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Service sites for the upcoming 2015 service year:
Les Cayes is located in southwestern Haiti and has a population of approximately 70,000 people. In Les Cayes, the Sisters of Notre Dame serve a severely impoverished community by operating the Notre Dame Family Education Center, which provides rudimentary education, health services, and job training skills to women and children. The main role of the volunteers currently is the development of ESL and basic math skills classes at the community education center, as well as outside ESL classes. The other main task for the volunteers is to collaborate with a local youth group on service projects in the community.
Matagalpa is a city of 100,000 located in north central Nicaragua. Volunteers will serve alongside the Sister of Notre Dame who work for Familias Especiales. Familias Especiales de Santa Billiart (FE) of Matagalpa, Nicaragua is a non-governmental, non-profit agency that was founded in 1996. The prime objective is to work with mothers who have handicapped children, empowering and enabling them to meet their special needs and reach out to others who share similar obstacles. Familias Especiales works as a community to help these families attain basic resources and services in the areas of health, education, employment, recreation, physical accessibility, transportation, and spirituality. Familias Especiales is also committed to educating the greater community about the abilities and needs of the handicapped and their families.
Notre Dame Mission Volunteers has served at these sites in the past, however volunteers will not be at these sites in 2015.
Malava - Tumaini Miles of Smiles
The Tumaini Miles of Smiles Centre, located in the rural Kakamega district of western Kenya, strives to provide for the physical, emotional and intellectual needs of each child in the community. The Center consists of a Christian primary school serving about 180 students, and an orphanage that provides a home, food, clothing, education, and spiritual and emotional care for the students who have nowhere else to go. The volunteers’ primary responsibilities are to teach English, Creative, P.E. and other classes to students in primary school grades. Volunteers live about 4 kilometers from Tumaini and commute by public transportation and a 15 minute walk.
Michael Durkin, NDMV ’09, says of Tumaini:
“Tumaini is an amazing place to work. The orphanage staff and the school leadership are very supportive. Most important are the children, who are amazing. I NEVER wanted to teach, but since January I have said repeatedly that 'the children will get me through this year,’ and they continue to do so. Despite the minor hardships, I am happy to go to work every day, every single one. How many people can really say that?”
Malava - Saint Julie Center
The Saint Julie Programme focuses primarily on working with children with disabilities, providing help to both the children and their families so that the children can achieve their full potential. The St Julie Centre (SJC) is where the clients come for physical and play therapy. In addition, the programme provides financial support for surgeries, medicines, and small farming projects.
The volunteers in Nairobi, Kenya served at Rescue Dada, a centre for young girls who have lived on the street. The volunteers help fulfill the mission of the Centre, which is to provide the girls with a home, education, and social services. The main goal of the centre is to reintegrate the girls into society and to hopefully reunite them with their families. To do this, the Centre offers the girls training to become self-supporting, as well as giving them counseling, medical care, and overall support and love. The Centre also trains the mothers of the girls to become self-reliant and conducts a follow-up program. For more information about Rescue Dada, visit their website at www.rescuedada.org.
Kroonstad, which is Afrikaans for Crown City, is located on the central plains of South Africa. With a population of just over 100,000 people, Kroonstad is the third largest city in the Free State province. Volunteers in Kroonstad serve at the Northern Free State Institute for Community Development (NFSI) or St. Peter Claver School. NFSI was founded in 2000 to combat poverty in the northern Free State through job skills training and income generating projects. Volunteers at NFSI teach computer classes and permaculture gardening/nutrition classes. St. Peter Claver School is a private Catholic school that was built almost a hundred years ago by the Sisters of Notre Dame. St. Peter teaches almost 900 students in grades 1-9, many of these children come from low income families. Volunteers at St. Peter tutor small groups of students, work as substitute teachers, or teach certain subjects.
Volunteers have served in partnership with the Las Delicias de Villa Fe y Alegria school, a network of 31 different instructional centers spread throughout the countryside in order to give children in the most remote areas access to education. Opportunities included tutoring special-needs children in basic reading, writing, and math; tutoring secondary-school students in English; serving as teacher’s aides; creating extracurricular clubs and activities; and working with adults in the Fe y Alegria Radio School, a distance-learning program that allows adults, primarily women, to complete their primary or secondary education.
To read a PDF article about the Fe y Alegría network , click Here.
Tambogrande is a rural town of about 30,000 people located in the district of Piura, Peru, north of Lima. Volunteers served half of each week at Tambogrande's physical therapy center “Sonrisas Felices,” which provides therapy to disabled children of poor families from the town and its rural surroundings. The rest of the week, volunteers served at the Fe y Alegria School #48. At the school, they served by tutoring individual children, teaching English classes, serving as teachers' aides, or organizing extracurricular clubs and activities.
