Location: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Duration: Minimum 2 weeks commitment
Start Dates: We accept applications all year round. Start dates are customizable to suit your requirements.;
Cost: £450 GBP regardless of length
- Volunteer with a local grass-roots charity providing education and support for those who face social exclusion and a lack of access to justice
- Work alongside local professionals in the fields and gain contacts and and experience to further your human rights career.
- Flexible placement, tailored according to your interests and abilities.
- Immerse yourself in local life with optional home-stays. Other accommodation options also available.
- Receive dedicated support with our teams based in both the UK and Guatemala.
- Discover optional excursions to volcanoes, waterfalls and colourful colonial towns.
- Learn Spanish with 25 x pre-departure lessons included* (see Costs section)
- Affordable volunteering. One set fee with no hidden costs.
- Volunteer at any time of the year, with flexibility over length of stay.
In this project you will assist vulnerable and discriminated sections of society in Guatemala. Work with local grass-roots organisations committed towards establishing a more just and equal nation. Immerse yourself in local life with 25 x pre-departure Spanish lessons included.
Known as the ‘Land of Eternal Spring’, Guatemala has unparalleled natural and cultural beauty. Yet, it also has a history of human rights violations and social exclusion, stemming from a 36-year civil war which came to an end in 1996. During this time, human rights atrocities were carried out on a mass scale, including extrajudicial executions, illegal detentions and forced displacement. 83% of the victims were from the Maya indigenous population.
Today, indigenous communities continue to face social exclusion and a lack of access to justice, particularly in areas of land ownership and provision of basic services. Placements are available with non-government organisations and charities which document abuses, educate the international community and promote policies that spread justice. Other organisations work directly with human rights abuse victims to help them re-build their lives.
There are also opportunities to work in protecting and promoting women’s rights. Gender-based violence in Guatemala is endemic. This is made worse by a deeply rooted patriarchal society and machismo culture, which places the blame on the victim. There is little state intervention as domestic violence is largely dismissed as a private matter. Volunteer in projects which range from protecting abuse victims to violence prevention through education.
On arrival in Guatemala we will hold a welcome induction in the city of Quetzaltenango, where you will be staying. This is a chance for you to meet our staff and get to know your neighbourhood. If you have chosen a home-stay option, we will ensure you are well settled in with your host family.
The next day we will introduce you to your host organisation and its staff, who will explain the ins- and outs of its operations. Whether it is in advocacy, report-writing or organisational development, you will be giving your time and skills in exchange for the experience of working with organisations on the frontline of human rights protection.
The placements are generally Monday to Friday, with flexibility to work full- or part-time. There may be ad-hoc requirements to volunteer on some weekends.
The host organisation will work around your schedule and provide free time, where possible, if you would like to do extracurricular activities or travel excursions. Quetzaltenango is renowned for the quality of its Spanish tutors and if you would like to learn, we can help incorporate Spanish lessons into your daily routine.
This hands-on experience will allow you to learn so much about Guatemalan culture and life from locals itself.
Travel & Accommodation
Whilst travel and accommodation is not included in the project price, we can arrange this for you at cost price, with no added fees.
You will be given a personal placement adviser who can organise accommodation to suit your preferences, from hotels and apartments, to local family homestays. Homestays are usually approx. £55 per week, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We can also organise travel excursions across Guatemala.
- Age: 18+
- Minimum commitment is 2 weeks
- Passion and enthusiasm for volunteering in human rights
- Different projects require different levels of Spanish language skills: from no previous knowledge to advanced. We will provide 25 pre-departure Spanish lessons for all volunteers.
- Full travel & medical insurance
- Necessary vaccinations
- Necessary flights & visas
Cultural Tour Add-On (Optional)
Join an optional cultural tour of Guatemala, before or after your volunteering placement!
Delve deep into Guatemalan life with a customised itinerary covering travel, cultural activities and volunteering. This tour will enable you to gain a greater understanding of this diverse country and its people. Includes a local English-speaking guide. Tour length and itinerary can be customised.
- City Tour: Your guide will take you around the city of Xela (Quetzaltenango), visiting the centre and markets. It is an opportunity to pick up anything you may need.
- Artisanal Textile Workshop: Visit a women’s cooperative that was formed after the Civil War and makes artisanal products so that its members can lead a more sustainable life. You will visit their typical clothes museum and also receive a 2-hour workshop on how to weave using the traditional looms. Take home the cloth you have weaved.
- Tortilla-Making Class: Learn how to make tortillas which is a staple amongst Guatemalan food. Eat it with local cheese and other typical foods.
- Charity Visit: which works with indigenous communities on a variety of issues such as LGBTQ rights, women’s rights and migration. Have lunch with a representative of the organisation. After lunch, watch a documentary on the history of Guatemala, set in a coffee farm you will visit the next day, followed by a Q&A session.
- Organic Coffee Farm Trip: Travel to a coffee farm run by ex-guerrilla fighters from the civil war. Day activities include:
- Seeing how organic coffee is produced.
- Waterfall and viewpoint hike. (Easy to medium difficulty).
- Gain first hand experience of what the civil war was like from ex guerrilla fighters.
- Stay Overnight and have dinner with a family in rural Guatemala. Experience the difference in lifestyles in comparison to city-folk.
- Volcano hike: Leave early morning for a hike.You can choose between a hard and easier option:
- Santa Maria: Hard hike 3-4 hours up a volcano with stunning scenery.
- Laguna Chicabal: Easier hike through a rural town and up a less steep volcano. There is a lake in the crater of the volcano which people use for Mayan ceremonies.
- NGO visit: Learn about the brainwashing behind chemical farming and its effects in Guatemala. In the afternoon visit a charity that carries out organic agricultural projects. Take part in their field projects and have lunch in Tierra Verde.
- Evening activity options of:
- Salsa lesson
- Spanish language lesson
- Chocolate-making class
- Participate in a Mayan ceremony and learn about its significance.
- Free day in Xela
- Farewell dinner with host family and guide.
For prices and enquiries, please get in touch with us.
£450 GBP regardless of project length
* Check the latest currency conversions with xe.com
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** Placements are confirmed with a £150 deposit
**** The remaining balance is due at the earliest date of either (a) 30 days from payment of the Deposit, (b) date of your first Spanish lesson with us.
Project Fee includes
- Personal Placement Advisor
- Tailored project with a fully-vetted charity in Guatemala
- 25 x one-to-one Spanish lessons (taken pre-departure and online)*
- Pre-departure placement preparation
- Welcome induction in Guatemala
*Spanish lessons are given by an experienced tutor from our school and taken before you leave for Guatemala. Connect in an online classroom where you can see and speak to your tutor. Learn from any location convenient for you with flexible scheduling options. Lessons can start once full project payment has been received.
What’s not included:
- Airport pick-up**
- Medical & travel insurance
- Food & Accommodation** (home-stays usually include 3 meals a day)
- In-country travel and excursions**
**Whilst the below is not included in the project price, we can offer full assistance & support. All starred points (*) can be arranged by us at cost price with no added fees.
Premium Support Upgrade
We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.
We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.
Note: Map coordinates are approximate