I found out about Sustainable Bolivia while researching non-profits and volunteer programs in South America during spring of my sophomore year of college. I wanted to gain experience living in a Spanish-speaking country while also doing meaningful work, and Sustainable Bolivia stood out to me from other programs offering volunteer positions in South America. In contrast to other organizations, Sustainable Bolivia creates change by supporting local projects and addressing their needs as identified by community members.
This was the most important factor for me in choosing Sustainable Bolivia, because I wanted to do volunteer work that would ultimately empower people and contribute to positive long-term change rather than reinforcing inequality. Sustainable Bolivia does an amazing job of identifying the needs of partner organizations, finding the resources to support them, and placing volunteers in positions that match their interests and abilities. My volunteer placement and housing arrangements were handled with the utmost care and consideration. I spent two months volunteering at La Colonia Ecológica, an orphanage that cares for about 100 children, and I lived with a family near the center of Cochabamba.
When I arrived in Cochabamba I immediately felt welcomed by the staff of Sustainable Bolivia, and throughout the summer I formed close relationships with my host family, the other volunteers, and the children at La Colonia. I had an unforgettable experience working with Sustainable Bolivia and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in living and volunteering in Bolivia.