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Victims of State Violence - Human Rights and Psychotherapy

Internships and Volunteering Possible
ITEI (Instituto de Terapia e Investigación) is the first and only center of its kind, conducting therapy and rehabilitation services to people who have been traumatized and injured by systematic state violence and researching the effects of torture and state violence. ITEI has integrated in its function, psychotherapeutic, medical, social and legal measures for victims, their families and others. Furthermore, it focuses on prevention, education and research on human rights issues. Internships and volunteer services in the above areas are possible in La Paz and Cochabamba, where ITEI operates.

Project Details

"It was the day of the massacre of Huarina at 9.30 in the morning. The armed forces found themselves opposing its own common people – men, women, children, grandparents and elderly people, some of them carrying stones and slings. Some minutes later a green warplane arrived, on its last turn throwing grenades towards the earth and the soldiers immediately started to shoot with air guns. Many people were dead and injured and there was blood everywhere - women, children, youth and aged ones who will never forget this day in their life.” - (Government of Banzer, September 2000)

Arbitrary detentions and brutal violence of the executive forces during protests have been a regularly occurring reality in Bolivia, including events such as the violent intervention of the public forces during the protests against the privatization of gas supplies (“Bolivian gas conflict”) in 2003 and water supplies (“Bolivian water war”) in 2000. Bolivia signed the UN Convention against Torture in 1999; however the prohibition of torture, abuse and severe violation of human rights of detained individuals continued to be disrespected regularly.

The individuals being supported are survivors of massacres, victims of political repression, survivors of torture, former and current political prisoners, political refugees in Bolivia, people who return from exile, family members of people who have disappeared or killed by governmental action, victims of racial violence, victims of non-governmental torture and mistreatment, and family members and communities related to all of above mentioned target groups.
Another relevant group of people being supported by ITEI are victims of political persecution during the dictatorship of 1964 to 1982. Even (former) prisoners are able to find help at ITEI. Although Bolivia signed the Convention against Torture in 1999, the prohibition of torture, ill-treatment and other serious human rights abuses against prisoners is often disregarded. Family members and persons associated with the sufferers, as well as those of detained, disappeared or killed by state organizations, are involved in the work of ITEI.
The three areas of ITEI’s work include rehabilitation, training/prevention and investigation.
In terms of rehabilitation, ITEI offers psychotherapeutic and medical treatments, and gives social and legal support to victims of governmental torture and violence, including their family members and communities.
For training/prevention, ITEI organizes events and seminars about topics such as human rights, torture, democracy, values, mental health, psychotraumatology self-confidence and self-esteem and trains young leaders in these areas.
In this context, participatory training methods are used, so that young people develop the skills to critically analyze issues, take positions and make suggestions. The integration of these skills in everyday life makes a positive transformation of their life realities with regard to the respect for and observance of their rights. Between 2009 and 2013, a strengthened participation of young people in local development processes and youth councils through this project could be recorded.
The investigation carried out at ITEI looks into the forms of governmental torture and violence existing in Bolivia, who are the affected people, and what are the consequences for the victims, their families and society.
ITEI accepts volunteers and interns with previous experiences or interest in the subject areas of communication, internal organization and administration, investigation and research, job training for the youth, psychotherapy counseling, physiotherapy treatments and fundraising. It is possible to implement their own projects after consultation; e.g. Customize video documentary with interviews of those affected.
Info Box
Location: El Alto and Cochabamba, Bolivia
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: 6 Months
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: Intermediate Spanish
Cochabamba - Shared Accommodation in Room, Host Family or Guest House/Hostel; La Paz - Shared Accommodation in Room or Host Family
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Psychotherapist, Forensic Specialist
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
Relevant studies or experience
Further Contribution To Project: None
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer : None
Further Contribution To Project: None
Expectations: High degree of intercultural understanding,
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?



Accommodation in La Paz



Shared Accommodation in La Paz

The apartment is located in Sopocachi, in the city center of La Paz. The district Sopocachi is located between the historic neighborhood of La Paz and the southern part of the city (La Zona Sur). The area is a popular living, working and entertainment district. The accommodation for volunteers and interns can be reached via a steep staircase, at the end of two houses opposite each other, separated by a green courtyard. In both houses, there are a total of eight rooms for trainees, volunteers and travelers from all over the world. The view is stunning; both of La Paz and the enchanting snow-capped Illimani, which is considered to be the highest elevation of the Cordillera Real, and a symbol of La Paz. The view can be enjoyed from the front porch of the rear house; where there is seating for socializing. The room available is a single room. Depending on the size and amenities of the room, the monthly rental costs differ. In general, there is a bed, a storage space for clothes, a small table and a chair. In both houses, there is one kitchen and bathroom to be shared. There is also Internet.

