Social and Economic Development Projects
ProWorld’s largest project area is social and economic development. Volunteers have the opportunity to fight for human rights or run summer camps in Belize, build schools or foster micro-businesses in Peru, and improve literacy or protect women’s rights in Mexico. Below are some of the projects available for volunteers.
Work in high schools, primary schools and special education facilities in Cusco. ProPeru works with local school districts to identify classes in need. Volunteers have the opportunity to help teach English, art workshops and classes, computer skills, and physical education. The volunteers’ efforts help improve the quality of education, providing social and economic opportunities that facilitate the well being of families, communities, and society at large.
Help Arariwa, a Peruvian NGO, to improve social circumstances for people of the Sacred Valley. Volunteers can help in three different sectors of Arariwa: Semar, which focuses on micro-business consulting and economic assistance loans; Cenfopar, which focuses on adult education and training to enable micro-businesses; and Arariwa Promoción, which focuses on leadership development by working closely with members of the community. Volunteers at Arariwa Promoción help community members with work in agriculture, animal husbandry, health, irrigation, and women’s issues.
Enable rural Peruvian women and children to escape psychological, verbal, and physical abuse while helping them to take the necessary steps toward independence. K’anchay Wasi, which means House of Light in Quechua, is a women and family center in Arin, Huandar that provides refuge and assistance for women and children in need. Volunteers help women learn artisan skills including ceramics, knitting, floral arrangement, and candle making, the products of which can then be sold at local markets. Volunteers may also assist with English classes, art workshops, intercultural exchanges, health lectures, and physical and emotional therapy sessions.
Help community members of Chichubamba to preserve and celebrate their agricultural heritage while creating jobs and income. The agrotourism project in Chichubamba combines two of Peru’s largest industries: agriculture and tourism. Volunteers help community members start farm stands, U-pick operations, and farmstead bed and breakfasts. Volunteers can also help community members start chicha stands, bee-keeping, and the breeding of guinea pigs.
The Internet Academy-Computer Center of Urubamba
The computer center was established in 2000 by a persistent ProPerú volunteer who saw the need for a technological center where the community of Urubamba could receive affordable computer training and access to the Internet. The computer center serves schools in the town of Urubamba with introductory computer courses and also provides internet service to the public to generate income. The students range from Kindergarten level to high school.
Cusco Social Assistance Project
In the developing world people with any sort of physical or mental disability, as well as orphans and the elderly, are very often marginalized. It is difficult for them to receive any support from the government, and basic facilities such as wheelchair ramps etc. are almost never available. ProPeru aims to support the care homes, shelters and other institutions that assist the disabled. Volunteers participating in the Social Assistance project in Cusco will work in one of a number of institutions that have been selected based on their level of need as well as the volunteers’ opportunity to provide meaningful assistance. In Cusco we work with orphanages and homes for abandoned children, senior citizens, and disabled people. In addition, we are also working with outreach centers and other organizations for street kids, the blind, deaf, mentally challenged, teenage mothers, family planning, as well as rehabilitation for troubled youths.
Cayocom Community Computer Center
Use your computer knowledge to increase educational and employment opportunities for members of the Cayo community. Today, the ability to use a computer is a significant personal resource. Volunteers help others acquire this resource at the Cayo Community Computer Center (Cayocom) by training community members in beginner through advanced computer courses and teaching school children to navigate the worldwide web.
This summer camp will be for primary school children from the ages of 8-12. Each volunteer will be responsible for about 15-20 school children. We are expecting about 100 children in all. This will be a full day camp. The morning will be sports and games then the children will go home for lunch and the afternoon will be for arts, and education.
Summer Basketball Camp
Take preemptive action against the adverse effects of physical inactivity. Diseases related to obesity, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, are rapidly increasing among the children of Belize. Additionally, the International Consensus on Physical Activity views recreational programs as the most effective means of crime intervention. Volunteers will participate as camp counselors, assisting with the instruction, organization, and coaching of youths 8 to 17 years old.
Ministry of Human Development
Contribute to the empowerment and self-sufficiency of the citizens of Belize. Volunteers, in conjunction with the Ministry of Human Development, will promote a Human Development agenda which encompasses principles of social justice, equality and civics. Volunteers will have the opportunity to empower the citizens of Belize by creating, initiating, and promoting programs based on these principles.
Belize Centre for Human Rights Studies
Act on your commitment to human rights, justice and peace. The Belize Centre for Human Rights Studies is a non-profit, independent, and autonomous educational entity established to advocate these principles. Volunteers at the Belize Centre for Human Rights Studies will help with various projects designed to promote human rights, justice, and peace for the citizens of Belize.
