Affordable Volunteer Programs in Ecuador from $290

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About

Volunteers are needed in Ecuador to join a range of highly affordable projects for durations ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks. Based in the capital city of Quito, volunteers are welcomed to assist on a range of community-driven projects. Volunteers are accommodated in volunteer houses alongside other international volunteers. While Spanish is not required in order to participate on the program, volunteers can enjoy taking discounted Spanish lessons during their time on the program.

IVHQ Volunteer Projects Available in Ecuador:

  • Teaching English
  • Street Children Work
  • School Support Program
  • Summer Project
  • Kindergarten Project
  • Administration Support

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday each month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $290 for 1 week
  • Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Between 20 and 40 IVHQ volunteers start in Ecuador each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Ecuador with fellow volunteers - explore Cotopaxi, the Galapagos Islands and more!

Questions & Answers

Don't overexert yourself. If you do too much too early you'll start to feel sick. But DO be active. Walk about the city with your friends, explore, travel... just make sure to take plenty of breaks as you need to. You will find that slowly but surely you'll begin to acclimate! Also: Drink lots of water! Really, it helps.

Reviews

93%
based on 31 reviews
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 8.7
Showing 16 - 30 of 31
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Makenzie
10/10

The Best 2 Weeks

I have previously traveled with IVHQ to Kenya and China, but out of the three programs I have participated in, working with UBECI in Quito has been my favorite. Though there are things that could be improved upon from an NGO stand-point, the intent and mission of the UBECI staff and program coordinators is incredible. Jairo and Javier (the group leaders) were amazing with the kids, they always led fun, engaging lessons, and you could tell that they cared very deeply about the kids and their welfare. The kids were so much fun to play with - they were all so happy and so friendly, it was so rewarding to be able to work with them, to teach them, to be examples to them, to play with them, and to learn from them.
With most people, especially with me and the programs I have participated in, I always go in thinking that I am going to do my best to serve the kids and make even the smallest difference in their lives, but after you go home, you realize that the kids made such an impact on you and helped/served you more than you ever thought possible. This stands true for this program - I learned more from working with UBECI than I ever thought possible, and I am eternally grateful for that.

How can this program be improved?
Involve the volunteers more with the lessons and the kids - after one week of being there, it is easy to get the hang of things, so give the volunteers some responsibilities like planning a lesson or teaching a game! We are there to help - let us!!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Makenzie, Thanks so much for sharing! We are so glad to hear that you enjoyed your time on our program in Quito and appreciated the life-lessons you gained from the local team and the children at your project. Thanks again for sharing and we hope you will join us again for a forth program!
Charlotte – IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Lily
10/10

My Volunteer Trip to Quito, Ecuador

My volunteer trip to Quito, Ecuador in 2 words would be "life changing". I had never heard of IVHQ before and so when it started getting close to when it was time to leave I got a little bit more nervous. A week before my trip I came across a Facebook page for Ecuador IVHQ Program, so I joined it and got to reading on tips from past volunteers and even met volunteers via Facebook who were arriving the same time as me, seeing this eased my nerves. I felt more ready than ever. When I arrived in Quito, Ecuador with my boyfriend and as we walked right through the "exit doors" into the airport lobby there was a man with my boyfriend and I's name on the sign, which was super easy and comforting to see. He took us to our accommodations where our host mom Monica was there to welcome us to our new home for the next 2 weeks and to show us around. They instantly made us feel at home!! We met the volunteers that were living in the Volunteer House as well and we all clicked instantly and were laughing and sharing about ourselves in no time. Monday came along and we had orientation which was super informative and answered any questions we may have had. We also met the IVHQ staff that worked in the offices and everyone was sweet and eager to help us. Tuesday we jumped right in and started volunteering, we met the staff of the organization, UBECI, whom we would be volunteering with for the Street Children project. Everyone in this staff was so sweet and you could tell by the first day they truly cared about the kids and the difference that we were making. I fell in love with all the kids! We would wash their hands, play games with them, and have small interactive lessons with them. The connection that my boyfriend and I made with the kids, staff, and other volunteers was extraordinary. We had become one big family!! And to top it all off the meals that the host families would cook for us were delicious and I still crave them to this day. The time flew by and by the end of the trip the only regret I had was not staying longer. I would 10/10 recommend to anyone who is considering volunteering abroad or in a different country! Can't wait to go back one day! Thank you IVHQ staff and UBECI staff!

