Cultural Centre Creation

Agency
·
founded in 2021
Joshua
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Coordinator | Joshua
Coordinator | Joshua
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Experience traditional indigenous culture: language, clothing, markets, music, food, buildings, and ways of life!
Design a personalized volunteer program using your interests and skills to support our vision.
Get to know the warm local people of Ecuador and improve your Spanish with them; they are always keen to chat.
Experience Ecuador's huge diversity in only an hour's drive - hiking in the mountains, bird watching in the jungle, and exploring colonial villages
Make a meaningful difference and create opportunities for local people in a region high in poverty, malnutrition, teenage pregnancy, and educational challenges.
Support the surrounding indigenous communities by helping us build a vibrant Cultural Exchange Centre and run activities for local children. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

THE PROJECT

As a centre of cultural exchange and social innovation, we bring together local Ecuadorians and others from around the world through sustainable tourism, culture, education and ecology – to create a more meaningful, sustainable and prosperous world.

We’re in the early stages - starting in July 2021 - but we have big ambitions! We aspire to regenerate local ecosystems, build pride in indigenous culture, provide dignified employment opportunities, offer a wide variety of unique eco & community tourism experiences, and ensure volunteers like you learn new skills, meet extraordinary people and leave with unforgettable memories.

THE REGION

The project is on a hillside in the little-known province of Bolívar, just outside of the quaint colonial town of Guaranda in central Ecuador. It's nestled in a valley surrounded by traditional farmland and indigenous communities, with a spectacular view of the majestic Chimborazo Volcano (the point on earth closest to the sun!).

Although in the centre of the country and stunningly beautiful, the province is one of Ecuador’s poorest. There is a high rate of malnutrition, illiteracy and poverty. With few employment opportunities, most high-school graduates quickly leave to the larger cities and the indigenous language and culture is under threat.

Here you can help make a real, lasting difference to the surrounding communities, so that they can access future opportunities, prosper as a society and share pride in exchanging their culture with yours.

THE FAMILY

My name is Joshua; I’m 34 and from the UK. I first came as a backpacker to Ecuador in 2013 and fell in love with the place - the people, the culture, the biodiversity and of course, with my Ecuadorian partner, Karina. In 2017, I returned on a one-way ticket and after time spending 3 years searching the country looking for land, we found the perfect spot to begin building a vision we had been nurturing for many years. We are also expecting our first child un June 2022!

More recently, we've been building a team of locals and international volunteers to help our programme grow and thrive. We have Tania, a local woman with a huge heart who loves to share her culture with the volunteers who visit. We have Wilson, from another part of Ecuador who's a passionate English teacher and cares deeply about the community. Kasper is from Denmark, he brings some valuable organisational skills, experience and a positive attitude to take the project forwards. From France, Elea is bubbly and fun, she leads the classes and personal projects!

We’re delighted to receive you as a valued part of creating a more prosperous and meaningful world, while making your stay warm and welcoming.


WHAT YOU WILL GET OUT OF VOLUNTEERING

New Experiences
As a volunteer here, you will get the chance to be a part of a range of hands-on projects, cultural activities and communal living. We are also developing a wide variety of touristic, educational, cultural and ecological activities on the land and surrounding communities that you can participate in. The province of Bolívar is also one of the most diverse in Ecuador: within an hour you can be walking beyond the snowline of Chimborazo volcano, exploring the cottage industries of Salinas de Guaranda, learning about Guaranda’s famous Carnaval or hiking through tropical rainforests.

New Skills
Depending on how long you stay, there's the opportunity to learn traditional techniques in cooking, dance and construction by working with local people, as well as learning innovative practices such as permaculture, personal development workshops and sustainable tourism. We listen to your needs to integrate you where you feel most passionate and engaged, because we know that’s where you’ll do your best work.

New People
Located in the centre of Ecuador, Guaranda is home to some of the warmest and most generous people you'll ever meet. They still hold the community spirit that has brought them through hardship and given birth to the incredible culture. You will experience this first hand and undoubtedly leave with a broader perspective on the world. The local community have generously donated their 'casa comunal' (community hall) for you to live in. Here will live, work and play with other volunteers side by side, learning about different perspectives, make meaningful connections and have the time of your life!

Typical day

We ask for 5 hours of your time a day, 4 days a week. In exchange, we will provide you with lunch on your workdays and exclusive volunteer accommodation to build bonds with like-minded, international travellers. You have free use of the kitchen to prepare other meals and a list of recommendations how to make the most of your time off

WORKDAY OUTLINE
  • Work Days: Monday to Thursday
  • Project Priorities: 8am-11am
  • Break: 11am-11.30am
  • Cooking, Cleaning & Personal Projects: 11.30am
CULTURAL CENTRE TASKS
In our project, you get out what you put in. We are looking for motivated, hard-working and responsible volunteers who can take the initiative when needed. Much of the work can be physically challenging in a variety of weather conditions - please only apply if you're someone who likes to get stuck in!