Help community members of San Ignacio construct a building to facilitate safety and education. Volunteers will work to complete a partially constructed concrete building to serve as a hurricane shelter and Youth Center. The LMC building will offer computer and music classes as part of a program designed to provide a safe, drug-free environment for the youth of San Ignacio. Volunteers will help with cement work, sheet rock installation, painting, and other small projects.
Youth Sports (Santa Elena Primary School)
Santa Elena Primary School is a public school located in Santa Elena a few minutes outside of San Ignacio. This school contains approximately 500 kids from surrounding areas. The school is very involved with sports, even though they are lacking in qualified and interested people to help out. Santa Elena Primary just recently represented the Cayo District for the Nationals in football (soccer) in the female division. Any help that this school can get through volunteers is greatly appreciated by students and teachers alike. Volunteers will have a chance to help these children develop their skills and self esteem through their respective sport.
Youth for the Future
The Youth for the Future Internship involves working with youth, community members of Tea Kettle Village, and the government. 2 acres of land were donated to the youth of Tea Kettle, but a lot of work needs to be done to turn the land over to the community. Volunteers will assist in making this happen and guiding the future use of the land.
The National Organization for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect is the leading NGO in advocating for the rights of children in Belize. While doing your internship you will be assisting in a variety of tasks that deal with regionally appropriate issues regarding child abuse and neglect.
Primary School Assistant
Foster a positive learning experience for the children of the Cayo District as a teacher’s aid. At local Primary Schools overcrowded classrooms limit a lead teacher’s ability to instruct students effectively. Volunteers will assist with general administrative tasks, correcting school work, preparation of materials, small group instruction, and other tasks as assigned, allowing the lead teacher to spend more time on lesson preparation and instruction.
St. Andrews School
Foster a positive learning experience for the children of San Ignacio as a teacher’s aid. At St. Andrew’s, overcrowded classrooms limit a lead teacher’s ability to instruct students effectively. Volunteers will assist with general administrative tasks, correcting school work, preparation of materials, small group instruction, and other tasks as assigned, allowing the lead teacher to spend more time on lesson preparation and instruction.
Santa Elena Primary School
Foster a positive learning experience for the children of Santa Elena as a teacher’s aid. At Santa Elena Primary School overcrowded classrooms limit a lead teacher’s ability to instruct students effectively. Volunteers will assist with general administrative tasks, correcting school work, preparation of materials, small group instruction, and other tasks as assigned, allowing the lead teacher to spend more time on lesson preparation and instruction.
Cayo Centre for Employment Training
Improve the job prospects of young adults at the Cayo Centre for Employment Training (CET). Many young adults in Cayo will not have the opportunity to complete primary school, yet they are eager to learn a marketable trade. Volunteers will help these students successfully enter the job market by offering trade-specific classes, on-the-job training opportunities, and tutoring assistance for those in need of additional assistance.
Summer Arts Workshop
Help the youth of San Ignacio learn to express themselves through art. Volunteers design and implement summer arts workshops, working with Mayan artists to help students explore art through the mediums of clay, fiber, found objects, and more.
Holy Family R.C. School
Improve the quality of education available to students at the Hopkins school by supplementing and reinforcing the existing curriculum. Volunteers work on the development of the library and after school programs; tutor students with special needs, and provide teaching assistance in over-crowded classrooms.
Help women, young and old, to improve the quality of their lives. Volunteers work with local women’s groups, including the Women’s Department, to promote women’s rights and address women’s concerns in the Hopkins community. Opportunities include organizing and leading girls’ youth groups and educating local women about their legal and human rights.
Hopkins Summer Camp
Alleviate the boredom of school children during their summer off from school. Volunteers spend the first week of their internship working with community members to design and implement a summer camp program for local school children, then spend the remainder of the summer as a camp counselor. Although reading is the primary focus of the camp, opportunities exist to guide the children in sports, drama, environmental education, arts, and crafts.
La Loma Luz Hospital Construction
Help the charitable, non-profit hospital La Loma Luz fulfill its mission to make health care accessible to even the poorest of Belize’s citizens. Volunteers assist the administration of La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital in completion of a separate building to house the hospital’s Image/Diagnostic Lab. Work includes construction, installation of door and window frames, plastering, painting, and clean-up.
Friendship Through Reading Program
Contribute to the effort to increase the reading skills of elementary school children in San Ignacio. Volunteers will help with the development and operation of the Friendship Through Reading program. This program’s goal is to create and maintain a safe place for children to read and share books with parents and peers in order to promote literacy.
