(214) 390-7947 (Overseas Callers)

Toll-Free: 1-800-675-2504 (US/Canada)

01273 93 0514 (UK ), (02) 8006 6640 (Australia)

Guatemala Volunteering with Special Needs Children

Do you have a big heart and want to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs? Have you been dreaming about volunteering and making a difference in Guatemala? If the answer is yes, this project is perfect for you!

Guatemala is an ideal location for travelers looking to experience an exciting Central American vacation while also making a big difference. A fascinating Latin culture that is a

take care of special child

blend of Spanish influence and native Mayan roots, Guatemala is a one-of-a-kind destination.

Guatemala is a poor country, and although it has a high number of citizens suffering from severe disabilities, these vulnerable people lack access to the care they require to address their needs. Families cannot afford to pay for specialized treatment, necessary medical care, or admission into facilities designed to house and treats the most disabled of these Guatemalan citizens. In addition, negative cultural beliefs surrounding disabled people make it even harder for them.

You can help! Team up with IFRE and volunteer in Guatemala at a resident care facility for adults and children with special needs. The project houses around 240 residents who suffer from disabilities such as cerebral palsy, microcephaly, severe autism, quadriplegia or other physical and mental disabilities. They cannot care for themselves properly, and desperately need the help of compassionate volunteers like you.

Make a difference in the lives of special needs kids and adults and cultivate kindness and compassion in the world where it is needed most. Your work will be a ray of sunshine in otherwise tough lives, and your efforts will be fondly remembered by those you care for.

Do you want to provide relief to people with special needs as you explore an amazing country? Then contact IFRE today to learn about volunteering in Guatemala with people with special needs!

Take a minute to complete the form and we will be in touch.

Volunteer Responsibilities & Impact

Your daily tasks will vary greatly depending on your skills, interests, and experience, as well as the current needs of the project. You will be providing much needed care and companionship to disabled kids and sometimes adults as well. You will act as a support to the staff at the residential center, connect with the kids, and offer them compassionate care in whatever way is needed to help them.

The day to day lives of these disabled Guatemalans is a constant struggle, and by volunteering your time and efforts you will help to ease that struggle and provide them with a better quality of life. Volunteering in Guatemala helping people with special needs is a great way to grow as a person, and to make a real difference in the lives of others.

Skills and Qualifications:

Anyone who has the compassion and patience required to help people with special needs is welcome to join this project. We are currently in need of speech therapists, psychologists, carpenters, gardeners, and massage therapists, so if you have any of these skills to offer, we would especially love to have you come and volunteer.

If you speak Spanish, it’ll be highly beneficial to you as a volunteer in Guatemala with special needs kids. If you cannot, we recommend you enroll in a Spanish language program. We offer them while you volunteer so it’s super convenient for you and will really assist you in caring for the kids.

Your time as a volunteer with special needs children will be greatly rewarding, both for you and the kids, and each day will be filled with fun and excitement.

Volunteering abroad is all about being flexible. While some project placements will have a pretty rigid structure, others will have your duties and hours changing to suit the fluid needs of the project. Be prepared to go with the flow and make yourself available however you are most needed. Your specific daily schedule will be provided to you once you are at your project, but here’s a sample schedule to give you an idea of what to expect.

First Day: On your first day of volunteering in Guatemala, you will be brought to the residential care facility by our in-country coordinator. You’ll meet the caring staff you’ll be working with, and the special needs patients you have come all this way to help. Expect an informative orientation session where you learn all about your project, your daily schedule, safety measures, and the customs and culture of Guatemala.

Weekdays: Your work with the kids begins on the second day, and again, your schedule is going to vary based on your placement. A typical day might look something like this:

7.00 to 7.30 AM: Share a traditional breakfast with your host family. The typical meal consists of scrambled or fried eggs, refried beans, fried plantains, and a tortilla.

7.45 AM: Travel to the residential care facility that is home to the special needs kids and adults you are here to help. Spend the day providing care and companionship.

12.00 PM: Take a break for lunch. This is a great chance to bond with fellow Guatemala volunteers or make friends with the local project staff.

3.00 PM: After a day of volunteering, you will have the evening free. You can explore the city of Antigua, or you might choose to go back and relax in the welcoming home of your host family.

6.45 PM: End the day around the table with your host family. This is a great chance to immerse yourself in daily Guatemalan life and get a real feel for the culture. Traditional dishes include (you guessed it) rice, beans, and tortillas.

Guatemala Volunteering with Special Needs Children: Dates and Fees

Program Dates

IFRE programs begin every Monday year-round. If you have travel constraints, you can still start your chosen program on any day of the year.

Our Fees

Since 2006, IFRE has been the most trusted and respected volunteer abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality volunteer programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to volunteer internationally and make a positive impact in the lives of others.

We believe in 100% transparency. Rest assured, we never use middlemen. Your one-time registration fee of $299 covers our administrative costs. The low weekly fee is paid in the host country directly to your host family and project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor expenses. IFRE is a non-profit organization, so your program fees are tax deductible.

Volunteer Program Fee (US$)

    Duration No Spanish With 10 Hours Group Spanish
  1 Week $255 $285
   2 Weeks $405 $465
   3 Weeks $555 $645
   4 Weeks $705 $825
   5 Weeks $855 $1,005
   6 Weeks $1,005 $1,185
   7 Weeks $1,155 $1,365
   8 Weeks $1,305 $1,545
  9 Weeks   $1,455 $1,725
  10 Weeks   $1,605   $1,905
  11 Weeks   $1,755   $2,085
  12 Weeks   $1,905   $2,265

Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day »

How your fee is allocated?

