Orphanage Childcare Volunteer

Hogar Cristiano - Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-837 Location: Puntarenas, Costa Rica Sector: Social Services Category: Childcare Min Duration: 1 week Lodging: Host Family / Lodge Language: Basic
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Volunteer Job Description

Hogar Cristiano Orphanage is home to approximately 70 children between the age of new born to 17 years of age. The orphanage is managed by the Sisters of the Assumption and is composed of 12 nuns and 6 local women, (who are called aunts by the children in the home). The staff endeavour to provide adequate training for these at risk children and adolescents; to help develop the skills necessary to enable them as adults to integrate successfully into society.

The Christian home staff work hard to ensure the safety of the children in the home and provide the love and support these children need. Every day the staff clean the home, prepare the food, wash the clothes and prepare the children to attend school amongst other activities; but these tasks limit the amount of time that can be spent with the children in entertainment interactions.

Childcare volunteers would be expected to help in all areas of care for the children be it: sport activities, art and crafts, songs and dance, personal care, helping with the preparation of food and assist feeding some children at mealtimes, as well as household chores. As a volunteer you would be expected to meet the children’s basic needs and provide the children with positive and nurturing play experiences. Activities should be divided according to the age of the children involved and must always be scheduled around their lessons and daily tasks to be done in the home.

A childcare volunteer must be a creative individual who would develop stimulating activities that increase the children's academic knowledge, as well as their physical and emotional well being. These activities should teach mutual respect of each other, tolerance for the mistakes of others or their lack of skills, as well as leadership skills. The volunteer should be able to demonstrate to the children through games and other activities the many joys that active lives can provide.

A childcare volunteer does not need to have any special educational requirements at this placement but should enjoy working with children of all ages and have the energy and emotional stamina that this requires.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Toddler Activities

Childcare volunteers would be expected to develop fun things for toddlers between the age of 1 to 4 years old to do. These may be games, telling stories, songs or other activities that can be done indoors as the toddlers are not allowed to go outside in order to avoid any incident with the older children. The activities should encourage group participation and have some learning aspects in each endeavour.

Early Childhood Education

The children between the age of 4 and 5 do not attend school yet but should be starting to develop skills towards an education. Childcare volunteers would be expected to create stimulating activities that would start the children on the road to learning, while illustrating the fun this can involve. These activities should help develop a desire in the children to go to school and to learn and mix with new friends.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Hogar Crisitino has a large open area for outdoor games and sports. Childcare volunteers would be expected to create new activities for the children. These tasks are really important because the staff usually have little time to devote to these endeavours and the children need play time to interact with each other and learn the importance of self respect, respect for each other and how to handle bullying situations or discriminating attitudes.

Staff Support

During school hours a childcare volunteer may be asked to assist in the daily chores at the orphanage. This may involve the personal care of the babies and young children or the general cleaning of the home, as well as perhaps assisting in the preparation of meals.

Host Organization Details

Hogar Cristiano

Hogar Cristiano is an orphanage that was established many years ago for girls age one to seventeen and boys age new born to six years old, in the province of Puntarenas.

New socio-economic situations in this area have created new social problems and the institution currently offers comprehensive care for approximately 62 girls and 8 boys who are at-risk for various reasons.

Missionary Sisters of Asuncion with the support of local staff, manage the orphanage and care for the children's many needs. The orphanage promotes a good basic academic education, emotional support and affection to these children, whom many have suffered neglect and hardships in their young lives.

Hogar Cristiano Orphanage designates daily duties in the home to the older children which helps them to develop a feeling of self-worth and responsibility. They help in the care of the younger children, maintenance of the garden, feed and care for the animals at the farm and help each other with school homework assignments.

Hogar Cristiano Orphanage's mission, through love, personal and spiritual care, is to provide adequate training for children and adolescents who are at-risk; to develop skills necessary to enable them as adults to integrate successfully into society.

They teach each child, through comprehensive care, to value their dignity and worth as useful citizens who are able to make a positive contribution to society, as well as a successful future for themselves.

