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Information

What?

Farm House for children at risk

Where?

Carlos Keen, Lujan, Argentine Pampas (one hour drive from Buenos Aires)

Number of volunteers required?

One – must be male

Other requirements?

Basic Spanish; no alcohol or smoking allowed on the farm; volunteer must have valid travel insurance for the whole stay; volunteer must be keen to live in a rural setting; it is a great place for someone who loves the outdoors, working the land, taking solitary walks.

Benefits?

Volunteer will share a room with the young people at the farm; warm water and usual comforts; volunteer can arrange their own timetable in conversation with Susana; volunteer can visit Buenos Aires during their free time, where there are many UWC graduates; there is internet access at the farm, but not unlimited; there is a cyber cafe at nearby Lujan; the volunteer will receive pre-travel preparation and in-country coordination from Jimena del Mazo (PC 88-90), Head of Social Responsibility at an Argentine Travel Agency; will also receive advice on travelling and enjoying Argentina.

Minimum length of stay?

Three months but longer preferred.

Volunteer tasks?

The volunteer will organize English classes for the kids at the farm and for the teenagers from the nearby town. The volunteer can also work in the Restaurant. Depending on skills, the volunteer can also help in areas such as: school support, recreational activities and farm work. The Farm especially welcomes someone with sports, music, art, theatre or photography skills and experience to organize and conduct workshops. The volunteer may also assist in developing other income generating activities for the Foundation such as school visits, corporate events, corporate volunteering and fund raising.

Details?

Camino Abierto Foundation is a farm in the small country town of Carlos Keen. It is a Home for 13 children at risk. It is run by Susana Esmoris and her husband who decided 15 years ago to change their lives and moved away from the city to open their home to as many kids in need as they could.

The organization stands out because of their philosophy and innovative approach. Children are given the chance to explore their potential, to work for their dreams and to be self-sufficient. They all attend the local school and those that feel like it can pursue artistic interests. They also learn farming skills. There is a large orchard and they also raise pigs, rabbits, ducks, geese and goats. The boys work according to their ages.

Because they do not want to depend on charity, and because they want to teach the kids how to be independent, they recently started to exploit rural tourism as a source of income. In a very interesting social alliance, two of the boys were trained by some of Argentina’s most famous chefs to prepare gourmet meals with farm-grown produce, and thus they managed to open a Farm Restaurant, which has become very popular.Later, they built a bungalow which people can rent for holidays, and they also started to offer their services for weddings and parties.

The organization is so successful that its influence has spread to the kids in the area. In collaboration with schools and local institutions it has organized many educational and cultural activities for the children of nearby towns. At present, they organize regular tango and theatre workshops, as well as visual arts classes. For that reason, they are looking for volunteers and interns who, depending on their skills and experience, and the duration of their stay, can help them in this work.

Costs

Three month programme USD 835. This includes transfer in from the airport, bus to the destination, shared accommodation at the farm with meals, and a donation to the organization. Each additional month is USD 125, which includes accommodation and meals.

Current volunteers?

None.

Former volunteers?

Daire MacFadden (Ireland), UWCSEA 05-07, dairemacfadden@yahoo.com