Colombia is a beautiful country with wonderful people. But it also has tremendous problems – close to half of Colombians live in poverty and more than 20 percent in extreme poverty. The country also has the world’s second-largest number of internally displaced people, estimated at more than two million, mostly driven from their homes and farms by the nation’s illegal armed groups.
Get to know Colombia and Colombians on a personal level, while also giving back for the fun you’ve had here.
While you’re here on vacation or studying Spanish, why not spend some time volunteering? It’s not only very fulfilling and memorable, but it’s also a great way to get to know the country and improve your Spanish skills.
This page is a list, but not an endorsement of the various organizations. To us, these appear to be upstanding organizations doing valuable work, but we do not have first-hand information about all of the groups. Do your own research. And please write us with any questions or comments, either positive or negative, to:
Creciendo Juntos (Growing Together), in Casuca, a poor south Bogotá neighborhood. Creciendo Juntos works to promote a ‘culture of peace’ in the community, where many residents are people displaced by Colombia’s violence. Creciendo Juntos is supported by the Mennonite Church and is located about 2 hours by bus south of downtown Bogota.
Mujeres y Madres Abriendo Caminos
Mujeres y Madres (Women and Mothers Opening Opportunities) works in Dorados, a poor Bogota hillside neighborhood a bit south of downtown. Mujeres y Madres works with both girls and boys to support their development and help them build healthy, constructive futures.
Contact Marcela: (in Spanish) at 310-783-0645 or call Mujeres y Madres: 289-3411 .
Emerging Voices places volunteers with organizations throughout Bogotá in need of assistance. Volunteers can work with the elderly, children, the sick or others, depending on their interests and abilities.
Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas (Yellow Butterflies Foundation)
Works on development, health and education in poor Santa Marta neighborhoods. Volunteer Jessica says: They really rely on volunteers, and could do with a few more at the moment but i think it comes and goes in phases and there are times when they have quite a few. Basically its teaching every afternoon for a couple of hours, and the foundation works in 2 different neighbourhoods. Also, my Spanish has improved rapidly in only a week so thats a bonus.