Volunteer Testimonials

Catherine Ballbe

September 02, 2019

In September I flew to Arequipa with no idea what to expect. I was greeted by Miriam and she showed me around the city, took me to lunch and my first day at Torre Fuerte. The girls in Torre Fuerte were welcoming and loving immediately. As soon as I arrived I felt comfortable around them. My favorite part about working with the girls was learning all their different personalities. Some girls were very talkative and expressive while other girls were shy and took some time warming up. Each girl in Torre Fuerte was loving and excited for the volunteers. Everyday we played games, crafts, reading, computer help and even some tutoring. My last days in Torre Fuerte were very difficult because I felt so close to the girls. They were so positive when saying their goodbyes and wishing me support. Even two months later I still think of everyone in Torre Fuerte and when I can return.

Volunteering at Casa Hogar is an amazing experience and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to practice their Spanish and make lifelong friends. 

Seth Jaffe

November 06, 2019

My Experience with Volunteers Peru in the Cotahuasi Canyon


            I spent four and a half months volunteering in Peru with three different organizations and my experience working in the Cotahuasi Canyon with Volunteers Peru was my most meaningful and most enjoyable experience.  For a month and a half, I lived in the small town of Tomepampa and experienced something so fundamentally different than the life I lead in the United States.  I was welcomed by all the locals and was invited to discuss Peruvian politics, nature conservation, soccer, religion, and a number of other topics.  I worked as a teacher’s assistant under two high school teachers who taught computer skills: David and Erik.  I taught students how to create and edit videos, make and give PowerPoint presentations, how to prepare and give interviews, and save and organize files appropriately.  However, I believe I may have made an even greater impact outside the classroom.  I made meaningful relationships with many students and encouraged them to consider a future where they went to college.  I described how different life is like where I am from and we discussed cultural differences between our two countries.  Some of my favorite memories were when a few students took me on walks around their hometowns, playing volleyball during recess, my afterschool field trips to take pictures for the students’ videos, taking photographs of a soccer match against a rival high school from Pampamarca, and being taken to Luicho hot springs by three eager students.  I left the canyon over a month ago and still receive daily Facebook messages from many students asking me how I’m doing and sharing what they have been up to over break.

            My experience was more than teaching.  I am an avid hiker and I took advantage of every possible moment to go hiking.  I woke up most mornings at 5 am to do a pre-school walk and hiked after school until the sun set.  Every weekend, I explored a different part of the canyon.  I walked up to 20 miles somedays and was always amazed the natural beauty of this place.  My only company was local farmers who I passed who were happy to share a conversation, offer me chicha, and allow me to partake in an activity they were doing (milking a cow, planting potatoes, etc.).  I am convinced that the Cotahuasi canyon may be the most beautiful place in the world because it is certainly the most stunning place I have ever visited.

            Lastly, I cannot say enough about how well-run Volunteers Peru is as an organization.  I worked with two other charities during my time in Peru and they cannot compare with the impact and professionalism of Volunteers Peru.  I was given tremendous information and assurances from this organization months before I arrived which made me confident that not only would I make an impact, but that I would have an enjoyable experience.  While I was in the canyon, in addition to my work at the school, I was part of the opening of a new primary school and a Christmas celebration in a different primary school both funded by Volunteers Peru.  I also visited the Casa Hogar in Arequipa and I couldn’t be more pleased with the good work that I saw.  I strongly recommend working with or donating to Volunteers Peru if you have any interest because they are helping people and changing lives.

