Community project

The Minka Project

This volunteer programme contributes to the development of communities in poor regions and rural villages.

Our main focus is to encourage self-development among these communities, using methods that are based on self-management and sustainability, and that take advantage of the human and material resources available. This is done following traditional Andean methods of working the land, and through cooperation and reciprocity between volunteers and the receiving people.

In turn, we increase the psychological effect within the community, through projects centred around gender equality, human rights, coexistence, and the development of socio-economic capabilities. Another one of our objectives is to provide legal advice on these matters.

Volunteers on this project will work directly with the members of the community, in a practical manner from which the villagers can only benefit.

Duration of volunteer work

We require a minimum of 2 weeks.

Type of work

Ecology / agriculture / community/ human rights.

Work location

Among the agricultural and settlement communities on the outskirts of Huancayo.

Responsibilities
Assist with implementing organic and ecologically sound practices, such as the creation of “bio-organic plots” (organic gardens), the construction of ecological kitchens, reforestation, planting and replanting, soil preparation, organic pest management methods, composting, production of natural products (jams, cheeses etc.), sustainable business practices, emotional support, legal support, defending the human rights of the inhabitants, amongst others.

Number of vacancies

5 +volunteers per month.

Timetable

From Monday to Thursday; working hours are dependent on the conditions.

Requirements:

Anyone interested in and focused on caring for and encouraging the respect of the environment and infrastructures.
With regards to socio-emotional and economic intervention, we benefit from students or professionals working in psychology, law, political sciences, philosophy, anthropology, human resources, company administration and management, sociology, occupational therapy, social work, social education, amongst others.
*A minimum age of 20 (applications from candidates under 20 will be considered according to the maturity and level of responsibility required for the role).
*Proof of identity, such as a valid passport.
*Means of contact via social networking tools, such as Facebook or Skype.
*A completed application form.
*Volunteers must be able and willing to adapt to the local cultural environment, be enthusiastic and be considerate towards their peers and coordinators.
*Be committed and responsible, and abide by basic rules of shared living in the accommodation and communal areas where you will be staying.
*Bring with you sufficient funds for personal costs, transportation and excursions.
*Volunteers must have all required vaccinations and health insurance.
*Minimum duration for volunteer work is 2 weeks. However, longer periods are ideal in order to see projects produce results.
The benefits of volunteering

Volunteers have the opportunity to experience first-hand life within rural communities, participate in a cultural exchange with the people, and learn about their customs and ways of life. Volunteers learn to put into practice theories of sustainable agriculture and construction.
Volunteers also benefit from being outside in fresh air and among nature.

THE IMPROVED COOKING STOVES PROJECT

In the Peruvian Andes, it is common to cook food in wood-burning stoves, especially in homes with fewer economic resources. This practice, in addition to the lack of awareness about the risks linked to wood smoke inhalation, causes many people to develop related illnesses.
One of the benefits of improved cooking stoves is the reduction of smoke in the spaces where food is prepared. Smoke contains many toxic substances, such as: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons like benzo-a-pyrene.

As a result, exposure to smoke causes problems within the
respiratory system, visual defects (cataracts and blindness), increased susceptibility to infections, chronic pulmonary obstructions, pulmonary fibrosis, anaemia, pregnancy abnormalities and lung cancer.
In addition to reducing risks of burns, this type of stove provides a convenient and effective method of cooking, greatly contributing to saving energy and, therefore, reducing deforestation and decreasing human involvement in the destruction of the environment.

OUR WORK:
Since the beginning of 2012, Sharing Dreams has been promoting the construction of improved cooking stoves in areas of extreme poverty, on the outskirts of the Andean city of Huancayo. In places like “Cerro Hermosa” or “Cerrito”, many families have benefited from training, information and the building of these stoves, including being made aware of how to use them and what risks are associated with exposure to smoke. In addition, this promotes collaboration in undertaking building these stoves and other community work themselves.

Project objectives:

Make people aware of the benefits of cooking with improved stoves, and of the dangers related to exposure to smoke.
Teach people how to build improved cooking stoves, by installing stoves in homes of limited economic resources.
Contribute to improving people’s health by providing better smoke extraction methods from the home, such as with the use of chimneys.
Save cooking fuel, such as wood, contributing to decreased deforestation.
Optimise the burning process during food preparation, thus reducing cooking times.
Improve cleanliness and comfort conditions during food preparation, thus reducing the risk of burns.


BENEFITS OF IMPROVED COOKING STOVES
The following advantages will impact the people and society in these areas:

HEALTH:

Reduction of respiratory and visual defects.
Decreased risk of burns.
Prevention of contamination inside the home by toxic smoke, ash and
soot.
Reduction of women’s health problems, such as pain in the bladder and
spine.
Facilitation of domestic tasks and improved cleanliness in the kitchen and of utensils.
Extraction of smoke from kitchen spaces.
THE ENVIRONMENT

Reducing and limiting the use of wood, contributing to decreased use of organic fuel and minimising deforestation.
ECONOMICAL:

Improvement of household finances through reasonable use of wood.
Savings of 50% in fuel.
Reduction of food cooking time.
Cheaper because it can be built using local materials.
SOCIAL:

Improved level of comfort whilst preparing food.
Increased lifespan of your utensils.
Avoids the possibility of incorrect placement in the kitchen, and enables cooking to be done easily and hygienically.
Who can help?
In addition to building (manual work) or gathering materials, you can participate by providing awareness, by planning and promoting our work. Although these tasks are ideal for social workers, sociologists, educators, psychologists, health professionals etc., anyone with a willingness to help and provide support can partic