In an effort to promote volunteerism, community service and good deeds in Nicaragua, The Nicaragua Dispatch has created this space as an open-source directory of volunteer opportunities in the country.
I get questions quite often about how to become a volunteer doing something positive, to give back something to Nicaragua and the people here. I have to say, really a couple of weeks minimum commitment (if not more) is required by almost all the organizations that I know of.
For most people visiting Nicaragua, if you are here only 10 days or 2 weeks, then it is difficult to really get yourself involved in something if you only have a day or even just a morning or afternoon to get to a place and offer to help out. Its not that the organizations do not want volunteers, it is just that it takes a while to train a new person on the mission, the work, and how to organize all that into something that will actually benefit a given local community.
My advice for most people who can’t make that sort of time commitment, I suggest bringing down something to donate.
La Esperanza in Granada has a good page of suggestions on what is worthwhile to bring down to Nicaragua to donate.
If you are traveling to Granada and would like to bring items to donate, here are some suggestions of things that are always needed:
- Sports equipment, balls of any kind (baseball, soccer, basketball), baseball bats and gloves
- Jigsaw puzzles (simple ones)
- Educational toys for the very young 3 – 8
- Numbers games, dice, dominoes etc.
- Any Spanish language reading material, books, magazines.
- Pens, pencils, crayons, paints.
- Craft supplies – e.g. glitter, pipe cleaners
- Stickers – to reward good work
- Face paints and wash off tattoos – for School Festivals
- White shirts, blouses and/or t-shirts for children.
- Navy pants, shorts or skirts for children.
- Toothbrushs, toothpaste
- Bandaids and bandages
- Children’s toys for prizes
- Any children’s clothes or shoes
Some of the above list, such as pens,pencils, crayons and paint, plus bandaids and bandages cost less here – but if friends or family would like to give you items to bring they will be greatly appreciated.
With the exception of the toothbrushes and of course bandages it doesn’t matter at all if the items are ‘pre loved’. Educational toys are very expensive and hard to find here – we especially need those that help with manual dexterity and color/shape recognition such as building blocks, things that fit together etc.