Alternative Reading Week

Student Community Outreach

Alternative Reading Week

El Salvador

Participants on this trip will be travelling to El Salvador to work with Habitat for Humanity. Brock University and Habitat for Humanity Canada invites you to join the thousands of volunteers from around the world who are working hand in hand to eliminate poverty housing one house at a time. Work with a family to help them build a home, strengthen their community and enrich both their lives and your own.


  • 24 participants maximum, including
  • 1-2 Group Leaders (students with service experience, faculty or staff)
  • 2 Professional Leaders


Service Projects:

Our week will consist of beginning the construction of a brand new home! No construction experience required!During our time building, we will most likely be working alongside the future homeowners, which adds a very personal touch to the experience.
*Since no experience is required, these skills will be taught on-site and safety procedures outlined.

Community Partner: 
Habitat for Humanity believes that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. They are a nonprofit ecumenical Christian ministry but build with people in need regardless of race or religion and welcome volunteers of all backgrounds. Whenever possible, sustainable and energy-efficient houses are built. Around the world nearly 2 million people live in slum housing and 100 million are homeless.

Visit Habitat for Humanity - Global Village on-line by clicking here.

February 15 – Arrive in San Salvador
February 16 – Depart for build site & Habitat Orientation
February 17-21 – Build days
February – 22 – Depart for R&R (Coastal town resort)
February 23 – Depart for Canada


Where: El Salvador
El Salvador is the smallest Central American country (population 7 million). About half live in substandard housing.  It is strategically located in the center of the region surrounded by Honduras, Guatemala and the Pacific.  The Republic of El Salvador endures many challenges. None of which are more devastating than the earthquakes and hurricanes that have a huge impact on the everyday lives of Salvadorans. El Salvador is also the most densely populated country in Central America. Therefore, the housing need is only exacerbated by the hardships brought on by these weather phenomena and further complicates the country’s continued plight to rebuild its infrastructure after a civil war which ended in 1992.  However, the people in El Salvador are as friendly as they are resilient. Their incredible spirit keeps them going and it would be so great to assist them in the transition to homeownership. Habitat for Humanity has been aggressively pursuing the goal of decent housing for all Salvadorans but the need is increasing year after year.



The cost to go on the trip is based on the following formula:  in-country costs + airfare + “R&R”
In-country costs - $1,150 (In-Country costs include accommodation, meals, ground transportation, and a donation to Habitat).

Airfare - it’s hard to give a cost for airfare, but right now, some flights were coming up at $765.00 and others $800.00 (from Toronto Int’l aiport)

Both the in-country costs and airfare are eligible for tax receipts.

Rest & Relaxation - The “R&R” portion refers to the last part of the trip.  This cost is $125 and is not eligible for a tax receipt.

Fundraising is encouraged, and we can assist you with some great ideas.


And maybe most importantly…….WHY?

A trip like this can be a life changing experience. It’s an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of development issues and to learn more about another culture.  You will be more than a tourist – we will be welcomed into the community by our hosts and introduced to the local culture as a guest.  There is no previous building experience necessary. However, a willingness to experience another culture as different and not inferior is a goal that we must all share. Only a spirit of understanding, cooperation, and a sense of humor are required components of this build.

El Salvador has been through quite a bit in the last few months….floods have devastated many towns in the country.  Fortunately, none of the Habitat affiliates and their families has been affected.  The need has always been present in El Salvador, but this trip couldn’t have come at a better time –the unfortunate events in the past week have just set back development projects in the country even further…

For more information contact:
International Services & Programs Abroad at
or Student Life & Community Experience at


Thank you for your interest in Alternative Reading Week!

Applications for the El Salvador Trip have now closed, however we are still accepting applications for the South Carolina trip and the local Niagara projects.

Participant Expectations:

  • Available to fully participate in all pre-departure meetings including: "Meet the Team" Social - week of November 24, 2013 and the Pre-Departure Workshop Day - Saturday, January 18, 2014 (approx. 9am-4pm).
  • Available to fully participate in the Re-Entry Workshop on Sunday, March 2, 2014 (approx. 2pm-5pm).
  • Available to fully participate for the duration of the trip: Saturday, February 15 - Sunday, February 23, 2014.
  • Responsible for ensuring valid travel insurance and health insurance is in place for the duration of the trip experience. 
  • Responsible for following all safety related guidelines outlined by the Professional Leader(s), Group Leaders and partnering organizations.
  • Responsible for securing a valid passport and/or VISA.
  • Understanding that this is a substance free experience (no drugs or alcohol may be consumed during the experience or purchased to bring back into Canada).
  • Understanding that this program is facilitated through Brock University and as such, the Code of Conduct for Brock students extends to cover all behaviour during the trip experience.




Group Leader Information:

Each trip can only be a success with the help of those willing to step up into a leadership role!  Group Leaders will be chosen who complete the application below (any applicants applying to be a Group Leader, will also be considered for general participant spot on the trip in the event that we have more applications for Group Leaders than we have spots available).

Additional Expectations of Group Leaders (in addition to the expectations of a participant outlined above):

  • Participation in Group Leader meetings leading up to the trip, as well as one meeting upon return
  • Assistance in facilitating the Pre-Departure Workshop Day leading ice breakers, etc.
  • Organization of a trip team social activity (optional for participants) in advance on the trip
  • Assistance in facilitating the Re-Entry Workshop
  • Assistance in gathering photos/media during and after the trip and with the creation of display boards for volunteer appreciation event
  • Assistance in facilitating reflection activities during the trip
  • Willingness to assist the Professional Leaders with tasks during the trip as necessary

For taking on this extra responsibility, Group Leaders will receive $100 off the cost of their trip.  Applicants for Group Leader positions may be contacted for an interview.  Group Leaders who are not selected for the Group Leader role will automatically be considered for a spot as a general participant.

Apply now to be a Group Leader!