The following is a list of free or low fee volunteer work programs in South America. If you know of a volunteer program that should be added to our list, please share it in the comments.
Center for Human Rights and the Environment – This organization in Cordoba works to promote greater access to justice and guarantee human rights for victims of environmental degradation.
Cloud Head – Leigh Shulman and Noah Edelblum collaborate with local NGOs in Salta to develop the technology and skills needed in order to support the NGO’s work in the community. If you are a designer, artist, videographer, teacher or have business & marketing skills they may be able to match you to an organization.
English House – Volunteers at the English House are assistants to teachers providing conversation and pronunciation help to the students. In exchange, the organization offers Spanish classes and an immersion program.
Estancia la Margarita – This traditional country style eco-hacienda takes 2 volunteers at a time. The work can be varied and interesting and will include riding out with guests so you will need to be a very competent horse rider. There are free and paid volunteer opportunities here depending on your length of stay.
Food Bank Foundation – This Buenos Aires food bank stores and distributes food. Volunteers normally stay at the workhouse classifying donated food.
Fundacion Leer – Aims to provide children of Argentina with access to books and promotes reading. Volunteers help build reading corners in schools and participating in events.
Habitat para la Humanidad – This organization facilitates the building of a better home for people that live in challenging conditions. There are two ways of volunteering. You can either help construct the homes or work on administrative tasks.
La Casa Maria – Provides food, clothing, education, hygiene, health and general assistance to unprivileged children and adolescents of the region. They pride themselves in providing a loving home for those kids during the day.
LIFE – LIFE works with the poor of Argentina to provide a healthy environment, happiness and a better future for children. They have a staff that works for free and have hosted over 4,000 volunteers.
Por los Chicos – PLC works to improve nutrition of over 3,500 kids all over Argentina. Anyone committed to providing children with a better quality of life is welcome to volunteer with them.
Spanish School in Bariloche – This school organizes volunteering opportunities in Patagonia to any traveller that might want to donate their time. They require at least 2 weeks of commitment from possible volunteers and a beginner level of Spanish.
Union de los Pibes – Club Union de los Pibes is a small, voluntary organization in Buenos Aires that offers lessons (art, English for kids and adults, drama, cooking and many others), helps out with homework and generally aims to provide a safe and stable environment for a few hours a week to children who know very little stability in their daily lives.
Vecinos De la Boca – This is another organization that works to give people, especially marginalized children, access to a better life.
Amanecer – This organization was created by a catholic order because of the increasing number of abandoned children living on the streets. They offer a wide range of areas where volunteers can work from care giving to computer classes.
Artesania Sorata Fairtrade – This organization produces high quality alpaca knitwear and handcrafts, providing work to families with low to non incomes in urban Bolivia. They receive professionals and non-professionals that have some knowledge in Spanish .
Biblioworks – They work under the principle that literacy and education are critical to create sustainable communities. Volunteers at BiblioWorks accomplish everything from teaching English to painting libraries to writing grants.
CEDESOL – Its full name is the Center for Development with Solar Energy. Their mission is to transform lives and protect the environment by equipping people with appropriate technology and education.
Condor Trekkers – This is a non-profit organization that finances its projects through trekking and city tours. It currently supports a few organizations mainly targeted to education. The organization is managed and ran by volunteers. They are open to suggestions on how you can help.
Fox Language Academy – They offer free volunteering opportunities for anyone that wants to donate their time teaching English to children or adults.
Inti Wara Yassi – CIWY works in defense of animal rights. Volunteers work with cats, monkeys, birds, reptiles and other small animals. You work only in one area so the animals become accustomed to you. They ask for a time commitment of at least 15 days.
Luz del Mundo – This is a centre where they teach English, theatre, music and forms of art to children. These children come from homes where parents can’t afford this kind of education. Volunteers help teach these classes that take place 4 days a week. You don’t need to be a teaches to volunteer.
Prosthetics for Bolivia – Their objective is to provide prosthetic devices to anyone with a low income that might need one. They also have a small clinic where volunteers are needed.
Proyecto Horizonte – They fight poverty through education, health care and community development. Volunteer programs can be as short as 1 month and as long as they want in any suitable area.
Sucre Spanish School – This Spanish school can hook you up with different volunteer opportunities in the area.
Sustainable Bolivia – They promote economic and environmental sustainability and try to provide organizations in Bolivia with human and financial resources. They are always looking for volunteers.
