Volunteer Placement & Internship Opportunity
Our aim is to empower young people in Samaná by providing a platform at our school where they can be supported in developing their potential and improving their own lives. The Mama Elba school in Samana was founded by Aldeas de Paz in 2015 and is one of the few educational institutions in the Dominican Republic that focuses on teaching children with special needs. Our school provides volunteers with the opportunity to make a difference to the young people of our local community whom would otherwise lack educational and creative opportunities, whilst also promoting the integration of special need kids into the educational system.
In Las Terrenas we are involved in youth, family and community development. We promote leadership and life skills, healthy lifestyle and constructive use of freetime. We are building community support for youth development and engaging support of parents, women empowerment, sexual education, domestic violence prevention and at risk youth work and education. Additionally, volunteers have the unique chance to present and implement their own ideas with the support of the team.
We are constantly adapting our activities to community needs and volunteer numbers and capacities. If you wish to specialize in a particular activity we will do our best to accommodate your personal preferences. However, you will be asked to get involved in a combination of activities which requires working directly in contact with our beneficiaries, underprivileged children, youth and young adults. Your tasks will be assisting at teaching at our school for children with special needs or teaching languages or computer literacy classes to locals.
Create your own project!
In addition to our established community activities and programs, volunteers are welcome to develop new projects with the financial and organizational support of our charity. In the past, there have been projects like environmental awareness programs or sport offers for the local children provided by the volunteers.
Activities can include but are not limited to
- Teaching and assisting in our school with recreational, developmental and therapeutic activities for children and young adults with special needs
- Playing and taking care of underprivileged children and young adults
- Attending weekly meetings with other volunteers and staff to create weekly schooling plans and educational projects
- Organizing and leading intercultural events and regular meetings for local community members and international volunteers, expats and travelers with cross-cultural activities fostering exchange and integration
- Helping with special events like fundraising parties, cooperating with other organizations and supporting community activities when help is needed
- Assisting teaching English classes (or other languages) as well as computer literacy classes to local youth and adults and prepare them for jobs in the tourist industry
- Assisting with maintenance and restoration activities on our school building
- Assist our social worker with youth, family and community development in direct contact with community members (requires advanced spanish skills)
- Creating your own project or activity
Activities for Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy Students or Professionals
Your professional skills are very useful for our children and young adults at school which are all facing different development challenges. The only medical center providing therapy for their special needs is too far away and too expensive for most of the families. Therefore, the pupils can only get the therapy they need with your help. Teaching some basic therapeutic methods and skills to the other volunteers working in the school would also be very supportive. Please contact us for more information.
Activities for advanced Spanish speakers
Social work in the community, women empowerment, sexual education, domestic violence prevention and at risk youth work and education. You will be accompanying our social worker on family home visits and assist with empowerment and educational workshops as well as community building activities in direct contact with community members from low income neighbourhoods in Las Terrenas.
No previous experience or special skills are required but basic Spanish language skills are very helpful. However, all that is truly necessary is enthusiasm, self-reliance, patience and an open mind. Nevertheless, volunteers that already have experience in teaching, working with children or working with people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. We welcome individual volunteers, families and groups regardless of age, experience or background. You don't have to speak fluent Spanish as we provide free Spanish classes on a regular basis, full support and 24/7 backup. An ideal volunteer is proactive, result-focused but still patient and willing to engage in activities autonomously while still having our support and supervision. We ask you to bring some arts & crafts materials such as: pencils, crayons, wax crayons, rubbers, sharpeners, glues, ruler, scissors, colored paper, etc... Depending on how much space you have left you can get some more ideas on what to bring for the children if you contact us.
What to expect
Working hours will be primarily in the afternoon when the children are at the school. Our school requires 22 hours of work per week, including a preparation meeting and classroom activities. Due to the friendly teachers and the warmhearted children you will feel welcome from day one and find yourself in a pleasant working climate. Basic Spanish skills are needed, but an advanced level of Spanish experience will open up more opportunities.
Volunteer placement or internship
This program can be booked as a volunteer placement or as an internship. Please inform us of your school or university’s internship requirements and we will work out your personalized work plan.
A minimum of 4 weeks is required for participation in our community based social work in Las Terrenas (requires advanced spanish skills).
A minimum of 2 weeks commitment is required for our school placement and related activities like computer literacy classes and language teaching.
Samaná: Mama Elba school for children and adults with special needs, computer literacy classes, English classes, intercultural events and exchange
Las Terrenas: Montessori school (http://casaninoslasterrenas.com/#home), English classes, community lending library, intercultural events & exchange
Costs & Benefits
Aldeas de Paz works hard to keep the required financial contribution to an absolute minimum and to offer financial transparency by practicing an open book policy. The calculation of your financial contribution or donation is set up so that the longer you stay the less you give per week. We do this to encourage longer stays, recognizing that longer stays lead to more significant volunteer work and more energy contributed in the form of donated time in place of money! The minimum contribution starts at € 110 per week including double room accommodation at our Aldeas de Paz guesthouse. For a single room we add € 30 per week. The minimum donation for the host family stay is € 200 per week and includes a private bedroom and two meals (breakfast and lunch). For more information about costs and benefits check out our webpage.
Spanish language classes - volunteers or interns receive up to six free language lessons every week. The classes focus on developing communication skills so that students are able to put their knowledge to practical use as soon as they step outside the classroom. Our teaching method enables students to develop four basic skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. The idea is to learn Spanish in a natural and spontaneous way, just as students have learned their mother tongue. Our students speak Spanish right from the very first day, using it in typical real-life situations: the basic syllabus is supplemented by special exercises, such as role-play, situational dialogues and work projects. Outside the classroom, the learning process continues as you immerse in the Spanish language and the Dominican culture.
Contact Person: Manfred Mönnighoff; Project/charity name: Fundación Aldeas de Paz;
Address: Samana, Dominican Republic, Tel: +1 829 7055 123;
- Child Development
- Youth Services
- Child Care
- Special Needs
- Group Facilitation
- General Education
Good Match For
Kids Teens People 55+ Group
Requirements & Commitment
- Must be at least 18
- two weeks minimum
- No previous experience or special skills are required; all that is necessary is enthusiasm