“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
If you are seeking an opportunity to work hard, experience a new culture, expand your horizons and help deserving families in need of simple, decent housing, we hope you will consider joining this adventurous and diverse group of volunteers. Construction skills are not necessary, just a compassionate heart, a sense of humor, a willingness to get dirty and pitch in as needed, and an open mind.
About El Salvador
El Salvador is located in Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and Honduras. It is the smallest and most densely populated of the Central American countries. Two volcanic chains run down its center, rising from fertile plateaus that otherwise characterize the countryside.
The country’s climate is tropical; with a rainy season (May to October) and dry season (November to April). It is tropical on the coast; temperate in uplands. Daytime temperatures vary little, reaching around 86 degrees F in November and 93 degrees F in March and April.
About Habitat for Humanity El Salvador
Since 1992, Habitat for Humanity El Salvador has provided more than 10,300 housing solutions, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 51,500 Salvadorians. HFH El Salvador works with the central office in San Salvador and seven regional’s offices in San Miguel, Santa Ana, Sonsonate, Usulutan, La Paz, San Vicente and San Salvador.
The earthquake-resistant houses are made of concrete blocks and structural steel reinforcement. The roofs are made of fiber-cement sheeting, and the floors of cement brick. They have two bedrooms, a living room, a dining room and a latrine or toilet. Windows are shutter type, protected by steel bars in order to provide adequate lighting, ventilation and security.
For families who are unable to afford the standard model, there is another housing option called the “progressive model.” Depending on the family’s future resources, these houses may be extended and improved in stages. This model is available in two sizes: a 40 square meter construction area (US$8,000) or a 30 square meter construction area.
For more information, visit www.habitatelsalvador.org.sv.
Types of construction for volunteers
Global Village volunteers may work in all stages of construction, from digging foundations to painting the houses. Regardless of what stage the house is in when the team arrives, responsibilities will likely include: carrying bricks, mixing cement, compacting dirt and moving materials.
On the work site, volunteers will find portable bathrooms and designated resting areas with drinkable water. The team will be supervised by technical advisors and construction experts and they will present written construction goals every day. Each volunteer will be provided with a pocket-sized contact card plus emergency and evacuation plans.
Day 1 (Arrival day, typically Saturday): Greeted at San Salvador airport by Habitat El Salvador staff; transport to accommodations.
Day 2 (Sunday): Travel to affiliate location; Free time/cultural activity; orientation and welcome.
Days 3–7 (Work days, Monday–Friday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; supper of typical Salvadoran food; time for team activities.
Day 8 (Saturday): Travel to San Salvador; free time/cultural activity; final team dinner.
Day 9 (Final day, Sunday): Departure day.
Note: Trip includes special events throughout the week: cultural experiences with host program, such as traditional dance, agricultural and architectural tours, typical food preparation – as well as a farewell activity.
Habitat El Salvador will determine the best lodging option for Global Village teams. Work teams usually stay in hotels, retreat centers or dorm-style accommodations that are basic, safe and clean. The team will stay two to four people per room. Typically rooms are equipped with a private bathroom, though in some locations, only shared bathrooms are available. Volunteers are not required to bring any bedding, but will need to pack a towel.
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)
Increase your impact: Take the GV Challenge
Habitat for Humanity is accelerating its work to end poverty housing, and we need Global Village teams to help. Set a goal and fundraise to make your impact last longer than the days you’re in the field. Your support builds more homes, creates resource centers, educates families, and advances our projects to build sustainable communities. We’ll even provide tools to make fundraising easy. Take the GV Challenge – join us in sharing our story and building a better world.
Emily Fortman has completed six Global Village trips (five as a team leader) to Romania, China, Chile, Cambodia, Fiji and Costa Rica. She lives in Washington, D.C., and works for the American Red Cross doing disaster preparedness, response and recovery work. Prior to working for the Red Cross, Emily was the director of family services for a Habitat affiliate in Washington State. Emily travels often and enjoys unique food, languages and cultures, meeting new people, volunteering, reading and spending time in nature. She looks forward to making unforgettable memories while having fun and helping partner families in El Salvador.
Ted Richardson has traveled to the Dominican Republic with Habitat and co-led a Global Village trip to Fiji in 2012 with Emily. He runs a food bank outside of Seattle, Washington. He has traveled through much of Latin America and speaks fluent Spanish.
You may contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.