Host Families in La Paz

Accommodation in La Paz is with host families, where you have a separate room of average standards. You have either a private bathroom or one shared with the family. In general, both parents work and therefore, offer breakfast only. You can use the kitchen or purchase cheap food in the city.



I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
  up to 31 Days
32-60 Days
61-90 Days
91-120 Days
5 Months or longer
wu servicepackage
1 Person
300 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR 800 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Rate per Person)
250 EUR 400 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 650 EUR
Convert rates to USD, GBP, CAD, AUD and other currencies

The World Unite! Service Package includes:

  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Assistance with visa extension in Bolivia or arrangement of visa (depending on duration of stay) and other official permits (if required), but not the official government fees for it/them
  • Pick-up and Transfers from/to La Paz/El Alto (LPB) on arrival and departure
  • Assistance with the booking of domestic connection flights within Bolivia if you arrive in Cochabamba or ViruViru
  • Personal support staff at your location and at our international office
  • Orientation and Introduction in La Paz
  • Accompanying you to your placement on your first day
  • 24 Hours emergency support by local support team
  • 50 USD Contribution to your project
  • Local SIM Card with 60 Bs. air time
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university

The Rates do NOT include:

  • Accommodation and Meals (see below)
  • Travel to/from Bolivia (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Official fees for Visa (see below)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Local Transport (Estimated amounts see below)
  • Please note that for supervised/mentored internships, some organizations charge further contributions. You find this information in the "Info Box" below the respective internship description.

II. Accommodation Costs

You can choose between the following options:
Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
Some Rates in EUR/US-Dollar.
Convert Currency
 Short-time stay
(1-31 Days)
Long-time stay
(32-365 Days)
(You pay proportionally per day)
Shared House or Hostel   
House shared with other participants
1 Person
(Single Room)
8 EUR/Day
150-190 EUR/Month*
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
5 EUR/Day
80-120 EUR/Month*
Host Family
Host Family of Middle Standard
on Full Board
1 Person
(Single Room)
15 USD/Day 300 USD/Month
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
15 USD/Day 250 USD/Month
*Rate depending on Room Size. Incomplete months are charged proportionally per day. 
In case of 3-4 person: Same rate as in case of 2 Persons. 5 or more persons: Contact us for group rates.

Overview of other costs:

  • For most citizens except US Citizens, no Visa fee for a stay of a maximum of 90 days per calendar year. Any time you stay in excess of 90 days within a calendar year, 20 Bs. fee per day. US Citizens pay currentyl 135 USD Visa fee.
  • If meals are not included: around 70-150 EUR /100-180 USD)/month
  • Small local expenses (e.g. Internet, local transport): around 30-50 USD/Month (Estimate)
  • Insurances around 30-50 USD/Month


How do I pay?

Once all your questions have been answered and you confirm that you want to participate, we will email you an invoice. You can pay it via bank transfer or via Paypal. You will pay a deposit 200 EUR when the invoice is issued. 3 months prior to your arrival you will pay the remainder for your Service Package and for the first month of rent.
Rent from the 2nd month, possible further contributions to the NGO or for internship supervision (see info box of the respective project description), and costs for visa and possibly further official permits you pay directly at your destination. There are ATMs. 



Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more! Check out our other listings in the areas of "World Learner" and "Active Travel" at your travel destination to make your stay even more interesting.

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.

La Paz

La Paz is located at an altitude of around 3600 meters (11,600 feet) within the canyon of the Río Chokeyapue, deeply cutting into the surrounding Altiplano highland. On the highland west of La Paz, the city of El Alto has been built, which during the last years, with more than 1 million people, has grown larger than La Paz; in El Alto you find the international airport of La Paz-El Alto. The difference of altitude between the southern parts of La Paz, which are located further down the canyon, and the upper parts of the valley, is almost 1000 meters (3300 feet), resulting in spectacular views when driving down from El Alto into La Paz.

Coordinator in La Paz

Our coordinator in La Paz is Sandra, a housewife and mother.

