Club Union de los Pibes is a Buenos Aires-based organisation that works with underprivileged children in the southern neighbourhoods of the city, such as Barracas. Every Saturday, volunteers troop south to play football, do arts and crafts and play games with the kids, keeping them occupied, mentoring them and giving them a window into a world outside their own, as many of the volunteers are from abroad. If you want to help out, you need to be based in the city for at least six months and be willing to spend three Saturdays of every month with the program.
Workaway programs are incredibly popular with people wishing to travel, live and work in local communities, put down some temporary roots and save some cash along the way. There are plenty of workaway opportunities in Patagonia, from helping out on farms and ranches with agriculture and livestock, to participating in tourism and forestry programs and helping out at local cultural centres. Workaway programs are particularly beneficial for anyone who has a trade, such as IT knowledge or carpentry and construction skills, but as long as you are enthusiastic and willing to learn, there should be plenty of places to workaway in Patagonia.
Fancy cutting your teeth in the viticulture business by working on a vineyard? Then getting involved in a workaway scheme in the wine cultivating region of Mendoza is the chance you have been waiting for. Workaway has hosts who own vineyards looking for people to help with gardening and property maintenance, ranchers who seek people to feed and ride the horses, and owners of olive groves who need volunteers to help maintain their orchards. Mendoza is full of travelers and adventurers, so you are sure to meet some kindred spirits during your workaway experience.
This non-profit social project in Buenos Aires provides nutrition courses to children and families in the villas, or slums, in Buenos Aires province. English expat Alicia Amende runs the show – the funds for the nutritional courses, which aim to replace the kids’ diet of soft drinks and carbohydrates with fruit and vegetables, are generated through the closed-door restaurant that is held every second Friday from a beautiful old house on the border of San Telmo and Barracas. The project offers internships, but if you want to help out, just go to one of the delicious vegetarian dinners and you will be contributing to the project as well as getting a tasty and healthy meal.
Sustainability has gone far beyond being a buzzword to becoming a way of life. Many construction projects such as Earthship construction aim to use environmentally friendly materials and construction methods to create residences and schools in rural parts of Argentina, and need people to come and lend a hand. Obviously if you have any experience in construction, this is a plus, but most of the learning will be done on-site, so bring your best attitude and some elbow grease and you’ll fit right in.
One of the best ways to get some free accommodation and food in exchange for a few hours behind the bar or reception desk each day is to work at a hostel. Usually a good option for party animals and extroverts, hostel work is commonplace all over Argentina. All you need to do is spend a few days somewhere, strike up a good relationship with the people already working there and there’s a good chance that they’ll be in need of some sort of help around the hostel, especially the dreaded night shift. It’s a great way to save some money, have a solid place to sleep and meet people from all over the world.
This organisation in Buenos Aires is focused on working with those in the city and province who are perhaps overlooked by society and often live in areas that are lacking in resources in facilities. Certain areas of Buenos Aires province are prone to flooding, and Fundacion Si will collect donations from locals and ship them out to those in need. They also do weekly outings to engage with and help those living on the streets of the capital, and you can accompany them on these trips, or simply donate food, clothes or money to contribute to the cause.