Speech Therapy Volunteer

Children's Cleft Lip or Palate Association - San Jose, Costa Rica
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-618 Location: San Jose, Costa Rica Sector: Health Care Category: Rehabilitation and Therapy Min Duration: 2 weeks Lodging: BaseCamp or Host Family Language: Intermediate Placement Fee: 50 USD / week
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Volunteer Job Description

The Costa Rican Association Pro-Child with Cleft Lip and Palate provides support to patients and their families and takes place in an atmosphere of peace, respect and equality. In this way the financial and moral support they receive is reflected in their complete and comprehensive recovery.

The association takes care of children and adolescents. They offer assistants in any area that is needed; for example: food, accommodation for the families of children who are in the pre or postoperative phase of treatment and of-course the necessary and extensive speech therapy sessions, when appropriate during their long recovery period.

Speech therapy volunteers are needed to support the Speech Therapy Department of the Association who's staff attend to a minimum of 32 appointments per week.

Speech therapy studies of 2 years minimum is required at this placement and experience in the field would be very helpful but it is not mandatory.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Therapy Session Assistant

A speech therapy volunteer would help the speech therapist of the organization with the daily patient sessions. There are around 32 appointments every week with children and adolescents from all over Costa Rica.

Education of Family

An important part of the therapy is the education given to the relatives of the patients. A speech therapy volunteer may be asked to conduct educational workshops to help families to understand the difficulties their children may be experiencing through the different phases of treatment and in their rehabilitation process.

Classroom Organization

A speech therapy volunteer will help to organize the week's agenda plus the room for every session with a patient. Materials will be provided by the organization but creativity will be very important.

Visit Rural Areas

A speech therapy volunteer once a month, will go with staff from the association to visit rural areas and encourage families, (that have a child with this deformity), to seek medical care. Most of the time, these families do not have the resources necessary and are not aware of the assistance the government will provide to their child and themselves.

Host Organization Details

Children's Cleft Lip or Palate Association

The Costa Rican Association Pro-Child with Cleft Lip and Palate is a nonprofit association whose primary purpose is to facilitate the necessary treatment and training of said persons in order for them to become a productive member of society.

Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world where the state provides public health care to people with cleft lips and palates. From birth to 18 years of age or more, (it is determined on a case by case basis), public health care is provided. In this long road to recovery these children require between 9 to 14 operations, as well as, pre and post-operative care.

The Association is home to patients around the country from all indigenous areas such as: Punta Burica, Chirripó, Talamanca, The Cazoña, Buenos Aires and other places as far as the Central Valley of Guanacaste, South Zone, North Zone and Lemon, among others.

Costa Rican Association Pro-Child Cleft Lip and Palate helps families of Costa Rican children, (who are afflicted with this malformation), in numerous ways. Economically, the association provides financial support to enable patients and their appropriate family members to attend the numerous medical appointments necessary for the child's recovery. They also provide nourishment for the babies, in the form of milk, which is a big undertaking.

Another very important role that the association performs is the education of families, as well as the general public, regarding the difficulties both physically and emotionally that these CLP children encounter and some ways and means to assist these children towards a rewarding future.

Despite economic constraints that the association faces daily, the support that they contribute to patients with LPH and their families, is provided in an atmosphere of peace, respect and equality. The financial and moral support they receive is reflected in the complete and comprehensive recovery of the children.

When They Were Founded

Dr. Sergio Guevara Fallas founded the Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic. Dr. Sergio saw the need for an Association to help patients and their families both financially and emotionally. He gathered a group of parents and Clinical staff to work on this initiative. Thus creating the Costa Rican Association Pro-Child Cleft Lip and Palate, on December 9, 1983.

Mrs. Sonia Valverde Aguero, mother of a cleft lip and palate child was captivated by the initiative of the physician and the need to help parents who had children with similar conditions as her own child. She joined the Association and today is its National Director.

How Are They Funded

Costa Rican Association Pro-Child Cleft Lip and Palate does not receive funds from the government but the government supports them through a national campaign once a year at every public school where families buy lottery tickets. They also organize several activities through-out the year to get funds from around the country. They organize concerts with local musicians and all the funds collected from these activities go to the association.

Donation Requests

They would be happy to receive any of the following donations:

Clothing for babies and kids Toys Recreational and educational books, (in Spanish), for babies and young children Food (milk for babies) Diapers Supplies pertinent to CLP therapy

Placement Location Information

San Jose, Costa Rica

Costa Rican Association Pro-Child with Cleft Lip and Palate is located in downtown San Jose, close to the National Children's Hospital because 75% of the children they receive comes to San Jose to receive a treatment at the main hospital. Public transportation is very efficient around the area but also it is only walking distance to main bus stops to go outside San Jose.

They moved into a new centre which it is going to be bought by the association and it has a large administration office at the entrance, dentist room, staff bedrooms, kitchen and speech therapy room all on the first floor. On the second floor, which is downstairs, there are four bedrooms for the children and families who need accommodation while they have their medical appointments at the hospital. On ground floor, there is a large patio with a lot of fruit trees and green areas where children can play while they are at the center.

Transfer From BaseCamp

From the BaseCamp house, take a bus to San Jose downtown. Once in San Jose go to the beginning of the walking street at central avenue and walk two extra blocks to the corner of the National Children's Hospital. Turn to your left and walk the long block until avenue 8 and turn to your right. Walk half block a the association is on the right hand side.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 8
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 0:45

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 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. There are approximately 2040 hours of sunshine per year. The weather is also very windy.

City/Village Description

San Jose is situated in the central valley and is home to one third of the population of Costa Rica. It is the political, transportation, and entertainment centre.

San Jose is a hub of art, culture, and international events. There is a large system of inter-city parks, full of rare breeds of trees and plants, as well as statues of important figures in Costa Rican history. Festivals happen regularly, providing a unique look into contemporary Costa Rican culture. There are many opportunities in San Jose to learn to salsa, meringue or samba. San Jose has some incredible restaurants serving local and international fare, and has several cinemas showing Latin American films. The night life in San Jose is happening, and there are many great clubs in which to dance the night away.

San Jose, is a fascinating city from a political perspective: as the only democratic nation to decline a national army (instead choosing to allocate funds to public health care), the capital has long been a centre for Central American peace talks and forums. A politically active city, San José, serves as the headquarters for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Hospital San Juan de Dios
Street 20 Central Avenue
Paseo Colón
San Jose
TEL 1: 2257-6282

Placement Address

Children's Cleft Lip or Palate Association
Simon Bolivar Street
Avenue 8 Between 26 & 28 St
San Jose
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

Placement Fee Alert

This placement has a placement fee!

In some cases, a placement will have to take on certain expenses in order to host a volunteer. For example, some medical internship placements take time away from paid medical staff to help with educational assistance. This has a cost that is compensated by a placement fee. In other cases, the organization may have to pay for additional equipment, energy consumption or other expense in order to put a volunteer to work.

In such cases, the organizaiton charges a fee. This fee is paid directly to the organization in cash on the ground.

One of the reasons that we keep this fee separate is so that volunteers who do not pay us for accommodation, meals etc (Program Fees), will see that they will still have to make this payment directly to the organizaiton upon their arrival.

The placement fee for this organization is: 50 USD / week

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.

Dec 03, 2021 Jan 07, 2022 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


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