Orphanage Project

Work in an Orphanage (Quetzaltenango/Xela)

Share your love & compassion with orphans in Guatemala!
volunteers taking care of orphans
  • Teach English, organize games and activities
  • Work with older and younger children alike
  • Assist in day-to-day operations of the orphanage
  • Volunteer abroad safely & affordably

Project Summary

Poverty, abuse and alcoholism have left many children in Guatemala without families, depriving them of the parental love and care they need. IFRE’s orphanage volunteer projects in Guatemala aim to change these children’s circumstances providing caring and nurturing volunteers to work and play with them. Manpower and resources to support these orphanages are scarce. Your assistance helps keep these children off the street and helps provide them with a happy and productive childhood. Volunteers in a Guatemalan orphanage, depending on individual skills and interests, may act as mentors and companions, helping children with their homework and teaching English, but your love and support are the most important elements for these disadvantaged children. Volunteers at orphanages provide care for the children, help them with their homework and organize workshops and playtime activities. You may work with other volunteers and/or teachers. Most orphanages receive either boys or girls, though there are a few that receive both girls and boys. The children – ages 5 to 16 years – value your care, attention and friendship.

In IFRE’s program, volunteers primarily help orphans with basic English skills and by organizing creative, extra-curricular activities such as game, singing, music, drawing, etc. This program is the perfect place for volunteers looking for opportunities to share their love, passion and skills with these very-unfortunate children. Many volunteers joining orphanage Guatemala program as life changing and rewarding. This is the perfect project if you want to serve humanity or share your love, passion and time with children deprived of their parents love and care.

Skills/Qualifications Needed

There are no specific qualifications needed to join IFRE's volunteer orphanage project in Guatemala. However, volunteers are expected to be flexible and patient, as well as possess a passion and love for orphans. While Spanish is preferred it is not required

Volunteer Responsibilities

IFRE volunteers in orphanage projects in Guatemala teach English (3-4 hours a day) either at the orphanage or the day school the children attend. Volunteers assist with day-to-day skills: dressing properly, personal hygiene and travelling to school safely. Volunteers may also organize games, art lessons, singing, dancing as well as other creative, educational and extra-curricular activities for the children. This may include training groups in sports, teaching arts and crafts organizing inter-school football matches, playing music, as well as teaching subjects such as mathematics, world affairs, hygiene and nutrition. The possibilities are truly endless. Some participants will assist in the care of the children who cannot yet attend school as well as lend a hand through food distribution, kitchen work and garden maintenance.

Room/Food/Supervision

In Guatemala, all volunteers stay with well-screened host families. Our host families are socially respected and are well versed in the art of hosting international volunteers. Host families offer a safe home, private rooms (occasionally rooms will be shared with other same-gender volunteers) and shared bathroom facilities with running water and a “western” style toilet. Volunteers have the ability to do laundry at the house or the host family may offer to do it for you for a nominal extra fee. You receive three prepared meals per day. If you will be out of the house during lunch hour, you can request a lunch "to go" that you can take with you or eat out on your own. Host families provide typical meals that are traditional to Guatemala.

Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. With longer placements, we visit our volunteers every two weeks (when possible) and volunteers are always welcome at the local office. If project placement is local, we request that volunteers stop by the office once a week to keep us posted on how they are doing with their home stay and project. If project placement is very far, then our local staff members maintain communication by either email and/or phone.

FAQ

  • Please provide a typical day schedule for this project.

    Orphanage for female volunteers

    Volunteers begin their day between 7:30-8:00 am with breakfast provided by their host family. At 8:30 am they will make the short walk to the orphanage where they with work until 12:30 pm and return to their host family for lunch. For volunteers who choose to participate in Spanish lessons, their classes are in the afternoon for 2 hours beginning around 3 pm. For those who are not participating in Spanish lessons, the afternoons this is their time to explore. Dinner is generally served by the host family around 7 or 8 pm.

