by climate change, disaster and political instability. They live in precarious circumstances, few have running water, sewage provision and there is only sporadic electricity. Additionally, many children are forced to work instead of continuing their education, in order to boost family finances and there are no community-based facilities for learning and developing new skills in a safe environment.
Our dynamic range of activities address language skills, environmental awareness, women’s entrepreneurship, youth, employability and gender empowerment. we are seeking volunteers to work in project implementation in our new Recreation and Education Centre as well as our field office. Projects will restart as soon as the community is safely able to come out of isolation, post coronavirus. Our range of activities are implemented by national and international volunteers, allowing them to express solidarity whilst boosting their field experience. We also partner with several institutions like a Special Needs School.
About the Special Education Teaching Assistent position:
When the Special Needs School that we partner with was founded, it was the only special education center in the area. It is tailored to the needs of the 4,500 people in the area with visual impairment; however over the years, additional programs have been put in place to cater for people with other conditions such as Autism and Down Syndrome. The school’s management ensures excellent, high quality service provision within the institution and develops a familial atmosphere allowing both students and faculty to build strong bonds. Students or graduates of Special Needs Education, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Psychology may find this placement of particular interest.
Please note that all volunteer positions are also available as Internships. With this add-on you will receive an extra level of mentorship and where necessary all appropriate liaison with your academic institution to ensure compliance with internship placement requirements. Please see our separate internships listing for further in-depth information or check out our website.
This position includes tasks such as:
● Carrying out domestic tasks to help the students become more independent and self-reliant.
● Organizing and supervising multiple workshops including music, handicrafts and IT.
● Supporting a group of students who are part of a unique program offering training in massage therapy.
● Bringing in your own personal interests and skills to establish personalized programs for students.
● Current background check from your home country.
● Spanish Level: Basic - Basic to intermediate*
● Time Commitment: Minimum of 1 month
* We can arrange Spanish classes for you in advance (by Skype) or during your stay, if you have no/minimum Spanish or want to improve your language skills.
What you can expect from us:
● Personal pick-up upon arriving and walking tour through Huanchaco
● Thorough introduction to the organization
● Certified training in First Aid and Child Safeguarding.
● 24/7 emergency support
● Organized activities & trips (barbeques, game nights, volunteer-lunch, team building trips) with like-minded people from all over the world
● Working in a friendly beach & surf town right next to many historical sites
● The satisfying feeling of committing your work to a good cause whilst gaining insight into a new culture.
● Certificate of completion detailing your role, the project(s) you participated in and the dates you volunteered in.
● Generally, 20-25 hours per week, Mon - Fri
Desired Skills and Competencies:
● Experience working with people with special needs is a big advantage.
● Enthusiasm, motivation and assertiveness are much appreciated qualities in volunteers.
● Determination to not back down from a challenge.
● Efficient organization skills.
● Resilience in the face of the emotional challenges that can arise in working with vulnerable populations.
Related Fields of Study:
● Special Needs Education
● Disability Studies
● Youth Work
● Social Work
● Music therapy
● Massage therapy
Typical working hours are from 8am until 1pm at the school which is in Trujillo. The commute from Huanchaco is around 1 hour door to door by public transport (local bus), which costs S/. 2 each way. Some volunteers prefer to live in Trujillo to avoid this commute. Living with a Peruvian host family in Trujillo allows you to gain a better insight into Peruvian culture and to enjoy the vivid life in Peru's third-biggest city. Other volunteers prefer to live in Huanchaco and commute to Trujillo, to be around other volunteers and socialise after work. The choice is yours!
Tasks in a typical workday include overseeing students in one-to-one or small group capacities, under guidance and supervision of the class teacher and management of the school. Depending on your practical and educational background, you can also work together with the centre’s therapist, exchanging knowledge and also helping to train the children who come to practice.
After work there is plenty of time to catch one of Huanchaco’s world famous sunsets from the tranquility of the beach, or indeed from a surfboard. Then there are various options to fill your evening, socializing with local and other volunteers, sampling the famous Peruvian cuisine, attending talks and cultural events, music, dance, theatre, movies- the list is endless.
Huanchaco and free-time activities
Huanchaco is a beautiful coastal town where the waves are perfect all year long, which makes this place popular among surfers. The long beaches and relaxed atmosphere attract both Peruvians from nearby cities and backpackers traveling through Peru. This gives the small town an extremely welcoming and friendly vibe where the locals, volunteers and travellers interact and getting to know each other on a daily basis. The city has adapted to this mix and hosts many cafés, restaurants, yoga studios, surf schools, gyms and other activities and sports that are available for everyone. However, the town still remains a quiet, easy-going place that retains its fishing-village ambience. Over the last three millennia, locals have stuck to traditional ways of fishing, going out on their caballitos de totora (traditional reed fishing boats), and using their nets to gather their catch for the day. Furthermore, Huanchaco is surrounded by mountains where it is possible to go hiking (tours are arranged by local guides, at reasonable prices). If you prefer cultural activities, the district is home to Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian city in South America and is only a few minutes away from Huaca del sol y de la luna, which are among the most well-preserved temple ruins of the old Incan empire that can be found in Peru. Trujillo, Peru’s third biggest city, is only a 30 minutes bus ride far away. The colonial city of Trujillo offers many shopping and sight-seeing opportunities accompanied by a lively big city feeling.
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