Volunteer in Bolivia | Children’s social program in Cochabamba

Brief Description

  • Volunteers on this program help children and adolescents who are abandoned because their parents are either incarcerated or have migrated to other countries to search for economic opportunities. The local organization also offers its services to youth from dysfunctional families who may be at risk. There are currently two centers which support 105 children per day. One center works with 40 babies, infants and children up to 5 years of age. The other receives 2 groups of school aged children between the ages of 6 and 17 years, one group comes in the morning and one in the afternoon. Both groups attend school at the alternative time.
  • Volunteers help with homework, accompany the children and engage in extracurricular activities. They help them recuperate self-esteem and discover their potential.
  • The organization was founded in 1994 by a group of travelers volunteering in Cochabamba, who realized the need for an education and support system for children who lived in prison with their parents. The organization also offers training workshops and talks to the parents.
  • This volunteer program is closed from mid-December to February 1st.
  • This program requires a minimum commitment of two months.
  • All volunteers of this program are provided a 75 U.S$ monthly mini grant which they can spend on a project of their choice.


Volunteer in Bolivia | Hospitalized children’s program in Cochabamba

Brief Description

  • The organization’s two objectives are: to assist young hospital patients who lack family support as they undergo operations and recovery, and to raise money in the local community and abroad to pay for medical care for children whose families cannot afford it.
  • Volunteers are able to choose to work in one or more of the following wards: burns, traumatology, infectology, surgery and malnutrition
  • Each ward has its own specific challenge and special needs; however, the main goal of this organization is to brighten up the day of the children living in the hospital, whether it be through games, homework, special one-on-one time, or other activities of the volunteers’ initiative
  • Volunteers who can dedicate at least 2 months’ time are needed to help the local organization’s Albergue identify sustainable ways to generate income. In the past, the Albergue baked bread for the families to sell, so that they could receive 7B’s/day of food & shelter while they stay in Cochabamba to support their hospitalized child. There are bakery facilities which are not currently in use and could be utilized with volunteer support.
  • Volunteers with business backgrounds who can dedicate at least 2 months’ time and are interested in identifying systems and strategies for a grassroots volunteer-run organization are needed to help the local organization ensure longevity as an organization.
  • This program requires a minimum commitment of two months.
  • All volunteers of this program are provided a 75 U.S$ monthly mini grant which they can spend on a project of their choice.


Volunteer in Bolivia | Domestic violence program in Cochabamba

Brief Description

  • This program currently, consists of two projects. One is dedicated to “prevention.” The Club de Amistad (Friendship Club) is an afterschool center to provide children with a safe educational environment where they can attend enriching lessons while their parents are working. The second project, The Restoration Center, is a shelter for girls who have been victims of violence or abuse.
  • The Restoration Center: The Restoration Center is a home for young women who have been victims of abuse or violence. Several of the young women are young mothers looking for a safe escape from the situation that provoked their pregnancy. Facilities include showers, laundry services, lockers, and childcare. They also have access to therapy, counseling, healthcare, and education, all of which can aid them with integrating back into school and society. The center periodically offers recreational activities and excursions.
  • The Friendship Club: The Friendship Club is an afterschool program for “at-risk” youth in downtown Cochabamba. The program offers a safe educational space for children to learn and engage while their parents and/or families work in the streets. The organization realizes workshops on cooking and nutrition, physical activity, in addition to educating children about human trafficking, abuse, and other crucial topics.
  • Volunteers teach painting, dancing and sewing, amongst other creative activities.
  • This program requires a minimum commitment of two months.
  • All volunteers of this program are provided a 75 U.S$ monthly mini grant which they can spend on a project of their choice.


Volunteer in Bolivia | Medical and Diabetes program in Cochabamba

Brief Description

  • The main objectives of this hospital are to provide quality attention and updated information based on education to all people with diabetes that would benefit from it. The team strives to educate people of Bolivia (regardless of their social and/or economic situations) with regards to diabetes so as to empower them to adequately control their condition and live a fulfilling life, avoiding future complications.
  • The program allows volunteers to work along some (or all) of the following; laboratory research, pharmacy, Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Diabetic Pedicures, Education and Outreach, Social Work.
  • Volunteers can be of help with a variety of tasks, such as communication and design, shadowing nurses, nutrition, and helping with general creation of awareness to the public. Volunteers can also be of assistance with regards to the website; helping to create new content and updating old content. Professionals with medical experience can help with patients or in the laboratory.
  • This program requires a minimum commitment of two months.
  • All volunteers of this program are provided a 75 U.S$ monthly mini grant which they can spend on a project of their choice.