Marie Johnston

May 14, 2019

One of my favorite experiences at Casa Hogar was when one of the girls found a rock in the side pocket
of my backpack. She marveled at it and told me that she loved it, so I told her she could keep it.
Immediately she took it and ran off, leaving me giggling at her enthusiasm. I was surprised though when
she came back to me with a handful of rocks that she had gathered from the playground. She told me to
keep them and remember our cool rock bond forever. Again, I laughed. This wasn’t the only time I felt
so warmed and welcomed by the girls at Casa Hogar though, this feeling was normal for my time in
Arequipa. Starting with the warm welcome I received from the women working with Volunteers Peru,
who made time for us to get to know each other and introduce me to the city, become friends; to being
included in the dance practices held at Casa Hogar for Mother’s Day, then invited to the event their
school held for the occasion. They called me hermana, or sister, and their actions said the same. They
opened up to me and were interested in what I had to say when I opened up in response. It’s interesting
because at times, it was so obvious to me how different our ways of relating to others and the world
are, yet the way we related to each other felt like we were a family of sorts. I tried not to have
expectations going into this trip. Even so, it was an experience that helped me grow and it was
invaluable in expanding the way I see life. I gave but received tenfold. I would love to do it all again, as I
miss the people I met in Arequipa and am still curious to what more of the world we could share.

Sabrina Villalobos

November 01, 2019

Its hard to express how much Casa Hogar and Honey House have meant to me and how hard it was to let them go in the end. It’s cliché to say that “Casa Hogar found me and not the other way around” but its true. I found myself searching for ways to feel fuller, happier, less tangled up in my stale environment and myself. My aunt had suggested going abroad and working with an organization that aligned with things I was passionate about: Women’s rights and Children.


We all know that doing something outside of ourselves can actually give us self worth, to say the least, its gratifying. Even though I knew this and had small moments of joy through helping other organizations in the past, I never experienced what it was to truly focus on “Serving Others”. Thus is the human condition I think. So, I opened up my computer. Entered a few key words. And saw thre countries pop up on my screen. They read:

Women in Need- India

Women and Children- Africa

Children’s Home- Peru


Now, they all seemed adventurous and a little intimidating- I had never been to any of these continents and I had to be real with myself in the search. Going to India solo seemed like a recipe for an overwhelming disaster on such short notice, not to mention the country seemed intimidating for a foreign female traveler. After all, my bags were packed and I was ready to leave the states ASAP! Even though I had no idea where I was going or what I would be doing. Africa I knew was way over my head. There were vaccinations to get and research that required way too much time to read through and a mental preparation that I just didn’t have the energy for. It wasn’t going to be a match this time around. Peru on the other hand… Peru felt like it was just waiting for me. I spoke a small amount of Spanish (and yes, even though I’m 3rd generation Mexican-American DOES NOT MEAN I can just “blend in with the locals”. NOT AT ALL). I new essential words that any travel app would teach you, but there was a trust I felt for Latin America and its daughters. And so I emailed Volunteer Peru and discovered it was a match!


There isn’t much we can do in the world but “be love” to someone. I think our good friend Bob Marley tried to teach us that. It’s the basic language/gesture/assistance anyone ever needs. It’s what we need as volunteers. Just to be LOVE for someone. It’s not difficult to figure out once you see all those little faces. Children are amazing that way. They are our greatest reminders on how to be both resilient and full of love. Once we hit Adulthood (and maybe even Teenhood) we tend to lose sight of that.  How wonderful it is to have a reminder as great as this. My time with Casa Hogar, Volunteers Peru and Honey House was the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. It was the gift of Love. To be a smile, a warm embrace, an encouraging word to a young girl … to simply love her. How many of us wish we had a little more of that when we were young girls? Now it’s your turn to be that for someone else. I carry those little girls in my heart wherever I go. Not only them but the wonderful women you meet  in the process. Dayana, Miriam, Dona Marita and the other Volunteers whom, if you’re lucky, will remain your friend for years to come. When I feel tangled up again, as will naturally happen a million times in life, I remember what I walked away with last summer-

-an infinite amount of inspiring moments on how to be happy from girls who I would let down if I didn’t continue to be my best

-being what I hope was an inspiring impact on a young girls self esteem as she moves through the world

-and being reminded how to PLAY, even if the circumstances aren’t the best, because the happiest moments in life are in the PLAYING of it. Something children understand so well.


