Volunteer groups of all kinds have joined the Fuller Center to help build houses for the poor. College teams, church groups, families, professionals, individuals, and other NGOs have offered their skills and energy to participate with us for week long trips or for a day or two while traveling in El Salvador.
Although many groups are between 10 – 20 people, groups of any size as well as multiple groups simultaneously can be accommodated. In some cases, groups may receive some funding from their schools or churches but generally most trip costs are raised through various fund raising activities and by gathering donations.
To start a new trip to El Salvador with your school, church, organization, or to get more information, please contact the Global Builders group at the Fuller Center for Housing or read more about the Fuller Center’s Global Builders program.
Work Structure and Activities
During the work week, teams arrive at the site and work usually begins before 8:30 am and ends before 4:00 pm. The neighborhoods we build go beyond basic shelter by creating a cooperative living environment, open community spaces, and operating infrastructure. This unique experience provides work teams with a real opportunity to get dirty and have a solid impact on the local people. Volunteers interact and work alongside current and future home owners to build their neighborhood from the ground up.
Volunteers participate in a variety of work duties depending on the current status of the project and the size of the group. Jobs may include making concrete to pour walls, floors, or sidewalks for multiplex housing units. Additionally, there are always plenty of holes to be dug, material to move and mix, and many odd jobs to beautify the community. Other participatory possibilities include improving green spaces and community aesthetics, helping to develop micro-business plans and community cooperation, and working with families and children to develop healthy and sustainable lifestyles. In addition, we are always interested in your ideas for improving the lives of people in El Salvador.
Living and Getting Around
Teams are free most evenings to relax at the beach or interact together as they wish. Many teams also like to spend some time seeing previously completed projects in other areas or visiting local schools. Depending on travel schedules and the team’s desires, groups can spend a day or so shopping, traveling around the region, or site seeing. Transportation is provided all week using vans or trucks.
Most teams stay at one of our houses, about 45 minutes from the work site, which can house up to 20 people in bunk style rooms. A full kitchen is available along with beach access, Internet, and a pool. Most meals are usually provided and restaurants are always nearby to taste the local food.
The total cost for lodging, transportation, meals, and some supplies is $585/person which must be paid in advance. Donations to cover construction and other costs are greatly needed and can be made in advance or in country. The total estimated cost of one house is $5,500 (not covered by cost of trip). Donations and trip payments are tax deductable.
Air transportation arrangements are the responsibility of each team or participant. A 90-day visa can be purchased when entering El Salvador through the international airport for US$10.00. Currency used throughout El Salvador is US dollars. No vaccinations are required to enter El Salvador but the Fuller Center recommends a recent tetanus shot when working at the site.