PAI Tarpuy

P.A.I. Tarpuy was founded in 2005 by a group of professionals who found the need to reach out to children living in the streets of Quillacollo, a town outside Cochabamba that particularly lacks support services for such children. A center was subsequently opened to serve as a recreational and educational space for street children both living and working in the area, and today everyone who is interested in internship and volunteering with streets children in Bolivia is welcome to assist.

The objectives of P.A.I. Tarpuy are to provide a space for children and adolescents at social risk with activities that stimulate their learning and development, including physical, emotional, intellectual and creative skills. Through increased social, educational and ludic interaction, young people are gradually encouraged to stay away from the streets and change their lives.

Who does P.A.I. Tarpuy help?
Tarpuy works primarily with those children and adolescents who have been thrown out of their homes and who go on to the street in search of a new life. Once a permanent contact with the street is established, these young people adapt to a new habitat and take on a very fixed and enclosed form of life. They are unable to continue school studies, and often suffer from learning difficulties and an inability to adapt socially.

Working conditions
P.A.I. Tarpuy’s center is located in Quillacollo, approximately 13 kilometers from Cochabamba and 40 minutes from the city center. The center includes a kitchen, office space, two areas for educational activities, an eating and play area, and a garden where fruit and vegetables are grown. The staff consists of two professionals, a teacher and a psychologist.

P.A.I. Tarpuy is currently running two programs. The first takes place on the street and involves making contact with young people living on the street, establishing their identities, and developing a relationship based on support and trust, working with them gradually to raise their awareness of their environment and helping them reflect on their family relationships. The second program is the provision of educational activities for young people of the community, including help with school work, a library and alternative workshops in music and handicrafts.

Volunteer requirements

  • Intermediate level of Spanish
  • Ability to adapt to difficult situations
  • Creativity
  • Empathy
  • Desire to have new experiences
  • Knowledge/experience of psychology and/or education (desired but not required)
  • Minimum commitment of one month