So when you’ve spent two or more weeks (please spend a month) volunteering with this amazing place, allow yourself to just love and be loved in the most authentic way.


Thank you to everyone at Casa Hogar, Volunteers Peru and Honey House.

My heart is forever with you!


Sabrina Villalobos



Alba Azevedo

January 01, 2020

Almost everyone, by doing some volunteer work for the benefit of other people, says, at the end, that experience has caused more benefits to themselves, that this experience has changed much more the essence of their own being. Without wanting to be a cliché, I ratify that opinion. It is very nice to make a difference in someone's life, even for just a few moments. To talk about my experience volunteering in Peru is to talk about love, a love that I didn't even know existed in such quantity inside me. And within so many people. When I chose my destination and the project, I made those decisions based on love, on the feeling of belonging I felt in relation to Latin America, in the desire to work with girls, and in

my experiences with feminism.  But even though this trip was also the realization of a dream, I was very worried. First, because I was traveling alone. Second, because I didn't know what I was expecting. What if the girls did not like me? What if I couldn't understand them? What if I didn't get to help them? All those doubts were dissipated the very moment someone opened for me the gate of casa hogar and those little ones ran to greet me. I had to contain my emotions and at that moment I realized the grandeur of the days that I would live there for three weeks and I wanted it to be longer. The girls didn't just seem to like me, they seemed pleased and happy with my presence; I also didn't know that helping them was simply to be there with them, they did not need much; and I also perceived that language would never be a barrier, in the end people always understand, because they have things that are said, lived and felt beyond words.

But it wasn't just girls who made my experience so positive. Joining a beautiful team of people who only want to do good for one another was one of the most rewarding parts. Once again, the language was no longer a barrier. We spoke Portuguese, English, Spanish, French... Sometimes all together in the same sentence, and we understand everything. I'm sure I've made lifelong friends, even if we don't find ourselves physically again. It's amazing how we can find people with whom we have so much affinity, even belonging to so different realities.  No matter our age, our country, our profession, our motivations. We live miles and miles away, separated by states, by continents or even by oceans, but I think those who have a similar heart, will find each other anywhere in the world.

Thank you so much to Exchange of good and to volunteers Peru, thank you to all Volunteers

of the world. You are part of who I am and will always be here in my heart.


January 01, 2020

I spent two weeks volunteering at casa hogar and I enjoyed it very much. The girls were very sweet and affectionate, and very interested in all the activities that the volunteers took to the house, even homework (sometimes :D). The coordinator of the Volunteers (Miryam) and the other volunteers were also very attentive to the girls, and it was very obvious that all adults involved with the girls loved them very much. The atmosphere was always very positive. And when we left, we felt tired but very good and happy. 

Priya Loomba

January 01, 2020

Working with Volunteers Peru on the Venture Peru exchange 2016/17 was one of the best experiences of my life. To work with VP to enable young people in the UK and Peru to immerse in a completely different way of life was profoundly humbling and to see the richness in connections that were created through this project - it will stay with me forever.


January 01, 2020

I can't recommend coming to volunteer at Casa Hogar highly enough - getting to know the girls, playing silly games, working through some science homework, reading stories, making bracelets, puzzling out maths problems, running around in the garden, colouring, doing jigsaws, helping the little ones on the monkey bars... Every day was different and hugely rewarding, and already wish I could come back.


January 01, 2020

I always say that the best trip of my life is "the next ", because it is always the expectation of a new trip with many surprises and good things. But I'm going to have to make an exception. One of the best (I think the best) of my life, far from all possible luxury was this I made for Peru. I didn't know how I was going to interact with the girls, if I could add something good in their lives. I was ready to "give Love " and I can guarantee that I won a lot of love! If I did something for the girls, they did a lot more for me. When I left Peru, I cried a lot. And I miss the girls very much. Today, I see the pictures, the videos and drawings they made for me, and I still cry. Talking, seeing, watching, listening..... is easy. But feeling is different. Gratitude to the universe for having afforded me this path and that I have had the courage to face it. I am 56 years old, I am divorced, I have two children and today I am a much better person because of voluntary work in Volunteers Peru!