Volunteer in Bolivia | Amphibian program in Cochabamba

Brief Description

  • Volunteers on this program work with a local organization that works to conserve different amphibian species through research, work with their museum and through the help of volunteers.
  • Volunteers do a mix of tasks ranging from work on personal projects related to the amphibian program that he or she proposes to the local organization, as well as routine tasks such as feeding the crickets, frogs and/or flies, cleaning the tanks and more.
  • Volunteers at times also help with fund raising initiatives or the updating of the website of the organization.
  • This program requires a minimum commitment of two months.
  • All volunteers of this program are provided a 75 U.S$ monthly mini grant which they can spend on a project of their choice.


Cochabamba program info


  • Volunteers can stay either at ‘volunteer houses’ of the local organization or can stay with a local family.

Accomodation at one of the International Volunteer Houses:

    • The volunteer houses are centrally located and close to the head office of the local NGO. They are also close to Cochabamba’s numerous cultural and nightlife activities.
    • Each house has private, as well as shared rooms (for two or three), and are all quiet and safe. Some of the rooms have a private bathroom.
    • The houses are fully furnished and have a free cleaning service, wireless internet, (in one of the houses) and unlimited phone calls to 60 countries.
    • The houses can accommodate roughly 8 volunteers.


    • All rooms are fully furnished, have a free cleaning service, and include sheets, pillows & blankets.
    • The houses have fully stocked kitchens, a communal area, patios and backyards.
    • The local organization requires a $100 refundable deposit upon arrival from all volunteers living within their houses. This deposit is returned to the volunteer during their exit interview with local staff. The deposit is returned once the following has been completed: keys returned, room cleaned, kitchen space (shelf & fridge) cleared, and all damage reported & replaced if deemed necessary. Should any or all of these items not be fulfilled, the deposit will be used to fulfill them.


Accommodation at a local family:

  • The accommodation of the local family (or “home-stays”) is with carefully selected families in Cochabamba. They have similar amenities to the ones in the volunteer houses, but allow the volunteer to get a more integrated experience. You will get more insight into the daily lives of your Bolivian family and will be able to better understand the culture and practice the language.
  • All homestay rooms are private & comfortable rooms
  • Homestay rooms DO include food (3 meals a day).



    • This program only includes food when staying at a host family. When staying at one of the volunteer houses, food is NOT included.
    • Volunteers either cook for themselves or take turns at cooking for many, or at times eat at local bars or restaurants. These are very cheap compared to what one would find in the West. Some average prices can be found in the table underneath.
Cost Bolivianos EUR
Average Price for meal in inexpensive restaurant 15 Bs 2 €
Average Price meal. mid-range restaurant for 2 p 100 Bs 13 €
Water 4.5 Bs 0.60€
Domestic beer (0.5 L) 11 Bs 1,50€


 What to see & do:
(In Cochabamba)

    • Cochabamba is above all famous for being a big market town, and this is very much pronounced with the ‘La Cancha’ market…one of the biggest markets in Latin America. In it you´ll find anything from fruit and vegetables to the latest in modern technology and everything in between. It is divided into four zones, each dedicated to a different trade. It’s also very popular for its pick pockets though, so do look after your belongings!
    • Cristo de la Concordia: This statue of Christ is the 2nd largest one of its kind in the world and stands atop the Cerro de San Pedro. It takes about 20 minutes to walk up the hill to the top, which is more than worth it as, apart from being able to see this amazing statue up close, it also allows you a beautiful view of the entire city.


  • Convento de Santa Teresa: This is arguably the most interesting building to visit, and can only be visited with a guided tour. The convent gives you an inside look at the lives of the nuns that live there. It has a wonderful awe about it and is definitely a worthwhile attraction!
  • Museums & churches: Cochabamba also has two very interesting museums (the archeological & the history museum). The archeological museum, above all, gives an interesting insight into Bolivia’s variety of indigenous cultures. The city also has an interesting display of churches with the San Francisco church and convent, the church of Santa Domingo and the church of la Recoleta.



