Volunteering & Paid vacancies
One of the strengths of FairMail is that the young trainee photographers are trained by temporary international volunteers. As every volunteer has a different background and his/her own way of working, the teenagers keep on getting new inputs, insights and skills.
Former and current volunteers value their FairMail experience as enriching and useful for their further careers. Click on the links below for more about current volunteer vacancies, the application procedure and stories of former volunteers.
FairMail has the following volunteer vacancies in Peru, all with a minimum period of 6 weeks:
a) Photography & Creativity trainer for the 10 Peruvian teenagers.
b) Trainer for social habilities- and personal development workshops for the teenagers.
c) Graphic designer to help create a calendar, Blurb book and/or other new FairMail fairtrade products.
d) Teacher spanish/english and english/spanish to translate during the photography lessons and give english lessons to the teenagers.
For all vacancies it’s important that you speak at least intermediate Spanish. Experience in mentioned fields is preferred.
Your task as a volunteer is to contribute to the mission of FairMail: guiding underprivileged teenagers in producing qualitative photos and in producing and selling fair trade greeting cards worldwide, with as goal the personal development and income support for these teenagers. The activities consist of preparing and giving photography lessons and other trainings that contribute to the development of the teenagers their self-esteem, futureplans and english language skills.
Huanchaco, La Libertad, (northern) Peru. Huanchaco is an easy going fishing- and surf village nearby Trujillo (which is the 3rd biggest city of Peru). So volunteering for FairMail goes hand in hand with living a sunny (surf &) beach life.
Benefits for you:
• Get to know about the lives of children who used to be living on the streets and/or live in relatively poor circumstances.
• Have a good time with really great kids!
• Learn about working with children with a difficult background.
• Get to know a local village from an inhabitant’s perspective instead of the short stay tourist perspective.
• Seeing photogenic Peru through the local eyes of the kids and learning about the dynamics of ´local photography´.
• Chance to leave behind your contribution to a beautiful product that will generate income for people that really need it.
• Spanish speaking (intermediate).
• Flexible and open-minded.
• Interest and some experience with working with teenagers (13-18 years old).
• Able to work independently and structured.
• Creative and flexible in organizing activities.
• Minimum commitment of 6 weeks.
• That you will send us the necessary information we ask for below in spanish (or english if spanish is really not possible). Without this information we cannot take in your application. So please write us about:
a) Your personal motivation to volunteer at FairMail. Which of the vacancies mentioned suit you and why?
b) We wonder what your expectations are. Could you describe us how you imagine a day working for FairMail? Your expectations are important to avoid disappointments later on.
c) Your Resume (stating age, education and past work and volunteer experiences).
d) Your availability: when exactly do you want to come and for how long do you want to stay?
What we offer you:
• Introduction in FairMail and guidance in your tasks by our local manager(s).
• Help in finding cheap housing:
In Peru we can offer you affordable and nice lodging at our FairMail office for 550 soles a month (= about 5 euro per day, includes internet, gas and electricity and a small outside kitchen). Choosing this you will live 30 steps from the beach and a bonus is that your room is in the backgarden of a vegetarian restaurant where you can meet fellow travelers and volunteers. Also, by staying in our office you help FairMail to cover part of the rent costs. Food will cost you about 10 euros a day or less if you cook for yourself. (Another option is finding lodging through the volunteer agency Otra Cosa, see details on www.otracosa.info under: Long-term Volunteer Accommodation. By sending them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org you can reserve a room. Apart from this contact, Huanchaco also has many hostels, hotels and a camping.Recommendation: www.hostalnaylamp.com.)
The schedule depends on the school hours of the teenagers. The average amount of working hours is 20 hours a week. A minimum stay of 6 weeks is required, but more would be even better.
About the FairMail teenagers
The kids you will work come from different places: some of them live in a boys home for ex street children called Mundo de Ninos (www.mundodeninos.org). Others live in El Milagro, a poor part of Trujillo near a garbage dump. For more about the teenagers see the photographers page on our website.
Once you have sent us the information we asked for above -see Requirements- we will email you with some more questions and information, and will let you know as soon as possible if we can invite you at FairMail. If yes, we will send you a confirmation form with all the details of our agreements. Send your application for FairMail Peru in your best spanish to Janneke at email@example.com (english is accepted too but please try).