AEC – TEA Associacao – If you love theatre, photography, language and computers AEC – TEA might be looking for you to participate in their volunteering projects. Their mission is to promote education and culture in a fun and accessible way.
Associação Comunitária Monte Azul – A non-governmental organization works to achieve wholesome development in the children and families that they work with. They take up to 20 international volunteers that stay with them for free for a whole year.
Callerj – This organization teaches English, French and Spanish to children in Copacabana. All they ask for is compromise and responsibility from volunteers.
Creche de Felicidade – It is a nursery in Rocinha where volunteers are always needed.
Ecotrancoso – Ecotrancoso is a training and ecotourism centre dedicated to sustainable development and ecology. They are a training centre and compensate the help of eco-volunteers with complete and in-depth training on their techniques.
Iracambi – A group of people that manage natural resources, develop sustainable communities and research ecosystems in Brazil’s beautiful Atlantic Rainforest. If you have a special idea or skill that you think might be useful for them, contact them so they can place you as a volunteer.
Oiyakaha – This centre for art and ecology is in the Brazilian Amazon. They ask for at least 1 month of commitment from volunteers and they do not require any kind of special training.
REGUA – Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu has the mission of preserving the Atlantic Rainforest with a lodge where travellers can stay. Aside from guests, they accept volunteers. To volunteer you have to be 18 or older and willing to work outdoors.
SER Alzira de Aleluia – Ser is a non-governmental organization in Rio de Janeiro that works alongside the community promoting citizenship and providing an educational training, as well as promoting spaces for empowerment.
Ama – The Agrupacion Medio Ambiental support conservation, scientific investigation and environmental education. They are looking for people who enjoy working outdoors and joining teams. They offer programs that last between 15 days and 1 month.
Fundacion Chol Chol – The people that created it believe that in order to truly impact human empowerment, one must take a comprehensive look at the cultural, economic, educational, and societal factors involved, and address each area individually. To achieve this they rely on volunteers.
One World – A nursery school that aims to provide a multicultural environment and healthy environment for kids between 2 to 6 years. Volunteers must have a lot of patience and love for children because they will be teachers.
Save the Wild Chinchillas – This is a conservation organization aiming to restore the essential habitat for endangered chinchillas and to protect habitat degradation.
VE Global (Voluntarios de la Esperanza) – VE Global recruits, trains and organizes international volunteers to achieve their mission of fostering the positive development of children at social risk in Chile. Volunteers serve for a minimum, 4-month, full-time volunteer commitment, working with children and youth at risk in children’s shelters and community centers in Santiago, Chile. Volunteer classes arrive in January, May and September.
Casa de Cultura de la Boquilla – It is an institute created to support and enhance cultural developments in our community. You can volunteer with them by helping them teach English just 15min outside of Cartagena.
Colombia Sin Fronteras – A small, grass-roots charity based in Santa Marta, Colombia promoting literacy, culture, sport and many other important life skills to underprivileged children. They are looking for volunteers that can stay with them for at least two months to help run the school project.
Edupaz Santa Marta – Volunteers get to work with a group of people providing a social service. The focus is on strengthening moral, ethical and spiritual values among local children. They are looking for teachers for different disciplines, physical education volunteers, yoga teachers and more.
Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas – This is a small grassroots organization committed to supporting disadvantaged children by providing education, workshops, nutrition and recreation. There is a constant need of volunteers to teach our after-school classes or work on our social programs.
Sports for Development – Is an organization that runs sporting programs for unprivileged children. The idea is to keep them out of the streets and gives them a positive, healthy environment. They always need volunteers for running their weekly sports and physical education programs.
Andean Bear – The foundation needs you to save Andean bears and sustaining the beauty and ecological integrity of its natural habitat. Volunteers can be biologists and artists to pain awareness murals.
Ceiba Foundation for tropical Conservation – Works for habitat conservation, environmental education, community development, reforestation, and scientific research. Volunteers perform outdoors work in the forest, but most of the positions don’t require special knowledge or skills.
Center for the Working Girl – CENIT is a non-governmental and non-lucrative organization that provides help to children that find themselves in the necessity of working to support their family so they can come out of extreme poverty. Volunteers are needed for different tasks. There are even a few projects that are run 100% by volunteers.
CERFA – This botanical garden that is responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating strategies, guidelines and actions to consolidate a culture of respect for the natural environment. All they as of volunteers is a medium knowledge in Spanish and at least 1 month of commitment.
Chinimptuna – A project that was born of the need to solve social, cultural and economic issues of the community by providing an alternative source of income to sustainable exploitation of natural resources. Their need for volunteers grow as the project does.
