Volunteering in Peru

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Martes, 07 de Julio del 2020



Q: Can I choose where I volunteer?

Absolutely! Makikita Quykuway Volunteer Program wants to help you achieve the best possible volunteering experience. Makikita aims to match your interests, skills, values and ambitions with a fitting volunteer position. Together, we will review your preferences and the specific skillset needed for each available position. We will then create the best match.


Q: How long do I have to commit for?

Makikita has found that one month is the minimum time to learn a new job, get comfortable with the host organization, get to know the people of the community, and see significant results from your work. According to the volunteer feedback we have received, volunteers who stayed one month or longer were more satisfied with their volunteer experience than those staying for a shorter time frame. However, if you wish to volunteer for a shorter length of time, please contact us and we will talk about what opportunities we might have available. 


Q: How many hours do I have to work per day?

 Typically, volunteers work 5 hours per day from Monday through Friday (two hours in the morning and three hours after lunch).


Q: Do I need prior experience?

This depends on the role you wish to fulfill. Some volunteer positions require specific job skills or qualifications while others entail only a willingness to learn. For isntance, volunteers at the community health center must be trained medical professionals (e.g. doctor, dentist, pharmacists, nurse, emergency medical technician etc.) or medical students (or students in a health related field). A certification is required as proof of this status as in these roles volunteers participate in hands-on patient care. In addition, the right attitude, respect for local customs, an open mind, and a willingness to learn are required for any volunteer position.


Q: Do I need to speak Spanish to work as a volunteer?

You don’t need to be fluent in Spanish. However, knowing some Spanish is very beneficial and is required in some volunteer roles (i.e.: the community health center). Makikita offers Spanish classes for all levels and taking classes is recommended. Studying with one of Makikita’s certified Spanish teachers helps beginners get a background in the language and intermediates get comfortable with the vocabulary of their specific volunteer position.


Q: Do I need a visa to work in Perú?

No, you don’t need a visa. You only need a valid passport to enter the country. In addition, all volunteers are required to provide copies of a passaport and private health/travel insurance as well as an emergency contact number to the Makikita staff.


Q: What kind of vaccinations do I need before travelling to Perú?

If you are planning to visit the rain forest or jungle, you must have yellow fever vaccination and take anti-Malaria pills. If you arrive and don’t have the yellow fever vaccination, it is possible to get vaccinated in Huancayo for free. Please talk to your healthcare provider and follow his/her instructions before travelling to Perú. In addition, all volunteers must have private health/travel insurance.


Q: How do I get to Huancayo?

Huancayo is situated just east of Lima and is connected to the capital by a road. There are several ways of getting to Huancayo but the cheapest option is to arrive by bus. If you choose to come by bus, we recommend the company Cruz Del Sur which runs a direct service from Lima. The trip from Lima to Huancayo takes around 8 hours (however, it can be longer depending on the traffic and time of day). Huancayo also has a train service which runs infrequently directly from Lima. The Francisco Carle airport offers daily flights to Lima which are approximately one hour (landing in the Jauja airport). However, this is a bit of a pricier option. 


Q: How do I get to the volunteer house when I arrive in Huancayo?

We will meet you from the bus or train station and accompany you in a taxi directly to your new home. Here we will make sure you are fully settled in and show you where a few essential places are such as the supermarket, internet cafes, and the Makikita office. We will also give you a short tour of the town so you know how to find the best restaurants and a laundry service!


Q: Is there good healthcare nearby?

There are a number of health services available in Huancayo. We have doctors, dentists and pharmacies as well as both public and private hospitals. The office will help you should you become ill and all good insurance policies will cover your costs in an emergency. Pharmacies typically have all common antibiotics readily stocked, should you become ill. Purchase of most antibiotics also does NOT require a prescription. 


Q: How safe is Huancayo?

Volunteer housing is in a safe residential area of Huancayo. However, as with all cities you must exercise caution. Petty theft can be a problem and volunteers are advised to leave their valuables at the volunteer house. After nightfall volunteers should either walk in groups or take one of the many number of taxis which are available for around $1.


Q: What is there to do around Huancayo?

Huancayo itself has many markets, shops, restaurants and bars. There are also several museums, churches and other sites of interest. The city is located in the Mantaro Valley which is renowned for its wealth of crafts and artesans. Many tours can be taken from Huancayo to visit the surrounding villages but there are also plenty of buses which you can take should you wish to explore independently. If you do explore, one of the most popular spots is the beautiful lowland town of La Merced where you can spend a weekend relaxing in the jungle (approximately 4 hours by bus). We are always happy to help you arrange any weekend excursions.


Q: Where will I live?

