Volunteer in Peru - Lima
At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 4 meaningful project options
- Projects based in Lima, the capital city of Peru
- Accommodation in either a volunteer house or a homestay
- Between 5 and 20 volunteers start in Lima each month
- Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals, volunteer t-shirt and 24/7 in-country support
- Program fees from $180 for 1 week
- Affordable Spanish language lessons available
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in Peru to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Peru will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Peru with your new-found friends.
The IVHQ Peru - Lima volunteer program has volunteer placements in the Peru’s capital city of Lima.
Volunteer programs begin on the 1st and 15th of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks.
In Lima, 20% of children in each childcare center or orphanage have moderate to severe special needs and the government therefore works closely with orphanages and childcare centers to ensure their basic needs are met, such as housing, water, food and electricity. However there is often not enough staff to provide individual care and attention and this is where you come in! With assistance from volunteers, children can receive one on one attention, can take part in games and activities run by volunteers, receive help with their homework and those with special needs can receive therapies and physical interaction to stimulate their development. Your work is varied and is dependent on the particular placement where you are placed. Volunteers can either be placed in a childcare setting where they will be working in a childcare center with children (0-8 years old) or in a Special Needs setting where we have placements in orphanages with children 0-8 years old, teenagers and adults with both mental and physical disabilities. Examples of tasks can include assisting placement staff in providing rehabilitation exercises (physical, occupation, hydro and language therapies), entertaining and educating the children with games, music, arts and other exercises, renovation work such as painting murals at the orphanage, or providing help with garden maintenance. Some placements also make their own wheelchairs and supportive splints, and you are encouraged to assist here also. Spanish language ability is not required, however we recommend taking advantage of the affordable Spanish lessons offered by our local team in Lima.
It is important to note that all volunteers who sign up to our Special Needs/Childcare project for 1 week, will experience a different structure to those volunteering for 2 weeks or longer. Our 1 week volunteers will be working in a Childcare placement (not Special Needs) and this placement is located in a childcare center on the outskirts of Lima.
If you are on the project for two weeks or more, the project requires the completion of two government documents and a mental health check,which costs US$15 - this is included in the program fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.
Poverty creates a large barrier from obtaining sufficient healthcare for a significant portion of the Peruvian population. To meet demand and reach those who have less access to healthcare, the Peruvian Government has actioned daily medical campaigns which travel to different areas in Lima. These campaigns have a wide reach in the community, with a range of departments available for all medical needs, and this project therefore welcomes a range of medical and nursing backgrounds. Volunteers can expect to take basic vitals of community members (majority elderly) for 5 days checking the changes in their vitals to get a more accurate read. The focus is on blood pressure, glucose levels, weight, height and heartbeat rate. On Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings volunteers also have the option to work in a mobile gynecology van and a mobile cardio van if they wish. Another placement is in an elderly and teenage home where volunteers work giving talks about health promotion and basic check ups for the elderly. In order to participate on this project, you must be confident in your conversational Spanish in order to adequately converse with patients. Also you must be training or be qualified in a relevant medical/nursing field and provide a copy of your qualifications and certificates to our program partner on arrival in Peru.
The Teaching English project provides local Peruvians with the opportunity to learn English from fluent English speakers, enhancing their skills and ability to communicate universally. Volunteers on this project are placed in local schools, a language institute or orphanage schools. The Teaching placements are located on the outskirts of Lima and volunteers generally travel one and a half hours to and from these placements by bus. While volunteer work is primarily focused on teaching children in schools, there is also the opportunity for volunteers to teach English to adults in community groups. Volunteers do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers in order to participate, however many volunteers find it useful to learn or research teaching methods before they arrive. As volunteers work with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training, like a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course. Visit our Online TEFL course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.
Construction and Renovation
The Construction and Renovation project offers volunteers the chance to see immediate impact in the community in which they work. The focus of the project is on homes of underprivileged families in Pachacutec, a community on the outskirts of Lima, and in orphanages and other community buildings within Lima. The families in Pachacutec often live in makeshift homes and they are financially unable to complete much-needed improvements or repairs. The homes often lack sufficient roofing, flooring, electricity and/or plumbing. Many of the orphanages and community buildings volunteers work on within Lima also need help with maintenance such as painting, gardening, window repair and basic repair work. Volunteers help with a range of tasks and the scope of the projects undertaken will vary depending on the current need in the community and feasibility based on the number of volunteers. Volunteers do not need any building or renovation experience to participate but experienced tradespeople are encouraged to list their skills on their application to ensure they’re best utilized. Please note, the Construction and Renovation project has an extra cost of US$35 per week for supervision, materials and the logistics involved in this project. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.
