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Volunteering in Chile


Chile provides a great base for volunteers to explore and contribute to the land and its people, from the country’s arid Atacama to the Andes to the sunny Pacific to the southern tip's sprawling, glaciated Patagonia.  Volunteer opportunities in Chile are as varied as the landscape itself.  

Volunteer teaching positions are popular and plentiful, especially in rural communities where educational funding and resources are limited.  As a volunteer teacher, you can help children participate and succeed in the global economy.  


While Chile boasts a superior economy to some of its Latin American neighbors, there’s still a large gap between the rich and poor.  There are a host of community-based projects including mentoring street children, building and restoring houses for rural families, and promoting self-sufficiency sustainability to indigenous groups like the Mapuche in Patagonia.

Chile hosts a variety of animal and nature conservation projects, particularly in Tierra del Fuego.  Volunteers can build and restore hiking trails at Torres del Paine National Park or help protect endangered Patagonian species such as the Humboldt penguin.


There are tons of non-profits and volunteer programs to suit just about any interest or passion.  While some organizations provide a small stipend for volunteer workers, others charge a fee that goes to housing, meals and the organization itself.  Some projects require a certain level of education or an intermediate level of Spanish.  However, many simply ask for an open mind and energetic spirit.  


While there are literally hundreds of options out there, below is a starting list of projects based in Chile.  Additionally, international programs such as United Planet (, Bridge Volunteers ( and Projects Abroad ( offer a variety of volunteer projects throughout Chile.


VEGlobal (Voluntarios de la Esperanza) (

This non-profit is dedicated to ending the cycles of poverty and abuse that still dominate much of Santiago.  There are a variety of opportunities in assisting with education, literacy, art, and athletics.

English Opens Doors (EOD)(    

Developed by the Chilean Ministry of Education, EOD allows volunteers to teach English part or full-time.  The program also encourages volunteers to initiate self-directed activities such as art classes, creative writing courses or recreational sports promoting physical health and positive teamwork.  The program also offers online Spanish courses to its volunteers.

Patagonia Volunteer (

Developed by the MAPU Association to help improve the social and environmental struggles in Patagonia, Patagonia Volunteer hosts a variety of conservation and community-based projects, including educating the community on ways to protect its land, as well as promoting human rights for Patagonian natives, whose lives and work have been exploited by large corporations.

Fundación Patagonia, VE Global , Volunteering in Santiago, Cactus Language and WorldTeach.

By Rachel Anderson
I'm a twentysomething dandelion floating across the field of youth. I have an unquenchable thirst for writing, exploring and cheap wine. A cross...
03 Mar 2009

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