How can this program be improved?
n/a
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Lily, Thanks for your awesome review! We are so happy to hear that you were well supported by IVHQ and our local team and had a life changing experience volunteering in Quito, Ecuador. It sounds like you made the most of your time on the program by getting to know the children at your placement and enjoying your time with the other volunteers. Thanks for recommending IVHQ and for being a great volunteer – we would love to have you back!
Charlotte – IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
Isaac
10/10

An excellent program for anybody

I originally went to Ecuador because I needed something to pad my resumé for PhD program admissions. What I got instead was something much more than that. During my time there, I spent most of my days in the NGO Support project, with some days spent in the Street Children project, seeking funding and logistic support for the UBECI Foundation, which seeks to better the lives of underserved and underprivileged children at risk in the capital city of Quito. Not only is the cause a good one, but the organization itself is fantastic. The team takes their charge seriously and they really do make a difference in the lives of the children they serve. It is not an exaggeration to say that they are a godsend. To have been able to work with them was truly an honor, and I expect to be going back some day very soon.

But beyond the work I did, I can happily say that I was satisfied with every aspect of my trip. I planned it through IVHQ, who partners with VCE in-country, and both of them saw to my every need. My accommodation in the Volunteer House with Monica and Byron was an excellent experience. We were well fed, warmly welcomed, and made to feel at home. On top of this, VCE provided many travel opportunities around the city and beyond for decent prices, which I took great advantage of.

All told, the relatively cheap cost of this program along with the excellent work environment and the overall good experience makes this trip ideal for everyone, regardless of your travel or volunteer experience. People of all ages and backgrounds were there, including whole families. I highly recommend you take advantage of this opportunity.

How can this program be improved?
The information booklet provided by IVHQ is in need of updating. Some of the cultural information as well as what to pack is a little outdated. Still, this did not hamper my trip in any way. It's more an issue of convenience.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Issac, it's great to hear from you! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding your experience in Ecuador, it sounds like you had a really memorable time. The local team in Quito are incredibly dedicated and we are so grateful that you noticed the impact they are having. We would love to have you back in Ecuador, or on another IVHQ program, in the future.

Yes, I recommend this program
Amira
10/10

Ecuador Street Children Review

My time in Ecuador was unforgettable. The friends I made, the UBECI staff, and my host family all made my experience something that I will hold in my heart forever. The kids that I volunteered with have taught me far more than I could have ever taught them. My entire outlook on life has changed for the better. I plan on returning to the beautiful country of Ecuador. I would recommend this program to absolutely everyone.

How can this program be improved?
No improvements necessary.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Amira, We are so happy to hear that you had an unforgettable time in Ecuador! Thanks for your recommendation and for being an IVHQer!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Gemma
10/10

Eye-opening Ecuador experience

I've just spent 7 weeks In Ecuador, volunteering in administration and working with street kids. I didn't realise how much I do would get to do that I don't get to do in England. From going to the Laundrette, jumping off a bridge, hitchhiking down an extinct volcano, taking a shower with live electric cables heating the water to meeting some amazing people, local and other volunteers! Iy was an absolutely incredible experience and I would highly recommend for anyone who is unsure to take the plunge and fully submerge yourself in the experience.

How can this program be improved?
There was quite a lot of rules, for our safety and I completely understand the need for them, but if we were given these before we entered the Country we would have more time to read, digest and ask any questions which they may raise.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Gemma, Thanks for sharing a snippet from your time in Ecuador. It sounds like you had a really positive experience and we are glad that we were able to facilitate this for you. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Yitian
8/10

Ecuadorian Kindergarten kids are so loving

The kindergarten program is a great fit for anyone who wants to see what it's like to work as a kindergarten teacher and/or to rapidly improve Spanish from nada. The kids are so loving even though you don't speak their language, and they compliment on your progress as you speak/understand more, which is very motivating. You can have a great impact if you do speak fluent Spanish, the teachers at the kindergarten give you an option at the beginning to plan lessons if you wish.