Children’s social program in Cochabamba

  • Hours are 9:00am – 4:00pm Monday – Friday. If volunteers accompany children from the prison in the bus and back again hours are from 8:00am – 5:00pm. Lunch is provided in the center which is located 40 minutes by public transport from Cochabamba city center.

Hospitalized children’s program in Cochabamba

  • Hours Monday – Friday 3:00pm – 7:30pm Centrally located in the city of Cochabamba (Walking distance the volunteer house accommodation)
  • Hours for the Albergue income generation (bakery) vary. If baking the hours can commence from 4:00am, however for planning, administrative work and the business program hours are from 9:00am-5:00pm.

Abuse and Domestic violence program in Cochabamba (Mosoj Yan)

  • Hours are 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday. When required, some weekend hours at the Restoration Centre.

Medical and Diabetes program in Cochabamba (Vivir con Diabetes)

  • Hours 8:30am – 12:30pm Monday – Friday, afternoon attendance flexible 2:00-6:00pm

Amphibian program in Cochabamba (BAI)

  • Hours Monday to Friday 9:00am – 12:30pm & Mon, Wed, Fri 3:00pm – 6:00pm. Occasional fieldtrips / research excursions.


  • Cochabamba is practically in the very center of Bolivia, and is situated in a valley in the Andes mountain range
  • It is about 7 hours by bus from capital city La Paz and about 9 hours by bus from Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
  • Lying at about 2500 meters altitude, it has a year-round suave temperature. In fact it is referred to as the city of the eternal Spring
  • Bolivia itself is a landlocked country with Brazil bordering on the North and East, Paraguay and Argentina bordering on the South, and Chile and Peru bordering on the West.


On all programs, volunteers must have the following characteristics: 

  • Minimum 18 years old
  • A minimum of beginner’s level Spanish
  • Be open minded, patient & tolerant.

Furthermore, according to the program they should have these additional characteristics:

Children’s social program

  • A minimum commitment of 2 months.
  • A willingness to work with children from difficult backgrounds.
  • Volunteers have commented that this particular program is unorganized; there is a lot of need but no structure. Volunteers should be ok to initiate projects on their own with the kids.

Hospitalized children’s program

  • A minimum commitment of 2 months.
  • A willingness to work with children from difficult backgrounds.
  • Ability to work independently.

Abuse and Domestic violence program

  • A minimum commitment of 2 months.
  • Experience in education & working with at-risk populations.
  • Motivated and Supportive.
  • Creative.
  • Education or experience in a relevant field (psychology, social work, education, etc.) is valued but not essential.

Medical and Diabetes program

  • Minimum commitment: 2 months.
  • Basic to Intermediate Spanish.
  • Experience in web/graphic design, marketing, social media, education.
  • Interest spreading the word about diabetes.
  • Willingness to work in a team.

Amphibian program

  • Minimum 2 months’ commitment.
  • Willingness to work in diverse environments, both rural and urban.
  • Basic knowledge of environmental conservation.

  • Accommodation (either at one of the volunteer houses or at a home stay).
  • An induction program to train each volunteer on the different tasks involved, working with long term volunteers and staff.
  • Practical information and arrangements.
  • On-going support and supervision during the program.
  • Internet access
  • Unlimited telephone calls to over 60 countries
  • Pick-up from Cochabamba airport (Monday through Friday; 8:30am to 6:30pm)
  • Cleaning services
  • Sponsored cultural events (lectures and workshops, shared dinners, yoga and dance classes. documentary screenings, etc.)
  • $75 per month mini grant given back to volunteer/intern; minimum one month commitment to qualify
  • 3 meals a day (only for Family Home Stay option)


What’s NOT included?

  • Air fares.
  • Travel/Medical insurance.
  • Vaccinations.
  • Police Check form
  • Visas.
  • (INTVS and at times our partners advise on all of the above, and all are generally obligatory, but INTVS does not cover these costs).


Volunteers/Interns Months 1 & 2
Shared Room $400 a month
Private Room $500 a month
Family Home Stay $600 a month
Volunteers/Interns Months 3 & 4
Shared Room $300 a month
Private Room $400 a month
Family Home Stay $500 a month
Volunteers/Interns Months 5 & 6
Shared Room $200 a month
Private Room $300 a month
Family Home Stay $400 a month

* Additional revenue supports the community outreach projects; including mini grant and scholarship programs.
* Above costs do not reflect group rates.  Please inquire for more info: ([email protected])
* Prices do not include a non refundable $50 reservation fee.

