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ECUADOR

VOLUNTEER TO CARE FOR DISADVANTAGED STREET CHILDREN IN QUITO, ECUADOR

Work with a NGO that helps children, youth and adults living on the streets of Quito by giving them a safe environment to eat, shower, relax, meet peers, make friends and learn new skills. You'll help the children with their homework, or in the carpentry workshop and the kitchen. You'll visit the schools, and also help prepare activities for the children.

The NGO hopes to also provide a safe place for the children to sleep in the near future - without volunteers providing the project with their time and enthusiasm, this would not be possible.

You'll need a little Spanish to do this project, but we've got that covered! If you have no knowledge of Spanish at all, you can combine your project with two weeks of Spanish.

SUMMARY: THE BASICS

Price: £875 (approx. US$1,090) for 2 weeks
£1,025 (approx. US$1,275) for 3 weeks
£1,165 (approx. US$1,450) for 4 weeks
£170 (US$215) for each additional week.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & prices in other currencies
Duration: From 2 weeks to 12 weeks, subject to visa requirements
Start Dates: All year round – you choose your start and finish dates. You should ideally arrive at the weekend, between 8.00 a.m. and 7.00 p.m.
Requirements: Minimum age 17, no qualifications necessary (just a good dose of enthusiasm!). You'll need a little Spanish to do this project, but if you have no knowledge of Spanish at all, you can combine your project with a 1-week intensive Spanish Course in Quito prior to starting your project.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation
Weekly Salsa Class and drink in Quito
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Free T-shirt
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas (if a visa is required), Food, Return transfer to the airport.
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities and all ages over 17.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in caring for children, teaching or working with children overseas while doing voluntary work, projects abroad or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement or short break in Ecuador or Central America.

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT

  • An exciting opportunity to travel, see the world and experience a foreign culture first-hand.
  • New skills, more confidence and invaluable personal and professional development.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping disadvantaged children and knowing that you made a difference to them.
  • An opportunity to take a break from the traditional academic track or your current career path in order to gain life experience and global cultural awareness
  • An entry on your CV or Résumé that will enhance your career opportunities and make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Make friends, form relationships and build memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Opportunities to enjoy some exciting adventure and cultural activities while on your programme.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!
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ANY QUESTIONS?

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WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION

You'll work with a not for profit NGO that specialises in the investigation, prevention, attention and treatment of the population that live in extreme marginal situations. It is their belief that a child is born good, but society corrupts them. They strive to reverse this trend by offering a safe and secure environment in which they can relax and feel at home. The street children also have the chance to meet others in their situation and learn skills that will help them turn their backs on the life of poverty and depravation that they've been accustomed to by living on the streets.

The NGO works with Children, Adolescents, Youth of the Streets and Street-workers. These are the CAYSaS. The CAYSaS are found on the streets in urban areas. They are faced with problems such as: working and living on the streets, lack of contact with their families, lack of education, risk of permanent and total exclusion from local communities. A large number turn to solvent abuse and drugs. Most of the children on the projects sell candy on the streets to support their most basic expenses. The project has created a carpentry workshop and various training courses to teach the youth and adults, new skills that will improve their quality of life. The key areas that the NGO offer help with, are:

  • Giving them attention, treatment and refuge. The treatment is given for behavioural problems, education problems and (drug) addiction
  • When CAYSaS are in the process of moving to the street the NGO tries to prevent this by offering other options.
  • Help with strengthening of character, pedagogical recuperation, and returning to school.
  • Promoting suitable use of their free time.
  • Education on sexual orientation, family planning, prevention of STDs and health education.
  • Establishing the reintroduction of family, social life and work into the children's lives.
  • Younger children are sent to school, with the help of sponsors.
  • Older children are offered opportunities to learn skills such as carpentry to help themselves.

YOUR WORK:
You will mainly work as an assistant. The children will really appreciate any attention you give them! Some of the tasks that you may participate in, will include:

  • Helping the children with their homework
  • Helping them in the carpentry workshop
  • Helping in the kitchen
  • Visiting the schools
  • Playing with the children
  • Preparing activities for the children (sports, outings to the theatre, museums, the zoo, teaching the children songs, role play games etc.)
  • The project has also had a new house donated to them. If you wish to, there may be the chance to really get your hands dirty and help with some maintenance and decorating so that it can be put to good use!

