Children’s Day Care - Volunteer Reviews

PERU

Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about the Children's Day Care project

Melissa - 2017

“The project was everything I hoped it would be. The children were, warm, loving and full of energy and it was a pleasure to see their smiling faces everyday. Whilst at first everything was very unfamiliar, I soon got used to the routines at the day care and I was quickly able to find ways to help - from teaching basic English to supervising at playtimes and helping to diffuse disagreements over whose turn it was on the swings!

Although at times it was challenging, particularly due to my basic knowledge of Spanish, the project was extremely rewarding and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking of joining.

What did you find most rewarding?
Getting to know the children - I loved seeing their beautiful smiles and receiving their hugs every morning!

What did you find most challenging?
The language. Despite knowing some Spanish before starting the placement, at times I found it challenging to communicate with the children and teachers.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Learn as much Spanish as possible before you go and just do it, you won't regret it!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I have previously volunteered with Pod in Belize and based on my positive experience I wanted to take part in another project.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

James - 2016 

“I spent 6 weeks volunteering at the day care centre and it was the best experience of my life! I feel I have come back to the UK as a different person.

Every morning I was greeted with hugs and pounced on by the children as they are just so excited to see you. I spent the whole 6 weeks working with Guadeloupe who is the teacher in the 4 years olds class, and occasionally with the 5 year olds as well as they are in the class next door. All the teachers at the centre are a joy to work with, and the care they provide for the children is outstanding. A typical day working with the 4 year olds consisted of arriving at 9:30am (the children arrived a lot earlier), and helping them to eat breakfast until around 10am. From 10 until 11:30am, we would do activities such as colouring, basic maths, communication skills, geography etc. At 11:30 the children had their break time for half an hour where we could play with the children on the playground, or clean the classroom ready for lunch. At around 12:15 the children went back to the class room for lunchtime, and I would deliver all of the meals (around 140 in total) to the different classes. They ate until 1pm and afterwards both the 4 and 5 year olds went into a different classroom where they had a nap. I usually left the centre around 1:15pm. On 2 days a week I went to the day care centre from 2 until 4pm which is when the older children (around 10/11 years old) attend. With the older children, I mainly taught them English such as numbers, the alphabet, colours, greeting, animals and body parts.

The volunteer apartment is very nice and in a great location. It has everything you could want. The apartment is run by Sofia, the volunteer coordinator, and she lives in the apartment opposite. She is a lovely person and makes you feel right at home. She is always there should you need her and can give you plenty of help and advice about anything.

During my time there, she invited me and the other volunteers to her birthday party, we went to the cinema a few times, I went with her cousin and aunty to their house in the countryside and we also went out for lunch a few times too. The apartment is located 3 minutes away from a big avenue with the city centre a 20 to 30 minute walk in one direction and the day care centre 10 to 15 minutes away on the bus in the other direction. A bit of advice, prepare yourself for the buses! They are an experience. At the end of the road is a big shopping centre with a very big supermarket where you can buy everything you'll need, as well as many places to eat such as KFC, MacDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, TGI Fridays, as well as a food court. There is also a cinema, a gym, and plenty of other shops.

If I could give just one piece of advice - JUST DO IT! You'll have the time of your life.
I have also made a video showing the whole experience which you can watch here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_dgS5iMVMM

What did you find most rewarding?
Before I went out to Peru, I did a bit of fundraising for the day care centre through selling things I no longer wanted and donations by family and friends. I managed to raise a good amount of money which I gave as a present to the head teacher sometime during my placement. Being able to hand over a donation like that was something that made my trip and is something that I will never forget. It felt so good knowing that I was able to help them out as there are many things that they need to replace such as tables, chairs and resources which they just can't afford.

What did you find most challenging?
For me this wasn't a problem as I speak Spanish, but I noticed that other volunteers who didn't know much Spanish sometimes struggled, and a lot of the time they depended on me to be able to communicate with others or to understand what's going on in certain situations. Therefore I would definitely say that it's important to learn some Spanish before volunteering at the day care centre just to be able to get by. Apart from that, I would say that being able to control the children was sometimes quite challenging as some of them can be a bit naughty and quite a handful.

Nevertheless saying goodbye was without a doubt the most difficult part and it's impossible to not get upset. I didn't expect to get so attached to the children, especially one kid in particular who I adored and could have brought home (everyone has their favourite).