Cielo Azul – NGO that needs volunteers who love working with children. All you need is to be at least 18 years old and to preferably have experience as a teacher.
Cloud Forest Adventure – If you are concerned about the disappearance of the cloud forest this group of locals wants to hear from you. The aim is to provide locals with alternative and sustainable sources of income by offering eco-tours. Volunteers are accepted for a low fee and work teaching, or at an eco farm.
CONAGRO – Cooperation for Organic Agriculture and Microfinance was born in 1998 to try to support the development in communities of northern Ecuador. The idea is to fight poverty by providing work opportunities.
Ecuador Eco Volunteer – It is a Social Enterprise with volunteering programs that take place in 4 different places of Ecuador: the amazon, the Andes, Galapagos or in the coast.
Equilibrio Azul – Is a non-profit organization working to preserve Ecuador’s ecosystems and marine resources. Volunteers are accepted year round to help out with the turtle project, marine bird project and others.
Fundacion Brethren y Unida – FBU was created in rural Ecuador. Their mission is to foster the creative abilities of men and women, encouraging the sharing of knowledge and the promotion of citizen rights in order to construct organizational and technological proposals.
Fundacion Zoobreviven – Was created to protect the ecosystems and wildlife of Ecuador. This non-profit organization manages 3 reserves in the northern region of the country. The only thing is asked of volunteers is basic knowledge in Spanish.
Guayabillas – An animal rescue center that takes care of over 900 animals and depends on volunteers to be able to give them proper care. The minimum commitment time is 1 week.
Hostal Llullu Llama – It is located in the Andes and is a place where volunteers help to run the hostal in exchange of food and board for as long as they want. However, volunteers have to stay for at least 2 months and should have basic knowledge in Spanish.
Merazonia – Rescue and rehabilitation center for trafficked and abused animals from the Amazon over 250 acres of rainforest. Volunteers help in taking care of the animals.
One More Option in Ecuador – A site that showcases ONGs working for locals. So take a look, you might find and organization that is looking for whatever it is that you can offer as a volunteer.
Perucho Organic farm – POAE is based on a village that works along with locals towards makinf nearby farms organic. Volunteers help farmers in the implementation of the necessary practices and techniques to avoid erosion and make it all more eco friendly.
Reserva los Cedros – It is a forest and wildlife reserve that consists of 17,000 acres. Along with protecting the forest they try to protect major watersheds that are in it. Volunteers are involved in tasks such as, trail maintaining, making sure that the reserve’s borders are ok, assisting with research among others.
Saraswati Ahimsa Vana – A 26 hectare reserve where a lot of people work towards preserving it. Volunteers are needed to help and learn about vegetarian cooking, permaculture, meditation, philosophy and participate on educational programs for children.
Tangare Foundation – Group of people working to promote and strengthen an alternative and innovative model of development through conservation of the Tropical Andes and sustainability. They need volunteers to be sent to communities all over Ecuador.
Un Poco del Chocó – Is a nature reserve and biological station located over 15 hectares of land. Volunteers help in carpentry work, trail building, organic garden and environmental education.
Volunteer las Tolas – Las Tolas is a trend-setting community, deeply rooted in the traditions of its Yumbo ancestors, in the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest of the Andes Mountains.Volunteer projects include community infrastructure development, farm work, creating crafts in the artisan shop, eco-tourism infrastructure development, helping in the school, and teaching English.
Vrindavan – This is a 65 hectare ecological village. Their volunteer program is targeted to people that want to experience life in this sort of village and practicing yoga. Activities include farming, cooking, teaching, gardening meditation, among others.
Wachimak – Wachimak is also the name of a community in the Amazon jungle that they work with. Volunteers are involved in tasks such as teaching and helping out with the reforestation and construction work. Pretty much anyone is needed here, plumbers, doctors, engineers, dentists, etc.
Yachana Foundation – Works toward the conservation of the Equatorian forest and its wildlife and to provide indigenous communities with tools for sustainable development. Volunteers can teach or be part of their clinic.
Yanapuma Foundation – An NGO that works with indigenous and marginalized communities to promote sustainable development. They have varied low cost volunteer programs where you get to teach, rescue animals, become a part of the healthcare system and more.
You Volunteer – You Volunteer is a volunteering directory for non-profit organisation offering low-cost volunteering placements.
Zoologico de Quito – The zoo exhibits over40 species. They take a limited number of international volunteers to work as zookeepers, conservation biologists, among others.