Does this organization have any religious affiliations?

Yes, as the organization is managed by Missionary Sisters of Asuncion, they have Catholic practices that include mass every weekend. Volunteers do not have to participate in any religious activities but must respect the rights of others.

When They Were Founded

Hogar Cristiano Orphanage was founded in 1918 by the Priest, Father Jose Daniel Carmona, who wanted to protect abandon girls of all ages in the Puntarenas area. At the beginning, the institution was managed by the Priest, nuns and a small group of people from the community but they had numerous financial problems during their 29 years of existence and decided to give the administration of the institution to the Missionary Sisters of Asuncion in 1947.

How Are They Funded

The organization receive a monthly fund per child from the government to cover their basic needs like food and clothing and once a year a school bonus to buy the uniforms and materials for school. Annually, they organize a Bingo for maintenance funds. They also receive donations from private organizations and individuals to pay the salaries for the support staff.

Donation Requests

Donations of clothing and shoes for girls from new born to 17 years old and boys from new born to 6 years old would be appreciated. They also need:

Diapers Cleaning products Notebooks, pencils, colouring pencils, pens, erasers, rulers Used computers Food

Placement Location Information

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Hogar Cristiano has ten buildings and five of them are the housing for children. Each house has a capacity for 20 children and they have the basic equipment to take care of them, like beds, a living room, two large dinning tables, two bathrooms and a large kitchen. Every house has its own garden with a small playground.

The other buildings are one office for the principal and a large garden with hydroponics where they get some vegetables for meals, they have a little farm with a cow, goats, chickens and dogs. A second building has a little church and the psychology room. The third building has a classroom available for any type of class and children's homework support and a doctor's room who visits them twice a month. The fourth building is a computer classroom with 16 computers but only eight of them work and the office of the accountant. The last building is the multipurpose salon for activities like bingo or enterteining activities for the children.

Hogar Cristiano is located in an area close to the main public hospital and in the main road that connects Puntarenas with the highway to San Jose. There are not a lot of facilities in the area like banks, internet cafes or stores but volunteers can find a little restaurants called "Sodas" close to the hospital.

Transfer From BaseCamp

From the BaseCamp Center take a taxi to Puntarenas Bus Terminal, located in between avenue 10 & 12, street 16. You will need to buy a ticket for the direct bus to Puntarenas. The bus lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes but it could be longer with traffic. Once the bus leaves the terminal, it will make the first stop until El Roble in Puntarenas. After this stop, ask the driver to stop at Coca Cola; which is the next stop, and it is where you will need to get off the bus.

The organization will be in front of you, crossing the main street.

Transportation from host family to placement will be explained during the orientation.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 93 km
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 2:15

Weather in the Area

Puntarenas belongs to one of the two lowlands with a dry season in Costa Rica which makes it have the highest temperatures and longest dry season in the country. The dry season starts on December and temperatures are between 30° to 35° Celsius and March is the hottest month in this area and the rainy season starts in July until November with temperatures around 27° to 32° Celsius and September is the rainiest month in this area.

City/Village Description

Puntarenas (Pointsands, from "punta arenas", or "sand point" in Spanish) is the capital and largest city in the province Puntarenas, Costa Rica, at the Pacific coast. The oddly shaped province has its largest section in the South, far from the capital.

Some 100,000 people live in the city and nearby towns. With beaches on the Pacific Ocean, it also attracts many tourists, especially surfers. It is also a possible stopover point for the tourist destination Monteverde, to the northwest.

Its port, Caldera, is one of the main ports in the country. Also, regularly scheduled ferries carry vehicles from Puntarenas to the Nicoya Peninsula.

