Volunteers are an important part of Awamaki’s operations. Many of our programs wouldn’t be possible without their industrious contributions. Volunteers inject our programs with energy, enthusiasm and fresh ideas. As an Awamaki volunteer, you will have the opportunity to connect with local people, with a project you are passionate about, and learn a ton about development issues and the work required to overcome them.
Volunteering with Awamaki is a valuable experience for anyone interested in a career in international development or social enterprise. We rely on volunteers’ fresh ideas and skill set to constantly improve and expand our programs, and in return, we give our volunteers a high level of autonomy and responsibility over their individual projects.
To read testimonials from past Awamaki volunteers, please visit our volunteer testimonial page.
If you are interested in volunteering with Awamaki for ten weeks or longer, please see our Volunteer Program information below.
For Internship opportunities available for ten weeks or longer, please visit our Internship page here.
For three to eight week Service Travel opportunities, please visit our Service Travel page here.
All Awamaki volunteers work between 30 and 35 hours per week, including a minimum of 6-12 hours per week staffing Awamaki’s fair trade store in Ollantaytambo.
Requirements for volunteering with Awamaki include:
- Intermediate or better Spanish, or the commitment to take intensive Spanish classes at Awamaki to improve your proficiency.
- Enthusiasm, resourcefulness and the ability to think on your feet.
- Team player, sociable and excellent customer service skills.
- Adaptable and flexible, to be able to work in a local environment that can be challenging.
- Able to take the initiative and solve problems creatively.
For frequently asked questions, please visit the Question and Answer section of our website.
Below please find information about different placements in Awamaki’s projects, including the Women’s Artisanal Cooperatives program, the Sustainable Tourism Program, and the Community Education program.
Placements are highly customizable. Many volunteer combine aspects of different placements to suit their interests. We are also very eager to utilize the skills and strengths of each volunteer, so please contact us if you have a particular interest or skill!
You can also view our volunteer listings on Idealist. Keep in mind, if you do not see a position that is of interest to you, please email email@example.com to inquire about other options available.
Women’s Artisanal Cooperatives Program
Individual or collaborative projects that Women’s cooperative volunteers engage in depend entirely on Awamaki’s needs at the time, the skills, knowledge and experience that a volunteer can offer, and also what a volunteer is most interested or keen to learn from Awamaki during the placement. Your projects can include:
- Work side-by-side with members of our sewing, knitting and weaving associations to create garments and accessories that valorize the woven textile and craft traditions native to the Sacred Valley.
- Support Awamaki staff and co-op members to fulfill orders.
- Get involved with the sourcing, development, and creation of focused and saleable product pieces.
Marketing and Communications
- Visually document the design process, blogging and tweeting about experiences to engage viewers in the storytelling of how artisans and visiting designers share ideas and create goods.
- take product photos and create publicity materials,
- Generate sales strategies and forecasts, product design & research
Our head of Product Design and our Women’s Artisanal Cooperatives Coordinator will support volunteers by:
- Managing and supporting project work, including creating a project timeline and collaborating on many everyday tasks
- Organizing a weekly meeting with all weaving project staff and volunteers
Volunteering with Awamaki’s Sustainable Tourism Program offers a unique opportunity to both educate the responsible traveler and to interact with the local community. As a volunteer with the Sustainable Tourism Program, your work can include:
Tourist Welcome Center
- As a sustainable tourism volunteer you will work up to 15 hours per week (approximately 3 afternoons), in the Awamaki Fair Trade Store, where you will answer questions for the passing tourists related to travel in the region, and be available to promote and book Awamaki’s tours as well as our Spanish language classes and homestays.
- ST Volunteers take visitors to the nearby indigenous community of Patacancha to lead respectful and sustainable Quechua community visits, and educate travelers about the traditional weaving techniques and Awamaki’s fair trade initiatives. This can include half-day visits as well as cultural immersion workshops with community homestays that last up to 4 days.
- We’re in the process of distinguishing tour operators in the Cusco region, based on their reputability and commitment to ecotourism. Participate in this evaluation project and help Awamaki guide the responsible traveler to tour agencies with the best practices.
- More themes available; include your CV and inquire about upcoming research projects.
- Help develop new community-based tours, new service travel education programs for international volunteers, new program systems, etc.
- If you have a background in marketing or public relations please inquire about publicity needs.
Tourism Coordinator will support volunteers by:
- Providing training in tourism center; for example, providing volunteer with basic tourist information as well as answers to frequently asked questions.
- Ensuring the volunteer has opportunities to learn from hands-on experiences in weaving education tourism, in order to better promote our programs.
- Providing feedback on community outreach classes including help with developing curriculum and marketing materials.
- Providing reliable internet connection so volunteer will be able to complete tourism outreach or research assignments.
- Listening to problems and working collaboratively to find solutions.
- Scheduling weekly check-in meetings with project team. These meetings function as a time to share the successes and problems of the volunteer’s experience.
The Education Program offers volunteers a wide variety of ways to form meaningful relationships with local people while building their skills for success. As an education volunteer, your work can include:
Teaching English and Computer Classes
- You will plan lessons, develop a curriculum tailored to each class’ specific needs, and teach 1-4 classes per week using fun, active, participatory activities. This requires of creativity and on-the-go learning, as well as an upbeat personal touch. Our teachers develop meaningful relationships with their students and get to see the results during the semester.
- From using a spacebar to opening a g-mail account- if you are reading this then chances are you have a lot to offer our computer students. You will be responsible for lesson planning and teaching of basic computer topics.