Recreational Activities in La Paz

La Paz is a metropolis and offers similar recreational opportunities such as some European cities.
Popular, but also dangerous are Mountain Bike Trips on the "road of death" in the Yungas, a narrow and unpaved mountain range with hundreds of deep chasms. An abstruse spectacle is the wrestling matches of Cholitas, the women who wrestle in traditional indigenous garments, in El Alto. In cooperation with the Center "Vive Bolivia", we offer a variety of courses and cultural activities.

Getting There


Getting To La Paz

bolivia map
You fly to La Paz El Alto (LPB), where you will be picked up and taken to your accommodation. Often, there are cheaper international flights to Santa Cruz de la Sierra (ViruViru Airport, VVI). In that case, you can fly there and then take a connecting flight to La Paz, booking separately with Aerosur or BoA. The tickets between these cities are quite low (30-50 EUR / 38-63 USD), but you cannot pay by credit card from overseas. We can buy you a ticket in Bolivia.  



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
No, you can arrive at any date and you can hence, plan your trip according to your availability and the prices of flights. We can pick you up from the Cochabamba airport even at night. You cannot start a project during certain holidays, of which, we will inform you in advance.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Of course, you can do this - most of our participants do so. However, when the travel destination is too far away, it may not be possible over a weekend; these, we would recommend you keep for before the projects begins or after the completion. You could even plan these out during holidays (e.g. Semana Santa). We will notify you of the destinations and the recommended time to visit.
Is it safe to travel in Bolivia alone as a single female traveller?
About 80 percent of our participants are women and many of them 18 to 24 years old. Not a single instance of any serious security issue has been reported. Our supervisors on site will advise you on how you should conduct yourself in order to avoid problems - issues such as clothing style, carrying valuables, and in dealing with machismo and patriarchal societies. Our preparation material brings attention to these issues. It is very important to follow these basic rules, that are just as applicable to many other places, in order to reduce risk as much as possible.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Bolivia?
The total number of participants that participate simultaneously with an organization depends on the size and activity of the organization and responsibilities of volunteers/interns. We try to avoid too many volunteers/interns in an organization at the same time. It may be that you are alone in your work site, but usually there are, throughout the year, other participants in Cochabamba, who you can meet in your spare time, if you desire so. In addition, there are also many tourists on the road, whom you can easily meet at bars, shops, etc. You can also meet a lot of local and foreign students in the lively city of Cochabamba.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info - PDF that you get as a participant, gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations
Where will I live?
You can go through the housing options in the tab "Accommodation".
Can I choose my accommodation?
You can send us your preference and we will try our best to organise that for you. However, some Organizations provide accommodation, in which case, you can only opt for that.
How free or bound am I in my accommodation with the host family?
While you will have your privacy, in Bolivia, it is customary to let your host family know when you will leave or return to the house so that the doors can be unlocked, due to safety reasons. It is unacceptable to have casual acquaintances visit you. The level of closeness or privacy with the family can differ.
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
The shared accommodations in Cochabamba and in Sopocachi, La Paz have internet, as does the hostel in Cochabamba. As for the host families, Internet is not always available, and the same applies to the boarding offered by some Organizations. You can find information about the availability of internet in the tabs "Accommodation". If there is no wifi internet, you can buy yourself a USB modem stick or surf the Internet with your smartphone.
How can I do my laundry?
In general, clothes are hand washed in Bolivia. Many households have someone employed for the purpose, while others have washing machines. There are also laundromats.
Can I cook in the accommodation?
Yes, the families allow the use of the kitchen, but may charge a small monthly fee for additional consumption of electricity and gas. The families also offer meals for you, if you want to eat with them. This, you can decide when you arrive. Details are in the tab "Accommodation".
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Yes, host families are familiar with vegetarian meals and allergies or food intolerances can be considered. It is also possible to buy vegetarian food.
What language skills do I need?
In Bolivia, Spanish, as well as indigenous languages such as Aymara or Quechua are spoken. If you have little or no knowledge of Spanish, we recommend that you begin your stay with a Spanish language course. We can also organize Skype Spanish lessons with a Bolivian language teacher. The majority of the volunteering/ internships expect basic to medium level of Spanish at the start of the activity. That is, you should be able to communicate and express yourself during your stay, at a basic level. Please let us know what you level of knowledge of Spanish is, so that we make sure we organise your stay/project accordingly.
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