Patronato Estancia Fraternidad
Provide care and support for patients and their family members at Estancia Fraternidad. Estancia Fraternidad provides low-cost housing for family members of patients at the near-by general hospital, care for patients waiting to be admitted, and continuing care for patients who have been released from the hospital but are too ill to return home. Opportunities exist to participate in fundraising, English classes, art and music workshops, kitchen duties, and nursing duties. Volunteers with conversational Spanish can also provide a valuable service by making rounds and talking with patients and family members, providing support and comfort during this stressful time in their lives.
Teaching Assistant--Trinidad, Zaachila
Improve the quality of education available to school children in the community of Trinidad as a teaching assistant. Volunteers help with general administrative tasks including correcting school work, preparing materials, and instructing small groups. Volunteers will also perform other tasks as assigned, allowing the lead teacher to spend more time on lesson preparation and instruction.
Grupo de Apoyo a La Educacion de la Mujer
Provide the women of Oaxaca with the tools needed to build a better life: education, confidence, and self-esteem. Through education on various issues, volunteers help GAEM staff support women and their families in their struggle for economic and social justice. Volunteers can participate in educational projects related to many issues that affect women’s lives, including women’s health and roles in society, reforestation, and cultural heritage.
INEA (Instituto Nacional para la Educacion de los Adultos)
Provide community members of Oaxaca with a vital tool for improving their social and economic circumstances: literacy. INEA estimates that the ability to read and write can be accomplished by three months of individual tutoring or eight months of group lessons. At INEA, volunteers tutor individuals or groups located in communities near Oaxaca. Volunteers are also encouraged to support students’ learning by establishing cultural exchanges with students outside of the learning environment.
Help the women of Teotitlan del Valle fight oppression through their efforts to achieve economic independence. At Nueva Vida, women of Teotitlan del Valle handcraft woolen rugs using the time-consuming, Pre-Hispanic techniques of their ancestors. The rugs are sold to support the women’s economic independence, but they often receive unfair prices. Volunteers will help contribute to the women’s efforts to receive fair prices and achieve economic independence. Opportunities include teaching English language classes, creating a gallery or webpage, publicizing the cooperative, researching market opportunities, designing a tour, leading design workshops, as well as many others.
The Selva Mágica (Magic Jungle) is a unique project that combines a petting zoo with activities to increase children’s awareness of disabilities. The director, Victor Hugo Sanchez Garcia, has long been an advocate for the disabled since an accident put him in a wheel chair nearly 20 years ago. He has worked to pressure the local government to make the city more accessible to the disabled and also developed a monthly magazine for the disabled population. The way in which the children experience the zoo is very unique. When the children arrive the Director gives them a general talk on difficulties that people with various disabilities encounter in life. He asks them questions and gets them thinking about the issue. When it comes time to enter the zoo each child picks a card randomly from a pile. Some of the cards demonstrate a specific disability that the child will have to endure as they tour the zoo. Before entering the zoo children are blind folded, given canes and put in wheel chairs accordingly.
La Escuela de Educación Especial #14
The school – directed by psychologist Odon Martinez – works with children with auditory, visual, motor and mental disabilities up to 6th grade. Many of the children are not capable of learning to read or write. The largest struggle for most of these children is that once they are out of the system they have no developed skills to help them fend for themselves. They often become dependent on their families and never enter the work force. Volunteers will help find innovative ways to better prepare the children for adulthood, start a micro-business program to raise funds for the school and teach the children pracitical skills, and will work with the mothers who travel 2 to 3 hours from surrounding villages to the school.
Puente a la Salud Comunitaria
Puente a la Salud Comunitaria promotes the use of amaranth, a traditional grain, through workshops. These workshops explain the nutritional importance of amaranth and provide the fundamentals of how to plant, grow, harvest, and cook with it. Puente also promotes good nutritional practices. Volunteers can do further research on amaranth, volunteers with a high level of Spanish can give talks to the communities about amaranth, those with lower levels of Spanish can assist with the talks. Volunteers will also help out with office work.
Union de Museos Comunitarios
The Union is a non-governmental organization of eighteen indigenous and mestizo communities in Oaxaca State, which have created or are in the process of creating community museums. The museums are vehicles for unifying the townspeople and for strengthening and revitalizing community culture. It is a place that generates pride and weaves together the old and new generations. Volunteers may work in the main office; however it is more likely that volunteers will focus on one of the 3-4 community museums that lies within 45 minutes of the city. Responsibilities could include: working with the community on tourism projects; setting up and executing art/craft/health initiatives with community members; carrying out a journalism or photography internship; etc.