YOUTH DEVELOPMENT COLOMBIA
Supporting an entire community while surfing off one of the coolest cities in the world? At our unique project on the small island of Tierra Bomba off Cartagena, Colombia, you can combine your passion for helping with your love of water. Here, children and young people from poor backgrounds are supported in their access to education. Language lessons, homework help and numerous creative workshops are organized for the warm-hearted locals. As a reward there is a lot of fun and sports on the water, surfing, kiting and paddling in a fantastic scenery. Become a part of this great project! Support children in need, improve your Spanish skills and conquer the waves of Cartagena.
Type of program
Humanitarian development aid
Tierra Bomba, Cartagena
4-5 h per day, 6 days per week, 1 week/month off
Every 1st Saturday of the month
1 month to 6 months
Spanish, basic knowledge desirable
open-minded, sociable, likes to be with children
Private room with private bathroom
3 meals a day
English speaking contact person in the country
Mobile internet with sim card from WanderWorld Travel
From 1.120,00 €
Type of program: Humanitarian development aid
Program location: Tierra Bomba, Cartagena
Working hours: 6 days a week, 4-5 hours a day, one free week a month
Program start: Every 1st Saturday of the month
Duration: 1-6 months
Minimum age: 18 years
Language: English and Spanish basic knowledge (desirable)
Requirements: open-minded, sociable, likes to be with children
Accommodation: Private room with private bathroom
Meals: 3 meals a day included
Support: English speaking contact person in the country
Internet: Mobile internet with sim card from WanderWorld Travel
Price: from 1.120,00 €
Tierra Bomba – this beautiful island on the Caribbean coast of Colombia is home to some popular places for swimming and relaxing and attracts many visitors every year. But other parts of the island have some problems. Many of its inhabitants live at subsistence level and suffer from water shortages, poor electricity supply and lack of waste disposal systems.
Launched in 2010 on the basis of a private initiative, the organization was officially registered at the beginning of 2015 and can now count over 250 children and young people among its various programs, of which over 55 children and young people are part of the School Reintegration and Water Sports program. The second program has even produced ten professional athletes to date, who are an official part of the Surf League of Bolivar and Colombia.
You will work for a non-profit organization that implements sustainable and social projects in Tierra Bomba, Cartagena, promoting the social, environmental and economic development of the community and supporting young people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds in their access to education. Children and young people who cannot go to school for family and economic reasons are enabled to attend school by buying uniforms and school supplies. They are motivated to integrate back into school life and receive financial support as well as language lessons. Through workshops focusing on art, languages and the environment, knowledge and values are formed and at the same time something good is done for the beautiful island. To motivate the children and young people to attend school regularly and to promote their self-discipline, they are also taught water sports such as surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and paddling.
The vision is to help young people establish themselves as leading agents of positive and evolutionary change in the family and society. Values such as discipline, respect, sustainability, honesty and education will be shaped and promoted. You are needed! The project lives largely on volunteers and donations. Become part of a great family and assist in the mission for the island and the animal bomberos.
As a volunteer, you will not only change the lives of the children and young people, but also your own. Because the experiences gathered in this project are unforgettable and unique, and will accompany you for a long time on your further life.
Hundreds of volunteers from all over the world have already participated and helped in this unique project, true to the motto “thinking global, acting local”. The tasks are varied, and every volunteer can bring a breath of fresh air and their own ideas into the daily routine. Support is needed every day. “Juntos hacemos más” – together we create more!
The focus of the project is on the different workshops, they should be a supplement to school education and help the children in their development.
From Monday to Thursday, the workshops are offered by the volunteers and staff, and every child is welcome to participate. There is usually one workshop a day in the morning from about 09:30 to 11:30. Sometimes they are also offered in the afternoon. In the afternoon there are also games, homework supervision and you can go to the beach with the children. The free time activities are very flexible, you can also think of activities and community games with the kids.
The workshops can be, for example, art projects, English lessons and computer classes. Art classes using recycled materials are designed to encourage young people to think sustainably and to demonstrate the importance of environmentally conscious behavior. Once a week there is also a workshop for girls and women. Furthermore, language courses as well as photography and painting courses and beach clean-ups can be offered.
The workshops are prepared and held by the volunteers. The classes are held in Spanish, the volunteers support each other depending on their Spanish level and can always ask the staff for support.
As a volunteer, you will be trained for the first 2 to 3 weeks until you take over workshops yourself. Volunteers should learn to come up with their own activities for the children and deliver the workshops. So you should have a certain amount of independence and self-confidence.
On Friday and Saturday you will go to Cartagena with the kids of the organization to teach them water sports like surfing and paddling. Sometimes you can take the kids surfing during the week as well.
To provide stability and a safe routine for the kids, a certain daily routine is followed. This way the kids know when there are lessons and when the lunch break is. As a volunteer, you should be happy to integrate yourself into this daily routine and participate in the common activities.
Since there is only one day off per week in the project, you have the possibility to take the missing days in one piece. Usually, the volunteers organize the free days together and make excursions. If the volunteers leave the project together, there will be no classes for the children on these days and no cooking. Volunteers can of course continue to use their accommodation if they decide to stay on the project site.
Welcome to the pearl of the Caribbean! Cartagena deserves this name, because the city is one of the most beautiful in South America and is not for nothing a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are looking for a Caribbean feeling in an exciting and culturally rich city, Cartagena is the place for you. Listen to the sounds of street musicians and sample delicious street food to fully feel the unique atmosphere. But Cartagena consists not only of the charming old town, but also of a modern center, from which skyscrapers shoot up. Of course, a Caribbean city also has its own city beach. So it’s perfect for your work and travel adventure.