The program orientation begins on the 1st and 15th of every month and volunteers need to arrive into Lima on the day before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM). 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 Lima. 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 Lima on the day before your program orientation.
Orientation is taken by our Peru team at the volunteer house in Lima. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Peru – Introduction to Peru, Peruvian Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Peru, 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 the first day of the volunteering placement, you will be escorted to the project by our local staff and introduced to the staff at the project you will be working with.
Weekdays: A typical day would be as follows:
7.30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer house or homestay.
8.00 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at.
1.00 PM Lunch break. Volunteers may take a packed lunch from the volunteer accommodation.
2.00 PM - 5.00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, prepare for the next day or do some shopping and sightseeing. If volunteers are taking Spanish language lessons, they will usually take these in the afternoon.
8.30 PM Dinner at the volunteer house or homestay.
Volunteers in Lima are accommodated with other volunteers, in either a volunteer house run by the local coordinator’s family or in a homestay. Bedrooms are comprised of single and double beds and volunteers can expect to share a room with one to three other volunteers. Living is comfortable and there is electricity and running water in the volunteer house and the homestays. Bedding is provided and you just need to bring your own towel and toiletries, and a sleeping bag if you wish to travel during the weekends. If you would like more private setting, an accommodation upgrade can be arranged for a private room once you register for the program. For US$35 per person per week, these upgrades place volunteers in smaller homestays with a local host family and a maximum of 1 to 2 other volunteers.
WiFi is available to volunteers in both the volunteer house and homestay accommodation.
Volunteers are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Breakfasts generally consist of tea and coffee, toast, local breads, cereal, condiments, ham and cheese. A typical lunch can include meat and vegetables with rice, sandwiches and fruit, while dinner usually sees traditional meat and vegetarian stews accompany the vegetables and rice. Bottled water is readily available in Peru and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 per week for this (2 liters per day). If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you.
“I loved the experience and it was really worthwhile. I volunteered for a period of 4 weeks and I feel as if everyone involved was very appreciative of the work that we were doing and were very inviting. The children were very receptive, willing to learn and very loving. The accommodation in which I stayed was a lot better than I had expected.” - Valeria Hernandez (Teaching English Volunteer in Peru - Lima)
During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Lima and Peru. Popular activities include paragliding from the cliffs of Miraflores, visiting the Pachacamac Ruins south of Lima, climbing to the top of the Huaca Pucllana Pyramid in the centre of Miraflores, surfing the coastal waters of Miraflores and Barranco, and sand boarding in Huacachina of Southwest Peru. Long weekends can be taken to travel further a field such as Machu Picchu.
Please note, Teaching English volunteers generally work Monday to Thursday and Saturday, having Friday and Sunday free for personal time.
See our Peru - Lima Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Peru!
|Currency||Nuevo Sol (PEN)|
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. The coast has moderate temperatures, low precipitation, and high humidity, except for its warmer, wetter northern reaches. In the sierra, rain is frequent during summer, and temperature and humidity diminish with altitude up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The selva is characterized by heavy rainfall and high temperatures, except for its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Lima. Additional requirements apply for Medical volunteers, please read the project description below.
Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Peru - Lima volunteer program, however on certain projects, such as Teaching English and Medical, 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 Lima. 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 Lima. Below is an outline of the various Spanish requirements for each placement:
Special Needs/Childcare & Construction and Renovation - Volunteers participating on the Special Needs/Childcare or the Construction and Renovation project in Lima can have little to no Spanish speaking ability, but must be fluent in English. If volunteers have no Spanish, they must be prepared for some language difficulties at their placement and be willing to take the language lessons offered by the local staff.
Teaching English - Volunteers who wish to participate on the Teaching English project must have at least a basic grasp of Spanish. Many of the children and adults in the classes only have a very basic understanding of English, and volunteers should therefore have a basic grasp in order to help manage the class. A list of common classroom vocabulary is provided to volunteers before they arrive in Lima.
Medical Placement - Volunteers who wish to participate on the Medical project must be confident in their conversational Spanish, with a view to interacting conversationally and professionally with patients.
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.
VOLUNTEER LANGUAGE LESSONS
Spanish language lessons are available for all volunteers regardless of their ability. IVHQ strongly recommends these for all volunteers, unless they are fluent in Spanish. If volunteers have little or no Spanish ability and are volunteering for a period longer than 2 weeks, they should strongly consider these courses, so they can work and communicate with all parties more effectively during their program. These language lessons are organized on your arrival in Lima at your program orientation. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers at US$10 per hour.
Basic Language Course
10 hours per week (2 hours per day, 5 days a week)
Advanced Language Course
15-20 hours per week (3 to 4 hours per day, 5 days a week)