Information

What?

A children’s orphanage of the organization Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (Our little Brothers and Sisters – N.P.H.)

Where?

The town of San Andres Itzapa, close to Antigua Guatemala and Chimaltenango, Central Highlands, Guatemala

Number of volunteers required?

Flexible.

Other requirements?

Basic knowledge of Spanish is recommended but not required, the minimum age for volunteers is 19.

Benefits?

Full room and board for all volunteers, plus a monthly stipend of 400 Quetzals (ca. 40 Euros, 50 USD).

Minimum length of stay?

1 year, possible start dates: beginning of January, middle of June every year. Please direct applications and questions about applications to our volunteer coordinator Erika Jenni at vo.gt@nph.org.

Volunteer tasks?

There are currently 18 volunteers working at our orphanages in the English department, as children’s caretakers (outside of school), as arts and entertainment coordinator, as teacher in the Montessori kindergarten, in orphanage maintenance, in the computer lab, as educators of special needs children and as home correspondents with the N.P.H offices in the US and Europe. Volunteers have a daily work schedule during the week and sometimes special activities with the children during the weekend. Volunteers are encouraged to start their own initiatives such as theatre and dance courses, professional education, or other projects that could benefit the children.

Details?

The N.P.H. orphanage in Guatemala exists since 1996 and currently houses ca. 350 children. The orphanage is situated in a rural area on a large plot of land between the villages of Parramos and San Andres Itzapa. It is about 20 minutes by bus to Antigua Guatemala and Chimaltenango, the two largest cities close by.
For the volunteer there are houses, fully equipped with kitchens and bathrooms. Each house has 4 rooms, which are shared between two people. The relatively large population of volunteers here ensures that all newcomers can learn about their work from older volunteers and nobody is left to face the challenges by themselves. Also, the volunteers organize a lot of trips and adventures amongst themselves to explore the magnificent beauty that is Guatemala.
The orphanage is relatively young, with the children’s houses, the school, the clinic, the library and the offices being constructed as recently as 2005. This gives volunteers the unique opportunity to bring in a lot of new ideas and initiatives, helping the orphanage with providing better and better care for the children and preparing them successfully for the life outside.
Our children come from all across Guatemala, and from all kinds of backgrounds. Most of them are not complete orphans but have been sent here for reasons of home abuse, abandonment, or lack of economic resources in the family. Their often traumatic experiences make the children very needy for heartfelt care and attention. So, while giving them education and inspiration is very important, being patient and attentive to the children’s needs is crucial for a successful volunteer experience here.
While the work with the children is very intense and rewarding, the cooperation with the local staff and administration also provides extremely valuable experiences in intercultural communication. All volunteers who come here have great ideas for improvements and initiatives at the orphanage, but the exciting challenge is to realize the ideas in cooperation with the local staff to ensure the projects will be maintained after the volunteers leave. Gaining this kind of knowledge is vital for any successful development work and it is what has made this volunteer opportunity so incredibly interesting for me.
N.P.H. is a large organization, founded in 1954. Today there are 9 N.P.H. orphanages in countries all across Latin America, mostly financed by donations from North America and Europe. The large size of the organization provides the advantages of good and secure care for the volunteers as well as a knowledge exchange between volunteers at different orphanages. For more info on Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos check: www.nph.org.

Current volunteers?

Unknown.

Former volunteers?

2007 Tobias Stapf (UWCAD 99-01) tobias.stapf@gmail.com, gogoguatemala.blogspot.com