(For 1 and 2 week Volunteering, please go to Projects)
Just graduated from college? University? Retired recently? Looking for a change?
One year terms of volunteering in our homes for positions such as
tutor, teacher, nurse, communications, visitor coordinator, sponsorship coordinator, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, farm assistant, home support...
The Friends International Volunteer Program sends qualified individuals, couples and families to support the staff and children living in the homes of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos.
As a volunteer, you will:
Impact children's lives.
Play an integral role in the growing NPH family.
Provide encouragement and support to those who need it most.
Improve your Spanish, French or Creole skills.
Live in and experience a foreign culture.
Make friends with volunteers from around the world.
served from January 2019-July 2020
Hello from the Dominican Republic!
The Dominican NPH home was established in 2003 in the city of San Pedro de Macoris in rented apartments and in 2004, the Arch Bishop of SPM donated the land for the home to be built on. In 2005, the kids and NPH moved over to their forever location. The home now has around 165 kids living on the property, ages ranging from 3-22, along with external families and children being supported by NPH. Casa Santa Ana, the NPH campus, includes 12 homes for the pequenos along with 2 special needs homes. The campus also includes a primary and secondary school where pequenos attend daily. The school not only services NPH but opens its doors to the children of the impoverished communities surrounding NPH called “bateyes”
I arrived at NPH in January of 2019, my first two weeks at the home included volunteer orientation along with the new art therapist from Holland. The first two weeks are a nice calm and easy way to get used to living at the new home, spend time with your hogar before your full-time volunteer job starts. During these two weeks, I was able to familiarize myself with the home and its surroundings, also while developing relationships with co-workers as I knew I would be collaborating with these employees in the future with visiting groups.
My role as visitor coordinator always has me doing something different, which has made it such an interesting and rewarding experience. The responsibility of the visitor coordinator is to coordinate groups that are interested in visiting and contributing at the home or outside in the community. Generally, groups are high school graduating classes, parishes, university groups or medical brigades. Each one of these groups contribute something special and unique each time they come, depending on their goals of the trip and their capabilities.
Groups have the option of working on our “conuco” farm which provides the home with a variety of fruits and vegetables. This could be by donating money for a specific projects that the employees have set up or simply donating their time and hard work. Other options include building a house for people of the community involved with NPH or pequenos mayores (pequenos that have left the home), aiding in the kitchen with chopping and slicing food that will be served for lunch and dinner. Visitors also have the option to work with the kids of San Marcos and Santa Maria, our special needs homes. After their day of work, visitors spend free time painting, singing and playing sports with the pequenos.
Visitors not only contribute their time and effort, but they also contribute to the joy of the pequenos as visitors usually have the same endless energy as the pequenos. This gives the pequenos the opportunity to experience different cultures and language, allowing them to develop socially.
A new addition to the NPH DR home while I have been here was the ground breaking of the One World Surgery surgery centre. One World Surgery is an NGO that provide free surgical care for individuals of the community who otherwise would not have the funds nor access to health care. The great success they had in Honduras brought them to the DR, understanding the needs of the communities in the DR. I have had the wonderful opportunity to aid and witness the start of something amazing that will benefit so many people.
Overall my most rewarding experience is spending time with my hogar. As volunteers start their contract they are assigned an hogar(home) that they will mentor and support throughout their service. I got the privilege of being assigned to a house of young boys with ages ranging from 8-16. Each afternoon and evening I get to spend my free time with them, either helping with homework playing board games, listening to music and their favourite activity on the weekends, watching the TV Series “Flash”. My time with the boys of Santa Bernadita has impacted me greatly and has made for lifelong relationships and memories.
This volunteer opportunity is the best experience I have ever had. It has not only helped me grow personally, but I have also been able to contribute my expertise and hard work into areas where it was needed. I cannot emphasize how great of an opportunity it is to volunteer at NPH. You will grow personally, form lasting relationships while also witnessing the impact of your hard work with both your hogar and volunteer job.
(Update; Max has returned to Canada and is now married to a person he met in Dominican Republic)