overview

Meet the current needs of the community while forging an understanding of different cultures.

We host people from around the world who bring a variety of skills and ideas. Volunteers become a memorable part of our projects and contribute to their long-term success. Our projects take place in and around Huancayo, Peru. On the ground, Blue Sparrow volunteers are highly independent. We will be available for support, but you are given the power and the responsibility to execute your plan and make changes as necessary.

our partner communities


areas

As a volunteer, you will get involved in one of our four project areas, according to your interests and the needs of the organization and project. We work individually with each volunteer to create a specific work plan outlining activities and schedules. Check out the projects section for details on each project.

Conectados: Teaching basic computer skills in a classroom setting, as well as the opportunity to run a personally designed class according to a current need, or your unique ability. We need volunteers who are passionate about youth empowerment, comfortable leading a class in Spanish, and who can work closely with teachers and school directors.
Microfinance: Small loans for business and farming. We identify, monitor, and support individuals in our target communities as they supplement their income with a new business. We need business-minded individuals who can give tools and information about making a small business successful.  Knowledge in small animal reproduction and sales are a plus.
HectareMax: We provide agricultural tools and equipment to reduce farm labor and improve nutrition, income, and give kids more time for school. We need trainers and expertise in current farming methodology & technology, or planting and harvesting hands in peak months. Teach or learn--the fields are waiting!
Wellness:  Total wellness, health, and sociological needs are the foundation for this area.  It can encompass miniprojects such as domestic heating, drinking water safety, home renovation, or other quality of life improvements. We perform research and development, identifying the community’s current needs, and exploring potential partner communities.  This is a very intimate and interactive place to volunteer and requires a heart of compassion as you work with individual families.


living




Living with a host family is a highlight of the Blue Sparrow volunteer program.  We have hand-selected families from specific areas to host our volunteers.  You will live, sleep, eat, and work with your family. This gives you a chance to develop a close, lasting relationship, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of Peruvian culture.  Although we offer other accommodation options, host families consistently have the most impact and connection for volunteers.

All of the families will go over and above to help you feel welcome. However, it’s important to consider what it means to live with an impoverished family in rural Peru. The conditions are likely very different from your past experiences. In some ways, it’s comparable to camping. Living conditions are very basic, but you will have a bed, three meals a day, and water for washing.



The majority of host families are subsistence farmers. Western comforts such as refrigerators, ovens, or television are extremely rare. There is no hot water or home heating, so everyone sleeps with plenty of blankets as nighttime temperatures fall below freezing. Meals are prepared from the family’s own harvest of potatoes, beans, and some vegetables--all cooked on an open flame. Their days are filled tending to their animals, working their farms and selling their produce.

Although all families have access to running water, showers and toilets are uncommon. Most families have a dirt latrine near the house. Bathing is with a hose or buckets. You can meet all of your needs, but perhaps not in the way you’re used to. After all, your host family manages in these conditions year-round.



The city of Huancayo is a short bus ride away. There, you can find several local markets, plentiful internet and other services, and Western-style fast food.

After we receive your application, we will send you a detailed document containing full details on accommodation, climate, and other considerations.

If you would like to speak with a past volunteer about their experience, please fill out the form and someone will get back to you.

cost

Blue Sparrow does not charge administrative fees for volunteers. However, as a growing organization we cannot simply absorb the cost of hosting volunteers. Similarly, host families live on very tight budgets and need financial support in order to accept volunteers. The monthly stipend covers the additional cost of providing you food and making special trips on your behalf, and the remainder allows the family to make a small purchase like a new winter coat or school supplies. They would never accept your money as a gift, so this is an opportunity for you to help in a culturally appropriate way.

Location Monthly Cost ($US) Amenities
Host family $115 basic bed, storage space, all meals (basic diet)
Blue Sparrow Office $200 mattress, locked storage space, all meals (complete diet), WiFi, kitchen access
Private hotel $450 mattress, locked storage space, WiFi, hot showers



questions


Will I be safe?
Peru is a safe place. The main crime is pickpocketing, although more serious crime does happen. Basic precautions can avoid most problems. As for your host family, they are always recommended by the community and confirmed at a meeting of the parents' association. This is additional to Blue Sparrow members meeting the family in person and talking with them. In rural areas outside the city, crime is very rare.

How much time will I work per week? Do I have weekends free?
As a live-in volunteer (staying with a family), you've made a commitment to the community to give all the help you're able. You still have free time, but teaching commitments should be your first priority. You might teach 2-4 classes per day at school, and an adult class in the evening. Weekends are generally free.

What should I expect for living expenses?
As a live-in volunteer, your host family provides your food and lodging. You pay for transport, communication, and any personal expenses. If you live moderately, expect your costs to be less than US$75 per month.

A trip to town: $0.50
A pound of fruit: $0.30 - $0.90
A bottle of Coke: $0.50
A meal at a local restaurant: $2.50

apply

We'd love to have you as a volunteer! First, apply online here. We'll review your application and provide some initial feedback regarding program options and locations. Then, you'll receive a thorough Volunteer Guide with more details. We'll help you to create your work plan and coordinate your arrival. See you in Peru!

If you're traveling beyond Huancayo and looking for more low-cost volunteer opportunities throughout South America, check out the excellent listings at www.volunteersouthamerica.net.