best volunteer programs in South America

It has been a most satisfying progression. First, we were asked by the community of Alto Progreso to help build a wall next to the community Pre-K and soup kitchen (which serves 120 children). This wall was needed to protect the children from a 12-foot drop, which recently led to two children to fall and injure themselves.

The following team was asked to help paint the new wall. Volunteers Kit and Diane signed up for this project. While the original idea was to paint the walls with a nice color, it occurred to us perhaps the community would appreciate a landscape. Then Diane suggested adorning the wall with the hands of the community’s children. Mr. Cordoba, one of the community leaders, recommended that the Pre-k children paint their hand prints right on the wall. In true Global Volunteers fashion, we followed the community’s direction – and it turned out wonderfully!


Kit, a volunteer serving in Peru, helping a mother and her children stamp their hand of their wall at Alto Progreso


Volunteers Kit and Diane helping a girl stamp her hand on the wall at Alto Progreso

What a great idea. After painting a landscape, we began with the hand print project. At first we only had a few kids who passed by the wall do it. But later I asked the Pre-k teacher if she wanted her kids to do it. She looked at me with surprise and said “for real?!” “Yes, this is your wall; we’ll help you” I replied. So all the children came. One by one we asked them to put their hands on their favorite paint color – girls always chose rose. They loved the feeling of paint in their hand. They loved that they were asked by adults to actually put a bunch of fresh paint on the wall! We spread the paint on their hand with a paintbrush. “It tickles, ” the children would say with a smile. Diane and Kit walked with them to their spot on the wall, and after putting their hand print, we asked them to write their names below.

When the mothers come to pick their children, they would run to them and tell them; “look mom! that’s my hand.” Some of the mothers actually asked if they could also do their hand print, to which of course we said yes. The following days, many other kids from the community came to ask us to do their hand prints. After, three days we filled the 40-meter-long wall. Now, the children of Alto Progreso see a nice wall adorning their community kitchen and Pre-K.

They will remember the volunteers who helped them, but most importantly, they’ll remember that the nice wall is their wall.


Volunteers in Peru also help prepare food at a shanty town soup kitchen.


Volunteers and community leaders share the success of two dedicated teams in completing the project.

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