Puntarenas is one of the most important tourist regions of Costa Rica. Its coasts are decked abundant islands, inlets, beaches and beautiful natural treasures that make it a tourist destination, both nationally and internationally, it also features cruise vessels. Its territory offers a variety of attractive grounds in the sun and beach, which are complemented with protected areas, islands and inland areas. The city of Puntarenas works as a place of stay, distribution, scale and excursion to other beaches and resorts of the Costa Rican Pacific coast. Tourism is the country's main economic activity in this area.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Medical Clinic Dr Lostalo
Main Street from el Roble to Barranca
TEL 1: 2663-5858

Placement Address

Hogar Cristiano
200 East From Monseñor Sanabria Hospital
Costa Rica

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Costa Rica at our BaseCamp Center in San Jose. Given that this placement is more than a 1 hour 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers here will be living with a host family after your orientation. Living with a host family is an awesome experience for a person looking to really experience Costa Rica and its culture.

The following information outlines a brief description of life at BaseCamp and also what someone can expect living with a host family in Costa Rica.

If you think that living with a host family is not for you, then this placement might not be the best fit with what you are looking for. You should try completing our application. It's totally free and will allow our team in Costa Rica to come up with a list of exactly which placements they would reccommend for you based on your personal preferences, background, skills and interests.

BaseCamp Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica
BaseCamp Costa Rica Address

Ave 16 St. 39&41
Los Yoses Sur
San Jose, Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica Contact Details

Tel: 506-8763-9595
Tel: 506-4030-1891
Mobile: 506-8763-9595

Take a Tour of BaseCamp
Accommodation in Costa Rica

All volunteers on our program in Costa Rica start out at our BaseCamp Center. The center is located in the capital city San Jose, and is a fantastic place from which to start your adventure.

Once volunteers have finished their orientation, where they live depends largely on the location of their placement. If their placement is more than a 1 hour 15 minutecommute from BaseCamp, then the only accommodation option may be host families or volunteer lodges in the national parks. However, if the placement is within a 1 hour 15 minute commute, then volunteers can choose whether or not to stay with us at BaseCamp or live with a host family.

BaseCamp Costa Rica is located in the province of San Jose at Los Yoses area. This is a fantastic area closed to the University of Costa Rica, San Pedro Mall, banks, supermarkets, restaurants, embassies and stores. Walking distance to down town and only 30 minutes away from the Juan Santamaria Airport.

BaseCamp has four bedrooms and three wash-rooms. The beds are mainly bunk beds in dormitory style rooms. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. There is a large common area where movies, books and games are available to our guests and there is a patio with a nice set up. This is an ideal setting for reading, studying Spanish or just some quiet relaxation.

BaseCamp is where volunteers first come when they arrive in Costa Rica and where they live for at least the duration of their orientation and training. The meal plan at the centre is based on a 14 day rotating schedule of a variety of traditional dishes from around the country. This meal plan allows volunteers to gain comfort and familiarity with both Costa Rican food and meal etiquette before making the transition to living with a host family.

Orientation and language training sessions take place in the BaseCamp Center. Each day of orientation blends some workshops and lessons with a mixture of outings to explore and become familiar with transportation and knowledge regarding the city.

Living With a Host Family in Costa Rica

Living with a host family in Costa Rica is a fantastic way to gain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the people and customs of the country. Each home-stay will provide a bed and three meals per day for our volunteers. The majority of host families offer private rooms with only one or two volunteers living with the family.

In the case of a volunteer lodge or ranger station (which is often the only option for placements within a National Park), volunteers will be living in dormitory type accommodation and meals will be provided in a mess hall or dining area.

Living with a host family can greatly enhance your performance at your placement. For one, it will have a huge influence on the speed with which you gain familiarity with the local language. This, along with your deeper understanding of cultural practices and beliefs that you are likely to gain in this environment, can go a long way to improving or strengthening your relationships with your team mates at work. Furthermore, a significant percentage of our host families are closely affiliated with the organizations with which our volunteers work. As such, even the evening meal or hanging out around the house can become valuable time during which volunteers can share their ideas and continue their support of their host organization.

All of this being said, living with a host family is not for everyone. It is very important for volunteers to honor the house rules in their host family and to be punctual. Also, depending on how remote your placement location, host families can be very rustic. Our staff in country can give you a better idea of what exactly you can expect from a host family in any particular community. However, in general, if these things sound like they might pose a challenge for you, we strongly suggest that you look at a placement within commuting distance from BaseCamp Costa Rica.