This project is extremely rewarding and your help is greatly appreciated. If you have any special talents the children would love you to share them or teach them! However, please be aware that it is emotionally draining and requires strong characters to volunteer here. You must be incredibly self motivated and independent and must not be afraid, although it will seem daunting at first. You must be prepared for what you will be faced with - there will be dirt (these children live on the streets!), the children lack education so you must be very patient and many of them have deep-seated emotional issues. This NGO is doing phenomenal work helping these children overcome the hardships that they have been dealt in life. YOU can play an important part in that!

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS:
The centre will be closed for one week 20th - 27th August 2017.

ACCOMMODATION

You'll either stay in a house with other volunteers or you can choose to live with a host family, depending on your preferences/availability. Staying with a host family does mean a small supplementary fee.

The Volunteer House is located in a tourist area, 'La Mariscal', near to where all Spanish lessons are held and where there is plenty of nightlife, restaurants and internet cafes. The house has 7 rooms and accommodates 17. There is a large, fully equipped kitchen, a TV room with a DVD player, wireless internet, 2 safety boxes and a garden with hammocks and a BBQ area. All bathrooms have hot water and there is a cleaning lady 5 days a week.

Wi-Fi / Internet: There is Wi-Fi / Internet available in the accommodation.

FOOD:
Food is not included in this project (unless you choose to live with a host family, when food is provided on Mondays to Fridays.

Accommodation with host families means that you get to eat, sleep, work, socialise and generally live like an Ecuadorian! Many of our volunteers remain friends with their host families long after they leave Ecuador and in some cases they return to the country later especially to visit their family.

Whichever accommodation you choose, you're sure to enjoy a great stay in Quito!

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

YOUR SAFETY, SUPPORT AND BACKUP:
Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.

Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?

Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

VOLUNTEERING WITH CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
As well as protecting all our volunteers, Travellers Worldwide is committed to all our projects and dedicated to practices which protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. Read Travellers' Child Care and Vulnerable Adults Policy.

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN ECUADOR info@travellersworldwide.com DOWNLOAD THIS INFORMATION in .pdf How to Fundraise for your Program

ANY QUESTIONS?

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OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Spanish Lessons Optional Add-On in Ecuador

1-WEEK SPANISH COURSE PRIOR TO STARTING YOUR MAIN PROJECT:
¿Cómo se dice en Español??? There is no better way to learn a language than to live it, eat it, breathe it and speak it in a Spanish-speaking community!! You can learn Spanish as an Optional Add-On to your main Project.
Prices:

  • OPTION 1: One-Week Intensive Spanish GROUP Course:
    20 Hours per Week: £385, includes accommodation for the week
  • OPTION 2: One-Week Intensive Spanish PRIVATE Course:
    20 Hours per Week: £435, includes accommodation for the week
  • OPTION 3: One-Week Super-Intensive Spanish Course: (If you have no Spanish at all and are doing a project in the Galapagos or one of the Conservation projects near Puyo, you'll be required to take this course.):
    20 Hours per Week Group Lessons PLUS 10 Hours per Week Private Lessons, 30 Hours in total:
    £495, includes accommodation for the week

All the teachers at the school have taught Spanish for 8 or more years and between them they have developed a great many resources to make the lessons lively and fun. The classes are highly focused on the development of communication skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing.) The school also periodically organise interesting and enjoyable activities in order to introduce the Ecuadorian and Latin culture to their students - most recently they've been cooking Ecuadorian dishes in classes! It's a great, fun way to learn!

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Learn Spanish in Ecuador, having fun!

SPANISH LESSONS CONCURRENT WITH YOUR MAIN PROJECT:
Price:
10 Hours Private Lessons per Week: £75 per week
20 Hours Group Lessons per Week: £150 per week.

GROUP LESSONS: There are usually a maximum of 6 students per group.
PRIVATE LESSONS: One-to-one tuition. If you prefer to tailor your lessons, you could choose how many hours of lessons you'd like a week - from 2 to 40!

LOCATION:
Quito is a wonderful city, with a population of 2.4 million inhabitants. It is full of exciting history to explore. There is always something to do in Quito, whether you'd like to experience some culture or join in with the cosmopolitan, modern way of life. Cultural highlights include the old town, the cable car and the Equator, museums and monuments. There is also a range of shopping malls, a zoo, an ice skating rink, and plenty of restaurants and bars serving wonderful cocktails and tasty food.

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Learn Spanish in Ecuador Learn Spanish in Ecuador Learn Spanish in Ecuador Learn Spanish in Ecuador

Terms and Conditions apply for Add-Ons, please see here.

