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As seen in Transitions Abroad Magazine January/February 2005
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Volunteer Programs in Guatemala

Volunteering in Guatemala

Adventure and Service as an English Teacher

By Mary Hammerback and Jennifer Nater

DICA (Desarollo Integral del Centro de las Americas) is a new initiative to provide an education in the English language to Guatemalans in Santa Rosa, Guatemala's southernmost region. The inspiration for DICA came from a past Planet Aid worker, Kelly Tan, and a group of local Cuilapan citizens. Kelly and her cohort, Kimbely Solfest, the volunteer coordinators, select two volunteer English teachers per 3-month commitment and provide information on DICA to interested volunteers. The 3-month minimum commitment for teaching English to locals provides both the time and environment needed to establish relationships that enrich the experience for both teachers and students alike.

Ongoing Planet Aid activities involve educating children in surrounding villages on HIV/AIDS and health and hygiene, rural development projects for women, and medical missions involving free services and medicine from local doctors.

While these activities provide interesting and fulfilling missions in which to participate, the main priority for DICA volunteers is to conduct English classes for the community. Volunteers can expect a 4-day work week, where utilizing Spanish language skills bring the average speaker to near-fluency in a short time. The easygoing atmosphere of the classrooms and eagerness of the locals makes a student out of the volunteer.

Anyone who finds herself wedged between a great need for adventure and a need to be dedicated to something of importance will be happy to have joined this project.

For More Info

Planet Aid: Provides a network for non-profit organizations to post world-wide opportunities for volunteering, working, studying, and much more.

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