Volunteer Work, Child Care
Nanegal, Pichincha Province
Flexible start and end dates, year-round
This volunteer project is run by a local community in the northern cloud forest of Ecuador. The community has a great interest in providing sustainable support to their people, especially the children. They also run a very successful eco-lodge that is located in the wooded hills of the cloud forest. This area is a global “hotspot” in terms of biodiversity, with over 1,500 species of tropical plants, including orchids, bromeliads, and other epiphytes. The unique wildlife native to this area boasts over 390 species of birds and a variety of other exotic animals, including the endangered Andean spectacled bear.
This volunteer program has played, and continues to play, an essential role in enabling the development of the community, their eco-tourism operation, and other conservation projects in the area.
The inhabitants are eager to welcome visitors from other parts of the world and not only share the beauty of their cloud forest and its diverse wildlife, but also their friendship, lively folk music, enthusiasm for nature, and joyful outlook on life.
Volunteers work alongside members of the local community, which offers plenty of opportunities to make new friends, get in touch with the rural Ecuadorian culture, improve your Spanish, and learn about the region’s cloud forests and the community’s ongoing efforts to conserve it.
1. Caring for Children
The nursery aims to provide a safe, stimulating, and caring environment for babies and children between the ages of six months to five years old in Nanegal. It provides breakfast, lunch, and two snacks during the day for the children. Help of volunteers is greatly needed and appreciated. In the morning, there are structured and non-structured activities. After lunch, the children sleep for one or two hours before the next activity is carried out. Volunteers will normally work with one of the age groups and will help the educators with fun/educational activities, personal care of the children (changing diapers, accompanying them to the toilet, encouraging good hygiene practices, such as brushing their teeth, washing their hands, etc.), mealtimes (serving, encouraging the children to eat, feeding younger children, cleaning up, etc.). The workdays are from Monday to Friday.
2. Other Work with Children or the Community
Working in the nursery is hard work and volunteers may find that working during the morning is enough. However, there are opportunities to get involved in other activities in the afternoon, particularly if staying for an extended period of time. Past volunteers have run informal English classes for teenagers and adults, arts and crafts groups, soccer groups, environmental education clubs, homework clubs, worked one-to-one with children with special needs. Help with redecorating and maintenance at the nursery is also needed.
Note: The tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as number of volunteers, weather, season, current needs of the project, as well as self-motivation. Not every volunteer may be fully involved in all these tasks.
Accommodation is provided in the volunteer house located just outside of Nanegal. The volunteer house is surrounded by beautiful countryside and several local families who run the project also live nearby. The volunteer house is about a 15-minute walk to the nursery and school. Beds and sheets are supplied, so you do not need to bring a sleeping bag.
There are rooms of different sizes, which will be shared when more volunteers are on site. The volunteers will organize themselves independently with the help of a volunteer coordinator. They are responsible for cleaning and cooking at the volunteer house, as well as their leisure time activities. For cleaning and cooking, a plan will be created, and volunteers will take turns carrying out duties.
Vegetarians or other special dietary requirements will be respected on prior notification. The volunteer house has 24/7 electricity. You can spend the weekends relaxing, swimming in the river, doing sports, hiking, enjoying the outdoors, or participating in activities with the local community. Internet access is provided in the office of the volunteer project; however, the hours of use are restricted. Internet cafés in nearby towns can be used as well.
Nanegal is located in the province of Pichincha in the middle of the beautiful cloud forest about 2 hours northwest of the capital Quito. It can be easily reached by public bus and the scenic ride takes you through the amazing cloud forest with countless of waterfalls and amazing wildlife. Nanegal has about 4,500 inhabitants, a church, two public schools, and a day care center.
The cloud forest enchants its visitors with evergreen luscious nature, a rich biodiversity, waterfalls as from the picture book and an exotic animal world. In Nanegal there is a subtropical climate with an average annual temperature of 15 - 20 °C and regular rainfall.
The area is well known for raw sugar and chocolate production, and visitors can help make both and learn how to make sugar and chocolates manually.
The province of Pichincha is home to many of Ecuador's major tourist attractions, be it the famous markets of Otavalo, a visit to the equatorial line in La Mitad del Mundo, climbing or just visiting snow-capped volcanoes like the Cotopaxi or breath-taking crater lakes like the Quilotoa.
Spanish at communication level. For optimal preparation for your volunteer work in Ecuador, we advise you to take a Spanish course before the program starts. This gives you the opportunity to slowly get used to the language, culture and mentality.
Pre-departure and in-country support
Before arrival, our experienced team will be at your disposal to assist you throughout the booking process and travel planning. With the booking confirmation you will receive our 24-hour emergency number, so that you can reach us 24/7 in case of emergency.
In addition to the assistance given by our office staff you will be supported by the on-site volunteer coordinator in Ecuador.
Costs & Services
Our volunteer project in Child Care in the Cloud Forest in Ecuador includes:
- Shared room in volunteer house
- Full board
- Professional English-speaking advice
- Translation of your application documents
- Volunteer Work Placement in Ecuador
- English-speaking in-country support
- On-site introduction
- Country handbook Ecuador
- 24/7 emergency number
- Information about suitable travel insurance
- Certificate of participation
Application fee: US$ 120
Program fee: US$ 860 (minimum stay 4 weeks)
Extra week: US$ 170
Additionally, you can book:
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