Orphanage Childcare Volunteer

San Jose Orphan Hospice Foundation - Goicoechea, Costa Rica
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-560 Location: Goicoechea, Costa Rica Sector: Social Services Category: Childcare Min Duration: 2 weeks Lodging: BaseCamp or Host Family Language: Intermediate
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Volunteer Job Description

San Jose Orphan Hospice Foundation Homes provide comprehensive care for children at risk. They promote personal, social and spiritual growth.

A childcare volunteer would be assigned to a specific house inside the compound containing 9 houses with approximately 10 children and 2 surrogate mothers per house.

The mothers work a five day rotation with 5 days on and then 5 days off. The mothers work really hard to make sure that the children are safe, well nourished, happy and receive an education. This requires a great deal of attention and with only 2 mothers in the home at a time to provide for their many needs, the work is non ending. It is here where volunteers play an important role by assisting in the daily chores in the home, as well as partaking in the numerous activities related to the care and well being of the children.

Childcare volunteers are needed to provide stimulating activities for the children, as well as to assist, at times, in their personal grooming. The children like to be taken outdoors for physical activities such as numerous sports or educational type games or even a quiet time when storybook telling or puppet shows could help to expand their knowledge.

A childcare volunteer does not need to have any special educational requirements at this placement but should enjoy working with children of all ages, be able to create fun and stimulating activities for the children to participate in and have the energy and emotional stamina that this requires.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Inside Activities

Childcare volunteers would be expected to create activities for the children to do when they must be indoors. If these sessions require supplies of any kind they would have to be provided by the volunteer.

Outside Activities

Childcare volunteers would be expected to participate in sports and other games outside with the children. When activities are outdoors one of the surrogate mothers would accompany the volunteer.

Household Duties

A childcare volunteer may be asked to help in the general cleaning of the house or personal grooming of the children. At least once a week, a surrogate mother will have to attend a meeting or go to a medical appointment with a child. A volunteer may be asked to assist at that time.

Homework Assignments

The majority of the children attend school everyday and they will have homework. Volunteers may be asked to assist the children having difficulty understanding their homework but should not do the homework for any child.

Host Organization Details

San Jose Orphan Hospice Foundation

All orphanages and daycare facilities in Costa Rica are supervised by PANI, a government institution that supervises childcare in Costa Rica. However, the orphanages themselves are small not for profit organizations or community groups.

Fundacion Hospicio de Huesfanos de San Jose (San Jose Orphan Hospice Foundation) is an organization that takes care of the children that PANI has received from the government. They are children without families or children who have been rescued from families with psychological, economical or social problems.

The hospice houses about 76 children that range in age from new born to 12 years old. The children reside in and are carefully divided among the nine small homes that are managed by, "Surrogate Mothers." These Mothers are responsible for providing for the moral support, education, nutrition and personal care of each child in her home.

The Hospice has social workers on staff who help the children: during their recovery period from their previous and sometimes extremely distressful situations and the sometimes long adapting process to their new environment. Some of these children are able to be adopted; while others live at the shelter until they are 12 years old and then they are transferred to a shelter for teens.

The hospice also has teachers who support the children in their studies.

Does this organization have any religious affiliations?

The hospice is a public institution and therefore adheres to the Catholic Faith, as their basic religion. However, volunteers do not have to profess to any religious beliefs but must respect the rights of others.

When They Were Founded

Doña Jeronima Montealegre Fernández founded a children's shelter in 1869, under the name "Trinity."

In the mid eighties the Montealegre family administered the hospice under the supervision of the Catholic Church and the direction of Bishop Bernardo Augusto Thiel II, Bishop of Costa Rica. He sought the support of the "Catholic Society of the Ladies of Charity San Vicente de Paul ", to perform the work. This group known as the Vincentian Volunteers, assigned the management of the hospice to the "Daughters of Charity".

For nearly 100 years the hospice was operated in this manner. However, in December 1998 the Daughters of Charity, under their own initiative, decided to leave all the responsibility for direct service, at the hospice, in the hands of the Foundation.

How Are They Funded

The foundation receives basic help for each child from the government. They also receive funds from different organizations. They have a farming area, where they produce their own milk and they sell some of the products produced from the milk to obtain more funds.

Donation Requests

The hospice really needs diapers, clothing and shoes for children between new born and 12 years of age.

Supplies for the school would be very much appreciated: notebooks, pencils, erasers, colored pencils, markers, used computers or laptops and English dictionaries.

Placement Location Information

Goicoechea, Costa Rica

Located in "Vista de Mar" highway to Rancho Redondo, the area is known for its livestock and milk production. It is one of the few rural areas that has not been developed in the province of San Jose. The center is basic but it is located in a huge area with so many green areas for kids to plays soccer and do other activities. There are nine houses and a multi-purpose building for events like birthdays, children's day, mothers day and many others. There is also another building for people who work at the orphanage like the manager, psychologists, and other important charges.

They have a main building where the substitute mothers get the food each day. In this building there are two women in charge of preparing the meals.

Transfer From BaseCamp

From the BaseCamp house, you will walk to the main street that goes to San Jose, but you will need to cross it to take the bus that goes east. The bus will stop in front of Vista de Mar Home. The direct bus runs every hour or you can take an alternative bus that goes to the same area but the last stop will be at the Catholic church, from there you will need to walk 200 meters. This bus runs every 15 minutes.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 9 km
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 0:20

Weather in the Area

San José City lies in the Torrid Zone and is in a tropical rainforest. However its elevation gives it a mild climate. Under the Köppen climate classification it features a tropical wet and dry climate that borders on a subtropical highland climate.

The temperature ranges between 17 and 30 °C (63 and 86 °F). Relative humidity averages 68.2% (with extremes of 55% in March and 78% in October) and the daily range tends to be between 60% and 90%, with the humidity typically dropping to the lower end of this range near mid-day and rising again during the night. It rains on an average of 170 days per year but half the rainfall pours down on only 15 of these days. The rainy season is from May to mid-November, but cloudiness and rainfall can occur during the dry season. The weather is also very windy; this decreases the temperature at times.

City/Village Description

Goicoechea is the name of the county but the area is know as Guadalupe. Gudalupe downtown is located two kilometers way from BaseCamp Center and it is a town with a lot of commerce, where people can find almost everything. It has all kinds of shoping centers and malls, restaurants, cafeterias, internet cafes, banks, bakeries and much more.

Considered as a very religious area, downtown Guadalupe is considered a very develop district but just a few minutes away there is a lot rural areas with farms, where people still produce milk, strawberries and blackberries.

The public transportation is very efficient, there are around 15 lines that cross the county, every Saturday people visit the agriculture fair, where agricultures from all over the country come to sale fresh products.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Centro Integrado de Salud
Main road at the entrance of Coronado.
Vasquez De Coronado
TEL 1: 2229-0796

Placement Address

San Jose Orphan Hospice Foundation
200 Meters East From Vista De Mar Catholic Church
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 less than a 1 hour and 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers working here will have the option of living with us at BaseCamp or living with a host family.

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. Once you have completed our application, you can let our staff know if you would prefer to live with a host family. Otherwise, your application will default to having you live with us at BaseCamp.

If you have any questions about the difference between life at BaseCamp or life with a host family in Costa Rica you can always give us a call or send us an email. Our contact details are listed in the footer of every page of the site.

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
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