Children in all countries of the world are precious. But those who must overcome great odds hold a special place in our hearts.
Tragically, there are millions of poor children living on the street the world over - abandoned, orphaned, and/or disabled. This is certainly no place for any child to live. However, that becomes the alternative for far too many children whose parents have died or are no longer able to care for them. Today, the streets of Lima are home for some of the world's most economically impoverished children and families.
But, there is hope because there are loving and safe "homes" that give poor children a chance for a promising future. Global Volunteers offers you a rare opportunity to be of genuine service to these "at-risk" children, while immersing yourself in a complex and colorful culture.
You can help meet the daily needs of children living at South America's largest children's home: the Puericultorio Perez Aranibar. Your volunteer opportunities at this clean, quality facility are varied. First, one of the most important contributions you can make is to provide child care
for the youngest residents: the infants and toddlers who need caring hearts and steady arms to hold and feed them, help them with their first steps, and play the games that allow their socialization and language skills to progress.
The captivating preschool and kindergarten children attend classes in their own school on campus, and enjoy organized arts and crafts activities. By helping them with their school work, and sharing your special talents in music or other creative arts a few hours each day, you can stimulate and encourage their development.
Some volunteers can teach conversational English
to students in the fifth through 12th grades in an emerging English language program. Most students have only very basic English skills, so the sessions are informal and focus on recognizing and speaking simple words and sentences. Any native English speaker can be of service on this project. You are not required to have professional classroom experience, however you must be comfortable working with a small group of teens on your own.
For volunteers who like to roll up their sleeves to make a difference, several pressing labor projects
at the main dining hall have been identified for immediate attention. Most volunteers will work at least part of each day with the older Puericultorio students on painting, carpentry, or light construction assignments. These projects are suitable for experienced trades people as well as those who have no "handy person" experience. Your contribution will be immediately visible and greatly appreciated. Some other assignments from time to time, such as organizing the high school library, will become available as needs arise.
Number one on anyone's "Peru list" is Machu Picchu, the mystical Incan city nestled high in the peaks of the Andes Mountains. Located 43 miles northwest of Cuzco (the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent), Machu Picchu was built in the late 1400s, a maze of 200 buildings, mostly residences, temples and storage facilities. Buildings were constructed of granite block upon granite block -- without mortar! With the decline of the Inca empire through smallpox and Spanish conquest, Machu Picchu became a forgotten site, only to be rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a Yale professor. It remains a haunting and mystical destination. From Lima, many tour operators offer arranged tours to Machu Picchu. Note: This option is not feasible for the weekend between the work weeks, and should be scheduled after the service program to allow time to enjoy the visit.
Potential weekend free-time opportunities include exploring Lima's restored colonial center and many museums, markets and cafes. Several beaches dotting the Pacific ocean coastline north and south of Lima are enjoyable as daytime diversions, as are the numerous nature preserves and hiking destinations surrounding the city.
Continue on to explore and read much more on Global Volunteers in Peru