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Again, I would definitely recommend learning a bit of Spanish before volunteering at the day care centre, just to improve the experience for yourself as it will help with everything from teaching to communicating with the children and the other members of staff. I also noticed that tourists who speak Spanish (even though I tried to blend in) get treated better when in public, and Peruvian people are so kind and lovely to talk to so it's worth the effort! Also don't wear anything you like to the centre, there were many days I ended up with food and several other things down me.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I decided to choose Pod because they are such a down to earth company and they do an amazing job at supporting all the projects around the world. They put so much care into everything and Becky was always there if I needed any help or had any questions. All of their projects look great, it's a shame I can't do all of them.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Maria - 2016

"I had never traveled to South America and had never done any volunteer work before. Once I got to Peru, I found people who inspired me along the way. The director of the school and the teacher that I worked with, are incredible women and have the little kids best interest at heart.

I loved going to the day care every morning and always left the school with a happy feeling. It was wonderful to be there. Everything run very smoothly and every one I met was wondeful! I loved the experience, thanks!

What did you find most rewarding?
The kids. They are fun, happy and want to learn. They are an adorable little community with so many personalities and so much potential.

What did you find most challenging?
I had the advantage of speaking Spanish so I did not find anything challenging.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
To jump right in!"

Emily - 2016

"My experience as a volunteer in Peru was amazing! I felt part of the community and the Children's Day Care project gave me so much, I'm definitely going to come back.

What did you find most rewarding?
Giving a hand, really feeling part of the project and seeing that your help was so appreciated was the most rewarding part.

What did you find most challenging?
I think that the most challenging thing is capturing children's attention so Spanish is fundamental!  I speak Spanish so that was perfect but if you don't you could struggle. The 5 year old class has a great organisation but the others must try to impose more rules and organise in a better way the classes.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Be open minded and adapt!"

Kimmy - 2016

"When I first arrived, it felt so strange to finally be there, after so many months of planning. I was welcomed by the staff and current volunteers straight away which made the transition from England to Peru that much easier. The city is just as beautiful as advertised, and there were so many things to see.

The culture and lifestyle of Peru is so incredible and really changed me in the best ways. It was also so easy to go visit some of the most popular sights in Peru, such as Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and Cusco, made all the more better by the volunteers and other travellers that join in on the adventure.

The projects is doing incredibly good work, I became very close with the amazing lady running it. Their main priority is giving these children a good start in education, in a safe environment when their parents need to work. I remember one day, I got to go round and judge the classrooms for the first day of spring, as each year group had made decorations and hung them up around the room. Seeing how excited they were was just incredible and the kindergarten as a whole gives me hope that these kids can achieve great things in the future.

Some of my best times there were seeing incredible sites in the centre and of course experiencing the craziness that Peruvians call a bus service. Also going around the markets and finding out about the “witch” area where I was once offered a gecko to improve a wound or spending lunch in the picanterias to experience local food, which is delicious. There was no comparison to the day to day life I had the pleasure of enjoying there.

I wouldn’t trade my time in Arequipa for anything, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants to make a difference not only to the children out there, but also their own life. And to all the amazing people involved in the projects and of course the beautiful children I met as well, I miss you all, and will be coming back at the first possible chance."

Ross - 2015

“The volunteering was amazing, the best experience I have done in my whole life. When you arrived at the kindergarten every single child (even the ones you didn’t know as well) would come running up to give you the biggest hug ever! Their faces always lit up. Knowing this project runs solely on donations makes it even more worth it, knowing so much good is coming out of so little.

The reason this project should be done is because the teachers and students really value your opinions, everything that they do, they look at you for their support. The student; teacher ratio is really not enough, these children really need your help to bring in the best. There is always something going on in the garden area with the children, where they need monitoring a lot of the time. The teachers dedicate most of their time to this project so to give them some respite of their own is also really valuable.

What did you find most rewarding?
Helping a child and seeing their face light up, or when teaching English to them and they start to say it back to you like 'goodbye' when you leave, it’s really heart-warming to know you have helped make a change.

What did you find most challenging?
Definitely the language barrier, and the final goodbyes in the very end! Always hard but totally worth it. If you can, have a small knowledge of Spanish, if not then don’t worry! It’s not impossible, we got by just fine!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Just get stuck in!! Never be afraid to give your say because it’s always really valued. Always have an open mind and be prepared for anything! But never get upset from being away from home or anything like that. I went for 6 weeks and it flew by, wish I spent more time there. It will be the most life changing thing you could ever do! Also, we made some of the greatest friends anyone could!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Because knowing it was non-profit really helped, some friends of mine went through them not that long ago and said how simple it was, Becky was the best placement manager, knowing she was there whenever needed really helped! We also got the pleasure of meeting Gemma on our travels in Peru! What another amazing member of the team. I think it helps when picking an organisation that there is such a good, straight forward company like Pod Volunteer.”