January 01, 2020

My words can’t do justice to describe what an amazing experience I’ve had at Casa Hogar these past few weeks. The girls are so welcoming, caring and loving and I have truly enjoyed my days with them. Considering their backgrounds the girls are bursting with so much happiness and joy and it is special to be part of that. However the afternoons were spent, be it reading, doing homework, playing, drawing, it was always with lots of laughter and love. I will really miss everyone at Casa Hogar, it is a wonderful place and I am extremely grateful to have been able to be a part of it.


January 01, 2020

My days in Arequipa were full of joy and a lot of heat! I felt very welcome, thank you to Megan, Sarah and Marita, who always helped me and who were very good company. The girls in the house have a lot of energy, joy and affection. It is true that we learn from them, as they do from us. A rewarding and enriching experience. Highly recommended.


January 01, 2020

I signed up to do the volunteer without knowing for sure what to expect, or what would happen... I can say that it was two weeks of an incredible experience, which I can not describe... It was a very great exchange with the girls, and with the house administration, everything very intense .. very beautiful. The strength of the girls to face life enchanted me, how they smiled even with all the problems ... I chose to spend my birthday there, and I can say that it was special and unique .. spending these two weeks at Casa Hogar was really one of the best experiences I've ever had .. would do it a thousand times if it were possible.


January 01, 2020

I loved learning about the girls - their interests, their favorite songs, who they want to be when they grow up - and learning about Peru through their eyes. I loved sharing my culture with them and understanding my own country differently through their questions... I loved this work and would return in a heartbeat to do it again!!!


January 01, 2020

From beginning to end, I was treated very well. Every time I didn’t know where to find something or how to do something, Volunteers Peru would promptly help me out (ex: where to find a barbershop). I was not left on my own to figure out how to get to Tomepampa.


My favorite part was teaching the children in the elementary classes. In this case, I got to make my own English classes, which taught me a lot.


In Tomepampa, I was well received by everyone. Dominga’s family made me feel welcome and her food was great. Directora Dina made sure I was well introduced to the school. The teachers were kind to me and never forced me to do anything I was not confortable with.


January 01, 2020

If you are trying to decide whether or not to do this program, I have two words of encouragement, DO IT!

The opportunity to practice Spanish, experience different cultures, and become a better global community member are just several of the opportunities you are exposed to when you volunteer with Volunteers Peru at Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte.

I volunteered with this group for two weeks in September 2017. The entire staff is incredibly supportive and caring. Arequipa is a beautiful city. The girls you get to work with are kind and loving. I connected with and made new friendships with people from all around the globe. I couldn't imagine a better volunteer experience.


January 01, 2020

I enjoyed the friendly and women only atmosphere of Volunteers Peru. I really appreciate how every volunteer can be himself, is accepted just the way they are. Nobody is pushed to do something they don't feel like doing. And of course I appreciated the girls at Casa Hogar, they are so giving and rewarding, it is a true exchange. Yes you give your time but you receive so much in return !


January 01, 2020

My experience with working with the organization was beautiful. At all times I felt accompanied and supported by the project workers. I felt great being there. My reflection throughout the entire process was "we receive much more than what we give". I felt very at ease at the Casa Hogar. I would absolutely recommend this experience and would do it again if I could. The girls have a beautiful energy despite their realities and give so much love.


January 01, 2020

I volunteered at Casa Hogar for two months and I loved every second of it. Being able to spend time with the girls and getting to know them was an incredibly rewarding experience. From playing with them, helping them with homework to seeing the love and care the girls have for each other and towards the volunteers made this stay exceptional and I can definitely say my expectations have been exceeded.  


January 01, 2020

I felt a part of the community and working with the girls was AWESOME!


