Volunteer in Quito and help with the education of children, often as young as three years old, who work upwards of ten hours a day in the markets, streets and countryside of Ecuador to support their families. This intervention programme takes a proactive approach, travelling to the markets around southern Quito, setting up tents, and providing an early-years education program for the younger children, and homework support for those older. By meeting these children on their turf, the program has achieved great success in recruiting and maintaining attendees to the pre-school programs, along with an ultimate reduction in the children’s work hours and in drop-out from public schools. The program also carries out workshops and informational sessions for families of the children addressing issues such as hygiene, nutrition and domestic violence.
Why choose this project?
This project benefits from volunteer assistance by enabling the passionate and committed local staff – made up of social workers and education specialists – to open their doors to the thousands of market children while still providing the necessary attention, structure and support to achieve individual goals. Volunteers work directly with over 160 children who are enrolled in this program to deliver the planned curriculum and provide individual attention. Working in a team, under instruction of the local staff, volunteers learn about the challenges faced by the families of market traders, and how early-years intervention and mentoring support can provide opportunities that improve their futures. It’s a great addition to your CV/Resume and an excellent opportunity to improve your skills in Spanish as well.
Role of the volunteer
With appropriate support and training, volunteers will assist the full time staff in developing lessons and teaching the weekly education themes. The program uses dynamic methods, including song, dance, art, and movement to create a healthy, educational environment for the children. The program generally visits two markets a day, with both morning and afternoon sessions of about two and a half hours each. Volunteers travel to the work sites by local bus, assist in setting up the pop-up tent schools, and play/learn/interact with the children. Social workers work with the families to provide wider support addressing issues such as physical, sexual, emotional and substance abuse in the home, how they can better support their children and general well-being. Volunteers with social work or global health background and good level of Spanish language may sometimes be able to assist in this. The organisation also has intense summer programs with engaging arts, dance, music and sports activities for the underserved community in its surrounding area.
Volunteers should be open, flexible, patient, caring, creative and come with a spirit of collaboration and solidarity. Interest in social work, early childhood education, community development and social justice are a plus. Basic Spanish speaking skills are required for this project to enable you to communicate with the children, but can be gained by attending Spanish classes during your placement.
As the project involves different locations volunteers should be prepared to use public transport. You will be asked to send your CV/resume before being accepted onto this project.