You can find more information here.
Tierra Bomba Island is located directly opposite Cartagena on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. It belongs to the city of Cartagena, is about 20 km² in size and is inhabited by almost 10,000 people. You can reach the island very cheaply by boat.
Despite its proximity to the mainland, the island has great difficulties with water shortage, poor electricity supply and lack of waste disposal facilities. Many inhabitants live at the subsistence level and struggle every day to provide for their families. In addition, the village is struggling with problems due to a steadily rising sea level, which is causing erosion and dilapidated houses.
At Tierra Bomba, the water supply is not always stable. When a tank runs dry, sometimes you have to wait a few hours for it to fill up again.
If you are a party person, you are in the wrong place on Tierra Bomba: there is no nightlife, bars or discos on the island. No parties are allowed on the project site and you are only allowed to drink alcohol until 9pm. However, in the project you will be in the best company, the volunteers like to organize their free time together and spend a lot of time together. There is also a family atmosphere with the staff and children and there is always something going on. You will certainly not get bored!
Before the start of the project, the organization would like to get to know you better and will invite you to a Zoom interview. The people in charge of the project will do a short interview with all the volunteers to get to know each other and to check if you are a good fit for the project.
If you have a big heart for people, a positive attitude and enthusiasm, this is the right project for you and you will love volunteering. You should also have a certain amount of independence and sense of responsibility and like to be surrounded by children. Since you will be living in a foreign culture, a certain willingness to adapt to the new circumstances is also necessary.
At the beginning, it can be a big adjustment to get used to the different living conditions on Tierra Bomba. So you should be open-minded and eager to get to know a new culture and living environment, then it will be a great experience! Some of the children in the project live in very poor families and have just the bare necessities at home to survive. You should be prepared to face poverty and respect the families’ way of life.
In this project, the volunteers and the staff live very closely together. There is a lot of emphasis on a good community and family atmosphere. Volunteers are therefore expected to be happy to integrate into the daily routine and participate in the common activities.
The national language in Colombia is Spanish. You will be dealing with locals who do not speak English. Basic knowledge of Spanish is therefore a prerequisite. You will automatically improve your language skills on site.
In order to acquire the necessary knowledge and to be well-prepared, we recommend that you take a Spanish course in advance, if you do not have any knowledge yet. The course and accommodation during the language course are not included in the program.
A basic knowledge of English is an advantage for communication between volunteers.
You will live in a private room with private bathroom on the project site together with the other volunteers. The small bungalows are right next to each other. The rooms are very simple and typical for the country. The standard is not comparable to Germany, but you will find everything you need to live there. There is no air conditioning in the room, but after the first few days you will quickly get used to the heat. In the accommodation and on the project site, you may encounter one or the other insect. However, this is quite normal in Colombia, since the houses are built very openly due to the warm weather.
From the project site you have a great view of the sea and Cartagena. The house where the children are taught is right next door. After the workshops, the children come to play on the grounds.
The compound has an outdoor community kitchen where the volunteers take turns cooking for the whole team. The food is provided by the organization and is included in the program fee. Sometimes a cook comes and shows typical Colombian dishes.
YOUR CONTACT PERSON IN COLOMBIA
Jan is German and has been living in Colombia for 4 years now. After a long trip through Latin America he stayed in Cartagena. He has traveled all over the country, but Cartagena and the whole Caribbean coast are his jewel. He can’t wait to welcome you there and show you the Colombian culture. His girlfriend is Colombian and originally from Bogotá. Jan has German roots, so he understands both cultures very well and speaks both languages fluently. Jan has been running Café de la Mañana in the old town of Cartagena for 2 years. Stop by, it’s worth it! Jan also works in tourism and is therefore our local expert to show you the city, its history and all the highlights. He will be happy to answer your questions about the country and traveling in Colombia and is always there for you.
SERVICES AND PRICES
- 1st month in starter package: 1.120,00 €
- Extension month: 570,00 €
- As 2nd or 3rd program: 870,00 €
Find out more about our services here.
“My most beautiful moment was when I realized that I had found a new home. I was walking down the street of my village, meeting friend after friend, and being shouted at by motorcycles. Unforgettable!”
“The people of Latin America are unique! Both from their way of thinking and their way of life. Each culture has its peculiarities, but the warmth unites them all.”
“The culture of Latin America fascinated me from the very beginning. The locals in both Colombia and Costa Rica are incredibly nice and helpful. You get to talk to them super quickly and feel welcomed right away.”
“The most important thing for you as a new participant is to be open to other perspectives and cultures. Get involved and you will have the adventure and time of your life. I want to use this experience report to motivate everyone to get involved in an individual adventure.”
“After my 2-month travel period, I wanted to visit my project and the people there again. It was nice to meet the children again. They all still knew me and welcomed me with open arms. At that moment, I realized that I had found a new home on the other side of the world.”
“For me, the best moments were the evenings spent together with the children, singing, dancing, cooking and eating together. I think for the children, these are also very nice memories. We grew together like a little family, and even though those evenings eventually became the norm, I really enjoyed every one of them.”
Madeleine traveled with us for 5 months in Latin America and talks about her unforgettable experiences in this Live Q&A. She participated in the Youth Development Project on Tierra Bomba and the Hostel Experience in Peru. Find out how she felt when she started traveling alone and what her most memorable experiences on the trip were.