How can this program be improved?
I wish I was more involved in the teaching part at least for the English curriculum. The kids don't take much math either, the only thing tangentially related was counting.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Rebecca
10/10

Ecuador

This was a great program. I really enjoyed my time working with the children in Quito, Ecuador. The staff at VCE are the friendliest and most helpful people and you will really enjoy your time in Ecuador.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi there Rebecca, It’s great to hear that you had such an enjoyable experience volunteering in Ecuador. Thanks for sharing a little of your story and your thoughts about the program. It’s great to have you as an IVHQer and we hope to have you back on another of our programs soon.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Marissa
10/10

The final day in Ecuador

My last 24 hours in Ecuador were unforgettable. Waking up to a half-packed suitcase reminded my that the end had finally arrived. After four weeks, I was both excited to go home, while at the same time, wishing I could stay four more. I went to school for my program Friday morning, teaching English to middle schoolers at the public school. I was hanging out with the students in the school yard before class, getting ready to go into the classroom, when they proposed we "play a game." This game then involved blindfolding me and my fellow volunteers...but we all went along with it. They brought us to our classroom and removed the cloth to reveal a surprise goodbye party the students themselves had organized. They had some snacks and soda, a couple balloons, and a poster. I was so shocked I cried. I realized then just how much this program meant to me and how much I would miss it.
Later that night, I was headed to the airport with my friend. Time for another round of goodbyes, this time to my host mother and 5 other volunteer friends who I lived with. As sad as I was to leave them, the goodbye was not too tragic. We had become so close over the month I had no doubt I would see them again at some point. In fact, we already had a trip planned.
I just could not believe I had been there for a month, traveled so much, met such incredible people. Overall an amazing trip.

How can this program be improved?
This particular program had only half days, which worked out for people taking Spanish lessons but left a lot of free time for those who were not. I suggested potentially making a dual program with Administration. Also, there ought to be a requirement for basic to intermediate Spanish. Without such fundamental knowledge, it would be nearly impossible to connect with the students.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hola Marissa!
Thanks for the review of your four weeks in Ecuador. Goodbyes are always the hardest part of a trip, but it sounds like you had an exciting and amazing adventure! Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ - we hope you can join us on another program in the future!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jacqueline
10/10

Teaching English in Quito

My husband and I taught English to 360 11 and 12 year olds for a month. We tried to help the teacher reach her goals as well as to create a stimulating and positive environment for the teaching of English. The kids were open and interested and were a pleasure to know. The program and teacher were fully supportive of our efforts. We received back much more than we gave. We were humbled and grateful for the experience. We also taught English to a group of kindergarten teachers. They were model students and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with them. They made wonderful progress.

How can this program be improved?
It would benefit all if the teaching period were longer. That however is not always possible to achieve.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jacqueline! What an amazing experience to share with your husband - we are thrilled that you enjoyed it! Thanks for your review and for volunteering - we hope to see you on another IVHQ program in the future :-)

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Safa
10/10

Review of Kindergarten Program in Ecuador

I thought this was a great program, and I liked the convenience of getting to the school everyday, about a 10 minute walk. I enjoyed working with the kids, and teaching them songs, and the teachers were very understanding and helpful when trying to learn the Spanish language.

How can this program be improved?
I would let volunteers know beforehand to come prepared with songs, both in Spanish and English, to share with their classes.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Safa, It's is great to hear that you enjoyed your time volunteering on our Kindergarten project in Ecuador. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Lib
9/10

Great experience!

It's a great experience to live with a host family, be immersed in Spanish, and see how other cultures live their lives. I am a teacher and the work UBECI is doing with these socially and economically deprived children is great. You get to help work with the kids on key skills, such as following directions, concept of print, using a pencil etc. It's very rewarding, and a lot of fun.

How can this program be improved?
I wish I could have stayed longer (I was there for a month). They allow you to come just for a week and without any Spanish, but you'll get way more out of the experience (and help the kids way more) if you have some basic Spanish and stay at least a couple of weeks.
Yes, I recommend this program
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global
9/10

UBECI!

