Volunteers Peru is a grassroots NGO working to support two special projects.
Volunteers Peru was founded by Marita Bellido in 2013.
Volunteers Peru is a small registered Non-Governmental Organization based in the city of Arequipa in southern Peru. We are currently working with two projects where volunteers can make a positive contribution to the local community. The first is a home for abandoned girls in Arequipa; the second, a primary and secondary school in the town of Tomepampa, in Cotahuasi canyon. We are dedicated to assisting the children at both projects to fulfill their personal and educational needs, and to promoting mutual cultural awareness between them and our volunteers. Volunteering with us is low cost and both long and short-term opportunities are available. The girls at Torre Fuerte and the students at Colegio Honofre are in great need of support from compassionate, caring and enthusiastic volunteers!
Our vision is that all young people in Peru have equality of access to quality education and training.
Maria Bellido (Marita) – Founder and President
Marita is originally from Tomepampa in the Cotahuasi Canyon, which is a very rural and remote area. As a former student of Honofre Benavides School in Tomepampa, she recognized that there is a need for additional educational support and a broadening of cultural awareness. She began sending tour groups to Cotahuasi, and realized that foreign volunteers could bring a new perspective to the classroom and give the students some exposure to other cultures that they would struggle to get otherwise. With that, Volunteers Peru was born!
Samantha Bailey – Project Manager
Samantha is from the United States and came to Arequipa in December 2016 following the completion of her Master’s Degree in International Education and Development in Washington, D.C.
In the Plaza de Armas in the center of Arequipa is a small supermarket called 'El Super' opposite the cathedral. Standing next to El Super with the Cathedral on your right, walk out of the square and onto Calle Puente Bolognese. Walk two blocks, then turn left onto Calle Cruz Verde. Walk two blocks, and you will find the Volunteers Peru office on the ground floor of the Honey House for Travelers (300B Cruz Verde). This is on your left opposite the hostels Sol de Oro and Wayra River.
Is it safe in Peru?
Arequipa is a safe city and Tomepampa is a safe rural village.
As Arequipa is a large city, you need to take the normal precautions as in any city. In Arequipa there is petty crime, you should take care of your belongings in crowded areas like markets and buses. We also recommend taking safe taxis as there are many unregistered taxis in Arequipa.
Are there any significant safety concerns to be aware of in the community --e.g., dangerous flora or fauna; potentially harsh weather conditions, etc.?
Unless you are traveling to a tropical/jungle area, there are very few natural threats in Arequipa and Cotahuasi. Earthquakes do occur, although typically only tremors, but you should be aware of the risk.
What is the weather like?
In the summer months (December to March) it is rainy season in Arequipa. It tends to be sunny in the morning with rain showers in the afternoon. There can be flooding in this time and transportation can be delayed. Every rainy season is a little different and can be very mild or quite extreme, so be prepared for both. The rest of the year (April to November) is sunny and warm in the day and can get cool or cold in the evenings. Winter months (June-August) can get very cold at night, so make sure to bring a warm jacket and layers if you plan to come in these months.
Our mission is to provide education and social support in partnership with two community projects.
At the school in Tomepampa, our volunteers support the education of the students by providing classroom support in English and other subject areas. They also carry out extra homework help sessions after school. Tomepampa is in a remote region and volunteers can bring a different perspective to the classroom. At Torre Fuerte girls' home, volunteers support both girls and staff in domestic chores as needed, help the girls with their homework, and contribute to a safe and stable home environment.