Our aim is to empower young people in Samaná by providing a platform at our school where they can be supported in developing their potential and improving their own lives
Volunteers join the fight for children rights in the DR and raise awareness through documenting, filming, editing, social networking and expositions.
This versatile experience and observation program is perfect for those wanting to learn more about how a small grass-root NGO is managed and operated.
Gain invaluable hands-on experience, working side-by-side with medical staff at the local hospital.
We offer hospitality and tourism internship opportunities to those who want to get a head start in their career and gain first-hand experience in hospitality or tourism.
Aldeas de Paz is a sustainable and transparent grass-roots NGO based in Santa Barbara de Samaná, Dominican Republic.
Aldeas de Paz are independent from political, religious or business interests and maintain independence by completely funding and operating our programs with the practical and monetary contributions of volunteers and interns.
We promote a Culture of Peace through enriching cross-cultural exchange for people of all races and nationalities and we practice voluntary community service where we provide additional opportunities in education, sports, health care and skill training. We assist our beneficiaries to develop their potential and improve their own lives.
Offering Volunteers & Interns the great opportunity to work side by side with locals, learn new skills, study Spanish and immerse oneself in the Latin and Caribbean culture. We share the values of peace, justice and tolerance, fundamentally focusing on the preservation of cultural values and the empowerment of young people while valuing local knowledge and working with cultural sensitivity. Our Volunteer opportunities are truly the microcosm of a world where people join together giving priority to improving life for humanity and promoting a Culture of Peace as a practical way to both prevent and resolve conflict.
In the 1990s Manfred Monnighoff, a German entrepreneur developed the Peace Villages Foundation, the first known Non-Profit Franchise Concept. For this Mönnighoff left his successful business career in behind to become a social activist. He joined grassroots NGO's around the globe and worked as a volunteer with the intention of helping to create and promote a Culture of Peace. Learning to put his entrepreneurial skills to work and gaining important NGO management experience, enabled him to set up replicable and self-sustained aid programs under the legal frame of Fundaciòn Aldeas de Paz, first in Venezuela and later the Dominican Republic, based on a rotational credit system the support of many volunteer efforts and resources, a combination of practical work and donations.
Mönnighoff and the Peace Villages Foundation started in 1995 a first humanitarian project in Merida, Venezuela, thanks to the collocation of his own life savings in form of a rotational credit. The work in Merida focused on children rights. Efforts were made to integrate street children and at-risk youth into a more stable environment, and at times into foster families. With the aim of creating a registered NGO in Venezuela, he succeeded in 2001 with the legal constitution of Fundacion Aldeas de Paz in Caracas, Venezuela and later in 2016 in Samana, the Dominican Republic. Aldeas de Paz has been based in Santa Elena, Venezuela since 2001 and has been operating in the Dominican Republic since 2015, focusing its resources and volunteer support on cultural exchange and social development programs.
During 2014 the social and political situation in Venezuela became increasingly difficult and programs based on volunteer participation had to be temporarily suspended until mid 2017 when programs are scheduled to start operating again! This has been decided based on the request of Venezuelan board mebers of Aldeas de Paz and the necessity for help with social development and aid programs in Santa Elena, Venezuela!
While our programs in the Dominican Republic are very successful and operations are open for volunteer participation, the Venezuelan programs in Santa Elena will be initially exclusively run by local staff and financed by international volunteer donations and the rotational credit sistem of the Peace Villages Foundation International.
Aldeas de Paz in Venzuela will invite volunteers later in 2018 when accommodations at the foundations grounds are reopened and a special access route to the location in Santa Elena near the Brazilian border is fully operational.
Since January 2015 a second branch of Fundacion Aldeas de Paz has been inaugurated in the Dominican Republic. With the great support of the local community the Dominican headquarters has successfully been established in Santa Barbara de Samana, a coastal town in the north east of the Dominican Republic. We are met with exceptional friendliness and kindness by locals and authorities!
Manfred Mönnighoff: My name is Manfred Mönnighoff, I am the founder and director of Aldeas de Paz. For more than 17 years I had been working in the area of child and youth care in Venezuela before in 2015 I set up further establishment for Aldeas de Paz in the Dominican Republic.
Of my passion for cultural exchange and social work, I love to bring people from all over the world together, to promote peaceful coexistence and to stand up for social justice. For me the Volunteers, working for Aldeas de Paz, are the heart of the organization and are the focus of my work.
Julia: My name is Julia and I am from Germany. I have been working for Aldeas de Paz since June 2016 as a coordinator for the volunteers. What I like most about the work is the diversity - every day is different and will bring new surprises. Working with volunteers is a pleasure for me, above all I did a volunteer service by myself in Ecuador.
In the Dominican Republic I appreciate most the friendly people, especially here in Samana. In addition the unlimited possibilities at work and in the free time are unique like the wonderful beaches around the town.
Yunior: Hello my name is Yunior Rodriguez Medina I am 22 years old and grew up in Samana. I work for the Aldeas de Paz foundation as the coordinator at Mama Elba School. It is a school that works with children who have special needs. Another task of mine is helping the volunteers with any challenges they face in their new home, especially communication barriers.
Who are we looking for?
A typical volunteer or intern needs to be enthusiastic, willing to learn, ready for a challenge, have a desire to take initiative, and dedicate a lot of caring and passion to the position. Friendliness, care, commitment, and patience are among important qualities. We welcome individual volunteers, families, and groups regardless of age, experience, or background.
You are never too old or too young to work with us here at Aldeas de Paz. We have had volunteers of all ages come to participate in activities that have been both rewarding and character building. We encourage families to come together so that they can work and grow while contributing to the community. Family volunteering has been a key experience to children who joined us together with their parents.
The Aldeas de Paz Foundation headquarters is in Santa Barbara de Samana, which is located on the North-East of the Dominican Republic, at the heart of the peninsula of Samana. This provinicial capital with 15000 inhabitants is a very peaceful and safe town.
Samana is constituted by a community with a strong sense of social responsibility. The people themselves consider the town very safe, there is no more crime here than in an any average small European town. The Dominican Republics countryside as a whole is very peaceful, and certainly one of the safest regions in the caribbean.
The Foundation will do everything to make sure our volunteers remain safe during their stay in the Dominican Republic.
Aldeas de Paz's work in Samana is focusing on defending children rights, promoting cultural exchange and sustainable, ecological tourism as a source of income. Aldeas de Paz is mainly concerned with the plight of vulnerable children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In September 2016 Aldeas de Paz became a recognized hosting organization in the framework of the development volunteer service weltwärts, founded in 2008 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.