Do I have to pay/contribute to volunteer with you?
- We currently don’t impose a charge for volunteers, however we hope for your commitment of time, to offset the support provided by the organization, to each volunteer.
- If you are keen to support a project we can support you with fundraising, and if you know of wonderfully wealthy or generous friends & family, then we welcome a direct donation to a particular project. This could be something you can choose to invest in once here, perhaps the library bus, marketing initiative, or bring organic seeds or tools.
- You will receive support/advice in finding suitable housing, help in getting set up with a Spanish school if desired, and access to a network of national (Nicaraguan) and international volunteers and collaborators with interest in facilitating social change.
- Long-term (3+ months), full-time volunteers may get one free staff meal per working day.
- Short-term volunteers have to cover their own food expenses.
- These benefits may be modified at any time.
What can I expect as a volunteer?
- You’re best to join our team not expecting to change the world or the organization. Keep it real, then you, and us, will change with your amazing contributions
- We welcome your inputs and opinions, but hope you will keep an open mind with us and our work, which has been successfully developed over a long period.
- We definitely need your help and contributions, ideas and thoughts, and usually that is best done by supporting our ongoing/new projects and keeping good direct communication with the team/management.
What do you expect from me as a volunteer?
- We hope that you can contribute 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. The terms of your daily work schedule will depend on your placement and responsibility of your role.
- We expect certain cultural norms to be respected, for example, appropriate dress (longer trousers/pants) when working on the library bus or in the rural villages, no smoking when on the library bus visits, and good timekeeping especially for early mornings.
- We do expect discretion and absolute confidentiality of internal working policies and personal information of any co-workers/volunteers with outside groups/friends/curious local interest.
- We expect to have great communication with you and to regularly share your feedback, comments and reviews of how you feel about your work and that you trust us, to confide in the management, to help take care of your well-being while here with us.
- There are several housing options, depending on your preferences. Generally you get what you pay for, and there is a wide price range here, from $50-250 a month.
- In homestays you live with a family, and you can also rent your own apartment, or a room with a shared or private bathroom and with a shared kitchen.
- There are also good social hostels here, like our own Luna International Hostel, where you can arrange a dorm or a private room for when you arrive or for longer term.
What expenses do I have to cover?
- Basically, you have to cover all your expenses, travel and living costs, travel / health insurance and vaccinations, if needed.
How much money should I budget for?
- How much you need for living expenses (excluding rent), depends a great deal on how you choose to live, your food and partying/shopping/travel habits, but the average volunteer spends $40-120 a week. It is NOT that cheap here, food is quite expensive, so are living expenses, but local transport is a bargain.
- Spanish Schools or private tutoring is expensive, about $5-7 per hour plus homestays.
- Emergency costs for health/unexpected costs.
Are there opportunities to develop my Spanish skills?
- Most positions require a decent level of spoken and written spanish
- Yes, we have several schools to recommend at varying budgets, and you may also get a private teacher.
- The people of Esteli are friendly, and you will have plenty of opportunities to practice in your everyday life or at work.
- Also there is an immersion option, prior to joining us in Esteli, with friends at a rural school called Hijos del Maiz, in El Lagartillo. Also we are friends with La Mariposa Eco-Hotel and Spanish School, San Juan de La Concepcion, near Masaya.
Can I travel during my volunteering commitment?
- Nicaragua is a beautiful and diverse country, and traveling here is easy and can be quite cheap, depending on your travel style and needs.
- During the weekend it’s possible to take short trips, for example to the Somoto Canyon, Miraflor and Tisey Nature Reserves, or to cities like Leon, Matagalpa and Jinotega.
- For longer trips, you will need at least a couple of days off.
- You need to carry your passport as you travel around Nicaragua or at least a clear copy of your data page and your visa-entry stamp.
- Most excursions cost at least $20-30 depending on the activity, so budget for extra.
Transport Options / Driving Licence
- Local buses charge about $1 per hour of travel each way. Local taxis cost about $0.50 per ride.
- Local urban buses charge only cents per trip
- You can rent/borrow or buy bicycles here, and it’s a good healthy way to get around, day and night
- It’s harder to buy or rent motor bikes
How is the application process?
We receive volunteers all year, and you may apply at any time.
Do you also offer internships?
Yes, and we can support you in the communication with your educational institution if needed to facilitate the internship.
Omprakash supports internships and provides assistance in this area.
Can I fundraise to cover the costs of my trip?
- Yes, and we can support you in the process.
- There are many different companies that provide this, such as GoFundMe and Indiegogo.
- Fundraising provides a good incentive to invest your time here in Nicaragua, a perfect experience which can be useful once you’re here, and for when you go home.
And please do also read more practical information about staying in Esteli here: