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Elderly Care Volunteer Program in Bogota - Colombia

Apply now. The next available start date for this project is Aug 9, 2021

In Colombia, the elderly get little to no financial assistance from the government as traditionally, the care of the elderly has always been left to younger generations of the family. Due to war, poverty and illness, many Colombian families are faced with crowded multi-generational households with no financial ability to care for the needs of their elderly family members.

Elderly Care volunteer in Bogota, Colombia with IVHQ

Unfortunately, this has lead to high rates of abandonment among the elderly, many of whom are left to fend for themselves on the streets of Bogota with dementia, pneumonia or other conditions.

Volunteers on the Elderly Care project play an important role in centers that rescue elderly women from the streets and put them into care. In these centers, volunteers provide companionship, conversation, food, shelter and medication to the women while occasionally helping with cleaning and operational tasks.

This project is well suited to compassionate volunteers who enjoy helping vulnerable people. As you’ll be working under the supervision of local staff, you don’t need any prior experience volunteering with elderly people.

Apply now
Apply now
Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $270 for 1 week
  • Volunteer in centers for elderly women, many of whom have been abandoned by their families

  • Assist with day to day tasks including helping with meals and medication

  • Provide social support through simple means of having conversations and sharing your time

  • Suited to caring and compassionate volunteers

  • Volunteer for up to 5 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Colombia at a glance
  • Based in Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, three meals each weekday and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a volunteer house

  • Between 5 and 20 volunteers start in Bogotá each month

Fill out the quick form below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for Colombia, based on your country of residence.

The IVHQ Colombia - Bogotá volunteer program has volunteer placements located in Colombia’s capital city of Bogotá and surrounding suburbs.

You can start volunteering on the IVHQ Colombia - Bogota program on the 2nd or 4th Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 weeks to 24 weeks.

The program orientation begins on the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month. Volunteers need to arrive in Bogota the day before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the El Dorado International Airport (BOG). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Bogota. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Bogota prior to your volunteer program, you will need to make your own way to the volunteer accommodation and the local team will provide guidance on this.

Orientation is taken by our Colombia team at the volunteer apartment in Bogotá. Orientation is held on your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Colombia – Introduction to Colombia, Colombian Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Colombia, Introduction to your Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with. Volunteers typically work in morning and afternoon shifts that last around 3 to 5 hours each.

Weekdays: A typical volunteer day is as follows:

7.30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.

8.00 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements.

8.30 AM - 1 PM Volunteer work and a lunch break.

1.00 PM - 3.30 PM Spanish lessons and volunteer work.

6.30 PM Dinner at the volunteer house.

Please note, this is an example schedule as work hours are dependent on the project and placement. Volunteers on the Bogota program can easily take part in a range of the projects if they would like to, this can be arranged with the coordinators.

Evenings: To ensure the safety of our volunteers and respect of others in the volunteer apartment, a curfew of 11:00 PM has been put in place from Sunday to Thursday and a 2:00 AM curfew for Friday and Saturday.

Volunteers are accommodated in a volunteer house with other volunteers in the safe neighborhood of El Qurinal. Bedrooms are comprised of bunk beds and volunteers can expect to be sharing a room with up to 7 other volunteers of the same gender. Bedding is not provided, so you need to bring your own sleeping bag and fitted single sheet, towels and toiletries. Living is comfortable and the volunteer apartment has electricity, running water and western bathrooms (generally with hot water). For couples or those wanting more privacy, private rooms in the volunteer apartment are available for an additional $20 per night. Private rooms are subject to availability.

WiFi is available for volunteers to use at the volunteer house. You can also purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone to keep connected.

Volunteers in Bogotá are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) Monday through Friday served at the volunteer apartment. Breakfast is varied and can include pancakes, fruit, eggs and aepa (corn bread). Lunch and dinner include a range of traditional dishes, such as Bandeja Paisa or Ajiaco. Tea, coffee, fresh juices and toast is available in the volunteer apartment throughout the day. Purified water is available in the volunteer house, however we recommend that volunteers purchase bottled water for drinking at their placements. During the weekends, volunteers can prepare their own meals using the ingredients provided, or can eat out at one of Bogotá’s many restaurants. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you.

“As much as I prepared for the trip, I was not prepared for the lasting effect it would have on me. Little did I know that as I write this testimonial two months after my return home, I would already have a plane ticket back to Bogotá. First, the projects. I took part in construction, feeding the homeless, and teaching in Soacha. Volunteering with IHVQ was one of the best choices I have made in my life. In the short time I was there I made lasting friendships with volunteers from all over the world, and began to get to know a beautiful country which I previously knew little about. I can’t wait to be back!” - Elizabeth Delfing (Feeding the Homeless Volunteer in Colombia-Bogotá)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Colombia here

Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
1 week $270 Equivalent to $39/day
2 weeks $410 Equivalent to $30/day
3 weeks $540 Equivalent to $26/day
4 weeks $660 Equivalent to $24/day
5 weeks $780 Equivalent to $23/day
6 weeks $900 Equivalent to $22/day
8 weeks $1,190 Equivalent to $22/day
10 weeks $1,480 Equivalent to $22/day
12 weeks $1,780 Equivalent to $22/day
16 weeks $2,380 Equivalent to $22/day
20 weeks $2,980 Equivalent to $22/day
24 weeks $3,580 Equivalent to $22/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals Monday to Friday
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteering

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of $299 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Bogota generally find US$60 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses.

During the weekends, volunteers have free time to relax or take the opportunity to explore Bogotá and wider Colombia. Ride the cable car to Cerro de Monserrate, boasting breath-taking views of all of Bogotá. In the center of the city, walk the cobblestone streets of La Candelaria as you explore the Botero Museum, Gold Museum and Emerald Museum. At the Usaquen Flea Market, pick up souvenirs for friends and family, listen to live music, and stroll down cobblestone streets set amid colonial architecture. Further afield, explore the coastal paradise of the Caribbean region, the numerous hiking adventures of the Andes region, or the natural wonders of the Orinoquia region.

See our Colombia Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Colombia.

Capital Bogotá
Population 48.3 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Colombian Peso (KES)
Time zone UTC-5:00

Weather and climate: Given Colombia’s proximity to the equator, the country experiences little variation in temperature throughout the year. However, the climate does vary greatly with changes in altitude, creating various climactic zones from hot, coastal lowlands to freezing, mountainous peaks. Bogotá has a mild climate that is generally characterized by frequent cloudiness and occasional drizzling rains throughout the year. Days are cool (averaging 19°C/65°F) and nights can be cold, due to the altitude (average 5°C/40°F).

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.

All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Bogotá.

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Colombia - Bogotá volunteer program, however on certain projects, such as Teaching, volunteer work will be restricted with limited language ability. We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our partner staff in Bogotá. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Spanish lessons can arrange these directly with the local staff once in Bogotá.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

Spanish language lessons are available for all volunteers regardless of their ability. IVHQ recommends these lessons for all volunteers unless they are fluent in Spanish. Volunteers with a basic level of Spanish should strongly consider these lessons to allow them to work and communicate more effectively during their program. These language lessons are organized upon your arrival in Bogotá during your program orientation. The language course is tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers at US$15 per 90 minutes. There is also ample opportunity to participate in conversation exchanges if your Spanish is at a more advanced level.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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