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Street Children Volunteer Work in Ecuador - Quito

Street Children Volunteer Work in Ecuador - Quito

Eager to volunteer with Street Children in Ecuador - Quito? International Volunteer HQ’s Street Children project enables volunteers to help an NGO which supports local children from low-income communities in the local markets of South Quito. Here, working parents often cannot afford to send their children to school, and as a result, the children tend to spend long days at the market where there is little in the way of positive education or entertainment. Volunteers will gain childcare experience while letting parents focus on their jobs, and will provide the kids with a fun, productive and educational way to spend their time through strengthening their social skills.

  • Programs start on the first and third Monday of each month
  • Affordable fees from CA$421 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Help street children build support networks, connection and social skills

  • Explore Ecuador’s incredible mountains and beaches

  • Stay with other volunteers in the World Heritage city of Quito

Key information

Provide a safe space for children to learn
Based in a street market in Quito
Homestay or volunteer house accommodation
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Fully hosted experience from CA$421 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 12 weeks
Spanish language lessons available
3-5 hours volunteering a day, Tue - Fri

This program is ideal for:

Enthusiastic volunteers who like playing with and entertaining children of all ages in an educational setting. You’ll be working alongside local staff so no experience is required.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

For many Ecuadorian children, school is never an option. Their working parents can’t afford to give them an education, and sometimes even basic childcare is a challenge. However, volunteers can help an NGO-run childcare center set up in a community marketplace so that parents can sell their goods and know their children are doing something productive nearby. The families of the children are hugely appreciative of the efforts of volunteers in this regard.

As a Street Children volunteer you’ll help in all aspects of keeping children entertained. The aim of this project is simply to provide children with education and enjoyment.

Volunteers on the Street Children project are encouraged to be creative but tasks generally involve:

  • Helping with basic English, math, spelling and reading lessons
  • Playing games
  • Music and singing
  • Arts and crafts
  • Sports activities

Please note, activities can vary depending on the needs of the placement and children at the time you are volunteering. There may also be some administrative work that is associated with this placement, such as helping to tidy the office at the end of each day’s activities.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #1: No Poverty

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #1: No Poverty

More than 10% of the world’s population live in extreme poverty, struggling to fulfil the most basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation, to name a few. Growth must be inclusive to achieve sustainable development and an economy that benefits all.

Why volunteer with Street Children in Ecuador - Quito with IVHQ?

When you volunteer with street children in Ecuador - Quito you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving quality of life for disadvantaged children
  • Helping students develop life skills in a safe place
  • Practicing your Spanish
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining childcare experience
  • Immersing yourself fully in the Ecuadorian culture
  • Discovering the ancient city of Quito

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • Volunteers aged 16-18 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or friend over the age of 18 to participate in this program
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.
  • While being able to speak Spanish is not a requirement to join the Ecuador program, we recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our partner staff in Ecuador. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Spanish lessons can arrange these directly with the local staff once in Ecuador.
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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Weiqi Cao
17 Jan 2024

The guidance and preparation that IVHQ provided was really helpful. Volunteering in Quito was an amazing experience. I loved working with people who had the same goals as me. It's inspired me to do something more like this in the future.

Kade Paplinski
11 Jan 2024

The local team was amazing and really helpful. Volunteering is a great way to travel and see the world. I loved becoming engaged with the locals and community, and this experience really allowed me to see how different each country is.

I really appreciated the webinar that IVHQ provided prior to departure too, it helped me figure out the do's and don'ts for my program.

Lydia Schapals
17 Oct 2023

I felt very well taken care of throughout the entire experience (from start to finish). It’s well organized, safe and uncomplicated.

Flora Grenier
08 Sep 2023

This volunteer program is a great way to meet people and see any area of the world!

Renee Hites
30 Apr 2023

The trip made me really take stock of what I have in my life and gave me a bit of perspective. As an educator, it also made me realize how much the students I work with have and that it isn't the case everywhere. While I knew this intellectually, it is different seeing it first hand. Working with the children in the markets of Quito was really wonderful. Getting to see their joy in the activities they were involved in was very rewarding. Totally worth trying it!

Jolene Fry
21 Apr 2023

I am a school teacher so it helped me find my passion for my career again. I loved seeing the faces of the children I helped. They are so grateful for everything you do for them. It was a great experience to deliver school supplies to a family that had just enrolled their child in school. Future volunteers should just do it as it will be the best experience of your life. If you don't have anyone to go with, it doesn't matter because you meet so many new friends from around the world who will be your friends for life.


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

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Volunteer Abroad in Quito, Ecuador with IVHQ


The IVHQ Ecuador volunteer program is based in the capital city of Quito and its surrounding urban and rural areas. Nestled high in the Andes, Quito is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in South America. Despite this aesthetic beauty, Ecuador is still a developing country and there is a great need for volunteers to assist with the growth of this city and its disadvantaged communities.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive in Quito on the day before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee and airport drop off is also available as an affordable add-on which you can book through IVHQ. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Quito. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Ecuador prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Quito the day before your program orientation, or you can make your own way to the volunteer office.

Orientation is hosted by our local team at their volunteer offices in Quito. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Quito - an introduction to Ecuador, Ecuadorian customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Ecuador and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

Volunteer schedule example

Please note that volunteering on the Ecuador - Quito Program is held Tuesday through Friday and you can expect to participate for 3 - 5 hours per day. Weekends on the program are Saturday through Monday, however, there are some placements (e.g. NGO Support, Street Children Work) that can offer work on Monday upon request. If you would like to work on Monday, simply let the local team know at orientation and they can make these arrangements for you.


