Testimonials

Laïs Masco (Belgium, Student, January – March 2020)

Doing my internship at Oye Lena is the best choice I could have made. I’ve had the time of my life there and will always remember this time with a smile. In beautiful surroundings, you get the chance to move forward on the project together with the children. Thank you, Oye Lena, for this wonderful experience!

Lien Dejaegere (Belgium, December – March 2020)

Oye LENA said to offer ‘the sweetest kids, a fantastic view, an unforgettable experience and a super team’, and I thought they exaggerated a little bit. But wow, 5 months further I can say now that it was the best decision I ever made!

I’m so grateful, thankful and I feel so blessed that I could be a part of this project. I loved ‘working’ there every second and for me this experience was so much more than ‘just being a volunteer’. I will never forget my time there and for certain I’ll come back! Whole my adventure at Oye LENA will always have a big place in my heart, which I partly lost there.

Kaat Thys (Belgium, Student, February – March 2020)

Oye Lena won my heart from the first minute. I’ve had the time of my life here. I got the chance to get to know a beautiful culture, country, people. The project is organized very well. Besides that, working with these lovely children every day is a new learning opportunity. It gives you the chance to be challenged on a completely different level than in Belgium.

It’s not always easy but these are learning opportunities that again helped me in further development as a remedial educationalist and as a person myself. This is certainly not the last time I have been here. I will definitely come back to the project and the country. Thank you, Oye Lena, for all the opportunities I got. I’d do anything again in a minute.

Vrijwilligster Morgan Neal

Morgan Neal (USA, June – December 2019)

My time at Oye Lena was honestly the best experience I’ve had thus far. The leadership of this organization provided clear communication, support, and well-rounded knowledge about the project. I was very satisfied with how my time was spent at the project. It consisted of very long days, but the time spent with the kids was so worth it. I would definitely recommend this organization to anyone who is thinking about volunteering abroad.

Vrijwilligster Charlotte Gousseau

Charlotte Gousseau (27 years, Belgium, June – December 2019)

I volunteered at Oye Lena for about 5 weeks. It is not a long time, but it was so worth it! This is the most amazing project in the most beautiful place I’ve ever done. The warmth, the love, the positive vibes, the smiles, the work, the volunteers, the village, the people … I loved everything so so so much!
I had an amazing time and I hope I can go back for a longer time.
If you’re still doubting, just do it! A life-experience that you don’t want to miss!

Student Yelle Bonten

Yelle Bonten (Belgium, student, January – June 2019)

Oye Lena is a really beautiful project at a beautiful place. I had such a good experience working with the children and other volunteers. It is a nice and comfortable place to develop your professional and personal growth while you still enjoy Peru. I’m looking forward to coming back.

Student Liese Vertommen

Liese Vertommen (Belgium, student, January – June 2019)

I had the opportunity to do my internship for 5 months at Oye LENA. I got to know a wonderful project, wonderful children, and fantastic volunteers. Today, I say goodbye to the best experience I have had so far in my life. I have been given opportunities that I would not get anywhere else, I have learned so much and I have received even more. The team I ended up in received me with open arms and a big smile.

I enjoyed every moment and give each of them a big place in my heart. The children, the view, and the friendships made everything even better. Curahuasi is a village to my heart. I felt completely at home and I met a lot of new people. I think going to Oye LENA was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Thank you for everything: the experience, the chances you give the children, the smiles, the happiness, and even more. I say goodbye now, but it’s not a goodbye forever.

Student Lynn Wagemans

Lynn Wagemans (Belgium, student, September 2018 – January 2019)

Oye Lena is a beautiful project that offers you a lot! I went there to do my internship as a ‘Social educational care worker’ but I learned so much more! You work in a wonderful team and get the chance to work with toddlers and kids with disabilities. What do you get for all your hard work? The satisfying smile of the kids, you improve your Spanish, the beautiful location, and a chance to learn more about Peru and their culture.

Oye Lena is a project that you can support and trust 100% that your work and money go directly to the project and the children. I can recommend Oye Lena to everybody who likes to work with kids and kids with disabilities as a volunteer or internships because this project is really worth all the support that it can get. I had the best experience, thanks for everything and I hope to see you again soon!

Student Lore Moermans

Lore Moermans (Belgium, student, September – December 2018)

A beautiful organization that offers you a lot: learning a new language, the most beautiful place to live, nice colleages with different professional backgrounds, sweet children with the biggest smiles who will make you smile even more. Such a great experience… I thought I would miss my friends and family at home a lot but I miss the project even more now…

I got to work with children with special needs, children from kindergarten, and primary school. Ideal for me as a future teacher. I’m very thankful for this opportunity! See you soon!

Sofie De Brabandere (Belgium, student, September – December 2018)

Wonderful project in a small cozy village in the Andes mountains of Peru. The project works almost completely with volunteers. Three permanent teachers come every day to give lessons as well.

Every morning the volunteers get up en give lessons to the children with a big
smile on their faces. In the morning every child with a disability is more
than welcome. The volunteers help them read, write but in the first place have fun, without worries. In the afternoon, there are also children with disabilities but some toddlers can come to join as well. The toddlers have fewer opportunities than other richer children.

The volunteers do their best to entertain the children as much as they can. The school is completely free, gives free meals, picks up the children at school, and drops them off at their home. The children can come here to laugh, play, and learn.

Vrijwilligster Juline Braems

Juline Braems (Belgium, September – December 2018)

I’ve had the best time here and learned a lot. I think I could be a better person just because I went to Oye Lena. They’re very supporting and there is room for mistakes but also everybody wants to do things just right. And we are all very aware and self concious of what we can do better and how the system could work better. It’s so fulfilling to work
with people who strive to work on a better tomorrow.

Ella Verity (20 year, United Kingdom, student, May 2018)

I used to volunteer 3 times a week with different organizations but since then, I’ve run out of time, been ‘too busy’, and not done any kind of charitable work. Coming to Oye LENA has reminded me why I love it to volunteer so much! When I was planning my travels in Latin America, I knew I wanted to volunteer with an NGO that makes a difference in their local community… Oye LENA is exactly what I was looking for. Working with the children at the project is so rewarding – you build relationships with them and every smile, hug, and kiss shows you just how valued the volunteers are.

Even though the children benefit from our support, we as volunteers gain so much more than we could ever give: I’ve learned about my privilege; I’ve learned about children with disabilities; I’ve learned about a different culture; my Spanish has improved; I’ve made great friends; I’m happier than ever. Oye LENA is a fantastic and worthwhile project – I have enjoyed every minute. Thank you!

Vrijwilligster Nadine Verheuen

Nadine Verheuen (66 years, Belgium, Speech therapist, May 2018)

In May 2018, I came to Oye Lena to work as a volunteer for four weeks. So far, nothing special, except for the fact that I am a retired speech-therapist and I am 66 years old. This should of course not be a problem and indeed it was not, especially when you are child-minded and when you can get along with the young people that usually are working here.

So I arrived on a very sunny Saturday and I was welcomed by Stefanie and Lisa, I immediately felt comfortable, I got a nice private room and I got lots of information about the project. The place in Curahuasi where Oye Lena is situated is just amazing, the view is stunning, the mountains are always in sight, the nearby city is hundred percent genuine, the daily life of Peru is right there before your eyes…

So far, I did not speak of the children, whose education and welfare is of course the main objective of the project ! Getting to know them is a just a privilege, the ‘specials’ as well as the ‘toddlers’ are just normal children, as anywhere in the world : sometimes you love them, sometimes you want to paste them behind the wallpaper (smile)… It was a great joy working with them : they are colorful, playful, resourceful and super charming!

Finally, I want to say a word about the project and especially about Stefanie and Gilder: the work they have done here concerning the infrastructure but also concerning the realisation and the objectives of the project is beyond description! What an energy and what a dedication!

Come and see for yourself, you never can be disappointed! I myself had a lovely time here and… the beautiful city of Cusco is nearby, so you can visit Machu Picchu and many more beautiful destinations in Peru!

Elisa Silje Mascioli (22 years, France-Norway, Nurse, January – March 2018)

I worked at Oye Lena for 8 weeks and it was the experience of a lifetime. You felt like you were actually helping and making a difference In the children’s lives. It is such an amazing and important project! The people, the children, the animals, the nature… everything was incredible and I would definitely go back (and I will!). I can’t recommend this enough!

Vrijwilligster Deborah Jacob

Deborah Jacob (27 years, Belgium, Speech therapist, October -November 2017)

The volunteering was a big challenge for me, because I had to work with children with a physical or mental disability. These groups of children are outside my comfort zone as a speech language therapist. It was a big eye-opener to work with them, because there was so much more than just the disability. In that setting you’re very conscious about the child’s environment and the effect on the child and his/her disability. This kind of view on a child changed my communication and interaction with every child, also now in my work. So I can say it was an enrichment for me.

The group of volunteers was amazing. I really had a great time with them. There was a lot to do: hiking a mountain, having parties in the weekend, chilling with the alpaca’s, visiting Cuzco in the weekends, going to the market in the village, … It was an experience that I would absolutely do for a second time.
It is cliché, but I will never forget that time!

Vrijwilligster Olivia Gatter

Olivia Gatter (23 years, U.S.A., psychologist, August 2017)

I had the most incredible time volunteering at Oye LENA, I felt very comfortable and welcome here, it was like a home away from home! Becoming friends with the other volunteers and the experiences we all shared together are ones I’ll always remember.

The project is really well organized and you never feel like you have to figure things out alone. Even if you are not that experienced you will quickly learn about working with kids and about speaking Spanish as well. The project gave me a lot of perspective both in the scope of my own life as well as the world, you feel like you are really making a difference. I am absolutely going to carry this experience forward with me, I already want to go back!

Vrijwilligster Jolien Santens

Jolien Santens (22 years, Belgium, primary teacher, March 2017)

I stayed here in Oye LENA for 2 months and if I could, I would stay here for a longer time! I experienced so many moments of joy and pleasure. The project is very well organized,.You live in a phenomenal nature which you never get used to and it is a great opportunity to meet the local culture because Oye LENA has a lot off activities with the parents, the brothers and sisters of the children of the school, with other schools and an orphanage,..
It is a great opportunity to learn a lot. Even if you have no experience with children, you will be useful during your stay. I hope you will enjoy it like I did!

Charlotte Crockaert (Belgium, student, September – December 2016)

Wauw, wat een zalige ervaring. Vanaf dag één dacht ik echt : amai, wij zijn hier echt met ons gat in de boter gevallen. Een mooi gebouw met een prachtig uitzicht op nog prachtigere bergen, een ruime kamer, leuke vrijwilligers, een leuke gemeenschappelijke keuken… Eigenlijk alles wat je nodig hebt om je gelukkig te voelen en hier te willen blijven!

Vanaf dag twee hier mocht ik al meedraaien op het project en ook dit vond ik fantastisch. Die lieve schattige Peruviaantjes, de kinderen met een beperking, de andere vrijwilligers. Leuke thema’s om rond te werken, leuke activiteiten en vooral heel veel liefde. Echt alles is hier zo leuk!

Ik ben zo blij dat ik mijn stage is zo’n leuk project mag doen, opgestart door een minstens even leuke madame die dit echt met heel haar hart doet. GEWELDIG! LOVE OYE LENA!

Uma Vandermeersch (Belgium, student, September – December 2016)

Voor mijn buitenlandse stage koos ik ervoor om naar Oye LENA te trekken. Ik liep er ongeveer drie maanden stage en die tijd was echt fantastisch! Waarom? Iedere dag kan een lach toveren op het gezicht van een kind. In de voormiddag werk je met kinderen met speciale noden en in de namiddag komen de andere kinderen. Je probeert hen op een speelse manier dingen bij te brengen, zingt liedjes, je speelt buiten met hen, je duwt ze op de schommel ‘hasta el cielo’, … .

Je dagen zijn gevuld, maar ze gaan zo snel voorbij! Iedere dag word je wakker met een prachtig uitzicht op de bergen. Ik kan er nog steeds naar blijven staren. Iedere dag kwam ik ook thuis. Casa Lena was mijn nieuwe thuis. Je leeft er samen met nieuwe mensen die je vrienden worden en later familie. Wanneer ik hier was, was het huisje bijna altijd volledig vol. Het is zo interessant om nieuwe mensen te leren kennen, want ze hebben allemaal hun eigen verhalen, interesses en doelen.

Iedere dag kan je naar het marktje in Curahuasi. Daar aanschouw je een mooi kleurenpalet dat bestaat uit vlees, vis, groenten, fruit, granen, zaden, bloemen, kruiden, … Iedere dag kan je ook zien dat Stefanie zoveel over heeft voor haar project, haar werk, haar levenswerk. Een geweldig en warm persoon. Iedere dag … En ga zo maar door! Kortom, het was echt fantastische belevenis! Ik kijk er al naar uit om terug te komen!

Lissa Van Turnhout (Belgium, Student, January – March 2020)

Oye LENA has a beautiful domain, beautiful view, and a lot of enthusiasm to create an educationally strong environment for both toddlers and children and young people with special needs. It’s a wonderful place on earth! Respect, equality, education, and friendship are paramount.

In Oye LENA, you get the chance to be part of a group of volunteers who all have one goal in mind: to teach the children a lot with even more attention to well-being. I recommend Oye LENA to everyone who likes to roll up their sleeves to make it a super fun, educational, and above all unforgettable experience for the children and for yourself! For me, my stay in Oye LENA was a unique experience that I would not want to miss.

Jana Decoene (Belgium, Student, January – March 2020)

I am so grateful that I was able to volunteer at Oye Lena. It is an amazing project where I was able to learn a lot of new things. You get to know other students, volunteers, and workers who all share the same values. But most important: you get to work with the most amazing toddlers and kids. You help them explore, have fun, and develop new skills in a safe and warm environment. I highly recommend doing an intership or volunteer at Oye Lena, it has enriched me so much. I will forever treasure all the amazing moments.

Antje Verdonck (Belgium, student, February – March 2020)

Oye LENA introduced me to the wonderful Peru, a country with the most beautiful nature and culture. Oye LENA also introduced me to amazing children and to their wonderful project. In a place with such an amazing view and so many smiles, it is very easy to become happy in just a few minutes!

Vrijwilligster Georgina Golding

Georgina Golding (UK, June – December 2019)

I have spent 4 months working at Oye Lena and they have been the most beautiful, challenging, and rewarding months of my life. Such great work is done here and the children are so loving. I can’t recommend it enough.

Vrijwilliger Thibaud

Thibaud Mvn (June – December 2019)

What an amazing experience… We spent one month there and I already want to come back. 🙂 The place to work is just beautiful, between the snowy mountains, this nice village called curahuasi, and the casita. I learned a lot with the kids, everyday was so different than the others…

The organisation is really well, and the responsable people helped us a lot, everytime! And what about all the lovely volunteers… It is now like a big family, it was really hard to leave all of you guys.
I had soooo much fun there, and I absolutely recommend this place!

Vrijwilligster Shae Costello

Shae Costello (Australia, January – June 2019)

I spent two months volunteering at OYE Lena and I found it to be a really enjoyable and worthwhile experience. I loved working with the beautiful kids and being part of a team. It’s great to witness the positive impact that this organization has on the lives of the children and to be part of this and help make it happen is very satisfying. I developed new skills that I will bring with me when I return to work as a primary school teacher next year.

It was refreshing to be ‘based’ somewhere for a while during my travels and see the real everyday Peruvian culture in an off the tourist track town and meet and work with local people. The accommodation was comfortable and I became very attached to my super comfy bed.

During the weekends I got to trip around and have adventures with fellow volunteers doing sightseeing of the local area and expeditions further afield to Cusco, Pisac, etc.

I totally recommend volunteering or doing an internship with OYE Lena. It’s a fabulous opportunity to help support a really effective and important organization while gaining professional experience, learning about Peruvian culture, and making new friends.

Student Lotte Druyts

Lotte Druyts (Belgium, student, January – June 2019)

Saying goodbye to Oye Lena is one of the hardere goodbyes I ever needed to do. My time here was a beautiful experience in a beautiful country. Thanks to the most wonderfull kids and the awesome volunteers I will always look back with a smile. Gracias Oye Lena, and for sure, Hasta luego!

