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girl studying in peru
OrganizationSeeds of Hope
websitehttp://www.peruseeds.org
CountryPeru
Program Costs$150 to $400 per month
DurationVaries
Room & BoardIncluded
Language RequirementsBasic Spanish
Edino is 8 years old, a happy and boisterous little boy who lives with his family of 8 in a small house in Huaraz. Every night he works on the streets selling sweets alongside his 3 older brothers. He is in the 2nd grade of school although he should be in 3rd grade. He has some problems with reading and math but is working to improve these by attending the Seeds of Hope school.

He is just one of the 75 children being helped by Seeds of Hope, a small charity working to help educate some of Peru's poorest children. Most of the children attend state school but need help with their homework. They all come from poor families and their parents have to work very long hours to feed and clothe their children, so often don't have time to help them with their homework. Some of the parents are unable to support their children because they can't read or write themselves.

Seeds of Hope has two volunteer centres – one in Huaraz and one in Cusco – which are staffed by a mixture of Peruvian and international volunteers. Together the volunteers offer the children help and encouragement with their homework whilst the school provides a clean, safe environment in which the children can study. As the children come from poor families they are often hungry which makes studying difficult, so to help them concentrate we give them a sandwich or piece of fruit and a drink. We aim to support the children in all aspects of their lives so we also buy school uniforms and study materials for those children whose parents can't afford them. When necessary we help with medical expenses such as visits to the doctor or dentist.

Seeds of Hope relies solely on international volunteer payments and donations to fund its work. We have volunteers from all 4 corners of the globe working with us, including the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan. Volunteers come for as little as a week and as long as a year or more! They pay US$400 per month (with a discount for longer term volunteers) and in return receive accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday and an hour of Spanish tuition from Monday to Thursday.

Typical work includes helping with homework (usually Maths or Communication), helping with reading and writing, teaching the children English or playing sports with them one day a week. We also try to teach the children about the importance of hygiene so volunteers help them with washing their hands before eating and cleaning their teeth afterwards. We clean the school at the end of each session so that the children have a clean environment in which to study, something often lacking in their own homes.

Volunteers from all backgrounds are welcome – as long you have a positive outlook and enthusiasm, experience of working with children isn't necessary. The children are lively and noisy and the work is sometimes tiring but it is always rewarding. Laughing and joking with the children or receiving one of their beaming smiles and hugs makes all the hard work worthwhile. So, if you want to make a difference to a child's life, experience a completely different culture and learn a new language why not consider volunteering with Seeds of Hope? Find out more about us and our work at www.peruseeds.org or drop us a line at: seedsofhoperu@hotmail.com We hope to see you soon!