Information
What?
Home-School for the Peasant and Aboriginal Community
Where?
North of Salta Province, on the Argentine border with Bolivia
Number of volunteers required?
One or two.
Other requirements?
Intermediate level of Spanish or willingness to take a one or two week Spanish course in one of the Spanish Institutes in Salta or Buenos Aires. Interest in rural development, anthropology, community development and / or environment. Prepared to share accommodation with students at the school in humble conditions. Prepared to live in a rural setting. Volunteer must have valid travel insurance for the duration of the stay. Note: It is very hot and humid from March to October.
Benefits?
The volunteer will have the chance to learn about the culture and lifestyle of an aboriginal community. There will be an opportunity to learn about the work doen by development workers. There will be opportunities to travel to Salta City, with accommodation at a sister organization. From there it is easy to travel to the Quebrada de Humahuaca UNESCO World Heritage site. The volunteer will receive pre-travel preparation and in-country support from Jimena del Mazo (PC 88-90), Head of Social Responsibility at an Argentine Travel Agency.
Minimum Length of Stay?
Three months. Longer stays are welcome.
Volunteer tasks?
The school is looking for volunteers and interns. Depending on their skills and experience, they can work in areas such as: school support, educational workshops, recreational activities, building improvements, the development of alternative energy sources, English classes, micro.business development and management, institutional development, and so forth.
Details?
The school provides education to perhaps the most forgotten and marginalized group in Argentina: the natives of the north tip of the country, close to Bolivia.
The school is situated in the north of Salta Province, only 17km away from Bolivia. It caters to around 70 pupils, boys and girls from 14 to 20 years old. Most of them are Ava Guarani natives, while some are of Bolivian origin. The school is about 20 minutes away from the nearest town, which is a small town of around 54 peasant families which practice subsistence agriculture.
The school is part of the Escuelas de Alternancia movement, a unique educational system based on alternating training periods in the socio-professional environment and in the school. This method was developed to give adolescents and youths in rural areas the chance to complete their basic general education, taking into account the fact they usually live far from schools and that work on the family plot of land is part of their reality.
Students live in the school for two weeks and another two at home, throughout the year. When a group is at home, the other group of kids is at the school. At school activities of a more academic nature are carried out – classroom studies, study tours, research, lectures and technical projects that can be applied in the social environment – as well as manual crafts and group assignments. When the students are at school, they eat and sleep there. this allows the school to work on issues such as hygiene, health, solidarity, leadership and democracy.
The organization recognizes the students’ potential and works on fostering their roots to the land and community, trying to prevent massive youth migration. The organization believes these students are capable of influencing the generation of local development processes because they become leaders of their own communities and build the fabric of society.
At home, the students carry out their school assignments together with their parents and siblings, gain practical experience and apply this new knowledge. The family property serves as a laboratory. The students also recieve visits from a teacher who counseld and guides the family.
The school is also a reference point for cultural activities and ‘informal’ training for the peasant community. A peasant market is held at the school.
Costs?
Three month programme USD 1000. This includes transfer in from the airport in Buenos Aires, bus to Salta province, shared accommodation and meals at the school residence and a donation to the organization. For stays of ofur or more months, costs can be reduced.
Current volunteers?
None
Former volunteers?
None from UWCs