Care for Blind & Disabled Children and Adults, Santiago, Chile
Work in a fantastic school in Santiago looking after children with visual impairments, total blindness, and associated disabilities.
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Situated in the heart of the Chilean capital, Santiago, the school provides a rounded, highly personalised education for blind and visually impaired children. The children board at the school from Monday to Friday in gender-segregated dorms. Many are completely blind. Some have other associated difficulties and are challenging to communicate with. The main age range is 1-12, although there are some older teenagers learning specific skills for employment.
This is an excellent institution, in bright, clean, pleasant buildings, with strong values and aspirations, run by committed, hard-working, dedicated staff. Currently there are just over 100 children, with about eight per class, which means that the staff-student ratio is about 8:1. Although this is low, some of the children's needs are so great that the ratio could be lower still.
About 60% of its income comes from the Chilean Government. The remainder is from fees, private donations and volunteer fees.
The February 2010 earthquake caused mild damage to one of the buildings, but some of the kids have been left traumatised by the experience. The school has impressive earthquake procedures that are clearly outlined to all staff and students.
Some of the kids' conditions are quite distressing, but the children are affectionate, lively and enthusiastic. This is a superb opportunity for a caring, thoughtful, motivated volunteer who wants to be challenged emotionally and intellectually and make a lasting contribution to child development and education.
- Pick-up at Santiago airport and transfer to your host family accommodation
- Welcome meeting
- Orientation tour (half-day) in Santiago
- You will be taken to the school in the first day by a WAVA partner in Santiago
- A contact in Santiago will be in telephone and email contact with you during your stay
- 24-hour bilingual emergency contacts
- Accommodation: host family in Santiago
- Meals with your host family (half-board: breakfast and dinner)
What's NOT included?
- Living expenses
The modern capital of Santiago has some of the most spectacular views of any city in the world. The city is framed by the stunning snowcapped Andes mountains. It is very much like a modern European or American city, but has a distinctive Chilean identity, and although comparatively a wealthy city, the poverty in some neighbourhoods can be challenging for people from more affluent countries. One of Santiago’s best assets is the city’s proximity to fantastic open areas, in particular the Andes, which offer a huge range of exhilarating activities such as trekking, climbing, walking and snow sports.
The school is located in the Ñuñoa neighborhood, which is a residential area close to the Providencia district in Santiago.
Project life and photos
- Supporting the teachers and staff whilst teaching the kids
- Organizing games and activities after class time
Flights, transportation and visas
- Flights are not included
- Visas: for up to 90 days' (approx 12 weeks') stay you just need a tourist visa upon entry (British citizens). However, visa rules often change so we recommend you visit or contact the Chilean Embassy in London
- On arrival in Santiago we will arrange a transfer for you; you will be welcomed by a Twin Work & Volunteer partner and be offered a half-day orientation tour in Santiago
CIBT Visa advice...
For expert visa advice we advise our volunteer, work placement, and internship participants to get in touch with CIBT - a company that we work in partnership with. Our UK, Canadian, and US travellers can use CIBT for visa advice and to get their visa applications processed - with visas returned within a week.
Dates and duration
We welcome people to this programme between March/April and December, at any time between these months.
The most common working hours are between 9am until midday and then from 2pm until 9pm. The first part of the day is when most help is needed as the classes take place in the morning and this is the busiest time of day.
The minimum stay recommended is from 4 weeks. We will consider shorter placements in exceptional circumstances, but anything shorter than 4 weeks is likely to be of little value to both the volunteer and the school. Four weeks will offer you a more rounded experience, and six weeks or more will have a life-long impact. Your stay can be as long as your visa allows.
Please check availability with a Twin Work & Volunteer travel advisor. Call 0800 80 483 80 or contact us.
Safety and insurance
- All of Twin Work & Volunteer's placements are in partnership with recognised and established local organisations, run by or employing local people. These organisations, depending on the nature of what they do, might be small-scale NGOs, family projects, schools or orphanages, or local initiatives with environmental or social goals.
- We often use local businesses to provide logistical and support services to volunteers such as transfers, pick-ups, accommodation and so on. In this way, we support the local economy through helping independent local businesses to thrive. We take our partnerships very seriously and work extremely closely with all our partners.
- We provide 24-hour emergency support from the UK and our partners provides support locally.
- We have an agreement with the crisis management service Tranquillico, should the very worst situations arise.
- If any wider safety concerns arise in the destination, such as civil disturbances or natural disasters, we seek advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and implement their recommendations where appropriate.
Comprehensive insurance is available for all programmes. You have no obligation to take up insurance with any of these companies, but insurance of a suitable sort is mandatory on all our programmes.
- Minimum age: 18 years old
- Language abilities: English speaker (intermediate to advanced); Spanish speaker (intermediate)
- You do not need any previous experience to come and work with us, but the work can be emotionally demanding so we expect applicants to be mature,responsible, open-minded, autonomous and have a natural ability to work with children
- If you do have some experience working with young children or in special schools, this is a programme you will absolutely love
- The more time and effort you are willing to put into this project, the more you will get in return
- And finally, you just need to be happy to work in a special school and have a great sense of humour
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation is with local family homestays or, for longer placements, we may be able to offer shared apartments in Santiago.
Local families are always people we visit regularly, know well, and who have a successful history of hosting volunteers, students or long-term visitors. They are chosen for their warmth, hospitality and love of cultural exchange. You will feel very much at home and relaxed. Staying with local families means that you will have an opportunity every day to practise your Spanish and improve it in a social and domestic setting. They may well also want to practise their English with you! The host family experience is very much an integral part of the programme.
Meals are provided by your host family as part of the programme (half-board: breakfast and dinner).
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