Experiences from former volunteers
Cristina Bardes, 25 years, Spain, volunteered at FMP in 2017:
Without FairMail I would never have discovered the Peruvian culture from this close. To have such a close experience to all of the students helped me to really get to know the local life in Huanchaco.
Each day in FairMail is different, the dynamics of the class is structured in such a way that you have the possibility to do various things, starting with a short game to break the ice, then evaluating the photos from last class giving recommendations to improve, then if needed giving a presentation to give the students more photographic knowledge, etcetera!
Kristina Sukelyte, 22 years, Lithuania, volunteered at FMP in 2016:
I had an exceptional time in FairMail, have learned a lot from the classes and enjoyed every moment of it. Would highly recommend volunteering on this project because it does make a difference for the kids and community and also gives a lot of opportunities to show your creativity and learn photography. The kids and the staff are really friendly, helpful and very motivated to work hard and get the most from the classes at FairMail.
Analena Bachmann, 18 years, Germany, volunteered at FMP in 2015/2016:
I spent almost six months with FairMail and it was an incredible time. Working and getting to know this social enterprise showed me that I am actually having an impact with this work. I've seen how FairMail helps the teenagers not only with earning money, but with being there for them. Being a second family, always with an open ear when needed. Also I loved to see when the teenagers were really passionate about an idea and didn't want to stop working on it even if the time of this weeks class was over. Can't put a clock on inspiration I guess.
Also I loved to see when the teenagers were really passionate about an idea and didn't want to stop working on it even if the time of this weeks class was over. Can't put a clock on inspiration I guess.
I also really liked the little excursions we did, because that was the time when you got to know them the best, playing 'Ninja' on top of a hill or in the dark before dinner. I really like that with this work they have to be creative in order to reach something and creating a nice postcard. I had a great time cutting pumpkins or painting potatoes together.
All in all I had a fantastic time in Huanchaco which is an amazing little beach town. Additionally to FairMail, there's surfing, the beach and a great community. I enjoyed my time there so much and could have easily stayed longer!
Kelly Lorenz, 18 years, USA, volunteered at FairMail Peru in 2015:
Working at FairMail gave me one of the best times of my life. Working with the other volunteers and with the teenage photographers was a great experience for me to learn and grow. FairMail offers a good program and model to help the teenagers improve their photography and to take good care of themselves in their life. I love it how FairMail pays attention to many aspects of the teenager's lives apart from the photography like social life, school, family, health.
Kira Beck, Germany, volunteered at FairMail Peru in 2015:
I loved working in the FairMail team and see the motivation of young people, not only to take good photos but also to support each other. I always loved working on the FairMail cards and what I liked best was to contribute and work with the young photographers. It's not only that the photographers learn from the volunteers, one also learns from the teenagers. I got to know their unique personalities and the lives of the teenagers. At all means it is a unique and enriching experience to work with the team and tp learn with and from the young people participating in FairMail.
Kristel Feys, Belgium, volunteered at FairMail Peru in 2015:
Working at FairMail was a unique opportunity: I got to know the photographers, see their creativity and motivation and help them with their work, in an atmosphere very dynamic and fun which helps the learning process and does not feel like giving classes like a teacher in a classroom! The companionship between the teenagers, the management team and the volunteers is something very special. I learned a lot from this this communuty and from Peru, it was an unforgettable experience.
Allegra Brandon, USA, volunteered at FairMail Peru in 2015:
My time volunteering at FairMail was a unique and incredible experience. While I could practice my Spanish, I could share my photography knowledge with teenagers who were very motivated to learn and to improve whatever they could. The FairMail team, including the staff and the students, is very entertaining, fun, and there is a lot of companionship. The company is very well managed and you can have an unforgettable experience at FairMail, while you get to know the Peruvian culture from inside.
Charlie Merrill, USA, volunteered at FairMail Peru in 2014/2015:
Working at FairMail was a fantastic experience. Everyone is so welcoming and will make you feel right at home immediately, even if your Spanish is a little weak. These are some of the most motivated students that you will ever teach.
Sanne Hijlkema, The Netherlands, volunteered at FairMail Peru in 2014:
The months I spent volunteering for FairMail Peru were great. It is a unique way to get to know the (well organized) company, its photographers and Huanchaco and it's surroundings. Interacting with the teenagers and being able to support them throughout their photographic efforts was very rewarding. Through them and the two ex-FairMail students that are now the local managers I learned more about Peruvian culture and the impact of social enterprise. I had the opportunity to start my volunteering with joining them on one of their photography trips into the Peruvian mountains. That was an awesome way to get to know them. Thanks chicos, thanks managers, thanks Peter and Janneke!
