In the 1990s Manfred Monnighoff, a German entrepreneur developed the Peace Villages Foundation, the first known Non-Profit Franchise Concept. For this Mönnighoff left his successful business career in behind to become a social activist. He joined grassroots NGO's around the globe and worked as a volunteer with the intention of helping to create and promote a Culture of Peace. Learning to put his entrepreneurial skills to work and gaining important NGO management experience, enabled him to set up replicable and self-sustained aid programs first in Venezuela and later the Dominican Republic based on a rotational credit system the support of many volunteer efforts and resources, a combination of practical work and donations.
Mönnighoff and the Peace Villages Foundation started in 1995 a first humanitarian project in Merida, Venezuela, thanks to the collocation of his own life savings in form of a rotational credit. The work in Merida focused on children rights. Efforts were made to integrate street children and at-risk youth into a more stable environment, and at times into foster families. With the aim of creating a registered NGO in Venezuela, he succeeded in 2001 with the legal constitution of Fundacion Aldeas de Paz in Caracas, Venezuela and later in 2016 in Samana, the Dominican Republic. Aldeas de Paz has been based in Santa Elena, Venezuela since 2002 and has been operating in the Dominican Republic since 2015, focusing its resources and volunteer support on cultural exchange and social development programs.
During 2014 the social and political situation in Venezuela became increasingly difficult and programs based on volunteer placement had to be temporarily suspended until mid 2017 when on request of locals and the necessity for help with social development and aid programs in the youth care and community sector are scheduled to start again!
While our programs in the Dominican Republic are very successful and operations are open for volunteer participation, the Venezuelan programs in Santa Elena will be initially run by local staff exclusively. It is planned to invite volunteers later on when accommodations are reopened and precautions as well as a special access route to the location in Santa Elena near the Brazilian border are fully operational. However, we invite interested Volunteers and Interns to contact us for more information.
Since January 2015 a second branch of Fundacion Aldeas de Paz has been inaugurated in the Dominican Republic. With the great support of the local community the Dominican headquarters has successfully been established in Santa Barbara de Samana, a coastal town in the north east of the Dominican Republic. We are met with exceptional friendliness and kindness by locals and authorities! Our work in Samana is focusing on defending children rights, promoting cultural exchange and sustainable, ecological tourism as a source of income. We are mainly concerned with the plight of vulnerable children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
With our Youth Care and Community Work Program we aim to empower young people by offering them additional educational opportunities and tutoring classes, as well as supporting and educating parents. With the help of local professionals we started the first ever educational and therapeutic initiative for children with special needs in Samana. Our small school is located in the heart of Samana and offers opportunity for computer literacy classes, tutoring classes and environmental awareness programs. Additionally we promote children rights through our Social Media, Multimedia and Journalism Project, where we highlight the plight of children and teens. An awareness raising television program with the aim to help educate parents and attend adolescent issues is in preparation and with the help of our NGO Management and Administration Program. Within this program we support our staff to coordinate the various initiatives and logistical planning and to become self-sustained in the community. Our Medical and Dental Health Experience and Observation Programs provide interns and volunteers for the local hospital and dental clinic to shadow and assist the nurses and doctors. While our Hospitality and Tourism Program offers interns the possibility to gain working experience with local hotels and tour-operators. Thanks to the great efforts of all the volunteers from around the world, Fundacion Aldeas de Paz is able to make a positive impact on the community of Samana!
In 2016 Aldeas de Paz became a recognized hosting organization in the framework of the development volunteer service weltwärts, founded in 2008 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Within Aldeas de Paz entered a cooperation with the German Red Cross and received eight volunteers, staying one year in Samana to support the work of our foundation in various programs.
We are independent from political, religious or business interests and maintain independence by completely funding and operating our programs with the practical and monetary contributions of volunteers and interns.
OUR MISSION: We promote a Culture of Peace through enriching cross-cultural exchange for people of all races and nationalities and we practice voluntary community service where we provide additional opportunities in education, sports, health care and skill training. We assist our beneficiaries to develop their potential and improve their own lives.
OUR VISION: Offering Volunteers & Interns the great opportunity to work side by side with locals, learn new skills, study Spanish and immerse oneself in the Latin and Caribbean culture. We share the values of peace, justice and tolerance, fundamentally focusing on the preservation of cultural values and the empowerment of young people while valuing local knowledge and working with cultural sensitivity. Our Volunteer opportunities are truly the microcosm of a world where people join together giving priority to improving life for humanity and promoting a Culture of Peace as a practical way to both prevent and resolve conflict.
A typical volunteer or intern needs to be enthusiastic, willing to learn, ready for a challenge, have a desire to take initiative, and dedicate a lot of caring and passion to the position. Friendliness, care, commitment, and patience are among important qualities. We welcome individual volunteers, families, and groups regardless of age, experience, or background.
You are never too old or too young to work with us here at Aldeas de Paz. We have had volunteers of all ages come to participate in activities that have been both rewarding and character building. We encourage families to come together so that they can work and grow while contributing to the community. Family volunteering has been a key experience to children who joined us together with their parents.
We encourage volunteers & interns to form schedules which work for them, and to work in any combination of activities. Volunteers & interns decide how many hours they want to work. We recommend a minimum four days a week, but you may work as many as five days and as many hours you wish.
We emphasize a focus on quality and not on quantity.
We do not require volunteers to have any previous experience with Spanish
Even though previous Spanish skills are very helpful, we offer free Spanish language lessons every week to help make the volunteers' time more enriching.
If you teach children, we offer vocabulary specific lessons with an amazing teacher from the community.