We're working on the following projects:

  • Develop the Cultural Exchange Centre:
    • Build key infrastructure such as roads and water systems
    • Help restore a 150-year old farmhouse using sustainable techniques  (from July 2022)
    • Plant, harvest and cook traditional crops with local farmers (depending on the season)
    • Planting a native and food forests based on permaculture principles (from December 2022)
  • Engage with the Community
    • Deliver weekly English and creative classes with local children
    • Engage with the locals during our monthly community café
    • Help organise a monthly language exchange event in the centre of Guaranda
  • Keep the Project Running Smoothly
    • Cooking shared meals (learning some local dishes!)
    • Help with marketing and social media to raise awareness
    • Cleaning communal spaces
PERSONAL PROJECTS
As a popular project with big ambitions, we're looking for volunteers who can turn their professional skills to make a difference in the community. So if you have skills that would add value to our project - we'd love to hear from you!

Skills of particular interest to us currently are:

  • 'Integral'/spiral dynamics/systems thinking perspectives
  • Volunteer coordination
  • Business development and fundraising (public, private, crowdfunding)
  • Film making & marketing
  • Building, carpentry and maintenance
  • Community engagement
  • Gardening, reforestation and landscaping
  • Engineering

Free-time activities

FREE TIME ACTIVITIES

With your time off, you can take a walk around any of the beautiful local trails around the communities, down to the river or jump in a taxi to savor the spectacular could-covered sunset. There are regular buses into town if you would like to go shopping, try the local food or learn about Guaranda’s Carnaval - the most infamous in the country.

For a day’s outing, don’t miss hiking up to Chimborazo’s refuge and enjoying a hot chocolate at over 5,000m above sea level. Alternatively, take a tour around the salt mines and micro-businesses of the nationally renowned village of Salinas de Guaranda. If you prefer warmer climates, within an hour you can drop down to sea level and go hiking in protected virgin forests in the search of pristine rivers, tropical birds and immense waterfalls. Bolívar really has it all (minus the tourist traps!).

CLIMATE

We are at almost 3,000m (10,000ft) above sea level and the average temperature is 13°C (55°F). Below is a list of typical weather patterns throughout the year, though climate change is definately throwing these off, so be ready for anything!

  • Summer (Jun - Sep, around Christmas): hot sunny days (leading to water shortages), colder cloudless nights and often a strong wind
  • Winter (Feb - Apr): Often dry mornings and heavy rain in the afternoon. Less day/night temperature change and no wind.
  • Spring/Autumn (May, Oct - Jan): Somewhere between summer and winter!

Due to the high altitude, the sun feels cooler but will burn you more easily - so be prepared with a hat and sun screen. The temperature is cool at night and ecuadorian houses have no insulation/central heating, we have blankets and hot water bottles to help keep you cosey. Fortunately there are no mosquitos at this elevation!

Swimming
Sightseeing
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Hiking
Museum/
Opera

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Those who have skills in volunteer coordination, fundraising, building, gardening/landscaping, business development and community engagement are particularly encouraged to apply
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 08:00 - 13:30

What's Included

Accommodation
The local community has generously offered the ‘Casa Comunal’ (village hall) as the volunteers’ living quarters. As it is a community building which often receives visitors, we ask for it to be kept clean and tidy - for which volunteers are responsible.

There are two dormitories with a total of 8 beds, bathroom (with hot water) and a kitchen used exclusively for volunteer use (apart from the odd community event). It’s clean and has all the basics to help you feel at home.

WiFi is available (we ask for $3/month to cover costs), washing either done by a neighbour or by hand.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
We provide lunch during your work days, which we can accomodate most dietary requirements.

The remainder of your food you must cook yourself, you will receive a personal basket and fridge space to store food. There are basic shops in the village and nearby town (10mins bus/30 minutes walk) or supermarkets in Guaranda (30 minutes bus)
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito. We assist you to find cheap flights to Ecuador.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Ecuador provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Ecuador you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Ecuador.

Dates & Fees

Details on arrival

START DATES
We receive people every week on a Sunday, so that new volunteers can begin with a tour of the property on a Monday morning.

ARRIVAL DETAILS
We are equidistant between Ecuador's two largest cities of Guayaquil and Quito, both 4-5 hours by bus. Travel is inexpensive and generally safe, though there are private car options available. We can help you decide where you would like to travel to and share the information of how to arrive. Once you arrive in Guaranda, you can get a taxi (maximum $5) to reach us.
Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
4 - 24 weeks

Why book with Volunteer World

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Cultural Centre Creation

Support the surrounding indigenous communities by helping us build a vibrant Cultural Exchange Centre and run activities for local children.

Free of charge

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