Best Volunteer Programs in South America

There are many natural and cultural attractions that inspire travelers to explore South America – especially in Ecuador and Peru (Machu Picchu and the Galápagos Islands to mention a couple). However, to know a place and culture is to know her people. When you volunteer in South America, you obtain a unique perspective through the lives of the local people. Learn about the vibrant cultures, strong family traditions, and proud national identities in South America by volunteering.

In the words of alumni Global Volunteers, these are the best volunteer programs in South America…

Childcare Programs in Peru and Ecuador

Serve at Lima, Peru’s largest children’s home, Puericultorio Pérez Araníbar (PPA). Or, volunteer at and support two daycare centers for children and families living on the margins in Quito, Ecuador.

PPA – Largest Children’s Home in Lima, Peru

Thoughts from Peru Global Volunteer Carolina: On the penultimate day in Peru, it was time to reflect on our collective experience serving at PPA:

  • The warm feelings within on hearing the squeals of joy as young children ran up to hug us as we walked across the PPA campus.
  • The happy and boisterous play of the five bonded siblings as they competed with us in a lively game of Uno. They rarely see each other at PPA, but through the Siblings Project we gather them and give them the opportunity to interact with each other.
  • The illuminating but distressful information gathered on our home visits to the shantytowns where the children of PPA come from.
  • The contented feeling of knowing we made an impact, gained appreciation of the Peruvian culture, and attained our group objectives.
best volunteer programs in South America

Volunteering at PPA and offering love and attention to the children will give you more than you can imagine

(Learn more about volunteering in Peru.)

Support Daycare Centers in Quito, Ecuador

Reflections from Ecuador Global Volunteer Sarah: Serving in Ecuador was an experience unlike anything I have witnessed in my life. Although I didn’t speak the same language as the tías who care for the children, they always made every effort to make me feel important and include me in their classrooms. I’ve learned that facial expressions and hand gestures can communicate more effectively than words sometimes. I’ve learned that you don’t have to have the newest crayons or the shiniest walls or the best books to make a child feel loved and help them to begin their learning. None of the kids that I worked with come from luxurious homes, but they lack nothing in spunk, personality, and love.

The Daycare center where I served will always hold a place in my heart; one much bigger than I could have ever dreamed. I’m so thankful for the opportunities that I have had, the friendships that I have made, and the love I have received. God is so good to show me a life so beautifully and wonderfully different than the one that I have always known.

best volunteer programs in South America

Volunteers Hadley and Margaret dancing with children in Ecuador.

(Learn more about volunteering in Ecuador.)

Teaching Programs in Peru

Help university students in Lima, Peru anchor their independence through conversational English practice and lesson reviews.

La Molina Language Center – Conversational English Classes for University Students

Journal entry by Peru Global Volunteer Deb: Today was our final day at La Molina. We could not have foreseen that we would be the active learners in this ongoing exchange of respect, culture, camaraderie, and knowledge. Every day new lessons were learned – about ourselves and each other, lessons about risk-taking and vulnerability, motivation and ambition, friendship and trust, focus and determination.

If English is the language of opportunity, it has been our rare privilege to play a small supportive role in our students’ quest for graduate studies, professional employment, and success. We have been inspired by the motivation of our students; our hearts have been warmed by the graciousness of the students, staff, and faculty of La Molina.

Our departure was as warm as our reception, marked by hugs and tears. Students honored us with gifts and promises to continue our friendships via email. The director of the Language Center and his staff presented us with certificates and tokens of appreciation, and invitations to return. We left a piece of our hearts at La Molina today.

best volunteer programs in South America

Volunteer Cora teaching one of her conversational English classes at La Molina University

(Learn more about volunteering in Peru.)

Construction Programs in Peru and Ecuador

Do you like to work with your hands? Help protect and maintain school facilities in Alto Progreso, Peru by painting, repairing and reconstructing buildings. Or, assist with upgrading classrooms, building playgrounds, and painting and cleaning projects at daycare facilities in Quito, Ecuador.

Alto Progreso – Labor Projects for Groups

Reflections from Peru Global Volunteer Tehya: The streets turn from concrete to mud; the mood changes as I look around. With a heavy heart, I follow my team up the  steps while passing the plywood shacks supported by sand or old tires, to find my first ray of sunshine. It appears in the form of the community leader of Alto Progreso, Haydee. With her warm smile and contagious laugh, my heart is immediately lifted as I find myself proud to stand in their new soup kitchen, and excited to see their hand-carved soccer field.

These are proud people, as they should be for all their hard work and desire to better their community. They are excited to show us around and share their plans to better their future. I no longer see only garbage and shacks, I no longer hear only loud horns and roosters crowing, I now see potential and effort as I listen to people laughing with pride and light hearts.

As I sit here reflecting hours later, I still marvel at their soccer field, hand-carved without machines by the people of the community, every Sunday for ten years. As little as they have for any sort of materials, they make up for it with dedication, hard work, and support for their community. They do it all for their families and community. As economically impoverished as Alto Progreso is, it is rich in other ways that many from our “First World” seem to have forgotten about.

best volunteer programs in South America

Alto Progreso, the shanty town in Peru where Global Volunteers serve

(Learn more about volunteering in Peru.)

Labor Projects at Daycare Centers in Quito

Testimonial from Ecuador Global Volunteer Micah, who helped reupholster high chairs: This service trip has taught me more than I imagined it would – it was a life-changing volunteer experience. I learned how to renovate high chairs for toddlers… l learned that one of the main purposes of human life is to serve those who are different than yourself. Therefore, I am forever grateful for the experience, the team, and most importantly the children for such an incredible and enlightening experience.

Best Volunteer Programs in South America - Ecuador

Volunteer Micah helping reupholster high chairs at one of the daycare centers in Quito

(Learn more about volunteering in Ecuador.)

Request Info: Best Volunteer Programs in South America

Volunteer programs in Peru and Ecuador start year-round. Request a free e-catalog using the form below for more information about these volunteer opportunities as well as our other worldwide service programs. (The tax-deductible volunteer program fees for both Peru and Ecuador start at $2,595. Discounts are available for students, family and multi-person groups, and returning volunteers.)

Get started! Request a free e-catalog.

Request a program catalog here or by calling 800-487-1074.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.