This unique and innovative project in Bolivia consists of supporting a local foundation that provides therapy using horses to children and young people with disabilities including physical, mental, and behavioural issues disabilities. Volunteers are needed to help take care of the horses, the infrastructure, as well as assist with the therapy sessions. The project may involve some work on the weekends but can be compensated with some time off during the week depending on the current needs at your time of volunteering. The centre is fairly new and provides a way to support to patients and their families who might be facing daily discrimination due to the handicaps. The centre accepts children and young adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, downs syndrome, autism but also those who have suffered emotional trauma. Benefits of animal-assisted therapy are well known for people with special needs. Specifically, equine-assisted therapy is known to increase the rider’s’ confidence, communication skills, as well as motor skills. Horseback riding promotes physical exercise as well as the feeling of mobility which is very empowering for someone with a disability.
Why choose this internship?
If you love horses and enjoy working with children and young adults, this volunteering opportunity is for you! The project is located at the University of La Paz, and therefore many local Bolivian students volunteer on the project as part of their university coursework. It is a great opportunity to make local friends while being mentored by local professionals, and help make a difference.
Role of the volunteer
Depending on your skills and interests, you will get the chance to participate in a variety of tasks including caring for the horses, preparing them for the therapy sessions, supporting the maintenance of the centre, etc. You will also have the opportunity to organize activities like educational sessions, team building or recreational sessions to address topics like inclusion, environment and social issues.
Interns must love animals and more specifically horses for this volunteer placement. The ability to ride a horse will be an advantage. Experience or willingness to work with infants and children, including those with special needs. A good level of Spanish (level B1 Intermediate User of CEFR or better) is needed to make the most out of this placement. You will be asked for a CV/Resume and to attend a telephone interview to assess your suitability for this placement.
WHY JOIN THE PROJECT
To help make a difference in the lives of Bolivian adults and children with disabilities
To perfect your Spanish while learning about Bolivian culture
To learn about horses’ healing powers
About the Location
Your living accommodation is based on the outskirt of La Paz, Bolivia, in a semi-rural village, called Mallasa (pronounced Massa-ya). There is a strong sense of community within the village and therefore, volunteers are welcome as the villagers are used to seeing them around. The village is situated in the mountains so you will get to wake up every morning to some magnificent view of the Andes. You will be completely immersed and have the chance to improve your Spanish language as well only a few people in the village speaks English. Not to worry though, you will still be sharing your accommodation with other volunteers and will have the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from all over the world.
You will be living in a volunteer house and possibly share your room with another volunteer depending on how busy it is. It will take you about 30 minutes to get to your project from your accommodation. The accommodation will be your haven of peace where you can enjoy the stunning views of the Andes mountain, Bolivian sunshine, or relax in a hammock when time permits. Meals are not provided on this project, but volunteers do tend to share food and eat together or go out for meals whenever possible.
What to do in your spare time
Bolivia offers plenty of activities to do on the weekend. You may choose to stay around the volunteer house and relax on a hammock with a book, or hike the mountains and discover the “Tibet of Americas” and enjoy many stunning views. You may also want to plan a weekend get-away to the highest Lake on the planet called Lake Titicaca located at the Peruvian border. Don’t forget to take part in the many fiestas and cultural celebrations, and make it to the market to buy your souvenirs and help the local community sustain themselves!
Details & Costs
- Duration: 4+ weeks
- Cost: £1052/ $1841 for 4 weeks
Additional weeks fee varies
- Requirements: Age 18+
- Location: La Paz, Bolivia
- Project activities: help train horses and care for them, prepare them for therapy sessions, support the sessions, and also assist supporting the maintenance of the centre.
- Working hours: Monday-Friday
- Project availability: Project open all year
- Arrival day: Monday
What is included
- Accommodation: shared room in a volunteer house (meals not included)
- Airport pick up from El Alto Airport or the bus station in La Paz
- Training: pre-departure information pack, on-site orientation and project induction
- Support: 24-hour support
- Excursion Planning: staff helps organise weekend activities (activity prices may be extra)
- Fundraising Guide
What is not included
- Food, though a kitchen is provided and volunteers regularly cook or eat out together
- Daily transport to and from your project
- Optional Spanish classes are available
- Police/Government Background Check: US and UK citizens will be processed through Kaya (admin fee applies); all other nationalities must provide local police check.
Easy 3-step application process
APPLY ONLINE Click here to apply online and pay your deposit to secure your space on your chosen project. Our advisors will then contact you to guide you through the next steps.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW Once we’ve received your application, we’ll be in touch to arrange your informal telephone interview with your Kaya Placement Advisor.
GET PREPARED When you’ve been accepted onto your project we’ll send you your Welcome Pack and lots of other helpful information to assist you with preparing for your placement.
HAVE A QUESTION?
We pride ourselves on providing you high quality placement information throughout your application process and whilst on the ground. Connect with us if you have any questions.
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