Otra Cosa Network runs five of our own projects, which are all part of the Huanchaco Education and Learning Programme (HELP). HELP is dedicated to advancing the education possibilities and resources for those living in lower-income communities in Huanchaco and the surrounding shanty towns. Alongside this, we support several partner organisations in the area, as well as in two remote locations in northern Peru.

Words From Volunteers

Deux jours après mon arrivée à Huanchaco, dans l’ONG Otra Cosa Network, j’ai rencontré ma future équipe de travail: Bryan & Quique (pour les intimes) avec qui j’allais donner des cours de natation à des enfants incroyables (et je ne pèse pas mes mots) ! Des enfants toujours motivés, qui veulent apprendre, remplis d’énergie et tellement attachants.

Chloé Joseph (Belgium), Intern

The children were so happy to see us each morning when we arrived to take them to the ocean (yes, the ocean). They were grateful that someone would give up their time to take them to the beach and teach them how to swim.

Fiona Weir (Scotland), Swimming Teacher

In Huanchaco, many of the children in the poorer areas come from migrant families, originally from the highlands, where not many people know how to swim. What SwimTayka is doing is amazing, and it really changes the children’s relationship to the ocean and boosts their self confidence!

Beata Gullberg (Sweden), NGO Peru

¡Una experiencia fantástica y tan gratificante

Quique Landa Cuba (Peru), Student


Join us in the north of Peru, in a small surfing community called Huanchaco. This area was first settled by ancient civilisations over a thousand years ago and lies closed to the ruined city of Chan Chan. Most of the families that we work with are from displaced mountain communities and now live in a shanty town on the outskirts of the town, where many children live in homes with dirt floors and no running water.

Time Table

The Peruvian schools run on a South America academic calendar, with summer break occurring between January – March. To coordinate with students’ school calendars, SwimTayka operates in Peru from January to mid-March. While our partner organisation maintains a year-round presence. SwimTayka volunteers generally spend 2 weeks to 2 months on location. At this time SwimTayka can accept up to 4 volunteers during any 2 week period.

Before lessons begin

Volunteers participate in an orientation designed to home their skills in open water swim essentials, adolescent swim instruction, basic first aid and hazard awareness, foreign language fundamentals, and cultural communication. It is very highly recommended that volunteers have at least a basic level of Spanish language proficiency before arriving in Peru, but it's not essential.

Once lessons begin

The days are full: a 2-3 hour morning swimming session, 2 hour lunch break, and 2-3 hour afternoon environmental session. Lesson activities include swim essentials, water safety and first aid, and environmental education. Lessons include activities on land, in the pool, and in the oceans.

Lessons are held Monday to Friday and you have the weekends to explore.

During the lesson period

Volunteers carry out the swimming lessons and also accompany the students to and from the lesson sites (pool & ocean).

Outside lesson time

We organise shared meals and debrief sessions. And, to encourage volunteers to get to know our beautiful host location, two days a week are reserved for free time, open for your own independent exploration. Have fun!

Volunteering with SwimTayka is very rewarding

But please do not expect things to work as well as they do in your home country. Water and electricity supplies can sometimes be unreliable, as can access to the Internet. You may not always be able to find familiar foodstuffs in the shops and supermarkets. 

Similarly, time, structure & planning are understood differently in this country; things do not always go according to plan. Sometimes project placements are not always as simple they seem on paper and things often take longer than expected to accomplish. This is why patience, leadership, creativity and the willingness to be flexible and to help get things organized, are skills and competencies we require from every volunteer coming to work with us. This is what will help to ensure that your volunteering becomes truly valuable for the people you serve, for your own personal development, and for SwimTayka.

Financial Commitment

In order for SwimTayka to success we need a financial commitment from you. An initial contribution of $40 secures your place on the program.  Full Payment must be received 60 days before you commence your volunteering, the total amount payable is $1,500.   Your money covers any necessary transport costs directly related to your program, and transport to and from the local airport.  The balance goes towards the running of the swimming lessons, providing the children with equipment, it contributes towards all the teaching materials, advertising, and the general running of SwimTayka

In addition

  • Volunteers must make their own international travel arrangements. This means the round trip from your home country to the nearest commercial airport at their volunteering destination. 
  • Volunteers must arrange any necessary travel visas and vaccinations.
  • Accommodation range from 10-40 USD per night depending on the length of your stay and standard of accommodation required.  We do our best to recommend the best available in the area for your needs.
  • Volunteers need to cover the cost of their meals, a budget of approximately 10-20 USD per day is plenty.
  • Volunteers are responsible for their own swimming gear and personal items.

SwimTayka Provides our Volunteers

Volunteers can expect a hearty welcome and ongoing support from SwimTayka.

Support before arrival

Safety and logistical assessments of the project location and facilities.
Careful consideration of every volunteer, his or her experience and skills, and a candid assessment of fitness for the swim instruction / environmental stewardship program.
Correspondence via e-mail, phone and Skype to answer all initial questions and inquiries prior to arrival.
Secure safe and comfortable housing/ accommodations during volunteer placements.

Support Upon Arrival

A hearty welcome and pickup from Huanchaco airport or bus station.
Welcome introduction meeting and walking tour of the area.
On-site accommodations at the level of comfort you select.
2 – 3 day orientation session.
Several group meals to bring everyone together.
Spanish language instruction with local tutors (modest additional cost).
SwimTayka T-shirt and goodie bag.
Guide on health, safety and emergency procedures with access to a network of medical and dental providers and 24-hour emergency support.
Staff from Swim Tayka or our partner organisations are on site and available during volunteer terms.
Free WiFi access, sitting gardens and a comfortable meeting space at the volunteer house. WiFi is often available at most hotels and guest houses in the area.

Support Prior to Departure

Exit interview and evaluation
Opt-in for regular SwimTayka updates via social media and our online newsletter.
What we expect from our volunteers
Your commitment to the mission of SwimTayka: open water swimming and environmental stewardship.
Pro-activity and a positive attitude – bureaucracy and certain procedures may take more time than you are used to. Be positive and try to find alternative solutions!
Passion for sustainable practices. Our main focus is for the individuals and communities in our projects to benefit and thrive long-term.
Respect for local culture and local staff and fellow volunteers
Be communicative – please keep us updated on your volunteer work and life during your stay with us.
Spread the word! Send us your pictures and your stories for our Facebook photo albums, or share your experiences at your local college or university!

Local language lessons

Our volunteers generally find that the stronger language skills they have, the more they get out of their volunteer experience. While volunteering, you may need or want to improve your language skills. We facilitate a number of different language tutoring options.