Fundación Charles Darwin – Located in the Galapagos Islands, the Charles Darwin Foundation, works alongside governmental institutions. They provide scientific knowledge and assistance. They take volunteers that would like to work as scientists, educators, research assistants and support staff.
Hacienda Esperanza – Here, volunteers give back to the community through conservation work and through promoting sustainable tourism. Volunteers can stay for as short as a week, up to 3 months.
Para La Tierra – Non-Profit organization that promotes sustainable, social tourism to Paraguay. All of their hard work goes towards protecting endangered habitats and the animals that live in them. All you need is to be over 18 years old and be willing to help out wherever necessary.
The Santa Maria Education Fund – A Jasuit mission that is constantly looking for volunteers who want to work as teachers. The requirements are: to be older than 21 years and they only take 3 volunteers at a time and they should stay for at least 5 months.
Aldea Yanapay – The goal of this organization is to create an eco village and an orphanage. It started as a small alternative school but has grown. To fund this project and future ones they also opened a Restaurant and Yanapay House, a cheap little hotel.
Amazon Animal Orphanage & Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm – Volunteers take care of animals and work at a butterfly farm. The animals that they take in have been purchased by people and then abandoned, abused and in a few cases animals are taken directly to the organization.
Andean Alliance – This association based in Huaraz, Peru is focused on supporting community development by implementing programs that strengthen the education. As many other organizations do, this one takes long and short term volunteers.
Aprode Peru – Their efforts aim to contribute with social, economical and cultural development of poor locals through projects scattered all over the country. If you are interested in volunteering with them send them an e-mail taking about your interests. They might have something for you.
El Arte Sano – Cultural and Educative asociation that teaches French, Spanish, English and Quechuain Urubamba. They are looking for English teachers to work with children. Instead of charging, they give back a small amount of money to volunteers for their trouble.
Asociacion Grupo de Trabajo Redes – AGTR is an NGO with the mission of defending human rights or poor and marginalized people. Volunteers are involved in tasks such as teaching, chatting, playing, and doing handcrafts, among others.
Awaiting Angels – It is a non-profit organization that provides educational programs; they seek to improve the quality of life of families in Peru. Volunteers are used mainly in teaching tasks.
Ayni – Education is life – They work in northern Peru to alleviate some of the major barriers of living in extreme poverty through women’s development projects, to small micro-credit schemes, as well as encouraging and supporting education.
Bemelsa – Organization in Ica, Peru that depends on a group of volunteers to help them in their efforts to provide food to children. They prefer it when volunteers spend at least 4 months with them and take as volunteers: teachers, artists or anyone who wants to become part of a Peruvian community.
Blue Sparrow – Non-profit organization that works for rural communities that are extremely poor. As a volunteer you can choose 1 of 4 options. You can: teach computer, work at the micro finance project, help improve local agriculture and in their health and sociological project.
Carisma Peru – The organization’s name means: friendship, generosity and love toward other people. It was established with the objective of improving and developing the abilities and skills of deprived children and adolescents who live in the rural Andean region. Volunteers can help in one of their 6 different projects.
Children Comunity SACRED FAMILY – Also known as Zapatillos, this civil association provides care to abandoned kids that have been exposed to drugs, rape and prostitution. The only condition they have for volunteers is to have the will to work a lot.
CooperarPeru – Cooperative that works to reinforce the capacities of the local population. Their belief is that there is so much more to do than teaching children. They also address the social phenomenon to prevent academic failure.
Eco Truly Park – An ecological yoga village where volunteers get to experience and learn about how to live in harmony with nature and themselves. As a volunteer you can stay for as short as 1 day or as long as you want.
Esperanza Verde – Is a conservation Project under construction on the Amazon of Peru. They work together with the community by offering alternative and sustainable sources of income. They are also trying to build a shelter. Volunteers are needed to help build this project.
Expand Peru – Non-profit organization that helps Peruvians in extreme poverty through education and health. There are 9 projects that you can choose from according to your skills and interests. You should also be at least 18 years old when you apply.
Fair Play Peru – Fair Play trains single mothers and families to provide Spanish lessons and homestays. They do this so, when a volunteer comes, they don’t pay the organization but pay the family that is teaching them and hosting them.
HOOP – Small NGO that works with a poor community in Arequipa, Peru to improve their lives through education. Volunteers are expected to lead and assist their programs. some of the programs are: psychology, social work, leadership workshops, English teaching homework support, sports and excursions.