I have no words to convey what an amazing experience I had with Volunteers Peru in Arequipa! Since the very first day I arrived at the Volunteers Peru's office I felt at home. 

I did not know what to expect from the girls at Casa Hogar. I only knew that they came from abusive situations and extreme poverty. I prepared myself for the possibility of meeting children with issues of anger, distrust, etc. I could not have been more mistaken! The very first moment I arrived at Torre Fuerte I was surrounded with smiling girls hugging me, holding my hand, asking me to play with them, to help them with their homework, with so much love to give and so much joy to share! It was amazing. It brings tears to my eyes even now to remember how much more I received from them than I was able to give.


January 01, 2020

I loved being at Honofre Benavides. It was a great experience, immersive and I really felt part of the community. From staying with the family to teaching at the primary school I enjoyed everything I did, I loved being disconnected also in terms of internet/wifi (although I know you could get signal there). Because I speak Spanish I was happy that they made the most of me and allowed me to teach all English lessons at the primary school and even teach other lessons!


January 03, 2023

I felt welcome from the first moment and that I could make an actual contribution to the kids and their education.


February 23, 2023

I really enjoyed the amount of work that I put in as a volunteer, and felt like I was doing something substantial for the organization. I felt that I had some sort of agency over how to be a useful part of the community I was surrounded by. Ultimately, it made my connection with the girls all the more fulfilling which was hopefully the more valuable to them as well.


May 28, 2023

My time at Volunteers Peru showed me how I wanted to have the hands-on experience to support people, particularly children who I wanted to empower to fulfill their potential and have better lives. I learned so much as an intern for the organization. I had such a wonderful time, I even came back a few months later to visit the projects and attend the annual town celebration in Tomepampa! I still remember the children I worked with, from playing with the girls at Torre Fuerte with their homework to leading English lessons after school with the students at Colegio Honofre Benavides. I still use my time with Volunteers Peru as a reference in my professional experiences. It has been over fours since I was in Peru, I will never forget the two months I spent at both projects!

Mayara Macedo

January 01, 2020

Ter feito o voluntariado para o Peru foi uma experiência maravilhosa. O país é lindo, cheio de
belezas naturais, uma cultura riquíssima, culinária deliciosa e de um povo muito carinhoso e
hospitaleiro. Por motivos operacionais, acabei mudando de última hora meu destino e indo
para Casa Hogar de Arequipa, sem saber, essa foi a melhor escolha que fiz. Desde o momento
que pisei em Arequipa fiquei encantada pela cidade e seus vulcões.
Fui recebida pelo pessoal da Volunteers Peru que me deu várias dicas e orientações durante
todo tempo que estive lá, me senti em casa e muito bem acolhida. Mais que orientadoras e
coordenadoras Marita e Dayana se tornaram grandes amigas, das quais jamais esquecerei e
sou grata por tudo.
Além da ajuda do pessoal da Volunteers Peru e das monitoras da Casa Hogar, fui contemplada
com um time de voluntárias que se tornaram minhas hermanas de alma.
A Casa Hogar é um espaço lindo, amplo, cheio de possibilidades para desenvolver atividades
diversas e muito organizado. As meninas são encantadoras, no primeiro minuto que entrei por
aquela porta fui tomada por uma onda de amor e carinho. Elas são extremamente amorosas e
muito receptivas.
Se fui pra Casa Hogar pra fazer alguma coisa por elas, posso dizer, que elas fizeram muito mais
por mim. Com elas aprendi que com amor somos capazes de mudar até mesmo as realidades
mais complicadas e improváveis. E foi assim, com o coração transbordando de amor que
regressei pro Brasil.
Agradeço a oportunidade de ter conhecido cada pessoa que cruzou meu caminho e me
transformou um pouquinho. Voltei, mas carrego um pedacinho de cada um e o Peru no
coração. Gracias gracias gracias!!!!
PS: Escrevo esse relato ao som de Cholito Jesus .... La La La La La La Uy!!!!

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