Volunteer Opportunity: CasaSito in Guatemala

image0011.jpgBrowsing through idealist.org, I came across CasaSito, an organization that works in Antigua, Guatemala, in connection with a number of non-governmental organizations. CasaSito works to improve the educational opportunities and living conditions for local people through several different projects, including Casa de la Musica (which organizes free music classes to local children), El Buen Samaritano (a day care and education center for underprivileged children), and the Volunteers’ House: here, free or low-cost community classes are offered to locals – volunteers may teach their own language, among other things. The Volunteers’ House also provides economically-priced housing (including Internet access) for long term volunteers in the area. Accommodation fees range from Q870 to 1270 (according to Yahoo:$112-165) per month and the organization reports that all proceeds are re-invested in the community work.

As with the other volunteer opportunity profiled recently – VSN in Nepal – I need to point out that the only information I have about this CasaSito is what can be found on their website, though I have contacted the organization and invited them to post a comment here if they’d like.

This organization stuck out to me for a couple of reasons – it appears that its work is “genuine” in the sense that it is not just set up to give foreigners a volunteer experience. The projects appear to be geared towards local needs – the information is about the nature of the projects, not about the nature of the volunteer experience, though that is touched on. The second reason is that while there is a cost associated with it, it is common to pay for accommodation, and without knowing much about Guatamala, my instinct is that this is a fair to very good rate.