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Special Needs Care Volunteer Program in Peru - Cusco

Special Needs Care Volunteer Program in Peru - Cusco

Purpose
Provide care & connection for those with disabilities
Start dates
Programs start every Monday
Duration
Choose from 1-24 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Age
Volunteers aged 18+
Accommodation
Homestay
Program fees
From $465 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

This program is ideal for:

Compassionate, caring volunteers who want to help young and old people facing a wide range of physical and mental disabilities and challenges. You’ll be working closely with local staff so no experience in working with people with disabilities is necessary.

Project details

Interested in being a Special Needs Care volunteer in Peru - Cusco? International Volunteer HQ’s Special Needs Care project is a great opportunity for volunteers to support people with disabilities in the Andean city of Cusco. Volunteers gain experience assisting in homes for disabled children or the elderly and helping give them the kind of individual care, attention and social connection that makes a real difference to their lives.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

For those living with disabilities, getting access to individual care can make a world of difference. By volunteering on the Special Needs Care project in Cusco, volunteers can supplement the important work done by local staff and provide extra care, attention and connection for people with disabilities.

As a Special Needs Care volunteer you’ll assist in homes for disabled children or the elderly. There is a wide variety of physical and mental disabilities and challenges faced by the people you will be assisting so you should be prepared to help them in a range of different ways. This is likely to include providing specialized attention and helping with:

  • Basic care
  • Feeding and meals
  • Clothing and dressing
  • Bathing and personal care
  • Arranging crafts and games

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old to join this project, due to placement requirements.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Good mental and physical health is key to sustainable development and building healthy and happy communities. Now more than ever, we must increase access to free healthcare and health education across the globe to achieve an acceptable standard of living and wellbeing for all.

Why do Special Needs Care volunteering in Cusco with IVHQ?

When you volunteer with people with disabilities in Peru - Cusco you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving care for people with disabilities
  • Helping local staff and families support those with disabilities
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining experience working with disabled people
  • Immersing yourself in Peruvian culture
  • Exploring the stunning mountains and ancient ruins of Peru

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers must be 18 years old to participate in this program
  • All volunteers aged 18+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English, and are encouraged to be familiar with Spanish.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

Not sure which program to join?

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

DA
David Avis
08 Dec 2023

If you're thinking about volunteering then follow your intuition. If it feels like the right thing to do it probably is.

...
PT
Paul Toner
09 Oct 2023

Excellent experience overall! I encourage more people to do the special needs program. My only advice is to have basic Spanish if going into a school as it would have made life much easier.

...
HL
Helena Lister
08 Nov 2022

My host family were wonderful and really went out of their way to make me feel welcome. Don't think, just do. You won't regret it for a second!

...
KH
Kyla Hughes
22 Aug 2022

Volunteering in Peru pushed me out of my comfort zone and I loved it! I had enough Spanish skills to get by, but I think I could have made a bigger contribution if I knew a little more and was there longer. This was my first opportunity to be immersed in a culture entirely different from my own. I was in a place that didn’t speak my native language, and being with my school special needs volunteer placement really gave me a feel of what it would be to settle down and really live in Peru. I enjoyed using the commuter bus, and of course even more so I loved working with the kids. An amazing trip!

...
MS
Madeline Stanton
11 Aug 2022

I always go into these programs with an open mind and realistic expectations of the impact I will make in such a short period. And what I always walk away with is more than I expected about what I have learned about myself and how the program has actually helped me grow instead. Do it! Never stop exploring the world because you never know what you might find.

...
SL
Sofia Lopez Ochoa
28 Jul 2021

My volunteer experience in Perú was the best trip and overall experience I've had my entire life. I had the best of times hanging out with other volunteers after our project hours ended. I got to know Perú and Cusco as best as I could, going on trips every weekend and trying as many traditional foods and customs as I could. Volunteering in the Special Needs Project was deeply enriching to my life, heart and mind. I got to learn so much for my future work as a physician and as a person as well. Volunteering is something that benefits you as a volunteer as much as the communities you're helping. I'm just waiting to save enough money so I can do it again. I loved the experience and would highly recommend for everyone and anyone to do it.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit

Location

Volunteer Abroad in Peru, Cusco with IVHQ

Location

Cusco is one of the oldest cities in South America and situated in the stunning Peruvian Andes. The city is close to famous Inca trails, ruins and temples, such as Machu Picchu. It’s a hive of culture, adventure and culinary delights - all of which makes it a prime destination for visitors to Peru.

The IVHQ Peru - Cusco volunteer program has volunteer placements located in Cusco and surrounding valleys. Volunteers are important to Cusco because despite the thriving tourism industry and government investment in the region, many local people make little money and struggle to access food, water, shelter, healthcare and education. Volunteers can make a difference by supporting local initiatives that aim to help people improve their quality of life by making sure they have the basic necessities and opportunities to help them improve their futures.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive in Cusco on the Sunday before orientation. Orientation will be held within 24 hours of your arrival.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in Cusco. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the local team’s main office and then to your homestay. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation. If you are traveling in Peru prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Cusco on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our local team at their offices in Cusco. Orientation begins on Monday morning and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Cusco – introduction to Peru, Peruvian customs, language lesson details, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Cusco, 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.

Volunteer schedule example

First Day

On your first day of volunteering, typically Tuesday, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays

Volunteers will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift which will last about 3 to 5 hours. Volunteer roles and hours are dependent on your project and placement. A typical morning schedule might be as follows:

8:00 AM Breakfast with your host family.
9:00 AM Leave the homestay and travel to your placement, where you will be given a structure sheet and a plan for your work.
12:00 PM Lunch at a local restaurant.
1:00 - 6:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. You are free to travel back to your accommodation, go sightseeing or take Spanish lessons.
7:00 PM Dinner with your host family.

