South America Living

Volunteer in Buenos Aires for Free!

Volunteers Helping Out Techo Para Mi Pais

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Vamos Spanish Academy in Buenos Aires.

When most people think about volunteering overseas their thoughts are often about selflessness, altruism and giving back to a community. However many volunteer programs charge immense amounts of money and the industry is tainted by organizations that exploit volunteers and the community they are meant to be assisting.

At Vamos Spanish Academy, a Buenos Aires Spanish school, we try to match good-intentions with a program that will benefit the volunteer as well as the organization. We do not charge for this service, an individual is only expected to cover their living costs (housing & food). You do not need to speak fluent Spanish, but a basic grasp of the language is very helpful.

Two programs popular with our students are: Un Techo Para Mi Pais (A Roof for My Country) and Voluntarios Sin Fronteras (Volunteers without Borders).

Un Techo Para Mi Pais (A Roof for My Country)

This program assists in the construction of housing in impoverished regions of Argentina. Volunteers must bring their own tools or house building skill (carpentry, plumbing, gardening etc). If volunteers are staying in a community they are expected to bring their own food and tent.

Voluntarios Sin Fronteras (Volunteers without Borders)

This is a NGO that has several community projects. Depending on the skills of a volunteer they may be assisting in a soup kitchen, working with an AIDS charity, translating material in the office or teaching in Villa 31 (an infamous slum in Buenos Aires).

Football Match at Villa 31

If you are thinking of volunteering in Buenos Aires you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How much time do you want to volunteer for?

    Someone who just wants to give an hour a day for a week can often be more of a burden on a volunteer organization (Note: See below for one short-term option). They have to be trained, and learn in what way they can assist. In order for the charity – and volunteer – to get maximum benefit for the experience a one-week full-time committment at minimum is best.

  2. What skills can you contribute?

    If all you can bring to a charity is your time and a good attitude – excellent – this can be invaluable. However some organizations are in need of specific skills such as: teachers, medical professionals, engineers or artists.

If you have a very limited amount of time in Buenos Aires but want to contribute to a local charity Ayudanos a Ayudar is a grass roots program that is always in need of clothes, non perishable food and assistance in distributing these items to people that are truly in need. A basic understanding of Spanish is required for this position.

Volunteering can make a positive impact to an individual and to a charity, it just requires a little more investigation and awareness than many people realize. If you have volunteered with a reputable program, spread the word and let others know of the way they can assist.

For more information about volunteering or to sign-up for Spanish classes contact Vamos Spanish Academy in Buenos Aires.

Photograph of Volunteers Helping Techo Para Mi Pais courtesy of Techo Para Mi Pais, all rights reserved.
Photograph of Soccer Match at Villa 31 courtesy of Villa 31, all rights reserved.

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