Petra van der Wal, The Netherlands, volunteer at FairMail India in 2014:
After a trip to India as a short time volunteer in 2012 i went back in 2013 as a long time volunteer for two months. I am already years in Love with India and come here as many times as possible. But to come here as a volunteer is something very different.
You are part of the community of Nagwa where Fairmail is settled if you are open for this. I had a great time with the teenagers, with Dhiraj the ass.manager and with Akshay the manager. The teenagers are highly motivated and it is a pleasure to work with them. The two months as a volunteer looked like two weeks but I think I will come back. I will recommend everybody to work here as a volunteer if you like photography.
I have the idea that this is my second home and I will always come back here en keep in touch with the students also by Facebook. I thank everybody for this opportunity to come here and I wish the teenagers of Fairmail lots of luck in their future life.
Kelly Van de Vliet, Belgium, volunteer at FairMail India in January 2013
Even though I could only stay 1 month, I had a great time with Fairmail India! The teenagers are really great and motivated, they always come up with new ideas and you can really see them improving.
Varanasi is a special place that really impressed me and I can already say that I’m definitely going back! It was a truly great experience that I recommend to everybody.
Rebekka Habearle, Germany, volunteer at FairMail India in 2012
Studying International Social Work and being passionate about photography, I decided to put both together and spent my practical semester with FairMail. Those five months were challenging and rewarding at the same time.
Challenging, because of India being so different to what I am used to and rewarding, because one cannot have greater students than those from FairMail India! They had in general such a high motivation, that I got always motivated myself when teaching them. Also, the students and Akshay, the manager and Dhiraj, the assistant manager, were very kind and helped me a lot. I am happy that I had the opportunity to work with FairMail India and would highly recommend it!!
Maria Forman, Germany, volunteer at FairMail India in 2012
What a fantastic experience it is to work for FairMail India! It had always been a dream of mine to travel to India and having gained a degree in photography FairMail seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine both things.
India is full of color, sights, sounds and certainly a smell or two, but the essence of its extraordinary appeal lies in its people. I found that the FairMail students are some of its finest. It was such a joy to spend three months teaching and being taught in many ways in return by the teenagers. I would highly recommend the experience to anyone interested.
Paulina Polak, Poland, volunteer at FairMail Peru in 2012
A unique experience and above all the photography trip that I did with the FairMail photographers was very special. I am very happy that I have been able to contribute to the development of this beautiful young company that is set up very dynamic and progressive.
Miranda Mars, The Netherlands, volunteer at FairMail Peru in 2012
I very much enjoyed working with a group of very motivated, happy and respectful adolescents, to see their lifes, share it and learn about it. I appreciated a lot that I could prepare the lessons myself and that I could propose new ideas and methods.
Ellen Junglen, USA, volunteer at FairMail Peru in 2012
My experience with Fairmail was everything I had hoped for. I wanted to find a productive organization that really impacted the lives of people in need.
By getting to know the photographers I saw how Fairmail helps finance their education, health care and housing. Fairmail also gives them the suport, advice and postive influence needed to study and for thier personal development. I was recieved warmly as a volunteer and my opinions were taken seriously. I would highly recomend volunteering with Fairmail.
Charlotte Mestdagh, Belgium, volunteer at FairMail Peru in 2012
For me Fairmail was a great experience. I study social work and I had never tought that a project as this could have so many social aspects. It's an amazing initiave, you can tell that I really love Fairmail :)!
And then I didn't talk about the children yet, they are absolutly lovely! Those childeren, who have a lot less than children in the Western society, are always happy. They can brighten up your day even if you feel miserable. I must admit that I was homesick a few times but everytime I entered that door I felt so welcome. I really want Janneke en Peter to know that their project is unique. I also wanna thank Renato, Cynthia and Elmer for their patience and their help! Oh yeah, if their is one thing you learn in Fairmail it is:Muchos gracias Fairmail!
Anna Doyle, New Zealand, volunteer at FairMail Peru in 2011:
Volunteering with Fairmail Peru is an experience I will never forget. I learnt so much from all the teenagers the most talented, caring and outgoing kids you will ever meet.