Program Fees Cover:

  • Accommodation (host family)
  • Food (local food 3 times a day)
  • Program Orientation
  • In-country support
  • Personalized project
  • Pre-departure information
  • Certificate of completion
  • Fundraising ideas and letters
  • Discount for returning volunteers

Program Fees Exclude:

  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
  • Daily transportation
  • Airport return transfer

The volunteering programs in Antigua, Guatemala fees will cover expenses that will begin on the first day of the program (usually the first or third Monday of the month) to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program or you decide you stay beyond your program’s last day, you will be responsible for the additional expenses, which would typically be around $30 a day for room and meals at a hostel.

Take a minute to complete the form and we will be in touch.

Accommodation and Meal

IFRE makes sure you have secure housing and healthy, local meals while volunteering abroad in Guatemala. You’ll be staying with one of our socially respected and welcoming host families, experiencing a true Guatemalan cultural experience in this home away from home. You’ll eat three meals a day together and get to see what life in Guatemala is all about.

Learn more about your accommodations and meals in Guatemala.

For more readings:
Host family
What It’s like to Stay with a Host Family
12 tips to enhance cultural experience in host families

Free Time and Weekend Exploration

Antigua, Guatemala is a vacation destination that attracts travelers from all over the world. From its iconic colonial buildings to its friendly people, bustling markets, and cultural offerings, you’ll have no shortage of things to keep you busy in your free time. The whole of Guatemala awaits on weekend excursions to explore surrounding areas.

Discover what to do in your free time while volunteering in Guatemala.

Safety and in Country Support

Your safety is our top priority, and you can rest easy knowing IFRE will take care of your every step of the way. From pre-trip guidance to comprehensive travel insurance to a professional on the ground team of in-country support available 24/7, we’ve got you covered!

Learn more about the safety and support you’ll enjoy while volunteering in Guatemala.

Guatemala Volunteering with Special Needs Children: FAQs

One of the great things about traveling with an experienced organization like IFRE is we take care of all the details for you. We’ve been helping volunteers have safe, affordable, and meaningful volunteer abroad experiences since 2006 in 20 countries around the world. Here are a few details you should know when traveling with us:

Arrival and Departure

When volunteering in Antigua, Guatemala, you’ll fly into the Aurora International Airport in Guatemala, City. We suggest arriving a day early and getting some rest before the start of your project. As soon as you book your flight, give your itinerary to our in-country coordinator so they can set up your airport pick-up. Our local representative will meet you when you land holding a sign with your name on it, and they’ll safely escort you to your accommodations.

IFRE doesn’t offer departure transport services, so you’ll need to plan for this. Just check with your local project staff, and they’ll be happy to let you know how to set up a taxi to the airport.


Whether or not you need to apply for a visa before heading out on your Guatemala volunteer trip depends on your nationality.

Citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK, holding a passport valid for six months can get visa on arrival at the airport for a stay up to 90 days. Do your research ahead of time to find out the requirements for your home country, and if you need to apply for a visa do so at least a few weeks in advance of your travel.

Please visit the Guatemalan Immigration website and for more detailed information.


Getting vaccinated helps protect you as well as the special needs people you are going to be volunteering with, who may have compromised immune systems due to their disabilities.

Please consult your travel doctor who is knowledgeable about current health issues and epidemics in Guatemala. You can also find the information on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Global Health Canada or in Travelers' Health United Kingdom.

We highly recommend that you get the needed vaccinations before heading to Guatemala for volunteering in our program. Some of the required vaccines are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

For further readings:
Volunteer Health and Safety
Safety tips for your volunteer abroad trip

Why volunteer with special needs children in Guatemala?

Working closely with special needs kids is an incredibly rewarding and humbling experience and will provide amazing experience for those seeking a career in the field.

Opportunity to support disabled people in need of extra care and attention

Disabled children have many more needs than others, but rarely do they receive the quality of care and attention they rightfully deserve. You can help give this to them.

Assist local institutions in their struggle to look after disabled children

There are many childcare institutions in Guatemala that are currently struggling to take care of disabled children and teens who have no one else to look after them. You can lend these institutions a helping hand by joining this disabled children volunteer program in Guatemala.

Share your passion for helping others

At this project you will get to share your love, passion and time with disabled children deprived of a healthy childhood. Your heart will be full exploring your passion and you will be making a huge difference in the lives of the children at the same time.

reate a safe and caring environment for children

You will help provide much needed manpower, support, and compassion to people with special needs. This extra support will improve the overall environment of the residential care facility, making it a place the kids feel safe and well cared for.

Teach and help disabled kids learn new skills

You can teach special education classes which are designed specifically to help disabled kids learn new skills. This will help them lead easier, more productive lives, as well as helping them build confidence and more independence.

Contact IFRE today to learn more about volunteering in Guatemala and making a difference in the lives of special needs kids!

Other Volunteering Opportunities in Antigua, Guatemala

There’s more than one way to help the less fortunate in Antigua, Guatemala. You can

Work in an orphanage,

Teach English,

Care for the elderly,

Help empower girls and young women.

Work in the medical field,

build safe stoves for poor families and much more.

Contact IFRE today to learn more!

Other Special Needs Volunteer Opportunities Worldwide

There are sadly many countries in the world that lack the resources and manpower to properly care for disabled and special needs children. IFRE aims to solve this problem by offering Special Needs programs all across the globe, and some of our most popular programs like this are listed below:

Take a minute to complete the form and we will be in touch.

Top destinations