You can either stay in one of our two volunteer houses which house up to four people, or we can organize a homestay for you. Please see our Accommodations page for more information. Alternatively, you can elect to find your own housing if you prefer.


Q: What should I bring with me?

Huancayo is a major city and has a very good shopping centre where you can buy most things. The following are items which may cost more, or be harder to find:

Plug converters 

Certain snacks (Peanut butter in particular is often difficult to find).

Make sure you bring receipts for any valuables should you need to report them missing or stolen. 

Any donations you would like to bring will be gratefully received (the children are always very excited to see things from other countries!). 


Q: Will I be able to contact home?

There are many internet cafes in Huancayo which cost around $0.50 an hour. A good Skype connection can be difficult to find, and we recommend you buy your own headphones with microphone. These can be bought relatively cheaply in Huancayo. Wi-fi is available in the volunteer house and in the homestays. 
Pay as you go mobile phones are available for around $15 which friends and family can then call cheaply through Skype.
The office is happy to receive any post sent from home. However, do bear in mind that sometimes things take longer to arrive than expected! Always have the tracking number for the parcel just in case it gets lost (we do NOT recommend relying on the postal service. Many packages can take a month or more to arrive or get confiscated in customs). 


Q: How much will I spend?

Huancayo itself is cheap compared to western cities. A substantial lunch can be bought for around $2 and a standard supermarket shop for the week should not come to more than $15, depending on how much you buy! We provide low cost accommodations and the volunteer house has a kitchen where cooking for yourself will help to keep costs down. Taxis are around $1. The main costs you will encounter are weekend excursions.
See Costs for a list of costs for housing and administration fees.


Q: Do I need insurance?

Yes, it is always recommended that you have comprehensive travel insurance.


Q: Can I bring donations from home?

Yes! Please do. We are always looking for donations and will gratefully receive whatever you can bring.


Q: Can I take time off for travelling?

Yes. We try to be as flexible as possible as we know that our volunteers want to explore Peru. However, we do ask that you respect the commitment that you have made and work as a team with the other volunteers.


Q: I cannot travel to Peru. Are their any other ways that I can help Makikita Quykuwal?

Of course! We are always grateful of any donations received through fundraising done in other countries. You can also help us as a long distance volunteer assisting with translations and answering any questions potential volunteers may have. Please email us through the Contact Us page for more information.


Q: What will be expected of me as an English teacher?

This role will guarantee you a truly rewarding experience, and the longer you are here the more you will see your students progress. As an English teacher you will be working in either the orphanage (one to one classes) or a primary or secondary school. In the primary school there are 6 grades with class sizes ranging from 10 -20. Our students love English lessons and are always very enthusiastic and willing to take part in whatever their teacher wishes them to do. You will be expected to look over the work done by previous volunteers, and carry on from where they left off in order to ensure that the students continue to develop their English. You will need to plan lessons for between 1 and 1 1/2hrs depending on the class. We have a lot of information in the office to help you and ideas left from previous volunteers to help you with lesson plan structure. You will always teach in pairs and so lesson plans will be written together. Due to the differing levels of the students you will generally need to plan 3 different classes a week. Class teachers always remain in the classroom to help with any communication or behavioural problems. We all work together at Makikita and recognize that sometimes teaching can be a daunting prospect. However we are here to help each other and any materials and support you need is always available. 
For this role basic Spanish is essential and the more Spanish you know, the more you will be able to communicate with your students and so enjoy your classes.


Q: What if I do not want to work in the roles that you have listed?

No problem! There is always space for new volunteers and if there is something you would like to do in the organization that we have not thought of then please tell us! Go to Contact Us and we will do our best to create a role to suit you.


Q: What are the children like?

All of the children that we work with come from impoverished backgrounds. Despite the hardship that many of them endure, the children are all incredibly hardworking and love working with our volunteers. The children are all very cute and you will always be greeted by chorus cheers, kisses, and hugs upon arrival. We do not require volunteers to speak Spanish; however, knowing the language is an incredible advantage. Notably, though, when volunteers struggle to understand the children, the children are all very patient as well as keen Spanish teachers! The children are all incredibly inquisitive and want to learn about the countries that our volunteers come from. For this reason, we ask volunteers to consider bringing something from home, if possible, which they can then show to the children.


 Q: What items are essential to pack? 

 Some items you will likely wish to bring include: 

1) Sweaters
2) Rain jacket (especially if you are coming anytime between the months of October-May)
3) Hiking boots 
4) Feminine supplies (of course our supermarkets have feminine supplies, but volunteers in the past have noted they were not as satisfied with our brands as those they used in their home countries) 
5) Prescription medications
6) Snacks you don’t anticipate finding in Huancayo (volunteers most often lament the lack of peanut butter and Cliff bars)


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