IntroductionSAN SEBASTIAN CHILDREN'S CENTRE is part of a non profit organisation operating from the city of Cusco, Peru, with the aim of giving aid and support to children from impoverished backgrounds living in and around the area. A team of international and Peruvian volunteers provide food, classes and activities to children who would otherwise be in the streets - our mission is to get them educated.
In San Sebastian itself, we are recruiting a group of volunteers to join our trained social worker and a team of Peruvian staff to work at the project in the mornings every week day. Children will come for lessons and lunch, remaining at the centre until they are attending school regularly. The social worker liaises with parents, teachers and community members; the volunteers organise activities of a wide-ranging nature.
Besides these activities, we welcome new ideas to make our project most effective for the children. Volunteering at San Sebastian can be a tiring but immensely rewarding experience. You should be able to cope with big groups of street children demanding a lot of attention and enthusiasm. You will have to be a team worker, working together with Peruvian and international volunteers. In the centre you will be a representative of the project and are expected to be responsible and behave as an example for the children. What you do in your free time outside the centre is up to you.
Volunteering at 'SAN SEBASTIAN' is a fantastic way of getting to know Peru, of improving your Spanish, and above all, of interacting with the community and with the children of the city in a positive and helpful way.
The Region:Cusco is a city of 300,000 inhabitants, the ancient capital of the Incas, largest pre Columbian empire. Situated in the high Andes, it is Peru's and one of Latin Americas most popular tourist destinations. It is also the starting point of the part of the Inca trail which ends at nearby Machupichu. Cusco carries the title of the archeological capital of America. Sacred Valley, a short drive from Cusco includes the towns of Pisaq, Yucay, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero, full of pre-hispanic archaeological ruins. Machupicchu, most famous Inka citadel located at the other end of the Inka trail from Cusco is considered to be one of the greatest marvels created by man. The famous Sun Temple of Qosqo was and is in practice a synthesis of the Inkan organization, architecture and religion; that had already reached the summit of their level by 1438. It possibly represented the "Navel of the World"; therefore, the world's center in the pre-Hispanic Andean Cosmovision.
The Programme:Our centre is located in the "Vista Alegre" department of San Sebastian, and is comprised of a large traditional building, separated into two large rooms (one with a raised platform which can be used either as a stage or classroom) + a small kitchen. Not-in-school children attend the Bruce Peru program between 9 AM and 10:30 AM, (ending with lunch), and poor children of all descriptions attend the Alegria summer program, directed by Bruce Peru volunteers, from 10:30 to 12:30, ending with lunch. Our volunteers organise a range of workshops and activities, including art, music, science, sport and drama. Groups are divided up according to age or ability; individual classes are also given to help with reading, writing, spelling and maths. None of these children go to school, so an important of our program is teaching them group discipline and study habits. We regularly plan trips outside the centre, to play football and other games. Our international Volunteers do not live in the San Sebastian centre, but rather on our principal Cusco centre, which is located 2.5 blocks from Cusco's main square. San Sebastian only a ten minute taxi ride from Cusco.
The Language School:In the evenings English-speaking and French-speaking volunteers give English and French classes to adults, who pay a monthly contribution to our work. Our students know that their tuition goes towards our work with the children and enables us to maintain San Sebastian and our other centres. Volunteers are therefore obliged to give at least one class per night to maintain our Language School. All classes are held at our main Cusco centre.
Spanish classes are offered for free to all our volunteers.