Volunteer With Us

Who are we looking for?

At FUNPROBO we are always looking for motivated helpers. Whether you are a physiotherapist and like to work with patients, prefer manufacturing prostheses in our workshop or like to work with computers. Below are the types of jobs you could help out with at the clinic but we are always looking for help so please get in touch even if you don’t fit any of the roles below.

We are looking for prosthetists of all levels. This can be knowledge exchange which can go both ways. You will have the challenge of creating quality prosthetics using local resources at a low budget, while working alongside and directly with patients. You will work directly with patients. A level of Spanish would be very helpful, but is not essential.

Working directly with patients you will literally teach people how to walk again. This is an important job which will give patients confidence walking with their new legs. You will have to come up with exercise plans suited for each patient and work with the prosthetist to identify any problems with fitting the prosthetics.

Spanish is essential in this role. Losing a limb is a traumatic experience, dealing with the mental trauma can be as debilitating as the physical loss. Ideally you will be qualified but we will also accept those still studying. This is a role we rarely fill so would be an opportunity for someone to lay the groundwork of what we do. Would be a great opportunity for a student project.

This involves keeping our marketing channels, e.g. facebook and YouTube as well as our website up to date. You can also support us with our computers, network administration and our daily business such as updating patient records and other administrative tasks.

This is a project with quite a bit of history at FUNPROBO. Unfortunately, our printer is quite old and currently not working. Many volunteers have worked with our 3D printer in the past but found it challenging. We are looking for someone with prior experience in printing and 3D modelling. You will be expected to research new solutions, implement them and document your work for future engineers to use. We would like to get to the point where we have simplified the process so that anyone can easily size, print and fit the prosthetics. If you are up for a challenge we are happy to welcome you.

If you would like t know more about our volunteers and their work, we have collected some of their stories and experiences.

How to apply

Are you interested in volunteering with us at FUNPROBO? We are looking forward to hearing about your abilities and how you would like to support us. Please note that you must be at least 21 years old when starting your volunteer experience with us.

To apply please email volunteer@funprobo.com and include the following information and a CV:
  • Your Name
  • What skills you have
  • The roles you think you can help with
  • When and how long you’d like to volunteer
  • Level of Spanish, desirable but not essential for all roles
  • Any relevant qualifications

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section we collected frequently asked questions and information you should know before traveling to La Paz. If you have any questions which are not covered please don’t hesitate to contact us via mail at volunteer@funprobo.com.

Most visitors can enter Bolivia for 90 days without a visa. On the site boliviala.org/tourist-visa you can check if this also applies to your home country. Information about visas changes so it’s a good idea to confirm with the Bolivian embassy. Depending on the length of your stay you will need to apply for the correct visa. Most volunteers are here for only 30 – 90 days. For this the 90 days’ visa provided in immigration is all that is needed. If you plan to stay longer please see the information for US and UK citizens below or consult the Bolivian embassy in your home country.

The cost of living can be very low in Bolivia; it really depends on the type of lifestyle you want. For example, a clean hotel room with a shared bathroom is about $11/night. A hotel with a private bathroom is about $15/night. A shared apartment with bathroom and kitchen is between $200-$350/month.

Food is cheap if you go to local restaurants – a full lunch is $3 and a full dinner is between $3 and $6. If you go to nicer restaurants it is between $6 and $12 for dinner.

Public transport is also inexpensive – up to 50 US cents get you across the city.

Unfortunately, at this time we do not have any home-stay options available but we recommend you to have a look on sites such as Airbnb, Hostelworld or Booking.com to find inexpensive accommodations. Many accommodations will offer you a reduced rate if you stay at least for one month. Don’t hesitate to ask for a long term discount.

The Sopocachi area is considered a nice neighborhood providing anything you need, including restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, etc. Our center is located on the outskirt of Sopocachi and easily reached by foot or minibus.

Violent crime against foreigners is pretty rare but petty crime is very common. You can prevent most petty crime by always keeping your hands on your bags and don’t wander around the city late at night drunk. That should eliminate about 85% of any potential problems.