Teach classes to our women’s cooperatives
(high skill requirement)
- Help out our women’s cooperatives by teaching capacity-building classes that help the women to become independent leaders in their own sustainable businesses.
- Help develop curriculum materials in topics such as financial literacy, business management, leadership, etc.
- Teach a subject that you are passionate about for the general enrichment of our cooperative members, whether it’s nutritional cooking, women’s reproductive health, yoga, etc.
Support Needs Assessment Research for our Women’s Cooperatives
- For volunteers with advanced levels of Spanish, help us run focus groups, surveys, poverty assessments, etc. to collect information that will allow us to design future programs that closely reflect the women’s needs.
Teach Children at the Yachay Wasi Preschool
- Yachay Wasi is an great alternative preschool with a dedicated staff, but is often pressed for resources. Volunteers can run games and creative activities, teach English, or help run extracurricular learning programs.
Support Cultural Education For Volunteers and Service Travelers
- Awamaki provides workshops for reflection and experience sharing for volunteers and service travelers. We also teach about the culture and contemporary history of Andean Peru to inform and enrich volunteer’s experiences. You can help run these activities, teach lessons, and help develop our curriculum materials.
Volunteers will be expected to:
- Support English and Computer classes when there is a need, engaging in additional projects and placement work according to their skills, interests and availability, and never miss class time except in due to sickness
- Keep a records of attendance and lesson plans
- Have the appropriate materials and lesson plans prepared for class in a timely manner
Education Coordinator will support volunteers by:
- Training English and Computer teachers with a “toolkit” of activities, starting teachers off with some background in ESL and popular education methodology, providing teachers with a framework for lesson planning.
- Supporting English and Computer teachers throughout their time with curriculum development guidance, and helping out with final projects
- Providing teachers with materials such as books and CDs for lesson planning
- Performing regular class observations with feedback.
- Weekly English and computer class meetings to check in, provide feedback, and support curriculum development.
- For additional projects such as women’s cooperative capacity building, Peruvian culture education needs assessment research, etc., provide project development support including a timeline for completion, regular project development meetings, helping out where necessary.
- For placements with Yachay Wasi, the preschool director coordinates everyday work.
We request a donation of $1392 for all volunteers who stay three months or longer. As a recognition of the importance of long-term volunteers, we refund $700 upon completion of six months work with Awamaki. (If you are looking to volunteer for fewer than three months, please see our Service Travel program for short-term volunteers.)
The donation is a one-time payment made prior to arrival. Because Awamaki is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the United States, most of this ($820) is tax-deductible in the United States to the extent allowed by law.
The volunteer fee includes the following costs:
Volunteer welcome and departure ($72 USD)
This fee covers the cost of welcome and departure celebrations for volunteers, and the occasional social event such as movie nights, pizza parties, and birthday celebrations. Included within this fee is a pick-up from Cusco airport (or from a hotel in Cusco if you choose to spend some time in Cusco before arriving in Ollantaytambo). Awamaki sends one of our trusted drivers to bring volunteers from Cusco straight to Awamaki’s office in Ollantaytambo to ensure a safe and simple arrival.
First month of homestay in Ollantaytambo ($300 USD)
This fee goes directly to a local homestay family in Ollantaytambo that Awamaki selects based on each volunteer’s specific needs and preferences. The cost includes a private room in the family’s house and 3 meals per day. This provides an extra source of income for the family and is a valuable cultural immersion opportunity that allows volunteers to gain real insight into daily life in Peru while improving their Spanish. Volunteers can pay subsequent months of their time in the homestay directly to Awamaki, or we can help arrange aternative accommodations.
Three-night weaving immersion workshop in Patacancha ($200 USD)
Patacancha is a remote highland community at an altitude of 12,800 feet located an hour’s drive away from Ollantaytambo and maintains extraordinary Andean traditions. This four-day / three-night workshop in the indigenous Quechua community of Patacancha allows volunteers an irreplaceable cultural immersion experience, teaches volunteers Andean ancestral weaving techniques, and offers the opportunity to learn about Awamaki’s direct impact in the communities where we work. This experience is essential for volunteers to understand and contextualize their work and Awamaki’s, and is offered at cost.
Administration Fee ($320 USD)
This fee compensates Awamaki’s expenses in hosting volunteers. This includes many behind-the-scenes administrative costs to the organization, such as international banking costs, office space and supplies, Internet and phone bills, and all the other costs associated with running a non-profit organization. It also includes the costs of maintaining the many services that Awamaki provides directly to volunteers to enrich their volunteering and cultural immersion experience.
Program donation fee ($500 USD)
This donation provides essential support for Awamaki’s programs and directly benefits the community members with whom we work. Approximately $100 of your program donation fee will cover any materials that volunteers may use for individual projects during their stay. The remaining balance of approximately $400 directly supports Awamaki’s programs. For example, donations may go towards hiring specialists to support capacity-building workshops for Awamaki’s women’s cooperatives or supporting skills-building workshops in natural dyeing techniques.
- Join the Awamaki team as a volunteer between March and May 2013 and receive 10% off the regular donation request.
- Are you an Awamaki alumn or supporter? Refer a friend to our volunteer program between March and May 2013 and receive a thank-you gift from Awamaki.
- Already thinking about signing up to volunteer with Awamaki between March and May 2013? Sign up with a friend and you both will receive a gift from Awamaki, as well as the 10% lower, seasonal promotion cost.
For more information about volunteering, and to request an application form please email firstname.lastname@example.org