We are a small non-profit truly committed to making a difference in the community in which we work. We offer you a chance to experience a new culture, work environment, and way of life. Accommodation will be simple but adequate and you might have to live without some home comforts such as 24 hour electricity and hot water. We are always looking for new volunteers! While all of our positions are strictly volunteer, Supporting Guasa covers all food and housing expenses for the volunteer during your stay in Guasa! We are looking for volunteers who are hardworking, independent, creative, and passionate about making a difference.
Volunteering with us is difficult but rewarding — you will have an unforgettable experience and leave with the confidence that you have completed something really worthwhile. You can read about our volunteers’ experiences in the blog.
Supporting Guasa runs projects during the school year and during the school holidays (mid June – mid August). We are looking for volunteers for the following roles:
We accept applications on a rolling basis, so the earlier you apply the better!
We’re recruiting! Make sure you check out the links to the left!
An extract from Elizabeth’s account of her time in Guasa: One of the greatest problems I ran into was that many of the older adults and some who are middle aged are illiterate. I had them participate in everything but the paper portions. Similarly, some could only read and write in Creole. A few could only understand Creole. Other students served as translators in these cases, but I doubt they understood as well as I would have hoped. Another issue I ran into one week was the contacts not being there for various reasons and not calling to cancel. Sometimes the person with the keys to the school was out of town. But that is just the way of the world here. One just has to be patients and flexible as well as constantly triple checking with the contacts to make sure everything is in order.
An extract from Sarah’s blog: I also learned this week that some of my students walk over an hour to get to school in the mornings. I have seen kids walking toward Guasa in the mornings on my way to school but I had no idea that lots of these kids have to walk over an hour. Imagine having to concentrate in class after walking an hour up hill and down in the blaring sun just to get to school in the morning. Jalinda came to visit Paso del Medio this week to say hello to her old students. The students asked us to speak to each other in English. We spoke slowly and used phrases they had been working on in class. They were quite excited when they realized they could understand our conversation. It’s always fun watching the improvement and knowing that what you are teaching is actually sticking! ☺
An extract from Jalinda’s blog: Ramon Santana is such a place that the village’s electricity goes out for hours at a time. In fact, there are probably just as many, if not more, hours without electricity than with it. It’s not uncommon to hear the neighbors in the street announce “se fue la luz!” (“the lights went out!/the electricity is out!”) at any point during the day or night. Also, it’s a cultural tradition here to pass the time by talking to people who are outside, whether you know them or not. I’ve had countless nighttime conversations about reggaeton and rum during which the only light comes from cell phones, fireflies, and the milky night sky.
After a month working in the bateyes, it was time to say goodbye. I worked in four bateyes: Lima, Olivares, la Balsa and Margarita. Each one with its own personality. Each girl is unique and special. I grew really fond of them and was captivated by the joy they showed and their way of living, complicated by austerity. Life isn’t easy here and they are always willing to give the best of themselves. Thank you very much to all of them!!
I departed the Dominican Republic with memories of frustration and elation. For me, Dominican culture was quite masculine which often did not always jive smoothly with my independent and feminist ideals. On the other hand, I miss many aspects of life in Guasa. I miss that the beach is truly just a car ride away. I miss that my most mundane and grandiose experiences are accompanied at all times by family and friends. I miss making a fool of myself at least once an hour. I miss the clacking of dominoes. I miss the friends that I made and their laughter when I master a uniquely Dominican phrase. I miss playing children’s games with Jeremy in the street. I miss the closeness with nature – – the wind whipping through my hair on the back of a motoconcho or the crisply cool water of the creek gliding between my fingers and toes. In the end I will judge my time in the Dominican Republic through the lens of my goals. My first goal was to teach English to the teenagers living in the bateyes surrounding Guasa. In this sense, I unequivocally believe that I was successful.
In Margarita the majority of the girls can ask many simple questions in English, including “what is your name?” and “how are you?” So, I have jumped into sentence structure, interrogative sentences and rules of forming them. As of today, the girls can tell you what they want, what they like, what they do not like, where they are, and can ask for descriptions of people.
I am grateful that my efforts, along with the efforts of Supporting Guasa, have not been in vain.
I had never expected this summer to be as great as it was. I enjoyed the projects so much, they were very rewarding and at the same time I really do think they had a very positive impact on the communities. The girls I worked with were amazing and will always have a place in my heart. I really hope the projects will continue next year, since I think the communities can greatly benefit from them. I started to love Guasa and its people, and have made such a good friends in such a relatively short period of time.
