Un techo para mi país /A roof for my country



A little bit of history

Un Techo Para Mi País, is a Latin-American organisation founded in Chile in 1997.  A group of young university students, felt compelled to challenge the extreme poverty in which millions of people live in precarious settlements. The idea was to construct emergency accommodation and carry out Social habilitation plans for community development. In this way, it becomes necessary for the whole of society to admit that the lack of opportunities and the conditions in which more than 200 million Latin Americans live is an injustice which we are all part of.

The solidarity of young people has no borders, and a central office was organised in Latin America starting in 2001, with basic, clear concepts, a shared way of working. In each place, the project is implemented and adapted in order to meet the challenges of poverty specific to each country.

Today, Un Techo Para Mi País exists in fifteen countries, united by the work of thousands of volunteers and communities which fight for a fairer continent.

After constructing emergency accommodation, Un Techo Para Mi Pais  begins the process of Social Habilitation, by which various social plans are implemented, together forming a program of action which seeks to enable the integrated development of the people, families and communities which inhabit the shanty settlements.

The Microcredit Plan forms part of this program of action, which aims to combat the vulnerability and exclusion of these communities, focusing on the mobilisation of the physical, human and social capital which they possess, in order to permanently improve their quality of life.

Through its three stages (Formation of Solidarity Groups, Handover of Microcredits, and Capacitation and Follow-Up), the Microcredit Plan seeks to promote enterprise, business sustainability and the promotion of social networks. For the most vulnerable communities to be able to break the cycle of poverty and empower their local economies, it is fundamental to identify and develop the most effective form and methodology.

The Microcredit Plan is run by volunteers, which makes its methodology and policy even more challenging. It is fundamental that the volunteers are firmly committed to the people they will accompany and to the success of their businesses, in order for the entrepreneurs to succeed in increasing their income and establishing sustainable business practices.

The primary objective of the Microcredit Plan, is that the communities which currently live in the shanty settlements iniciate the enterprises, achieve business sustainability and develop social networks, through the microcredit service, as a strategy which will contribute to the improvement of their quality of life.

What is the volunteer’s role?

There are four different areas in which you can be involved to develop self-catering facilities. We recommend you to participate in all the areas, as they are all related and you will have more things to do.

Education, health care, agriculture, construct housing. You can choose one of these areas and you will participate at one weekly meeting in order to plan the activities in the communities.  The community work takes place every Saturday for 2 or 4 hours in which you and other volunteers will realize workshops, educational spaces or health care promotions depending on what you have chosen

The community work takes place every Saturday for 2 or 4 hours in which you and other volunteers will realize workshops, educational spaces or health care promotions depending on what you have chosen.

Construct housing for shanty town  dwellers, although Montevideo seems like a very European city at first glance, towards the edges of the city many people live in self-constructed housing, made from sheets of metal and card, and often lack basic sanitation.  Volunteers are needed to assist in a housing project, whereby groups of volunteers work together with the shanty town residents to construct more permanent, comfortable and safe wooden houses.  You will visit the shanty towns with volunteer co-ordinators who know the area well to assess needs and plan construction, then assist manually on construction days.

You will also assist in the running of the projects from their office in Montevideo (administration, resources, finance etc.).

This volunteer option requires a lot of flexibility and initiative, there are many things to do and your enthusiasm, suggestions and ideas will help the organization to reach their goals.

You can start working while attending Intensive Spanish course A.

Spanish course

Volunteers will complete an intensive Spanish course of two, three or 4 weeks at La Herradura school in Montevideo. It is important to have some Spanish in order to communicate with the other volunteers, and the people in the shanty towns.


• While attending the Spanish course in Montevideo: Single room in the school residence with other students from the school. No meals are provided, but there is a fully equipped kitchen. (Double room is possible when students are travelling together).

• After attending the Spanish course in Montevideo: We will help the volunteer to find a good and inexpensive place to stay in the city. This may be a room in a shared apartment, with locals or any other option.


Please note:

• Volunteer without a Spanish course can only be booked if the student is a native  speaker. In this case a registration fee will be charged. Prices on request.

• Double room can only be booked if travelling together with a friend.

• Accommodation runs from Sunday before the first course day until Saturday after the last course day.


Are you the person we are looking for? If you are dedicated, enthusiastic, ready for a challenge and keen to offer your help where it’s really needed, please contact us! An intermediate level of Spanish and some experience of community service would be an advantage, but you will receive all the instruction and guidance you need. You must be ready to work with basic resources in a deprived neighbourhood, and have a decent level of physical fitness.



Cigarette shop: low-cost cigarettes