What is HELP English?
Huanchaco Education and Learning Programme (HELP) is dedicated to advancing the education possibilities and resources for the lower income children and adults in Huanchaco and the surrounding shanty towns as well as a number of remote locations in northern Peru. HELP English was developed in 2011 with the objective of providing opportunities for local children to access volunteer-led English classes free of charge. Without the HELP English programme, many children from low income families in and around Huanchaco would not otherwise have the opportunity to study English, as government schools do not have the funds required to resource and staff English classes, and most families are not able to afford private tuition. HELP English aims to address this problem by providing cost-free opportunities for locals to learn English, working in partnership with schools and other settings to help as many learners as possible. For many, the HELP programme is the only way to access English and its potentially life-changing empowerment.
This is a state primary school situated in central Huanchaco is the largest of the schools that we work with It is a big school of approximately 400 students, with 2 or 3 classes for each grade. Each class has approximately 30 students in a standard-size classroom. Currently we are teaching English to the 5th and 6th grade classes (ages 10-12). The school budget supports operations and running costs of the schools, but cannot afford the extra costs of English-language teaching resources and teachers. The school has some behavioural issues (as do many Peruvian government schools!) but the teachers have proven to be very supportive of the work the HELP English volunteers undertake in their school. The school is comparatively well-resourced and maintained and you can expect the children to have their own stationary and books, and the concrete classrooms to have blackboards and writing materials.
Las Lomas and San Carlos:
Both of these schools are small, state-run primary schools based in shanty towns on the edge of Huanchaco. Las Lomas was created in 1993, starting its operation with just one teacher for the whole school. The local construction was started with the support of Caritas, one of the largest networks dedicated to reducing poverty and injustice throughout the world, and then the classrooms were expanded with the support of INFES, and eventually the classrooms were enhanced by the Municipality of Huanchaco. Finally, there was the construction of a concrete classroom with the support of the NGO, "Solidarity Circle ", in 2007. The school is multi-grade and has just five classes: 3 year olds, 4-5 year olds, 1st-2ndgraders, 3rd-4th graders, and 5th-6th graders with five teachers and one service personnel. Each class has between 10 and 18 students.
San Carlos is based in Huanchaquito, the largest of the shanty towns surrounding Huanchaco. In 2009, a head-teacher was appointed and she taught all pupils from 1st to 6th grade in one class. When it began the school was very small but there are now around 90 pupils across 5 classes; 3-5 year olds, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd&4th grade and 5th& 6th grade. Each class has between 15 and 25 students.
The schools’ budgets support operations and running costs of the schools, but cannot afford the extra costs of English-language teaching resources and teachers.
Volunteer Roles/ Working Hours
Your role will consist of leading the English classes, where possible this will be done together with another volunteer. At present, the general level of English of our learners across all schools and settings is basic, and it is important that volunteers are prepared to be teaching students or learners who will more than likely be at a beginner level. Generally, volunteers will work with classes once or twice a week, and the length of lessons is usually around an hour, but can sometimes be shortened or extended depending on other activities of schools and settings.The class teacher will usually be there in the classroom with you but normally not participating. Depending on which class you teach the assistance you will receive from the teacher will vary. Specific tasks include a combination of the activities listed below:
- Giving English lessons to children (sometimes there is also a demand for Arts or Sports classes).
- Bringing new ideas to improve the HELP English project.
- Preparing lesson plans or even a syllabus or study programme for your subject, considering what’s been done in the past and what can be improved now.
- Guaranteeing that all the materials used during each session are stored and put back into place afterwards.
The schools are open most of the year (from March to mid-December). Volunteers can get there from Monday to Friday - in the morning (8am until 1pm). However, it might vary according to the subject(s) you will be teaching. Do not forget you’ll need some time for planning activities and staff meetings!