An example of a typical day is as follows:

8:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer house or homestay.
8:30 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at.
12:30 - 1:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel back to their accommodation, prepare for the next day, or do some shopping and sightseeing. If volunteers are taking Spanish language lessons, these will usually take place in the afternoons and last 2-3 hours.
6:30 PM Dinner at the volunteer house or homestay.

Volunteers on the Ecuador program can also join casual social activities arranged by the local staff. The social activities usually take place 1 - 2 days per week and give volunteers the opportunity to engage in fun events with the local team, as well as learn about the Ecuadorian customs. Club activities include Ecuadorian movie nights, make your own pizza nights, salsa lessons and more! All of the club activities are held in the afternoon or evening, after volunteers have finished at their placement, and range in cost from CA$4 to CA$14 per person. These activities are not mandatory, but are a great way to get involved and meet other volunteers.


Spanning Saturday to Monday, weekends are extra long for volunteers in Quito so there is plenty of time to relax or explore other parts of the city and Ecuador. If you are interested in art, culture and history, you can check out Quito’s historical center, where you can learn about Quito’s history, legends and Pre-Columbian cultures. From there, you can take the El Teleferico cable car for beautiful views of the city and surrounding volcanoes. Horseback riding and hiking is available to the Guagua Pichincha volcano summit. You can visit the coastal region of Salango for snorkelling, Silver Island, and the beautiful beaches of Los Frailes. Jungle excursions can also be arranged to experience nature and unique wildlife such as toucans, parrots, and monkeys.

Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to explore the amazing national parks of Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands.

Looking for more ideas of things to do in Ecuador? Check out our Ecuador Travel & Tours page!

Accommodation and WiFi

You’ll stay in a volunteer house or homestay. Bedrooms have single beds or bunk beds and you can expect to share a room with one to four other volunteers of the same gender. Living is comfortable and the volunteer house and homestays have electricity, running water and western bathrooms.

Living is comfortable and all volunteer accommodation has electricity, filtered water and western-style bathrooms. While bedding is provided, you will need to bring your own towels and toiletries.

Please note, homes in Quito are not heated, so in the colder months extra blankets are available upon request.

WiFi is available at the volunteer house and in some homestays, though it can be unreliable at times. You can also purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone when you arrive in Ecuador or after orientation.


Volunteers are provided with breakfast and dinner every day on the Ecuador - Quito program. Please note, portion sizes in Ecuador are traditionally smaller than what most western countries offer.

Breakfast is usually tea or coffee, milk, oatmeal, local breads, butter, jam and fruit.

Dinners will be a mixture of traditional Ecuadorian meals and western meals. These often include meat or vegetarian stews, rice or pasta, vegetables in the form of salads or hot or cold stews. Carbohydrates, such as potatoes, bananas, plantains, bread and rice are common ingredients for Ecuadorian dishes.

Lunch can be purchased locally for approximately CA$4 - CA$7.

We encourage you to try and embrace this way of living, but you are welcome to purchase additional snacks for personal consumption outside of what our program meals offer.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you. However, you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home and need to be flexible.


  • USD
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week CA$421 Equivalent to CA$60/day
2 weeks CA$606 Equivalent to CA$43/day
3 weeks CA$799 Equivalent to CA$38/day
4 weeks CA$998 Equivalent to CA$36/day
5 weeks CA$1220 Equivalent to CA$35/day
6 weeks CA$1412 Equivalent to CA$34/day
8 weeks CA$1783 Equivalent to CA$32/day
10 weeks CA$2240 Equivalent to CA$32/day
12 weeks CA$2568 Equivalent to CA$31/day
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately CA$470) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in CAD.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, lunches, public transportation to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Quito generally find US$50 - US$100 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as lunches, water bottles and local tours and activities. Please note that if you wish to make any payment to the local team whilst on the program, this will need to be done via cash or bank transfer.

Free-time experiences & tours in Ecuador

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Ecuador! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Ecuador program.

Spanish Language Lessons
Spanish Language Lessons

Spanish Classes Exclusively for IVHQ Volunteers

From CA$212
Spanish Language Lessons
Spanish Language Lessons

Spanish Classes Exclusively for IVHQ Volunteers

From CA$212

Spanish language lessons

Spanish language lessons are available for all volunteers regardless of their ability. IVHQ strongly recommends these for all volunteers unless they are fluent in Spanish. Volunteers with a basic level of Spanish should strongly consider these lessons to allow them to work and communicate more effectively during their program. These language lessons can be added via your MyIVHQ profile as an add-on, once you’ve registered for your program. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and must be paid for in Ecuador to our local staff. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers.

  • 12 hours/6 days = CA$212 (or 3 days intensive)
  • 20 hours/10 days = CA$327 (or 5 days intensive)
  • 30 hours/15 days = CA$470 (or 8 days intensive)
  • 40 hours/10 days intensive = CA$612
  • 60 hours/15 days intensive = CA$884
  • 80 hours/20 days intensive = CA$1155

Check what's required to visit Ecuador

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital Quito
Population 17.37 million
Languages Spanish
Currency US Dollar (USD)
Time zone UTC-05:00

Weather and climate: The climate of Ecuador is composed of a number of microclimates that separate into four distinct zones. La Costa (Coastal Lowlands) is tropical, La Sierra (Andean Mountains) is temperate; and El Oriente (Amazon Region) shares the jungle climate of the upper Amazon rain forest.

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How to get started

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