Caislin - 2015

"The children were a handful (in the best possible way!) but it enabled me to become better at dealing with them. It was a challenge! I liked the family environment at the project, there was a real supportive feel.

What did you find most rewarding?
Improving my Spanish.

What did you find most challenging?
Working in a Spanish-speaking environment.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Be ready to clean a lot of noses!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
It was the best organisation of its type that I looked at and I could do multiple projects at a discount. The helpful manner of Becky, Erin and Gemma was also a plus point."

Kate – 2014

“I’ve been a week now in Arequipa and am settling in well. The White City’s centre is just as the travel books describe it, regally elegant and stunningly bright.  Constructed of ashlar, the remaining rock from volcanic foam-like material that spewed across the Cerro Colorado district first 13 million years ago and more recently 2.5 million years ago.  Ashlar is used for it’s reflective qualities and keeps the interior of the buildings cool.

I live in the Cayma district (barrio or borough) which is the most modern of all the barrios of the city.  It’s really useful for us westerners to allow adaptation.  Along the little street where I live, called Las Arces, there are many many many little cake and coffee shops – the Arequipenans love their cake!

At the end of the street is a main road on which it’s possible to catch a ‘combi’ bus to just about anywhere you could want to go.  80 centimos (approx. 20p) will get you a bus ride to anywhere, any distance, within the city and its suburbs.  The combi bus is a cultural experience in itself.  The fare collector, man or woman continually calls out where the bus is, lets the travellers on and off, and tells the driver when to stop to pick someone up or to go on again.  The variety of passengers is intriguing to watch.  There are Peruvian ladies of indigenous backgrounds with their long plaited hair, their voluminous brightly coloured skirts, waistcoats and of course the essential bowler style hat perched on top of the raven black silken hair.  Little black eyed children wrapped up in a variety of brightly coloured clothes and a wooly hat, just in case they catch a chill in the 18 degrees that is cooler than the usual 22!  Youngsters in their tight jeans and sassy style tops going into the town centre to meet with friends as it’s the holiday season here from Christmas until the end of February and the end of the heavy rainy season.  Old folk with bundles of laundry or shopping carried in baskets or crates or big brightly coloured bags.  But no animals.  I haven’t yet seen an animal on the combi buses, but there’s time yet! 

Crossing the main road at the end of my street is by way of a large metal stairway structure.  I haven’t attempted it in the rain yet and plan not to as the steps are somewhat shiny even when not wet – they are certainly well worn.  Once crossed there is a taxi rank full of little yellow diddy size taxis that toot at you to catch your attention for trade.  They are so small it’s hard to imagine that they would fit even two full sized westerners let alone the reported five or six that the girls in the flat tell me they’ve managed to squeeze in before the law of no more than four passengers at a time has been more strictly enforced.  This takes us to the shopping centre where there is anything one could want or need, supermarket with recognisable brands and types of fruit, pharmacies, a full range of clothes shops and, at the back, a leisure area made up of a KFC, MacDonalds, Chinese food style foodcourt, a cinema complex with a great range of subtitled English/American films and a range of dubbed too and a gym.  It’s pleasantly, undemandingly familiar and regular, where little if no language is required for the majority of transactions.

Outside on the street you can eat from many different restaurants, local, Chinese, burgers, eat corn from the street sellers, pop into the fruit and veg market and choose from the familiar varieties or the unpronounceable and unfamiliar exotic selection.  Walk all the way into the city centre down the street taking in the hustle and bustle of Arequipan life, calling into shopping centres, markets, call centres, mobile phone shops, cake shop after cake shop until you cross the big white bridge with the fast flowing Rio Chili which splits the city.  On one side of the river bank is a small shanty community, with its corrugated walls and roofs, mud floors and washing lines, with little dirty faced and clothed children running around playing with what they can find and pick up.  On the other side is the start of the city centre with its beautiful architecture, cobbled streets, shops selling alpaca wool items, postcards, business offices, churches and monasteries, restaurants and bars.  It’s just a 20 minute walk to the city centre from my apartment but an experience of enormous proportions.  All of which, I’d like to add, so far and in general are safe and pleasant and interesting.  This is not a threatening city, neighbourhood, or people.  They are kind, sweet and generally a little shy, quick to smile and make a little joke, happy to help and offer good service. 

These are my first impressions of Arequipa and they are positive.  It appears to be a promising place to spend a significant amount of time, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the city the people and the culture."

Find out more about the Children's Day Care project

AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal