The Volunteer Experience

Volunteering with UBECI allows you to work closely with the amazing children in our programs.  Your time with them will have a positive impact on their daily lives during a crucial time in their development, and you, in turn, will have a rich, eye-opening experience.

At UBECI’s projects, we encourage our volunteers to become engaged in the designing and developing of activities conducive to early childhood development. We also encourage individuals who are professionally or academically interested in international development to take a proactive role.  Many of our volunteers stay engaged in UBECI programs long after their volunteer period here in Ecuador.

Potential volunteers should apply to their preferred program at least two months in advance. Let us know your interest in volunteering and provide us with the approximate dates and length of time for which you wish to volunteer. Once we have received your inquiry we will send you our program information. Volunteers must complete an application process in order to be admitted to the UBECI volunteer programs. All volunteer application documents need to be sent to the e-mail addresses below at least one month before participating in the program.

If you would like to know more on the available programs, click read on below! At the bottom of this page you’ll find the information necessary to apply for a volunteer position.

NGO Support Program

Available: Year round
Location: UBECI Office, Quito

NGO Support is the behind-the-scenes volunteer program within UBECI.  It aims to strengthen UBECI by enabling growth in key focus areas: volunteer coordination, finance and budget work, networking, Public Relations, and organization of materials. This involves spreading awareness about UBECI´s mission, gaining funds, partners and supplies and making contacts through universities and volunteer websites.

As a member of the administrative team, you will become involved in activities that will allow you to apply your own unique skillset while gaining a better understanding of our work as an non-governmental organization. Tasks are assigned to a volunteer based on the organization’s priority at the time of his/her program along with his/her experience, skills, and interests.

  • You must be motivated to work independently with minimal guidance. Be a self-starter!
  • You must be able to identify areas that could use improvement and initiative to communicate with the staff efficiently
  • Ideally, you bring a unique skill-set as well as a willingness to learn on the job.  A background in non-profit management, fundraising, education, marketing, photography, or social media with proficiency with Microsoft Office applications is preferred but not required.
  • You should have a willingness to supplement your office work with at least one day a week in the markets working on the Street Children Program in order to gain more perspective about what you’re working for in the office.

Street Children Program

Available: Year round
Location: The markets of Quito

In this program, UBECI visits outdoor markets and areas located in the south of and around Quito to interact with working children and their families.  These children of up to 17 years old often begin working in these markets from as young as two years old, and spend at least 12 hours per day doing so.  More than half of these children are not enrolled in school.  The program functions in tandem with our educational and social processes.  We develop activities to address the confidence, education, health, and skills of the children.  We encourage them to enroll in school and establish commitment with their families to keep this process going and reduce their working hours.

As the Working Children Program is essentially the focus of UBECI, most of our volunteers are involved with this program.  Every Monday, the educators hold a meeting to plan the activities for the children in the markets for the whole week.  The weekly activities are organized by theme including recreation, gender, education, leadership, self-esteem, and prevention/nutrition for different age groups of children to develop not only basic knowledge but also social and cognitive skills.  Volunteers, especially those with teaching experience, are welcome to join the staff’s planning meeting to give feedback and suggestions for the educational activities being held  in the markets.

It is very important that all volunteers attend the meeting every Tuesday which serves as a training session as it is when the educators communicate the planned activities for the whole week and assign the tasks to volunteers.  As a volunteer, your time is important to supporting the activities that we develop for the children.  Four days a week (Tuesday to Friday), volunteers join UBECI’s staff to visit 6 different markets in and around Quito to provide assistance to staff members and implement educational and recreational activities in three hour periods in the morning and afternoon.  Volunteer activities includes assisting the on-site educator with collecting children from the marketplace, helping them wash their hands and faces,  teaching important concepts through drawing, writing, and making crafts, and overseeing activities in values, health, gender, and other topics as well as playing with and singing songs with the children (in Spanish and English).

Preferred experience/skills: education/teaching, arts, music, dance, theater, psychology, or healthcare background, working with children experience, excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

School Support Program

Available: September to June
Location: Quito

Apart from our work in the markets, we also work with underprivileged children who are enrolled in school. Most of the children have limited time to commit to school work and learning because they must contribute to their families’ livelihood. As a result, many of the children are slow learners and have low self-esteem. Some may suffer from malnutrition. We work to help these children stay and excel in school.

We work to encourage academic achievement and attendance in school. Given little opportunity and assistance, many street children struggle with their schoolwork and many drop out.  UBECI targets these children and sends dedicated staff and volunteers to the markets several hours a day in order to provide the children with a structured play and learning environment. In many ways, this is an after school program much like many typical after-school programs. However, what is taken for granted in more developed regions is a luxury for these children. Each day, students receive tutoring and homework help. This is especially important since many of these children come from families that are unable to assist these children in their schooling because the families are illiterate.

In addition to providing academic instruction, UBECI finds it important to carry out its program by reinforcing important values and building their personal pride. UBECI believes that by focusing both on the child as an individual and as a part of his or her community, we can help the children grow up with confidence and having a greater likelihood of success.

Educators and volunteers lead the activities for this program. Our program ensures that children have sufficient academic support to complete their homework and reinforce what they learned in schools. They reach out to the children’s families and schools to make sure that the children are growing up in safe and positive environments, and to ensure that the program is helping the children excel in school.

Preferred experience/skills: education/teaching, arts, music, dance, theater, psychology, or healthcare background, working with children experience, excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Summer Program

Available: July and August
Location: Quito and surrounding rural communities

This project works with children in Quito and surrounding rural regions to enrich their summers after the end of their school year. Due to lack of funding in the region and to family needs, children do not receive education pivotal to healthy childhood development that can help them break out of the cycle of poverty. This program brings them just that, and provides opportunities for recreational and educational activities during their vacation.

By participating in these summer activities, these children experience encouragement and a positive learning and social atmosphere. UBECI Summer Program aims to help them boost their self esteem, expose them to new knowledge, and help them develop a strong, positive identity that will contribute to greater success in their futures.

This program supplements the education during the children’s school year by engaging them in activities that open their minds. Children reinforce the knowledge they have received during the school year by practicing reading, writing, and arithmetic. They also have the opportunity to learn and improve English and take part in music, art, and dance. Additionally, the Summer Program exposes children to international culture while reinforcing indigenous traditions through a range of lessons aimed to help them build their cultural, national, global, and personal identity.

Our educators lead the activities for this program. The staff ensures children have sufficient academic support to complete their homework and enforce what they learned in schools. They reach out to the children’s families and schools to make sure the children are growing up in safe and positive environments. Volunteers play an important interactive role in this program. Their support and presence not only bring positive, encouraging influence to the lives of these children, but they also bring a part of the world to share with these children that they would otherwise not be introduced to.

Preferred experience/skills: education/teaching, arts, music, dance, theater, psychology, or healthcare background, working with children experience, excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Application information and requirements

Note: The UBECI Program also offers the opportunity to volunteer as groups and families. If you are interested in volunteering with your group or family, please let us know when you sign up.  Volunteers under the age of 18 are only allowed to participate if arriving with an adult relative and a signed letter of permission.

Due to our budget and responsibilities in daily activities, UBECI cannot offer accommodation services directly to its volunteers. We are in partnership with a local volunteer program, Volunteer Connection Ecuador, that coordinates all of the application process and accommodation services directly with applicants, including affordable room and board, airport pick up, Spanish lessons, and other travel information. Please email both:

Further requirements:

  • 1 copy of passport, full color
  • $240 registration fee (lodging, meals, and airport pickup not included)
  • Fluent English
  • Minimum time commitment: 1 week
  • Spanish is helpful but not required
  • At least 18 years of age
  • An open attitude
  • Willingness to work with children
  • Background check
  • Abide by the contract and rules of the organization
  • Personal reference letter
  • Job reference letter

Letters of Recommendation

We are grateful for the time and dedication of our volunteers and are glad to write your recommendation letter or serve as a reference given good performance. If you anticipate needing a recommendation letter from us, or would like to use us as a reference, please email ubecidirector@ubeci.org at least 1 month prior to the deadline. We do not guarantee letters of reference otherwise.