Located in the Amazon region in Northern Brazil, Anapu is a town of approximately 20,000 people situated along the Transamazon Highway in the state of Pará. For decades Anapu and the greater Amazon region have faced an array of complex social and environmental challenges. Rural poverty, deforestation, and land disputes are commonplace. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Anapu work in solidarity with community members to promote social and environmental justice throughout the region. Volunteers live in community with the Sisters in Anapu and have opportunities to serve in local schools with children or host adult English classes. Adventurous volunteers are able to live with host families in the various cacau farming settlements that exist outside Anapu proper and experience the joys and challenges of rural life in Brazil. Portuguese is not required but volunteers are expected to embrace the challenge of learning a new language in an immersion environment.
To read about our current and former volunteers' adventures and service abroad feel free to visit their blogs below! Please note that the contents of these blogs do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NDMVP.
|Feels good. Inside. So be cool.
Kroonstad, South Africa
|Sarah in Kroonstad
Kroonstad, South Africa
|How Did I Get Here?
Kroonstad, South Africa
|Kimiko Serves Peru
|Sue's African Adventures
|A View From the Cave
|How Did I Get Here?
|How Kathleen Met a Llama
|Tim in Kenya
There are many benefits to serving internationally with Notre Dame Mission Volunteers. Along with the basic necessities like housing and travel to and from the volunteers’ service site, we provide orientation and training, health insurance, a living stipend, spiritual retreats, and supervision and support by NDMV staff and friends. There are also intangible benefits in the spiritual and/or personal developments that take place when a volunteer is exposed to new cultures and ways of life. Below we will define and explain each benefit in more detail.
- Monthly stipend
- Health insurance
- Orientation and training
- Supervision and support
- Travel expenses
Housing is available for members. Accommodations are modest and volunteers live in community with one another. Volunteers in Brazil will live with a host family. In Nigeria and Peru, the volunteers live in a Convent setting with the Sisters of Notre Dame.
As a condition of our partnership with the Catholic Medical Missions Board, we are able to provide volunteers with a monthly stipend of $350 per person. This living allowance can be utilized to pay for rent, food, and other personal expenses.
Health insurance is provided through our partnership with the Catholic Medical Missions Board.
Training and Orientation
Orientation takes place at the NDMV National Office in Baltimore, MD. In Baltimore, volunteers participate in workshops, trainings, and informative sessions hosted by Sisters of Notre Dame and friends of NDMV on relevant topics to their year of service. Once arriving at their service site, they also engage in a second Orientation to introduce them to their new home, service site activities, and the Sisters of Notre Dame in the area.
Supervision and Support
NDMV offers strong support to its volunteers in the form of an international site director and other Sisters of Notre Dame. The site director keeps in contact with the volunteers on a monthly basis, in emergencies and makes visits to the volunteers’ service sites. In Nigeria and Peru, the volunteers live with the Sisters of Notre Dame who offer them both guidance and support.
NDMV pays for the travel costs to and from the volunteers’ service sites.
Personal and Professional Development
Moving to a new country and immersing oneself in a new culture is a life changing experience. International volunteers often learn a great deal about themselves as well as the people they work with at their site and those they befriend during their stay.
When reviewing your application, we will look at the following criteria:
- US Citizenship
- College degree and/or professional skills needed in the missions
- Good mental and physical health
- Aged between 21 and 50 years
- Willingness to participate in a Catholic community and regular liturgical services
- Willingness to participate in fundraising for the program (with guidance from the National Office)
- Commitment to work and live with the poor.
Upon acceptance, volunteers have the following responsibilities:
- Raise $3000 towards program expenses
- Visit a travel clinic to obtain the necessary vaccines and medicines
An ideal candidate will also:
- Have a history of long-term service, like AmeriCorps or JVC.
- Have experience traveling and/or living abroad
- Speak a language used in the service region.
- Spanish is Required for Nicaragua.
- A strong French background is required for Haiti.
- English is the official language of Nigeria so volunteers are not required to learn another language.
We are no longer accepting applications for the 2014 service year. We will begin accepting applications for 2015 in January 2014.
Volunteers begin their year of service in January and return in December.
For current and former Notre Dame Mission Volunteers:
- Submit a letter of intent outlining where you wish to serve and why
- Obtain a letter of recommendation from your NDMVA site director
- Current Resume
For new applicants:
- Complete an application form (Microsoft Word version)
- Obtain two letters of recommendation
*Note to applicants applying to Peru: It is strongly recommended that you submit your applicant in both English and Spanish to help expedite the process.
After completing the above, selected applicants will have:
- Personal interview(s)
- a medical exam
- an interview by our international site contacts
- familiarity with our International Handbook
Important Dates for 2015 Service:
- January, 2014 - begin accepting applications
- May, 2014 - begin interview process
- January, 2015 - tentative start date for departure
Thank you for you interest in the program. For further information, contact the International Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-532-6864 ext 17