You are in a safe environment and projects like Shelter Support are the most valuable activities. It is necessary to support them because of the high vulnerability of poor people. Expect the unexpected. You can travel during free time and get support. Do your best to be present and support the local organizations during your time on the program.
Shelter Support Volunteer Project in Ecuador - Quito
Interested in Shelter Support volunteering in Ecuador - Quito? International Volunteer HQ’s Shelter Support project empowers volunteers to assist in local shelters for vulnerable people in Ecuador’s capital city. These shelters provide food, housing, education, safety and other basic necessities to people who go there for help. Volunteers gain experience in supporting disadvantaged communities while helping the shelter deliver a wrap-around service to those in need.
- Programs start on the first and third Monday of each month
- Affordable fees from $295 for 1 week
- Includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
Help a shelter provide meals, housing and education to vulnerable people
Discover Ecuador’s amazing wildlife and environment
Stay with other volunteers in a World Heritage city
This program is ideal for:
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
People from disadvantaged communities in Ecuador often rely on local shelters for basic necessities. Volunteers play a huge role in helping these shelters to provide support to the elderly, adults and even teenagers who may be homeless, ill, illiterate or living on the streets.
As a Shelter Support volunteer you’ll help local staff and volunteers with all the day-to-day jobs that are required to support the people who use the shelter.
Shelter Support volunteer work can involve:
- Preparing and serving meals
- Helping with laundry, cleaning and changing sheets
- Hosting activities and educational workshops
- General maintenance
Beginner level Spanish is a requirement for this project.
Why do Shelter Support volunteering in Quito with IVHQ?
When you volunteer with homeless people in Ecuador - Quito you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Improving quality of life for vulnerable people
- Increasing access to basic necessities
- Practicing your Spanish
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining experience supporting disadvantaged communities
- Immersing yourself fully in the - Ecuadorian culture
- Exploring the fascinating history of Quito
- Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
- Volunteers aged 16-18 are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
- 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.
- Beginner level Spanish is a requirement for the Shelter Support project. We also 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.
Ecuador photo gallery
What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience
It was certainly rewarding to help people in the local community. I learned what it was like to work in a kitchen that serves hundreds of homeless and hungry people, and how much effort goes into helping everyone at a single shelter. It was a great experience.
IVHQ was very informative and helpful, and the local team were always ready to help and made the trip great. There was a variety of food available that tasted good, and enough for everyone. I gained a desire to help more people and I would say to others to just give it a go - it will probably be an amazing experience!
Communication with local people at the program was a fantastic experience for learning about their lives and culture. I really enjoyed engaging in serving the meals for people who came to the shelter and felt it was impactful for both them and me. If you are interested in having the opportunity to engage the local community, I highly recommend it!
It was amazing to meet the kids, and I found compassion was one of the biggest impacts of my volunteer trip. Volunteering is 1000% worth the experience and it will change your life!
Visiting the children in the market was such a special moment. They were so sweet and friendly. It wasn’t always easy to communicate with them but they were so fun and happy with every thing you did. I felt so loved! Luckily, because I was full immersed my Spanish knowledge grew so much - I know my younger self would be so proud. I highly recommend this program - you won't regret trying something new!
To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.
Academic course credit
Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!Learn about course credit
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:
|Breakfast at the volunteer house or homestay.
|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.
|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 $3 to $10 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 $3 - $5.
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.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|$295 Equivalent to $42/day
|$425 Equivalent to $30/day
|$560 Equivalent to $27/day
|$700 Equivalent to $25/day
|$855 Equivalent to $24/day
|$990 Equivalent to $24/day
|$1,250 Equivalent to $22/day
|$1,570 Equivalent to $22/day
|$1,800 Equivalent to $21/day
- 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
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately $329) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
- 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 Classes Exclusively for IVHQ Volunteers
Spanish Classes Exclusively for IVHQ Volunteers
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 = $149 (or 3 days intensive)
- 20 hours/10 days = $229 (or 5 days intensive)
- 30 hours/15 days = $329 (or 8 days intensive)
- 40 hours/10 days intensive = $429
- 60 hours/15 days intensive = $619
- 80 hours/20 days intensive = $809
Check what's required to visit Ecuador
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.
Essential country information
|US Dollar (USD)
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.