I came with limited Spanish and teaching experience and the patience, good humor and understanding from all the team at Fairmail was amazing. The highlights were seeing the teenagers learn and utlilize new skills to their full potential. Working with the students on their individual creative ideas and knowing that all the work we putin was really worth it seeing the photos be made into cards. I was really lucky and got the opportunity to go on a 7 day photographyadventure in an andean mountain village, where we worked on different themes and ideas for cards in an amazing setting. One activitity, the teenagers were set the challenge of making a video which was more than successful not to mention hilarious,Peter Jackson would have been impressed! I highly recommend volunteering with Fairmail it is an amazing organisation that really does make a difference in the lives of the teenagers.Thanks to all the team at Fairmail! Anna Doyle
Carole Lauener, Switserland, volunteer at FairMail India 2010
I spent 2 incredible months with fairmail. Everyday was an adventure not to be missed. The students and I both learnt from each other. It’s great to get to know the students with their very own characters.
One thing they have in common is their motivation, curiosity and great sense of humor.
About Varanasi... it is one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever been despite its chaos, noise and dirt. Go with the flow and you’ll love it.
Brittanie Sterner, USA, volunteer at FairMail India in 2010
I have, at best, a basic knowledge about photography. That was only an aspect of my volunteer experience with FairMail; every time we had class or went into Nagwa to shoot, I had a chance to experiment with the kids, these kids who I’ve gotten to know so well, to help push the boundaries of their confidence and creativity. I’m a big fan of FairMail.
Yuriy Vaysgant, USA, volunteer at FairMail India in 2010
If you are looking to spend time in India I highly recommend volunteering with FairMail. India is a great place to visit, but even better when you are there with a purpose. Fairmail helped me grow as a person and I will forever remember the experience, I enjoyed most getting to know the students and meeting so many people along the way. I am thankful to Fairmail for giving me this opportunity.
Emily Tong, USA, volunteer at FairMail India in 2009
Working with Fairmail was one of the best experiences of my life. It gave me an opportunity to teach what I love (photography) and be introduced to an amazing culture and people. Although the climate and the streets of Varanasi took a while to get used to I began to feel comfortable in a place that was completely new.
To be able to walk down the streets of a completely different place and have the teenagers say "hi" enthusiastically was a remarkable feeling and gave me a sense of belonging. The teenagers were all so welcoming and eager every day which made it incredibly rewarding to teach. Teaching with Fairmail allowed me to see the city of Varanasi through the students. Engagement parties and birthday parties were full of family and friends, again giving the wonderful sense of community and respect. Although there was a language barrier between me and the students, it didn't stop us from having a lot of fun (playing in the rain, making samosas, dancing) and learning a lot. I was able to teach them about several photography concepts, such as light, space, portraits, action, close-ups, etc. The students are very smart and are fast learners. I saw such improvement from all of the students just in the two months that I taught. I can't wait to see what other postcards they make. I am so proud of them! They became such great friends and I hope to go back again someday!
Erika Somogyi, USA, volunteer at FairMail India in India in 2009
"My experience with fairmail India has been truly fantastic. Working with the teenagers was at times challenging but completely worth the effort.
At first many of the teens were very shy and afraid take photos or even sketch a simple picture because they thought they didn’t know ‘how’. However through positive encouragement and different activities the teenagers have gained confidence and started to love photography. The improvement in their attitudes and self-esteem that I have witnessed has been very inspiring.
Additionally, spending an extended period of time really living, rather than traveling through Varanasi has allowed me to experience India. The city is very lively, full of color, and thus serves as the perfect location to teach photography. I really feel I have gotten to know the teenagers. I have been invited to various Indian parties,weddings, and into homes to drink chai. The whole experience has been more thought provoking and rewarding than I could have ever imagined.
Nick Tuck, United Kingdom, Volunteer at FairMail Peru in 2008
My name is Nick Tuck and I have just finished up my position at Fairmail as a marketing assistant. The past 8 weeks (february and march 2008) have been an amazing experience that I feel I will only truly appreciate the magnitude of when I touch back to old blighty and the bubble bursts.
From living in Peru, to seeing the teenagers turn ideas into photos and meeting with there families it has offered me a great insight into local hearts and minds. In my time here I have enjoyed working on a ranging number of different tasks from marketing reports over to touching up the photograpthy on photo shop and back to working on their first UK sale. I feel this will be a shining star in my career that I will look back on for many years to come and in the meanwhile I will keep a look out for Fairmails cards thoughout the world.