How the Program Works

Our program structure and costing is completely flexible which lets our volunteers ensure that they only pay for exactly the degree of support that they want.

Option 1 - Free Services

Some volunteers prefer to coordinate their own accommodation, meals and other support while overseas.

Anyone is welcome to use our volunteer placement search tool to help in finding a placement that is well suited to their interests. Once someone finds a placement that they wish to work with, they are welcome to make all the rest of their arrangmeents on their own.

As well, our team of staff overseas are often able to offer a few helpful pointers for volunteers 'doing it on their own'. Just send us an email with your questions and we will put you in touch with our team abroad. We only ask that you keep your requests fairly general, as this type of advice is exactly how our team earn their living. :)

Option 2 - Placement Support - 250 USD

Other volunteers would like assistance in selecting and confirming their placement, but they plan to manage their own accommodation and other expenses on their own.

These volunteers have the option of choosing to only have our assistance with selecting and confirming their placement. This option also includes ongoing placement support while abroad, so a volunteer would be able to ask our team for help if things at their placement were not working out.

In providing Placement Support, our team works with each volunteer through email, telephone and either Skype or Google Hangouts, to ensure that each volunteer has a clear understanding of their placement options. Our in-country staff will put together a custom list of placement options for each volunteer that they believe are the most appropriate matches with the volunteer's background, skills and interests. Then each volunteer can work with our team both in Canada and abroad to go through each of the options and narrow-down their selection.

Option 3 - Full Program Support

For most volunteers who are volunteering for less than a year, they are looking for an option that includes their accommodation, meals, airport reception, country and program orientation and placement support. This is what our Program Fees are designed for.

We are proud of how over the years we have ensured that our program fees are amoungst the most reasonable of any program in the world while we continue to provide exceptional volunteer support both at home and abroad.

Our Program Fees and listings of what these do and do not include are listed below:

Program Fees

Program Fees - Costa Rica

  Registration Fee
  1 Week
  2 Weeks
  3 Weeks
  4 Weeks
  5 Weeks
  6 Weeks
  7 Weeks
  8 Weeks
  Additional Weeks

Costa Rica wildlife and conservation placements require an additional $7 USD per day fee to cover park fees and accommodation. All program fees are listed in US Dollars.

What is Included
  • Pre-Departure support
  • Placement consulation
  • Airport reception & transfer
  • 2 Day orientation
  • Accommodation (BaseCamp or host family)
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Emergency & placement support

What is Not Included
    Before Departure
  • International flight
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Visa costs where required
  • Work permits where required
    While Overseas
  • Daily transportation to and from placement
  • Transport to airport on departure
  • Placement fees if requried

Program Dates

Our regularly scheduled program start dates are the first Friday of each month, every month of the year. We strongly recommend beginning your program on one of these dates as this will allow you to go through our orientation alongside other international volunteers.

If you would prefer, our application will also allow you to select a custom start date for your program. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee for a custom start date which ranges from 50 to 75 USD.

Feb 04, 2022 Mar 04, 2022 Apr 01, 2022
May 06, 2022 Jun 03, 2022 Jul 01, 2022
Aug 05, 2022 Sep 02, 2022 Oct 07, 2022
Nov 04, 2022 Dec 02, 2022 Jan 06, 2023
Feb 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023 Apr 07, 2023
May 05, 2023 Jun 02, 2023 Jul 07, 2023
Aug 04, 2023 Sep 01, 2023 Oct 06, 2023
Nov 03, 2023 Dec 01, 2023 Jan 05, 2024


These dates are the day that volunteers should plan to arrive on the ground in country. We can accommodate arrivals in-country at any time day or night on these dates.

Give us a Call
Canada / USA 866-646-4693 (toll free)
UK 866-646-4693 (toll free)
Australia 866-646-4693 (toll free)
International 613-353-3000
Send us a Message