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Volunteer and Communications Director in our office in Sucre

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

An incredible experience

I volunteered with BiblioWorks for 8 months as the both the Volunteer Coordinator and the Communications Director.

I am a teacher-librarian and I was able to use my knowledge, skills and love of books as well as gain a wide-range of new knowledge and skills while having incredible experiences and giving my problem-solving skills a workout. I was based in the office in Sucre but traveled to the rural libraries, initially with the library trainers and later independently.

My Spanish was rusty when I arrived but quickly came back to me as all of the office and library staff are Bolivian and speak little to no English. The BiblioWorks staff are very professional and committed to their work. They work collaboratively and I felt privileged to be a part of the team.

My final month of volunteering was April 2016 and it finished with two of BiblioWorks biggest yearly events - “Sucre Lee” (Sucre Reads) and “La Feria de la Lectura” (The Reading Festival). The lead up to these events gave me a chance to experience the highs (and lows) of fundraising first hand as well as take part in press conferences and live radio interviews (in Spanish!).

I will treasure the memories I have made during my time in BiblioWorks and put my newfound skills and knowledge to use in my future work.

I highly recommend volunteering with BiblioWorks if you have a love of books and reading, a reasonable level of Spanish, an open-mind, and a sense of humour!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    8

If you're looking for community immersion, then BiblioWorks is your project

I volunteered for seven months as BiblioWorks' Communications and Volunteer Director, based in the beautiful white city of Sucre. This is definitely not a volunteering programme like many of the others, where you are surrounded by other volunteers and following a set routine or project. The best thing about BiblioWorks is that the very nature of the work that they do - supporting development in rural communities - means that volunteers are required to work with local people, speak Spanish and generally embrace Bolivia and its people.

My role was office based but I had so much freedom to support the work of the staff (all of whom were Bolivian - another plus point as far as I'm concerned) and implement my own ideas as they were keen to listen and to use the ideas and expertise that volunteers can bring. Sucre in itself is a wonderful place to spend time as it has the right balance between gringo-city and local people; you're guaranteed to make friends from both ends of this spectrum. Spanish lessons are also incredibly cheap: I started with little-to-no Spanish and the experience of lessons and having to use my Spanish on a daily basis to communicate with my colleagues worked wonders with my pitiful groundings in the language!

I also spent a few weeks working as one of the Literacy Ambassadors in the school library in Maragua, set in the stunning Maragua Crater around four hours from Sucre. This was one of my favourite experiences throughout my seven months, but would have been very difficult if I hadn't spoken intermediate Spanish by that point. Living and working in this incredible location (the mountains lining the horizon and which blend into the strongest blue sky that you will ever see was an image that never got old) was an experience that I will certainly never forget and such a powerful opportunity to see Bolivia and rural life first-hand.

All in all, strongly recommended, but only for those with an adventurous spirit and decent Spanish!