Full disclosure: I really wish this guide existed when I first arrived in Argentina. This one is for those who truly wish to immerse themselves within Argentine culture and experience all aspects of living in Buenos Aires (not just hitting the cool bars). When I arrived, it was extremely tricky to navigate around the different websites and figure out what to do. I wanted a way to help out in the community, but also try and improve my very feeble español. If, like me, you want to do something a little bit different from those Spanish classes, then perhaps you should steer towards doing some self-rewarding volunteering. Help yourself by also helping others.
Of course, this guide primarily focuses on opportunities in Buenos Aires, but it’s crucial not to sacrifice quality over quantity. With that in mind, there’ll be another extensive guide for the rest of the country coming soon. Watch this space.
In case you hadn’t noticed, Argentina is currently deeply strewed with economic and political problems (what exchange rate is the US dollar at again?). The financial crisis always leaves collateral damage and it usually affects the most vulnerable sectors of society. It’s probably more important than ever to give a little back to those in need in the City. This is an opportunity for foreigners and Argentines alike, to unite forces and give back to society.
These are just a few different non-profit organizations that offer something for everyone and provide a social platform to meet new, like-minded people.
VOLUNTEER WITH PEOPLE
This organization tries to make a change across all areas of society, aiming to push for social inclusion in Argentina. It offers projects that involve volunteers going around the city offering food and drink to the homeless while also providing educational opportunities to those who’ve fallen through the cracks.
One of the main problems that I faced when wanting to volunteer was a lack of time. Like most people, I work and do after-work activities. I found a lot of organizations wanted me working a certain number of hours or a full day each week, which is hard when you’re supposed to be working.
Fortunately, FundaciónSí offers an extremely flexible community participation project, where I could essentially rock-up when I was free and do a few hours of work. Tasks were relatively basic, i.e. sorting clothes, etc., but the fact that my Spanish is still a work in progress meant that I understood what needed to be done and nothing got “lost in translation”.
Open Monday to Friday from 9AM to 7PM | Ángel Justiniano Carranza 1962 | More info
Fundación Cosechando Alegría
This foundation supports children and young people with spectrum disorders and does this through a variety of different workshops, from recreational gymnastics to computing skills. These workshops aim to help the socialization of the kids and young adults alike, which enables them to lead enriched lives and build friendships. This is an excellent place for someone who wants a challenging but rewarding voluntary experience. All of the volunteers are Spanish-speaking and you will be able to surround yourself in the lingo.
VOLUNTEER WITH ANIMALS
Like many, I love everything fluffy and cute (if you don’t, you should) and I just had to include this volunteering opportunity. Animals in Argentina have little to no protection and usually cases of animal cruelty go under the radar. NGOs like Actitud Animal often have to fight this battle alone.
This non-profit organization aims to eradicate animal abandonment and advocates safe neutering. Volunteers go around delivering talks to students and other institutions to try and promote this societal change in behavior towards animals, while also rescuing animals on the brink of death. Every volunteering channel at this charity is complemented with the right training. This experience requires perhaps more devotion and commitment than other charities listed in this guide because the charity provides expensive training and the majority of volunteers will be on call 24/7 in case of an emergency due to extreme lack of resources, so it definitely needs more thought and consideration before signing up.
Official Facebook Account: Actitud Animales
I’m certainly not into gardening, but I know plenty of people out there who do. This organization promotes environmental sustainability and is just perfect for those passionate about protecting the natural world. The charity hosts projects such as GeoEncuentro and has been present in such massive gatherings as Lollapalooza where they participated with something called Rock & Recycle (headbanging and recycling, interesting combo.)
This is an NGO founded by Francisco Galtieri and Gonzalo Greco, whose goal is to generate sustainable habits. They seek to raise awareness on how to be environmentally friendly and shows people how to apply those principles in their own households.
Open Saturday from 10AM to 1PM | Av. Gral. José de San Martín 2442 & 1001-1099, B1636FPE, Juan Bautista Alberdi | More info
Being a short, 21-year-old girl, many people do stare at me in disbelief when I say that I’m pretty much a handyperson. Anyway, I may not be Bob the Builder but I can definitely “fix it”. With that in mind, Techo is in this volunteering guide because I know many, like me, who just seem to have a profound love for DIY and can help improve the living conditions for those in need. And a warning for those of you who don’t speak the language very well: know that your Spanish-speaking skills will be pushed to the next level.
This organization has spread across Latin America. Every month, Techo Argentina offers construction projects all-over the country, so it’s more of a one-off thing. This would perhaps be better for those who simply cannot commit to a long-term cause.
Next upcoming project: November 2nd – 4th – Buenos Aires Region | Contact: [email protected]
I know it’s difficult to juggle work, a social life and everything else in between so here’s a quick list of a few charities that accept donations (clothes, toys, food, etc.) for those of you who just don’t have time for anything else:
Be aware this post doesn’t include every volunteering opportunity in the city. If you want to explore more of what’s out there, check out Quiero Ayudar, a website listing possibly every NGO in the area. this amazing website that lists possibly every NGO in the area.
Get involved. Do something great.