Uyarina – Punto de Encuentro



UYARINA is a word from the quechua language that means “we listen.” The organization was founded in 2002 as a result from a study made on the Cochabamba population that lives on the streets. PUNTO DE ENCUENTRO is a program to provide attention and treatment (through psychoanalysis methods) to children, youth, and families living in the streets (or at risk of living in the streets) and/or consuming drugs. The majority of the population that they work with is either young parents, addicted to glue-sniffing, HIV positive, or children of these individuals.


There are three areas of the attention and treatment that individuals receive through Uyarina – Punto de Encuentro. (1) The Psychological Clinic provides a space for clinical attention and treatment by listening to the words, stories, and experiences of children, youth, and families living in the streets. This clinic allows individuals to share through conversation their living situations and experiences in the hopes of encouraging the children to not repeat the mistakes of their parents’ story. The founding theory of this clinic is that every individual is responsible for how they respond and react to the situation of their life.

(2) The Pedagogical Area provides an artistic and creative space with different workshops and activities according to the interests and abilities of children, youth, and adults. The aim of this Area is to detect, strengthen, and develop every individual’s interests and abilities as an alternative way of spending their time (rather than drugs) and as a first step towards reintegrating them into school and/or workplace. The eventual hope of this Area is to provide these individuals with the confidence and skills to better their own quality of life.

(3) The Research and Extension Area aims to deepen the societal and organizational knowledge of the root causes of children, youth, and families living in the street.

Volunteer/Internship Opportunities include:

  • Support in the three areas of attention: Psychology, Pedagogical, and Research.
  • Applied Social Work – participate in the process of reintegrating children & youth into Bolivian school system, in addition to checking up on their progress
  • Afterschool Support – Tutoring, games, art, and other workshops with kids
  • Music Therapy – lead group sessions in tarka, drums, charango, guitar
  • Video Editing/Creation for publicity & promotion of Uyarina programs
  • Web Page Design
  • Research – specifically looking for individuals with interest in applied research in the areas of psychoanalysis, psychology, pedagogy, social work, and art/music therapy

Volunteer/Internship Requirements:

  • Speak Beginner Spanish
  • Minimum 2 month commitment
  • Be creative, dynamic, and committed to working with vulnerable and at-risk populations
  • Uyarina’s primary concern is that volunteers have the desire and interest to work with and support their participants with a foundation of respect, compromise, ethics, and confidentiality.