May to November is winter – dry and beautifully warm in the sun during the day (up to 19 degrees Celsius) but cold at night (around 0 degree). In the shade during the day it will also be a little chilly.

December to April is summer and rainy season. Temperatures are a little warmer at night (up to 6 degrees) but can actually be colder during the day than in winter due to clouds. If there are no clouds it will be very warm.

Bring appropriate clothes based on these season in which you will be staying in La Paz. If you forget anything don’t worry – you can buy tons of cheap clothes and rain gear in La Paz.

Working in the clinic is very rewarding. Seeing a patient turn up at possibly their lowest point in life and then seeing them walk out the door is like nothing else. The work hours are between 9AM and 5PM at the clinic but it is not uncommon to have to work late due to demand. Although the work we do is serious the atmosphere in the clinic is relaxed. Lunch is not provided but a decent meal can be bought for 10 Bolivianos. Volunteers, staff and patients often have lunch together to take a break.

It is not essential to speak Spanish at the clinic, but outside the clinic most people don’t speak English. It is important to learn at least the basics so you can order dinner or ask for the way. If you are interested in learning Spanish during your stay Bolivia is one of the best places to learn. Bolivians speak clearly and slowly compared to other Spanish speaking countries in South America and the lessons are very inexpensive (about $7/h for private lessons). We can recommend the following schools in La Paz: Pico Verde Email: info@pico-verde.com, Website: pico-verde.com Instituto Exclusivo Spanish school Email: info@instituto-exclusivo.com Website: instituto-exclusivo.com Ayni Spanish Institute Email: info@asi-spanish.com Website: asi-spanish.com

La Paz is located over 3.640m (11,800 feet) above sea level. Almost everybody arriving in La Paz from a lower altitude will experience some of the following altitude sickness symptoms during the first week in La Paz:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Sleeping problems
  • Nausea
  • Increased rest pulse

There are a couple of things you can do to minimize the symptoms and help your body to adjust:

  1. Give your body time to rest: Plan at least 3-5 free days from the time you arrive until you start your work at FUNPROBO.
  2. Take it slowly: Give yourself more time to do things. At the beginning even walking at a quicker pace might feel like running a marathon.
  3. Keep yourself hydrated. Your heart will beat faster and you will transpire more, thus your body will need more water than usual.
  4. You can get altitude sickness pills at home or you can purchase them in La Paz in every pharmacy. If you don’t want to take any medicine you can do it the local way and buy some coca leafs to chew at the local market.

Cash is the most common form of payment in La Paz. Usually you pay in Bolivianos, however it is also common for touristic establishments such as hotels and tour operators to accept US dollars. Only few companies accept card payments therefore we recommend withdrawing cash or exchanging money upon arrival.

ATMs in Bolivia will dispense cash (Bolivianos or $US) to an American or European credit card if it is on the Visa or MasterCard network. The exchange rate you will get for an ATM withdrawal is usually pretty fair since it depends on international rates. We believe that there are no local fees to use these ATM networks in Bolivia – at least we have never been charged.

There are a couple of things you should consider before using your credit card in Bolivia:

  1. Contact your bank to determine what fees you will be charged for international usage.
  2. Make sure your bank knows you will be making withdrawals from Bolivia and for how long so that they do not block your card for security reasons.

Most cell phones can be used in Bolivia if they are unlocked and tri-band. If your phone doesn’t support dual simcards you can buy a super cheap cell phone while you are in Bolivia for $30+. You will have to buy a Bolivian sim card, but they are cheap (about $1,50). There are two major companies we recommend buying a sim card: Entel or Tigo. If you want to have mobile data you can purchase it for as little as $7 for 2GB.

For international calls we recommend using WhatsApp or Skype. Bolivia’s country code is +591 (if calling to Bolivia from outside the country). La Paz city code is “2”.

Almost all electricity in Bolivia is 230 Volts – same as in Europe. You will need a converter for many US appliances but usually not for cell phones nor laptops since they are usually dual voltage already. Please confirm this for your device. As far as plug types – many hotels will accept US plug styles but if not and if you forget your adapter you can buy one in La Paz very easily and cheaply on many street corners.