Inne Vernimmen (Belgium, student, January – June 2019)

I did my internship at Oye LENA for 15 weeks and they were the most wonderfull weeks of my life so far! Oye LENA is such a fantastic project. It offers the children all the chances they deserve but it also offers you, as a volunteer/ student, all the chances you deserve. You are not just ‘somebody’, the staff guides you through everything of the project but also through everything you need help with (school, being homesick, some difficult moments…).

The kids are wonderful and they really do steal your heart! I am really going to miss everything about Oye LENA! Thank you for giving me this incredible opportunity to learn, grow, having so much fun, and really fall in love with the kids, the awesome volunteers/students I worked with, Curahuasi, and the Peruvian culture! Oye LENA will always have a special place in my heart. Hasta luego!

Student Helena Craye

Helena Craye (Belgium, student, September – December 2018)

Oye Lena is an educational project in Curahuasi, Peru. We’re a close
group of volunteers doing everything we can to create a good and safe environment for the children. We work together as colleagues during
the day, and when the day ends we live together as friends. We organize team buildings (rafting, puenting,…) and we become really close.

I did a 3 month internship in Oye Lena. Since i’ve been back in Belgium I have been thinking a lot about going back there because I had the best experience. Oye Lena does everything to give education to the children and create a fun and safe environment for the children to play and develop. The volunteers do everything they can to make the day as fun and interesting for the kids as possible! If you want to do volunteer work abroad and you love working with children, this is the place to be!

I would really recommend to volunteer at Oye Lena because of the great work that’s being done here, the family you become a part of and of course the beautiful mountains that you’ll never get used to! Thankyou, Oye Lena for these amazing 3 months!

Vrijwilligster Lisa Vermeulen

Lisa Vermeulen (Belgium, September – December 2018)

I worked at NGO Oye LENA as a class responsible for a year. The project is amazing and the work they do is very much needed as their focus group are the poorest children of a small town called Curahuasi (in Peru).

The project works with children with a disability, toddlers and children from primary school. They work individually with the children with a disability around specific goals for them so that these children get a lot of extra chances. They also focus on inclusion. In the afternoon the toddlers arrive and get a warm lunch, learn things like communication, mathematics and social behaviour and get the chance to play carefree.

The project also helps the parents by giving information about personal
hygiene and raising their kids. All these things and many more make you want to try your hardest everyday to make sure you can contribute to the project.

Karolien Verrijkt (Belgium, July – September 2018)

Words fall short saying what a wonderful project Oye LENA is. When
you arrive, you immediately feel like home thanks to a warm welcome of all the volunteers and the overwhelming hugs of all the children. In the morning we picked up the special kids (cerebral palsy, down syndrome, ..) to come to the project. First we welcomed everybody and sang songs together. Afterwards every child followed an individual
program together with a volunteer/teacher which guaranteed a one on one education. For example, the program consisted of physiotherapy,
language therapy or mathematics depending on the needs of each child.

Since I am a physiotherapist, I particularly focused on giving physio
and worked with those who needed gait rehabilitation and muscle strengthening exercises. I was very pleased to be able to use my physiotherapeutic background and transfer this knowledge to the
other volunteers and kids at the project. All the volunteers (physio/speech therapist/teachers/…) work really closely together and therefore you learn a lot from each other.

I also participated in giving classes and attending corner work during the afternoon when the toddlers arrived. This is an example of how Oye LENA provides the opportunity to become closely involved with the entire project. At first I was a bit hesitant, since I did not have any experience as a teacher. But the whole team supported me which
made me feel really comfortable immediately!

I am grateful for everything and cannot thank Oye LENA enough. It is an experience of a lifetime to be able to work together with the whole team on this wonderful project. I recommend it to everybody! Oye LENA, thank you for everything!

Vrijwilligster Ester Fonteyne

Ester Fonteyne (26 years, Belgium, Speech therapist, January – March 2018)

I came to Oye Lena after a few months of travelling. It felt like coming home. I started off giving classes to the smallest kids and speech therapy to the special kids. We really saw a big improvement with the special kids and that gave me even more energy to work with them. Beside working we had also a great time with the other volunteers. We had sport activities, went out in the weekends, we organized barbecues, … I stayed there for two months and I loved every second!