Overall, my experience with UBECI has been wonderful! The staff and other volunteers are very supportive and the children we work with are so beautiful. I chose to spend two weeks working in the markets with the young children, one week with the 1-3 year olds and the second week with the 7-15 year olds. Every morning the staff would meet us volunteers at the office to head to the market together which I really appreciated. Since we spent about one day a week at each market, it was nice to see more of Quito and the different dynamics of the markets. At the same time, rotating the markets (each market location is only open a couple days a week so no choice) made it difficult to make progress with the children. Coming with parents to sell on a daily basis, some of these children are not in school and receive all their academic training from us. It was hard to repeatedly work with the young children unable to recognize basic shapes and colors we had covered the week before. At the end of the day, I had to look and appreciate the small successes in each child´s life and I am so glad UBECI is there for these children. Not only do they stress learning though books, puzzles, and lessons, they also emphasis hygiene, physical movements, and emotional wellbeing. The staff and volunteers do so much to be loving and present to these children. I highly recommend volunteering with UBECI and enjoyed my experiences in Quito with them!

How can this program be improved?
With a background in case management, I wish there was more consistent and stronger interaction with the parents. I completely understand the staff members must walk a fine line to not be too intrusive since the parents allow us to work with their children voluntarily so it is hard. This is not critical of the program so much as they challenges the program faces. I have so much respect for the staff members and long term volunteers who continue to have excitement and love for these children day after day and truly celebrate every little success.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Lisaz3349
10/10

Market Children Program With UBECI in Quito,Ecuador

UBECI is an amazing organization to volunteer with. The program is well structured with concrete goals. After working with the program for 2 months, I can say I really feel like I am making an impact on the children´s life here. I was orginally only going to stay one month with the program but after 3 weeks I decided I wanted to stay longer. I love the program, my wonderful host family and traveling in Ecuador. Everybody is so welcoming and for no matter how long or short you stay(or your level of Spanish) you will feel at home. Our typical day begins in the office with a short meeting on the goals for the week. We then travel by bus to one of the 4 markets we work at. Once arriving we set up tents and gather children from the market. During the first hour of our time with the children we play with them, read books and most importantly give them an opportunity to be kids! After we begin teaching the children various concepts including numbers, shapes and opposites. We then take a break in the afternoon for lunch and work again from 2-4:30. We work Tuesdays-Friday and thus you have plenty of free time to travel during the weekends as well. The children range from the ages of 1-14. So there is certaintly the opportunity to work with the age group you prefer. I usually work with the children from the ages of 4-6 and I really enjoy it. The kids are so full of life and want to get to know you as well. This program and the children in the markets have taught me so much about life and I have gained so much from this experience. I can not recommend this program enough. Ecuador is a unique country to visit and you can make a real difference here. -Lisa Zychowski

How can this program be improved?
If I could change one thing about the program I would sugest lowering the cost a bit. I know that a lot of money is going towards the program so this does not bother me but it could deter others.
Yes, I recommend this program
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mm0058
10/10

UBECI

I take spanish lessons in the morning, take a two hour break for lunch, then head to work in the market. The organization with which I´m affiliated is UBECI in Quito, Ecuador. I work with kids in markets throughout Quito and it´s a challenge sometimes, and difficult trying to teach the kids things, but it´s a valuable experience and I´m proud to be affiliated with this organization. They do very good things for these kids.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing, I guess I would change the neighborhood in which I reside. The neighborhood is fine and safe and all, but I would prefer to live closer to more universities more in the north of the city.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tammy
9/10

UBECI

Working with UBECI has been a great experience. Volunteering with market children in Ecuador certainly has its challenges, but every day brings something new. It´s incredibly rewarding to work with children who have so little, and are so appreciative what you bring to the program, be it resources, time, affection or enthusiasm.

The staff at UBECI have been very supportive. They are always willing to listen to your questions and queries, and provide good advice to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable stay.

Be prepared to work hard - it´s not always easy to have so much enthusiasm every day! Your diet will be very different, you may struggle with the language and you won´t have all of the conveniences of home, but that is the point. You aren´t at home. However the experience that you take home will be one of the most rewarding that you can imagine. I have no problem recommending UBECI as an organisation to volunteer with.

How can this program be improved?
If you are staying for an extended period of time be prepared to feel the effects of a very different diet and being exposed to sick kids and volunteers. This is sometimes a little out of your control and that of the organisation, but bring relevant medications and if you need to, supplement your diet with fresh foods from the market.
Yes, I recommend this program

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