Lora Reehling, USA, volunteer at FairMail Peru in 2008
Fairmail is the perfect opportunity to reach out and use your creative skills to make a difference in the lives of young teenage photographers.I felt very lucky to find such a unique program that was asking for the exact skills I could contribute.
If you are passionate about photography, creativity, teenagers and using your spanish everyday, it is perfect! Not to mention Fairmail´s inspiring and relaxed location in Huanchaco, really enjoyable. This volunteer experience has inspired me in many ways. It proves anything is possible. The relationships I developed with the kids, the things I learned from them and about myself are so valuable. It feels great to be part of something so genuine in how it promotes creativity and enables young people to carve their own path to a better future.
Whitney Conti, United States, volunteer at FairMail Peru in 2006
Ik heb met Fairmail gewerkt van Augustus tot December 2006. Aangezien ik een fotografie achtergrond heb, heb ik vooral gewerkt aan het ontwikkelen van de fotografie vaardigheden van de tieners en aan contacten voor Fairmail binnen de gemeenschap.
De manager Janneke creeerde een warme, leuke en stimulerende atmosfeer om in te werken. Ze luisterde niet alleen naar mijn ideeen voor het project, maar ze gaf me veel autonomie in beslissingen en communicatie binnen het project. De Fairmail fotografen zijn respectvol, enthousiast en ook geduldig met mijn Spaans en culturele verschillen. Ik vond Fairmail een geweldige ervaring, ik kon me echt geen betere plek wensen. Ik raad Fairmail ten zeerste aan voor iedereen die interesse heft in vrijwilligerswerk doen in een interessante en vriendelijke omgeving waarin je de kans krijgt om echt verschil te maken.
Sydelle Smith, South Africa, volunteer at FairMail Peru in 2006
Ik heb 7 weken in het Fairmail vrijwilligersprogramma gewerkt. De eerste dag was ik wat nerveus om de andere vrijwilligers en de Fairmail crew te ontmoeten. Binnen 2 dagen voelde ik me al thuis in het kleine sfeervolle Huanchaco.
Met mijn mede vrijwilligster Whitnye gingen we naar Milagro, een dorp waar 4 van de tieners wonen. Vanaf dag 1 in Fairmail voelde ik dat ik als leraar iedere dag meer van de kinderen leerde. Ze waren gemotiveerd, getalenteerd en heel gezellig.. De taalbarriere was soms een probleem voor me maar met de hulp van de andere vrijwilliger lukte het me wel. We hebben de tieners les gegeven over fotos editen, licht situaties en de manueel in te stellen functies op de digitale camera. We zijn regelmatig op excursies gegaan naar markten in de stad of b.v. een optocht. In Huanchaco zelf werkten we ook met 2 jongens van het opvanghuis voor straatjongens. Iedere dag was een nieuw avontuur, vol lol en altijd leerzaam. HElaas kwamen de kinderen niet altijd naar de lessen omdat ze drug zijn met school en familie maar al met al was fairmail een geweldige ervaring die ik nooit zal vergeten. Ik wil Fairmail ook graag in mijn eigen land Zuid Afrika opzetten. Om zo de kennis en passie voor fotografie over te blijven dragen.
Gerwin de Vries and Ruudje Kea, The Netherlands, volunteer at FairMail Peru in 2007.
We hebben in februari en maart 2007 met Fairmail gewerkt en het was een hele fijne ervaring! Het hoogtepunt was een excursie naar de provincie Piura, waar de tieners veel natuurfotos hebben gemaakt.
We hebben een film van deze excursie gemaakt die als promotiemateriaal gebruiktkan worden. (voor de film zie de Over Fairmail pagina).We hebben ook wat lessen gegeven over perspectief, kleur, beweging en details en een hele basic les over Photoshop. Wat we zagen toen we de kinderen beter leerden kennen is dat iedere tiener zijn of haar eigen talent heeft op een andere manier. Bijvoorbeeld, Luis probeert met perspectief te experimenteren en is goed met Photoshop. David is een hele geconcentreerde denker- fotograaf. Cinthia neemt wel 3 keer zoveel fotos dan de anderen en heeft wat mooie zelfgemaakte opstellingen. Etcetera. De groep samen is heel fijn om mee te werken, we hebben zelf ook veel van hen geleerd!