Horizon – It is an NPO created due to the need of a better education system, a complete one that everyone can afford in La Esperanza District. Free English, computer, music, football, art classes among others, are offered by them to children and adults. Most volunteers teach English but they can also be involved in any of the other aspects.
Incawasi – Founded in 2005, this non-profit organization aims to break the cycle of poverty that affects families in the Cajamarca Region. Volunteers teach, play and have lunch with the children, as well as help with other tasks such as painting, repairing, fundraising and organizing activities.
Intiwawa – Intitawa fights poverty in the second largest city of Peru, Arequipa. Free volunteer opportunities are offered and you get to choose which of their projects is the best for you according to your skills.
La Casa Corazon – This is a private international volunteer community that charges no fees to volunteers. The only thing asked of volunteers is for a basic knowledge Spanish. The staff also provides training before you start working.
Living Heart – Seeks to empower children through nutritional support, health and education via a collaborative and holistic approach. They only take volunteers when they need it. If you have expertise and/or training in engineering, medicine, dentistry, organic greenhouses, perm culture, sustainable high-mountain agriculture, husbandry, ecological constructions, and other, they might be looking for you.
Mundo Verde Spanish School – The money from tuition goes to projects that benefit locals. If you desire to volunteer they can connect you to local organizations without charging an extra fee.
My Small Help – MSH provides education and have built facilities at a school and work with disabled children in the region of Cusco. Volunteers’ main task is to help with transporting these children to school.
Otra Cosa – A Peruvian NGO that offers affordable volunteering opportunities for people from all over the world. They work mostly on the northern region of the country. Their goal is to support a wide range of projects with help of volunteers.
Proyecto Yannick – Proyecto Yannick helps children with Down syndrome and their parents in Celendín, Peru. They do so by providing information, education and medical assistance. Volunteers should have some kind of experience in working with children.
Santa Martha Foundation – They provide shelter and protection, tenderness, love and education to over 700 children and adolescents. The tasks for volunteers are: Tutoring children, Workshops (bakery, cooking, sewing, computer, farm, crafts, etc …), Maintenance of the Home and you can also create your own project.
Seeds of Hope – Over 55 children in extreme poverty are supported by them and volunteers are incredibly important. Currently, teachers, social workers, psychologists, project co-ordinators, medically trained people, language professionals, marketing and fundraising professionals are needed.
Sembrando Semillas con Yoga – The idea behind this organization is to teach the principal yogic ideas and make them accessible to children. Volunteers are trained in the art of yoga and ecological, harmonious living. They are currently looking for volunteers that can spend at least 6 month ago.
Sharing Dreams – Their objective is to create a free volunteer community that improves the quality of life of people from Huancayo, focusing on child development. Volunteers can be students or professionals of any area.
Tambopata Macaw Project – A long term research Project focusing in conservation of macaws and parrots in Peru. They have made many discoveries on insights of the way they live. Working with them is as demanding as it is rewarding and you need no specific qualifications.
Teach Huaraz – Is a small volunteer organization that aims to make lives better in the Huaraz Comumnity. They assist people of all ages and backgrounds. Volunteers get their tasks assigned according to their interests and skills.
The Light and Leadership Initiative – The aim is to respond to the needs of women that struggle with poverty through workshops and classes. Children are offered similar opportunities. Volunteers are needed to cooperate with the education and women’s empowerment projects.
Threads of Peru – Non-Profit organization working to alleviate poverty of indigenous communities by marketing their weaves. They have a couple of positions for volunteers that want to work hard and can be trusted.
Tinkuy Peru – Grass roots volunteer organization in the Andes that runs a Mountain School. It teaches around 75 children between 5-16 years old. As a volunteer you only need to spend a few hours at the school teaching anything from math to arts and crafts.
Traveller Not Tourist – The idea is to provide visitors the true Peruvian experience, to immerse them in the culture and to give locals the chance to take themselves out of poverty. To volunteer with them you can choose to do it from your home or at site.
Volunteering in Peru – The organization works to improve the quality of life of locals. They do it through enabling personal growth. Their volunteer program is opened for people from all over the world as long as they are 18 or older. Volunteers also get to choose their task according to their skills.
Waves for Development – An organization dedicated to help local people with little resources to enjoy a cool and healthy activity like surfing in Lobitos. There is also an educational program where volunteers are welcome to participate.
Throughout South America
Volunteersouthamerica.net – This is a great resource of free and low fee volunteer opportunities throughout South America.
For more volunteer programs around the world – click here!