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LOCATION | SIGHTSEEING:

LOCATION - PUYO:
Puyo is the provincial capital of Pastaza housing some 25,000 residents. It also provides a crossroads for visitors arranging various tours to the jungle and forest reserves. If you're an early riser, the views of the incoming rolling mists are spectacular dissipating into cloud form as the day rolls on. This attractive jungle town is also the crossover point for further onward routes into the northern and southern oriente as well as travelers journeying back to Baños and Ambato.

In recent years, Puyo has become noted by tourists for its incredible natural beauty. Surrounded by mountains, forest, rivers and natural valleys, the abundance of surrounding wildlife and scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The city also has a good infrastructure, providing visitors with good accommodation and a variety of activities. The annual festivals that are celebrated by the locals are also a special treat.

QUITO:
Ecuador's capital, Quito, lies in the north of the country, some 15 miles from the equator and with the Andean Mountains and valleys as a backdrop. It's 10,000ft altitude keeps it cool, with spring like temperatures year round. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in the 1970's for its preserved historic Latin quarter. The city also contains a thriving 'new town' popular with younger generations for its restaurants, shopping and nightlife. There are lots of restaurants and "Patio de Comidas" where you can pick up an excellent value lunch or dinner.

There is always something to do in Quito, whether you'd like to experience some culture or join in with the cosmopolitan, modern way of life. Cultural highlights include the old town, the cable car and the equator, along with a multitude of museums and monuments. Modern highlights include a range of shopping malls, a zoo, an ice skating rink, and plenty of restaurants and bars serving wonderful cocktails and tasty food - you'll find anything from traditional Ecuadorian cuisine to Thai and Italian!

GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS:
The Galápagos islands lie some 600 miles from the coastline of Ecuador. Formed by volcanic eruptions into the sea, they contain species found nowhere else on the planet and are one of the most significant sites in the world; most notably because this is where Charles Darwin's theories of evolution were inspired and shaped. This rocky and at first glance inhospitable terrain is home to giant tortoise, swimming iguanas and fearless blue footed boobies.

The marine reserve here is equally impressive, boasting encounters for divers and snorkellers with penguins, marine turtles, manta rays and sea lions, amongst others. Around 90% of the islands are protected areas, with visitor numbers restricted and some sites off limits altogether to ensure conservation.

THE AMAZON:
The Amazon is the worlds largest remaining tropical rainforest, occupying about one third of Ecuador. To get some idea of its scale, first you need to know that Ecuador's share of the Amazon represents just 2% of the whole rainforest; most of it belonging to Brazil (60%) followed by Peru (13%). Important nevertheless as the Amazon in Ecuador remains relatively untouched, has good infrastructure to make for easy visitation and is home to numerous indigenous settlements which welcome outsiders.

THE ANDES:
One of the greatest mountain ranges in the world, they split Ecuador in two running from the north of the country down. Indigenous communities have cultivated the land in the Andean Highlands for thousands of years, selling their produce in bustling market towns. Catch a glimpse of the abundantly colourful markets, showcasing traditions of ancient civilizations and Inca descendants.

Mountaineers will love the peaks of the 'Avenue of Volcanoes' an area in the central highlands with a number of active volcanoes. Whilst each climb is different and most are incredibly challenging, the rewards along the way are numerous. Dense forest, waterfalls and spectacular views across the valleys below await the intrepid few. Other hot pursuits in this region include walking, rafting, biking or camping.

PACIFIC COASTLINE:
This 2000km coast is fringed with pristine sand beaches, sweeping bays, mangrove forests, crashing waves and tranquil fishing villages. The ports and fishing villages are an important part of Ecuador's economy, delivering fresh sea food and imported goods. At certain times of the year you can see Humpback whales arriving from Antarctic waters to mate; splashing their fins and exhaling gushes of water. Marine birds are also in abundance along the pacific coastline, with sightings of the albatross, one of natures largest birds, being common.

TRAVEL:

Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.

REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK:

LUCY CARMICHAEL
British
Street Kids Voluntary Project and Spanish Course in Quito

Hola Ana y Fabio!
Sorry I did not get round to giving you any feedback whilst I was in Ecuador. I am sure you can appreciate I did not seem to stop for the nine weeks I was there!