Weekends

On weekends volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Cusco and Peru. Sunday is a religious day of rest and most stores and restaurants are closed on Sundays, as most Peruvians devote the day to spending time with their families. If you like, you can accompany your host family to their local church, as a Latin American church service is a unique and special experience for many volunteers.

Cusco is a lively metropolitan city with a fascinating history and lots to see and do. There are places where you can learn about the Mayan and Incan culture and traditions, see ancient ruins, a beautiful central square bordered by restaurants and cafes, cooking classes, a chocolate museum offering all kinds of tasty delights or dance the night away in some of Peru’s best nightclubs. It is also an outdoor-lovers paradise with plenty of horseback riding, ziplining and hiking opportunities, including Rainbow Mountain.

Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to visit other parts of Peru, such as Lima.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers on Cusco based projects will be accommodated in either a dorm-style volunteer house or a homestay with a local host family, depending on their age. Volunteers who are between the ages of 18 and 27 are accommodated in a larger, dorm-style volunteer house. Whereas, those over the age of 27 are accommodated in a local home-stay, hosted by a local family. If you are travelling as a family, or a solo volunteer under the age of 18, the local team will place you in a separate home-stay.

You will find living conditions are comfortable in both types of accommodation, and all host families have been approved by our local staff. Bedrooms have single and bunk beds with bedding provided. In the volunteer house you can expect to share a room with up to 8 other volunteers, whereas in a homestay you may share a room with up to four other volunteers. All bedrooms are separated by gender. The volunteer house can accommodate up to 30 volunteers, whereas the homestays can host up to 6 volunteers at one time.

If you prefer a private room, these are available in our homestays and you will need to arrange this through your Program Manager once you’ve secured your spot on the program. Private room upgrades cost $62 per week.

All accommodations have electricity, filtered water for drinking, running water and western bathrooms. Low pressure showers are common and the water is not always heated. Please note, homes in Peru are not typically heated but your hosts can provide you with additional blankets upon request. We also advise wearing layered clothing as the temperature tends to drop at night, due to the altitude.

WiFi is available in the majority of homestays and you will have access to computers and WiFi at the local team’s office in Cusco.

Please note, volunteers under the age of 18 who are travelling solo will be accommodated separately from those over the age of 18, in a homestay. If there are other volunteers under the age of 18 participating at the same time, the local team will do their best to ensure they are accommodated together.

Meals

In Cusco, volunteers are provided breakfast and dinner at their accommodation.

A typical Peruvian breakfast consists of bread, spreads, fruit and eggs accompanied by tea or coffee. Dinner commonly consists of meat (often chicken), soups, pastas, starches and vegetables. We recommend budgeting between $3 (approximately $3) and $10 (approximately $10) per day to purchase lunch. Local staff will give recommendations on economical places to eat in Cusco.

Please let us know of any dietary requirements you have so we can make special arrangements for you.

Pricing

  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately $329) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Duration
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.
  • USD
1 week $465 Equivalent to $66/day
2 weeks $820 Equivalent to $59/day
3 weeks $1,107 Equivalent to $53/day
4 weeks $1,378 Equivalent to $49/day
5 weeks $1,668 Equivalent to $48/day
6 weeks $1,958 Equivalent to $47/day
8 weeks $2,538 Equivalent to $45/day
10 weeks $3,118 Equivalent to $45/day
12 weeks $3,698 Equivalent to $44/day
16 weeks $4,858 Equivalent to $43/day
20 weeks $6,018 Equivalent to $43/day
24 weeks $7,178 Equivalent to $43/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately $329) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Cusco generally find US$100 - $150 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such lunches, public transportation, personal spending money, etc..
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

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

  • Lunch
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in Cusco

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Cusco! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Cusco program.

Lake Titicaca Tour (2 nights/1 day)
Lake Titicaca Tour (2 nights/1 day)

Prepare to be in awe of this unique landscape and surroundings on this overnight tour!

$140
Machu Picchu Overnight Tour  - Upgrade (2 days, 1 night)
Machu Picchu Overnight Tour - Upgrade (2 days, 1 night)

Explore Machu Picchu on an exhilarating 2-day & 1-night tour.

$490
Machu Picchu Tour (Full Day)
Machu Picchu Tour (Full Day)

Experience the awe-inspiring wonders of Machu Picchu in just one day without stretching your budget!

$374

Affordable Spanish language lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Peru - Cusco program, however on certain projects 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 local team in Cusco. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and classes run from Monday through to Friday. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers.

  • Group Class: 2 hours a day - starting at $89 per week
  • Private Class: 1 hour a day - starting at $95 per week
  • Private Class: 2 hours a day - starting at $190 per week

How to book IVHQ’s language lessons: Once you’ve paid your registration fee, you will be able to select language lessons as an “Add-on” via your MyIVHQ profile.

Spanish language lessons are not available on the Andean Immersion, Eco-Agriculture or Amazon Jungle Conservation projects due to their remote nature. However volunteers will have plenty of opportunity to practice with locals.

Check what's required to visit Peru

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Lima
Population 32 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN)
Time zone UTC-05:00

Weather and climate: Peru, unlike other equatorial countries, does not have an exclusively tropical climate; the influence of the Andes and the Humboldt Current causes great climatic diversity within the country. In the mountains, rain is frequent during summer and temperatures and humidity diminish with altitude up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The jungle has heavy rainfal​l​ and high temperatures, with the exception of its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.

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How to get started

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