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CAPEDIS was founded in 1999 by Shoko Nohara to provide care to orphaned and abandoned children with special educational needs. This care home has grown to include three different centers offering a variety of activities and services to children and adolescents of all ages. CAPEDIS is a non-profit foundation that receives funding from the Japanese Embassy and private donors.


CAPEDIS aims to improve the lives of children and adolescents who have medium to severe physical and mental disabilities in the area of Cochabamba and who do not have a family home. The center promotes a multi-disciplinary approach, providing educational, emotional and therapeutic care to its service-users.

Who does CAPEDIS help?

CAPEDIS works with a group of approximately 25 young people with special educational needs, the majority of whom are under 21, and who have a variety of mental and physical disorders. Most of these children come from poorer families who cannot otherwise afford treatments, and many also have suffered from social problems such as abuse and abandonment.

Working conditions:

CAPEDIS is located in the Tiquipaya area, an easy 20 minute bus ride from the city center. The central home has a garden, offices, kitchen, play area, nursery, and hydrotherapy and physiotherapy rooms, and there is a permanent staff of 20.

CAPEDIS programs

CAPEDIS runs three separate programs:

  1. The Casa Hogar
    is a center for predominantly young people with multiple special needs, the majority of whom use wheelchairs, and four of whom attend mainstream schools. The staff, which includes nurses, physiotherapists and teachers, rotate day and night seven days a week to provide round the clock care.
  2. The Granja CAPEDIS
    is a small farm which breeds farm animals such as sheep and cows, and cultivates fruit and vegetables, in order to provide therapies for young people with mental illnesses.  A group of approximately seven young people aged between 15 and 22 visit each day. A staff of eight organize activities on the farm including at weekends.
  3. Tienda de Artesanías Ancha Sumaj
    This shop is for run by people with mobility-related disabilities. It produces and sells handmade arts and crafts in the center of Cochabamba.

Volunteer/intern requirements are:

  • An intermediate level of Spanish
  • Enthusiasm and willingness to work with people with special needs
  • Experience in one of education, psychology, physiotherapy, nursing, daycare, making handicrafts (desired but not required)
  • A minimum stay of 3 months