My experiences included learning Spanish, working with street kids, getting to know my host family and making friends with other volunteers/students/travellers. At the weekends and during my last two weeks I travelled, visiting: Papyllaycta, Puerto Lopez and Isla de la Plata, Otovalo, Esmiraldes, Tena, Galapagos, Amazon and Cotopaxi!

I had to learn to be independent as my host family was 30 minutes away by bus from the Spanish school and 50 minutes by bus to my volunteer project. In hindsight this made for a better experience as I really felt I got to know the city and live life as an Ecuadorian. I also had to learn to be patient due to the nature of the country and my lack of Spanish. At first I found this a little frustrating, as I was worried about travelling so far by myself.

The best thing about my placement early on was how easy it was to meet other people with similar interests to me. This was due to the fact that we were all studying in the same Spanish school and the majority of people were staying next door in the volunteer house.

SOME RECCOMMENDATIONS TO FUTURE VOLUNTEERS:
I think you have to be prepared for a challenge, determined and have a positive attitude to volunteer on this placement. I found it a little challenging at first, due to the language barrier and the fact Quito is so enormous. In the long run this makes for a better experience as you are forced to practice your Spanish and you soon get used to the size of the city.

I would recommend to future volunteers with limited Spanish that they make a list of useful words for working with children. For example: Listen, Ready, Sit down... It is possible to communicate without Spanish but the more you speak the easier and more rewarding the project is. I found it much easier as the weeks went on and I was able to talk to the children and staff and understand what it is they needed.

It is better not to take travellers cheques as they are awkward to change. There are very few places that accept them and each time you change them you have to take your actual passport. It is dangerous to carry a lot of money, so therefore you have to go frequently and carry your passport frequently. I found it was best just to use my debit card, as most tour operators charge 7% extra for use of credit card.

I would also recommend future volunteers read into the various trips they may like to go on at the weekends before packing. I had an idea that there was going to be such a lot of fun places to visit, but I hadn't read into the climate. Ecuador has everything from hot beaches to mosquito covered rainforests to cold mountain hikes. Generally it is best to pack for all seasons. I also did not realise Quito would be so cold in the evening.

At the Centre we spent a lot of time helping the children to study. They are quite young and do not really want to learn. I would recommend future volunteers think of some activities to make learning fun. For example websites that help to teach the children or games they could play.

TYPICAL DAY AS A VOLUNTEER ON THIS PROJECT:
I was volunteering at the Street Kids Centre during the school holidays. I arrived at 9.00am each day. Normally I would play with the children for 30 minutes. This usually involved sports in the court yard, colouring in or helping the young mums with their babies. From 9.30-11am we were asked to help the children to study. I tended to work with the youngest children teaching them the alphabet, syllables, how to read simple words and how to count.

The staff preferred the children to remain in the classroom throughout this time period, so creative thinking and initiative were needed to maintain the children's attention throughout this time period. After this we would take a 30 minutes break before assisting the children in making things to sell in the shop, make models, bracelets and sometimes cooking. At 1.00pm the children had lunch and I left to go to Spanish School.

During the last official week of Sinsoluka school holidays, we spent the week doing activities and going out for the day. We made kites and climbed up to the Panecillo to fly them. We also visited several museums. A highlight for me was having a tour of the president’s house!

Overall I had an incredible nine weeks in Ecuador. I loved working with children there and learning about how the foundation started and the problems they currently face. I had a great host family who were very welcoming, patient and included me in all their family activities including a long weekend at the beach. I am really pleased with the improvement in my Spanish. The teachers at the Spanish School were great and I really benefitted from being surrounded with Spanish speakers who were reluctant to speak English.

Thanks for all your help,
Lucy

AIMS AND ACHIEVEMENTS:

The Challenges
Today the centre helps over 250 children and their families, although they do not all come to the centre at the same time. Many of these children have had a bad start to life, such as being born to drug-addicted parents, living on the streets, subjected to violence, abuse or neglect, made to work selling sweets in the street etc.

Our Goals
The aim is to stress the importance of education as a way of breaking the circle and ensuring that these children do not fall into the same way of life and temptations that their parents did before them.

Our Achievements:
For many years we have provided volunteers to the programme and, as a result, have helped fund and sponsor the project to send the children to school.

Our funding has also helped out with any costs that the family may not be able to cover, like school uniforms, books, materials etc.

Through the help of volunteers on the programme, many families are off the streets and have found somewhere to live. When possible, some have even found a job.

The project is now in its second phase of working with the children of the original street dwellers to help bring in more street kids to the Centre.