Volunteering at NGOs and other non-profit organisations contributes to the work of the organisation and, therefore, to society. Since contributing to a good cause is the main objective, generally there is no payment involved. Generally, volunteer work, and especially abroad, does not only benefit the organisation; it is also a unique opportunity to gain valuable (professional) experiences.
Many young foreigners come to Ecuador to volunteer. Although most of them only stay for a few months, volunteering can also be a good first step to settle down in the Andean country. Among others, it gives you valuable insights in the Ecuadorian culture, contributes to your Spanish language skills and can even lead directly to a paid job, in some cases. Many volunteer positions are at social projects, and for example concern working with children from disadvantaged neighborhoods. Other options are working with animals or teaching English at a public school.
CENIT is a NGO located in South Quito offering educational, medical, psychological and other programs to children, youngsters and their families. This organisation aims to improve the life quality of young people and sees including their families in the process as essential. Volunteers are important for CENIT; generally, 25 to 35 volunteers are working here for at least two months.
AmaZOOnico Wildlife Rescue Center is located in Tena, in the Upper Amazon of Ecuador. The center takes in wild animals that were victims of illegal trafficking and, if possible, releases them in their natural habitat. Volunteers assist in feeding the animals, cleaning their spaces and other daily tasks. The minimum volunteer time at AmaZOOnico is one month.
If you want help in checking out the options, you might consider making use of the services of an intermediary organisation that can help you finding the volunteer job suiting you the most. In most cases, you will pay extra for their services but will receive valuable assistance in return. Examples of volunteer organisations:
When entering Ecuador it is sufficient to have a valid travel insurance, which you can change into an expat or a national health insurance once settled down.
If you get a fixed contract from your employer, you are automatically insured for public health services.
Although public health services have improved significantly, many expats choose additional health insurance, especially because it can take a while before getting an appointment at a public health institution. However, when you go to Ecuador for a temporary volunteer position, travel insurance will likely be sufficient. Consider that in some cases, a normal travel insurance does not meet requirements and you need a special volunteer insurance.
Consult our section on "International healthcare & Medical Insurance" to find out more about your options.
You might also look at our other articles on Summer Jobs and Internship abroad on the left column of this page for other opportunities.
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