Please click here to convert the prices to your local currency.

INTVS charges its own fee of 185€, regardless of the time that a volunteer stays abroad. This fee covers;

  • Volunteer support prior to, during and after the volunteer experience (in English, French & Spanish)
  • All necessary preparatory information including;
    • Visas
    • Vaccinations
    • Travel/Medical Insurance
    • Police Check form
    • The program (the site, schedule, role…)
    • Local contacts & important numbers

And also…

  • History, demographics & local norms
  • What to bring
  • Do’s and don’ts
  • And much more.
  • It also covers work and travel costs that INTVS staff incur to check up on and document the programs on a regular basis.
  • The payments to the local organizations and INTVS are completely separate. We do NOT charge them a commission and 100% of the program cost goes to them.

Volunteer in Vietnam Hanoi

“Life in Bolivia is fantastic. I´ve been pleasantly surprised with how many other local volunteers I´ve met and how much I´ve gotten to hang out with them during my free time. The city is rich with culture and things to do – tons of concerts, beautiful parks, delicious street food, fairs, amazing people to meet, etc. My volunteer work with young kids has been challenging but rewarding. I´m quite glad I came here”.

Dan Sturm (U.S.A)


  • Population: 10,5 million (2015)
  • Currency: Boliviano (BOB)
  • Capital City: Sucre
  • Land area: 424,000 square miles / 1,100,000 square kilometers (about the size of Ethiopia) of the population. (Nearly 5 million)
  • People living below poverty line: Approximately 45%
  • Language: Official: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara & 34 other native languages



  • Indigenous diversity: Bolivia is the country with the largest population of indigenous peoples in South America. There are 36 identified indigenous groups, of which the most reknowned are Quechua (about 30%) and Aymará (about 25%). People that have mixed indigenous and Spanish blood are referred to as “mestizos”.
  • Evo Morales: With the coming to power of Evo Morales, the first president to come from the indigenous population, he has focused a lot on issues affecting poor and indigenous populations. As a result, the role of indigenous people is rapidly evolving, with the coming of numerous indigenous ministers and technocrats. Though power is shifting towards the indigenous majority, the money stays in the hands of the ruling elite.
  • Religion: Approximately 95% of Bolivia’s population is Roman Catholic. The rest of the population is protestant, agnostic or belongs to another religion. Most religions have incorporated some Inca and Aymará beliefs.
  • Sports: Bolivia’s national sport is football. There are ‘canchas’ (football fields) to be found abundantly, and you can be sure you’ll be welcome to join in with a game, regardless of your skills :).
  • Music & dance: Each region of Bolivia has some distinctive musical dances and traditions, as well as instruments. One of the most famous instruments is the charango, considered by many as the king of stringed instruments. Some tipical music genres are the taquirari or chovena in the amazon region, or the tinku and kaluyo in the Andean regions. However many other types of popular ‘modern’ style muscis have gained popularity, amongst which are Cumbia, Rock, and Bolivian rap/hip hop.
  • Clothing: Bolivia is known for its large variety of clothing styles. These can differ greatly according to the region. It’s common to see multicolored clothing, with materials ranging from llama, alpaca, vicuna or sheep, which have been dyed using natural dyes.