Vrijwilliger Klaas Vermeersch

Klaas Vermeersch (28 years, Belgium, Social care, January – March 2018)

The project Oye Lena was perfectly what I was looking for. Between traveling, stretching enough time to commit myself to children who really need it. The love you receive from the children is indescribable and you also get the necessary freedom to do what you are good at. Unforgettable experience.

Vrijwilligster Hanne Michiels

Hanne Michiels (31 years, Belgium, finance manager, October – November 2017)

I have spent 7 weeks in Oye Lena, in October and November 2017. I was originally going to stay for 4 weeks, but was happy to lengthen my stay with another 3 weeks.

A year ago, I decided to take a break and go travelling for a year. Via a friend, I heard about the project Oye Lena in Curahuasi Peru. I have been monitor in the youth movement, but apart from that, never worked with toddlers or special children before. So you could call it… quite a challenge for me!
But: a whole new world opened up!

I loved working with the toddlers. I rediscovered the child in me, which was so much fun. These kids need much love and confirmation, and it feels good to be able to help. Especially after a few weeks, when they really start to know and trust you, and your Spanish gets better. Therefore, I would suggest to stay longer than I did!

Vrijwilligster Hanne Michiels met kindjes

I loved the group of volunteers. I met 10 totally different people, that formed a special and close group. We worked together, but also cooked together in the evenings. We partied together for birthdays, goodbyes, football games, or just because it was Friday. We did some treks & activities together in the weekends. My number one is for sure our 4-day trek to Choquequirao during a school holiday, which was heavy but so much fun.

I loved the structure, but at the same time the freedom, in the school. Oye Lena works according to fixed themes, schemes and schedules, which provides a helpful structure for everyone. At the same time, there’s much participation: you can express your preferences on tasks and activities. I did some administrative work too for example, because I like this a lot.

And I loved the stunning location Curahuasi. A small and cosy village, surrounded by mountains and canyons in all colors of the rainbow. A paradise for hikers!

I will for sure stay in touch, via social media and the newsletter. And I have decided to become the godmother of the 4-year old Aaron, so I will have to return here someday ;-).

Vrijwilligster Sofie Verrijkt

Sofie Verrijkt (25 years, Belgium, Speech therapist, July – August 2017)

I volunteered at Oye Lena during the summer of 2017 and I had the best time. The people there are so nice, you get to stay in a beautiful room with a stunning view, and working with the kids (both the special kids and the toddlers) was an amazing experience.

During the week I worked at the project (playing with and teaching the kids) and I studied Spanish. I can really recommend the Spanish course! In the weekends I visited Machu Picchu, the Rainbow Mountains, Cuzco, … I can ‘t wait to go back!

Vrijwilligster Hannah Bauer

Hannah Bauer (27 years, Austria, nutritionist, March 2017)

Casa Lena is a beautiful place in the Peruvian mountains next to the small town of Curahuasi. From the very first moment on I felt at home there and I knew I was going to have a great time. Oye LENA is such an inspiring project! I enjoyed every single day I could be part of it and every minute I spent with all these great people and precious children.

Every morning at nine, we picked up the children with special needs whom we were teaching until noon. For me this was the first time working in this area and I am grateful for this rewarding experience. In the afternoons, we always had a lot of fun with the preschoolers and their older sisters and brothers who were invited to join the project during their holidays in January and February. After enjoying their hot meal we played together until classes started with our daily welcome circle. Since it was holidays classes focused on playful learning and we did a lot of creative and sportive activities, puzzles and smart and multisensory games. The hours passed by quickly and far too early it was time for the children to step into our bus to be brought home.

Further highlights of my stay were our visit to the orphanage of Chachora and the days we spent with the children in the thermal baths of Cconoc. Another great event was the “fiesta de promoción” where we celebrated a big party to say goodbye to all the children leaving Oye LENA, because they started school at the beginning of March.

My eight weeks were over in no time at all and much too early I had to leave again. I did this with a heavy heart, but with a backpack full of great memories and experiences, many new friends that I will never forget and with the cutest godchild in the world. I really recommend this wonderful project to everyone who is searching for a place to do his internship or is just looking for the perfect location to do meaningful volunteer work. I myself would be more than happy to come back one day.

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