Location | Andes Mountains, Bolivia
Support | Community Initiatives in Bolivia
Service Opportunities | Construction at schools and community centers, tutoring children, working with disabled youth.
Cultural and Recreational Highlights | visiting El Cristo, La Cancha (the largest open air market in the Americas), Inca Ruins at Incallajta, Indigenous Parades and Festivals, salt flats, and sometimes Lake Titicaca
You will stay in or near Cochabamba, Bolivia (the third largest city, encircled by the breathtaking Andes Mountains); work with children or the elderly, or help a rural community build classrooms; and explore the culture through recreational activities and community events. Your volunteer service immerses you in the local community and offers you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the region’s most vulnerable people.
Cochabamba is located in a highland plateau and boasts a perfect climate with a daytime seasonal average of 72 F with no humidity. Cochabamba is a bustling city of 400,000 people, home to many beautiful plazas, fountains, churches, and the largest open-air market in the Americas. Despite the beautiful scenery and perfect climate, Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in all of the Americas and faces a variety of social and economic challenges.
Lodging Guest houses and homestays | Food Vegetables, rice, beans, chicken, beef
Flights All flights go via La Paz or Santa Cruz | Visa Yes, obtained at the border or embassy
Communication Cell networks, internet, etc. | Closest Airport Cochabamba, Bolivia
Since 1996, Amizade has partnered with several effective community-based organizations, each working specifically to improve the well-being of people in the region. We try to match volunteers’ interests with community needs.
Ceoli provides education and healthcare to low-income children with disabilities and works with those children to develop self-sufficiency. Many Ceoli employees speak some English, so volunteers may begin serving immediately after arrival. Volunteers work in a number of areas, including health-related care, school administration, and student art projects.
Asilo de Ancianos “Buen Pastor”
Asilo de Ancianos “Buen Pastor” is a nursing home for men and women run by Roman Catholic nuns. In collaboration with many institutions and individuals, the sisters build small stores to rent to generate income to cover the costs of the residents’ care. Volunteers help care for the residents, and read and converse with them. They also help with construction. Basic Spanish skills are required to communicate with residents.
Viloma High School
Viloma is a rural community outside of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The current school is a small converted cow stable. Local masons supervise and teach both the Amizade volunteers and local community members during every part of the construction project. No special skills are needed to work on this project. A basic understanding of Spanish is helpful but not necessary in order to communicate with local workers and residents. Amizade volunteers have helped add several classrooms to the school building.
Cohachaca Chico School
Established in 2001, the Cohachaca Chico school provides education to 713 preschool, primary, and high school students. The school is part of the Bolivian Public Education System and the local authorities have helped with the initial construction of a few unfinished classrooms but the school, local leaders, and community members are seeking additional sources of support to complete the ceilings, add wall covering material (stucco), and finish the floors which are currently dirt.
The school has secured funding from the City Hall of Sipe Sipe that will allow them to complete the structural work for a 2nd floor and roof for the high school. The classrooms in this part of the building, which are in regular use by high school classes, are still a long way from providing a comfortable and safe learning environment for the students. The classrooms have only dirt floors, the ceilings are unfinished, and there are still not windows or doors.
Working with the community, parents, students, and local leader OTB Mr. Genaro Rojas, Amizade will support the school in completing and improving the existing classrooms as well as building new classrooms to accommodate the additional 50 students that the school expects to receive each year.
Amizade volunteers will work alongside the Cohachaca Chico community to help make this school the safe and welcoming learning environment that students need. The community is prepared to supply much of the raw materials such as sand, dirt, and rocks, as well as their own labor, but there is much more needed!