    Orphanage for male volunteers

    For male volunteers, their host families are generally located 30 minutes away from their project site by public bus. They begin their day around 7 am with a breakfast provided by their host family and then embark on their short commute to the orphanage where they will begin working around 8:30 am. Volunteers are generally done with their work at 1:00 pm and return to their host family for lunch. For volunteers who choose to participate in Spanish lessons, their classes are in the afternoon for 2 hours beginning around 3 pm. For those who are not participating in Spanish lessons, the afternoons are their time to explore. Dinner is generally served by the host family around 7 or 8 pm.

    Daily bus fare is 60 US cents per day, per person.

  • What kind of accommodation do we get at the orphanage project?

    Volunteers in Guatemala have accommodations arranged for them with local host families. Many of these families have been hosting international volunteers for years. They are excellent at welcoming individuals into their home and ensure they enjoy the culture and sites of Guatemala.

    Volunteers are provided private room or share a room with same gender volunteers. Those volunteers who are traveling with a friend or loved one should note this to their country coordinator in advance to ensure they are appropriately accommodated.

  • How far is the project from the accommodation? How do I commute daily?

    Orphanage for female volunteers

    It is located to about 5 minutes by walking from the Guatemalan host family.

    Orphanage for male volunteers

    It is located to about 30 minutes by public bus from the Guatemalan host family.

  • Could you please send me the contact details of the host family and the project?

    Detailed information on your project is provided once you have completed your application.

  • How many children are in the orphanage and what are their ages?

    We have relationships with several orphanages in Guatemala, however there is one orphanage we have a strong partnership, which is where we place 80% of our volunteers.

    Orphanage for female volunteers

    There are approximately 50 girls (this may change every week) between 7-18 years old. Some of them were victims of sexual violence. Some of the girls have babies and they are in the same orphanage, (20 babies).

    Orphanage for male volunteers

    There are approximately 100 children, male and female 1-18 years old.

  • What are the day-to-day activities in the orphanage project? What will I actually do?

    The work volunteers do in the orphanage varies because there are different needs for different age groups. Although it may vary, there is ample work and opportunities to share your love and passion for children.

    Orphanage for female volunteers

    While working with infants, volunteers can expect the typical activities when working with babies. While working with the young girls, volunteers are expected to take initiative in planning activities for the girls and gathering materials.

    If volunteers work with the babies they should expect the typical activities necessary to take care of babies. When volunteers work with the girls normally, the orphanage requires that volunteers bring a plan and materials to organize educational (English teaching) recreational activities with the girls, i.e.: junk jewelry, coloring books, manual arts, handicrafts, English teaching, etc.

    ***Having your mobile phone at this project is ABSOLUTELY forbidden

    Orphanage for male volunteers

    If volunteers work with the babies they should expect the typical activities necessary to take care of babies. If volunteers work with the other boys, they will work in the school activities (this orphanage has a kindergarten and elementary school for the kids where many times volunteers are required to work). Volunteers will generally teach English, math and assist in coordinating extracurricular activities.

  • How many hours a day do we work in the orphanage?

    Volunteers can expect 4-5 hours per day in either location.

  • Is orphanage available all-round the year? If not, when does it close for how long?

    Both locations are available year-round.

  • Any important information you want to share about this project.

    1. We currently work with an orphanage that only accepts female volunteers because they only host girls and some of those girls are there with their babies. It is important to explain that some of the teenagers in this orphanage have babies already. Another important thing, normally this orphanage requires that volunteers bring a plan and materials to organize educational and/or recreational activities with the girls, i.e.: junk jewelry, coloring books, manual arts, handicrafts, English teaching, etc.
    2. We work with another orphanage that is open to accept either male or female volunteers, but this one is located a 30-minute ride by public bus from our office and host families. Most of the activities there take place in the kindergarten and elementary school they have for their kids.
    3. Occasionally in both orphanages, volunteers may be required to perform activities that are not directly concerned with the kids or babies, i.e. cleaning, painting, cooking, office, etc. but this work benefits the kids a lot.
    4. Conversational Spanish is not mandatory, but is certainly a benefit in communicating with the children and staff,
    5. Modest clothing is required while working in the orphanage.
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