I am currently in my sophomore year at Macalester College, working as the Latino Engagement Coordinator.
In such a short time I have all of these people who have become incredibly important. My students, my host family my friends here in Guasa. I have traveled a lot and been in the helping profession for years but I have never found it so hard to say goodbye. I think in part because I see the struggles my students have to go through to learn. There is no electricity in the schools, many don’t have enough money for notebooks, trying to keep out other kids who just like to interrupt the class, it’s literally a battle sometimes. But they do it, they push hard to learn. I was just so incredibly impressed by all of my students.
In a way I loved not having power all the time in Guasa because the sky was clear and I could see the stars and be amazed with the glowworms close to the house (I loved that! It was like being in a fairy tale)
I came back to DR last year in August and I am right now living in Canada, working as a travel agent.
Reflecting on this summer, I am incredibly proud of all that was accomplished with the Girl’s Project. The encuentro (meeting) between the three groups went incredibly well…There are so many other people who made our experience once-in-a-lifetime, all of whom we made sure to pay tribute to before we left. It is not easy to say goodbye to people who we’ve made lasting relationships with after so little time, and often we’ve felt that doing so is unfair. We appreciate the incredible welcome that Ramón Santana continues to give volunteers, and we will all look for ways to keep giving back
Right now I’m living in Washington DC interning for a watchdog group called Bank Information centre that monitors the World Bank, advocating that it strengthen their social and environmental safeguards policies, which are currently under review.
I’m working toward my degree in Human Rights and Middle Eastern Studies at Bard College. I’m hoping to study abroad in Beirut and Jerusalem next year. I also hope it doesn’t take me too long to get back to Guasa to visit my friends!
I had awesome experiences: learning to dance and making a fool out of myself, meeting friends, and seeing some students really improve in their English speaking skills. I had less awesome experiences, as well: walking out on my 8th grade class, the first couple weekends when I spent hours reading and watching netflix, and of course, the countless Spanish language mix ups (trying to tell people that a new potato had been elected instead of a pope)…
Once, on the way back from teaching, it started to rain really hard. At first we took shelter next to a shop, but after a couple of minutes it didn’t seem like it would stop. We suddenly decided just to walk back in the downpour, arriving back at the house soaking wet. I’ll never forget the shocked faces seeing us walking in the middle of the road, smiling, in the torrential rain, or the cries of our friends shouting están locos! (You’re crazy!) on the way back.
I’m in my fourth year studying Spanish, Portuguese and European Studies (Politics) at University of Birmingham. I’m not sure what next year will bring yet, still currently job-hunting for something rewarding and challenging. Maybe I’ll find an adventure or two abroad before that though!
The Dominican Republic is the sixth country in which I have lived in but never before had it been so heart-breaking to have to leave. This just goes to show what an amazing town it is. I always knew that my experience there wouldn’t last forever but it felt like it was my “real life”. I have now been back in England for over two weeks now and finally able to listen to Dominican music without feeling too sad! I think about the place and my friends all the time. I am really grateful that I had such an amazing experience and met lots of wonderful people. The experience changed my personal view on many things and I developed a lot as a person. I went to the Dominican Republic to teach English and give other projects but ultimately I was the one who learnt a great deal and I am not just talking about more “superficial” things such as how to ride a horse, motorbike or dance, but rather I changed my way of thinking and how I viewed life.
I still think of my friends there every day and no matter how much time passes and how far I am, the place and the people are just as special.
Getting on the plane to go to the Dominican Republic, I was so nervous. Yet from the moment I arrived in Guasa, I was treated like one of the family. From working with local community leaders to design classes, to cooking and chatting with our incredible host family, to learning bachata and dominicanismos, I was always made to feel welcome. My students taught me all I know about perseverance, and seeing their dedication in the face of constant obstacles is what inspired me to become an educator.
Now, I’m working as a founding teaching fellow at Roots Elementary School in Denver, but I think about and miss my Guasa family constantly!
Since volunteering in Guasa I’ve returned several times but when I returned for the first time, it was as if I had never left. Guasa feels like a home from home, my second home with a second family and friends (who I still keep in contact with). I feel privileged to have been welcomed in to the lives of the people of Guasa, even for such a short time. Guasa is such a special place and I miss it every day.
I have just finished Teach First where I qualified as a teacher and have moved to London to begin work as a policy adviser in the civil service