About the Community Projects in Peru
Volunteers are currently able to participate in the following type of projects in and around the city of Cusco:
- Dog Shelter project
- Reforestation Project
- Inca Archaeology Project
- Environmental Conservation Project
Not all of the projects run throughout the day, which means that you can do Spanish courses in the morning, or in some cases in the afternoon after you have been on the project.
Dog Shelter Volunteer project in Cusco
At the dog shelter in Cusco there are several activities you can do as a volunteer. Apart from feeding and playing with the dogs in the woods, they also need help with improving the shelter itself, going out on the streets to rescue sick/pregnant street dogs, going to the veterinarian and even assisting in medical campaigns in the communities around Cusco and helping to educate people about how to treat their pets. The work is never the same and they are always looking for help from dedicated volunteers.
Volunteers work on this project only in the afternoon from 2 to 5 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. It is optional to join any medical campaigns on Saturdays/Sundays. No Spanish skills are required, but the minimum duration is 2 weeks. It is recommended that volunteers bring clothes that they do not mind getting dirty.
Reforestation Volunteer project in Cusco
The aim of this project is to preserve the environment of Cusco with the goal of planting half a million trees. Its focus is to create a source of clean air for a city that is experiencing increased levels of pollution. Volunteers help with the preservation of wild flora and fauna by creating irrigation systems taking advantage of the rains in the area, creating a nursery of different plants, producing organic fruits and much more.
Some of the volunteer tasks could be:
- Collecting and planting wild plants in the area.
- Research and revaluation of wild plants of the Cusco region.
- Planting and maintenance of tree seeds.
- Taking care of and cleaning the tree nursery.
- Tree planting in the mountains of the San Sebastián district.
Volunteers have to min. 18 years old, speak basic Spanish, be moderately fit and able to join for min. 2 weeks. The project is from Monday to Friday and volunteers take a bus from the centre of Cusco to the project site, which is about a 30 min. drive followed by a 10 min walk.
Inca Archaeology Volunteer project in Huyro
At the Inca Archaeology project, volunteers will assist with work in the centre of Huyro, district of Huayopata, which belongs to the buffer zone of the archaeological park of Machu Picchu. Here archaeological remains are still being investigated, and volunteers support the excavations in the area, help with the cleaning and conservation of parks, and assist in the enhancement of the parks in the area. It has proximity to Machu Picchu, but is in a relatively un-investigated state, which means that many places and ruins remain to be discovered.
Volunteers who join this project will be working together with archaeologists and staff from the Ministry of Culture. The project has an agreement with the municipality of Huayopata to support the projects of the Ministy of Culture in the excavations and enhancements of the archaeological remains of the sector.
As the project is located in cloud forest and jungle environments, it can start raining at any time (in particular during rainy season). In such cases, volunteers assist with other activities that include working with ceramics found from the excavations, community work such as farming etc. They also do certain workshops. These are usually done in combination with archaelogy work, depending on the weather conditions.
Volunteers need to join for min. 2 weeks, speak basic Spanish and be min. 18 years old. Volunteers work in the mornings from Monday to Friday, and all volunteers also assist the local library twice a week in the afternoon. Work on this project requires good physical condition. Volunteers take the local bus from the centre of Cusco to Quillabamba. Please note that the location of the project is a 4 hour bus drive from Cusco to Huyro (about $10), and thus volunteers would be staying at the project site during the week.
Please note that this project doesn’t run during rainy season, which is from November to April each year.
Environmental Conservation Volunteer Project outside Cusco
At this project, volunteers assist families in different communities located outside of the city of Cusco. The focus is environmental conservation through tree planting in different districts of the Cusco region: Marcapata – Quispicanchis, Pitumarca – Canchis, Ccapi – Paruro, Omacha – Paruro, Pichihua – Espinar. Volunteers work in the field in coordination with the leaders of each community. They provide support to the farmers, who develop their own planting and reforestation projects. In the field, the team of coordinators and peasant experts will support and guide the volunteer.
These areas are located between 2-5 hours outside of the city of Cusco, and volunteers will be allocated the project to join upon arrival. On those projects that are located further away, it is possible to stay overnight in the community for free. Volunteers will be staying at the accommodation in Cusco during the weekends, and some days during the week when assessing data collected from the communities. It is therefore only when volunteers are collecting data in the communities that they will be staying overnight. Volunteers need to let us know beforehand, if they would prefer to stay closer to the city of Cusco, if not interested in staying in the communities overnight.
Volunteers has to be min. 18 years old and join for min. 4 weeks. Volunteers need to speak intermediate Spanish and English fluently.
Spanish Courses in Cusco
Volunteers in Peru can add a Spanish course to their volunteering programme, either being taught privately or in a group. Group lessons of 20 hours per week will be a maximum of 4 people and are very suitable for beginners. The private lessons of 20 hours per week would be recommended for people with intermediate level, and if you already have a high-intermediate or advanced Spanish level, then the private lessons of 10 hours per week are recommended.
Please note that your Spanish level will be tested with a Spanish placement test before starting classes. The placement test consists of 3 different components: an online (written) grammar test, a listening exam, and a personal interview. The last two are both held on the first morning of your programme in Cusco.
If you book a 20-hour per week group course and there aren’t any other students starting that week, who have the same Spanish level (so we cannot form a group), you will have 15 hours of private lessons instead.
Special Spanish courses are also available for those who want to learn Spanish with a specific objective. This includes: Spanish for Tourism, Medical Spanish and Business Spanish. Please note that different fees apply for these courses. Please contact Charlotte@workingabroad.com for further details about this.