HighlightsThere is no end of activities and sights to visit in your spare time. Visit the north coast for some of the best windsurfing or kite boarding found in the world, go whale watching, try fun hiking, biking or even white water rafting for those adrenaline seekers! You may also like to visit the Caribbean's highest peak or the Playa Rincon, said to be one of the best beaches in the world. Hunt round the quaint town of Monte Cristo for some great finds including bargain priced jewellery made from handcrafted beads, and try some with some of the local rum in one of the colourful bars!
Special need integration, language classes, tutoring, homework help, skills training and community development
Our aim is to empower children, youth, young adults and women by providing an educational platform where they can be supported in developing their potential and improving their own lives.
Special need integration and education. At our government accredited Educational Attention Center we promote integration of special need students into the educational system. Committed volunteers are always welcome since there is constant need of one to one attention and tutoring. Activities help children share with others, develop confidence and cope with their feelings while developing verbal and nonverbal communication skills and children’s fine motor abilities. Our Center is one of the few educational institutions in the country that focuses on teaching special needs education while focusing on integration, awareness and human rights. Volunteers offer a warm learning environment, stressing positive reinforcement and genuine caring.
What to expect: Helping out with special need education at our Attention Center requires regular working hours primarily in the afternoon when the children and young adults attend, including preparation meetings and classroom activities which can take place during morning hours. Due to the friendly teachers and the warm hearted children and young adults you will feel welcome from day one and find yourself in a pleasant working climate. Spanish skills are helpful but not mandatory!
Computer literacy, first aid or language classes as well as tutoring and homework help. Individualised instruction in Math, Reading, Writing, Algebra, English and computer skills. This program provides volunteers with the chance to make a difference to locals who would otherwise lack these important opportunities! Computer literacy and/or first aid classes helps locals to prepare for jobs in the tourist industry. Whether because of poor study habits or the lack of individualised help, in the Dominican Republic many kids struggle just to keep up. Often a student’s lack of confidence is their number one obstacle, so we provide a warm fun learning environment filled with praise and encouragement. That’s how our volunteers help children experience success in school.
What to expect: Language teaching, skill training and tutoring classes & homework help may require specific knowledge and basic Spanish skills. Classes take place during morning, afternoon and early evening hours or at mutually agreed times between Monday and Friday. Please note that the amount of hours you work depends greatly on your availability and student needs. Volunteers are expected to offer a warm learning environment, stressing positive reinforcement and genuine caring. Available all year, also during summer holidays!
Community care and development. From our attention center for special needs education we reach out to parents, families and the neighbourhood and are involved in community development, building community support for youth care and engaging support for parents/caregivers. We raise awareness for children rights, special need integration, health prevention and environmental protection. We promote leadership and life skills, healthy lifestyle and constructive use of free-time. Volunteers join our staff on visits to the local neighbourhoods and assist with empowerment, education and community building activities in direct contact with the people.
What to expect: Community development activities and engaging support for parents & caregivers. You will assist preparing and coordinating community outreach and intervention, neighbourhood visits and meeting with local leaders and authorities as well as project and report editing, research, translation and documentation of the work. You will be experiencing full immersion in the local culture and public live. Requires Spanish skills and initiative.
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 can be asked to be involved in a combination of activities which can also require working directly in contact with our beneficiaries.
Therapy students or professionals
Note: If you are a physio y/or occupational therapist your skills will be put to work for our children and young adults at the Therapy Center who 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 can include but are not limited to
- Assist with recreational, developmental and therapeutic activities for children and young adults with special needs
- Attending weekly meetings with other volunteers and staff to create weekly lesson plans and educational projects
- Assist children and spend time with them, playing, organising, teaching and doing art & craft activities, singing and dancing.
- Help organise special events like fundraising parties, cooperating with other organisations and supporting community activities when help is needed
- Assist with tutoring classes & homework reinforcement (Spanish skills required)
- Organising and leading intercultural events and regular meetings for locals and volunteers with cross-cultural activities fostering exchange and integration
- Assisting teaching English, German or French classes as well as computer literacy and/or first aid classes to local youth and adults
- Assist our staff with youth, family and community development activities and engaging support for parents & caregivers (Spanish skills required)
- Plan and execute workshops on disability and related topics based on the characteristics and needs of target groups
- Help promote the educational and social inclusion process for people with disabilities
Financial Contribution & 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 €140 per week and includes Spanish language classes, double room at one of our fully equipped guesthouse apartments, a special program donation as well as a personal welcome service and pick-up at the airport, transfer to the bus, bus fare and free transfer to your placement location in Las Terrenas or Samana. If you wish a single room upgrade add €50 per week and an all in Host Family homestay upgrade is €150 per week, including a private bedroom and two meals per day. For more information about costs and benefits check out our webpage
What is included
- Welcome Service at the airport and transport to your placement location
- Volunteer or Internship placement
- Accommodation of your choice
- Placement introduction, training, supervision, briefings and meetings
- Free regular Spanish lessons throughout your placement
- Free Wifi and use of washing machine at all our facilities
- Certificate, written reference and student credit
- Information about adventure packages
- Full support and 24/7 backup from local staff
Spanish language classes: Volunteers and interns receive 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 are encouraged to 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 are immersed in the Spanish language and the Dominican culture.
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 various challenges are strongly encouraged to apply. We welcome individual volunteers, families and groups regardless of age, experience or background. Basic Spanish skills are helpful, but an advanced level of Spanish experience will open up more opportunities. 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. You are welcome to bring some arts & crafts materials
Volunteer placement or internship
Most of our participants join as volunteers and are free to commit from between 10 to 40 hours per week. That’s up to you! As an intern, however you probably have to fulfill requirements set by your school or university. Please inform us of your school or university internship requirements in advance so that we can work out your personalized work plan together. Also tell us about your personal expectations and goals and we will see how we can help you achieve them.
Time Commitment: A minimum of 2 weeks commitment is required