  • The history of Bolivia goes back many thousands of years, with the first settlers beginning to domesticate crops and animals, slowly adapting to the high-altitude living in the Altiplano.
  • Architectural activity and innovation began around 1400 BC, most evident in Chavin influences and architecture. The “Chavin de Huantar” (in modern day Peru) is and archeological site that contains ruins and artifacts constructed as far back as 1200 BC (prior to the Chavin cultural influence), and was used as a religious center for ceremonies and events in its heyday.
  • Tiwanaku: Tiwanaku is the name of a pre-Columbian archeological site, but was also the name of a powerful empire that, at its height, extended into present day Peru and Chile. The Tiwanakans produced technically advanced work, creating ceramics, engraved pillars, gilded ornamentation and designs representing their bearded white leader, Viracocha.
  • The Tiwanaku declined mysteriously around 1000 AD. Speculation was that the water level of lake Titicaca declined, leaving the settlement far from shore. Other theories say that the Tiwanaku population was massacred by the Aymará.
  • The “late Horizon”: The period between approximately 900 and 1475 AD is known as the “Late Horizon” or “Late intermediate horizon”. It started with the fall of the Tiwanaku and the rise of the Aymará kingdoms and regionalized city-states such as Chan Chan in Peru. Above all however, the latter part of this horizon marked the rise and fall of the Inca empire, an empire that set up a social welfare scheme, taxed produce and introduced a system based on communal ownership of property.
  • 1476 – 1534: The Inca civilization began to spread eastwards from Cuzco in Peru into Bolivia, southwards to northern Argentina and Chile and northwards to Ecuador and Southern Colombia. In doing so, they extended their influence over Aymará kingdoms round lake Titicaca. Though the Incas ruled over the Amyará, they allowed them to keep their language and culture. By the late 1520´s, internal rivalries began to take their toll on the empire. When civil war broke out between the two Inca king brothers Atahualpa and Huascar and simultaneously the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro arrived with the idea to expand the Spanish empire, this made things far easier for the Spanish to conquer the lands and peoples of the Inca Empire.
  • Conquering the region of modern day Bolivia went very swiftly, due to the timing (precisely at the time of civil war amongst the Incans), the vast superiority of the Spanish weaponry, and the spread of epidemics brought by European diseases. Initially however, conquistadores were far more focused on the more powerful centers of Cuzco and Lima…until the discovery of silver in Potosí.
  • Potosí: The discovery of silver in 1544 at Cero Rico in Potosí, provided great wealth to the Spanish empire for up to two centuries
  • 1824-1825: Antonio José de Sucre and Simón Bolívar (a Venezuelan freedom fighter) free the land that was once known as “Alto Peru” from Spanish rule. It becomes an independent nation and is named Bolivia in honor of Bolívar. Sucre becomes the nation’s first elected president.
  • 1879-1883: After losing a war over mineral-rich coastal territory with Chile, Bolivia loses its only access to sea.
  • 1903: The region of ‘Acre’ (now the most Western region of Brazil), known for its rubber industry, is ceded to Brazil in exchange for money and other territory.
  • 1920: The 1920s saw a flourishing mining industry as well as economic growth, but with the 1929 Wall street crash, the Bolivian economy suffered severely.
  • Chacho War: From 1932 to 1935 Bolivia and Paraguay fought one of the bloodiest military conflicts of the 20th century in South America. The conflict was for control of the Chaco region which was thought to be rich in oil. Paraguay gained control of two thirds of the territory in 1935, and the following year a Bolivian coup nationalized the holdings of the American Standard Oil company, that had hugely influenced the war.
  • During the late 30s, radical ideas started to spread through Bolivia, leading to the eventual creation of the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR). In 1952 the MNR led a far-reaching revolution and ruled the country until 1964, when it was overthrown by a military coup.
  • For the next two decades Bolivia endured a military dictatorship, but nevertheless enjoyed and economic boom and a swift population growth. In the early 1980s however the economy took a downturn and the last Junta stepped down with Siles Zuazo becoming president of Bolivia in 1982, hence restoring congress.
  • Zuazo stepped down in 1985 after major economic problems. In 1993 with the coming of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, the economy began to flourish again.
  • 21st Century: With the coming to power of Evo Morales (the country’s first indigenous president (in 2005), Bolivia has seen some major changes. Above all, with the rewriting of the constitution, far more power has shifted to the indigenous majority and, in order to redistribute Bolivia´s land from rich land owners to poor indigenous farmers, a limit has been set on the size of landholdings. With the nationalization of gas reserves and raised taxes on energy investors, Bolivia´s resources are now far more in its own hands. On the one hand, Morales has alienated business people and industrialists throughout the nation, above all international investors, and has further fractured the country along cultural, economic and racial lines. On the other hand, Bolivia has advanced economically and Morales has secured consecutive electoral victories. He has brought a stability to Bolivia that has been lacking for a very long time and has support from leaders of the social movements at home, as well as overseas investors, mining executives, trade union leaders and domestic bankers; agro-business exporters and business leaders and Indian coca farmers.