Cultural Exchange Creation

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.
Make an lasting impact in indigenous communities: help build a vibrant cultural exchange centre & deliver your own personal project using your unique skills & interests! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

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 people, so that locals can continue to find pride in their native culture and can prosper in their local communities.

THE FAMILY
My name is Joshua; I’m 34 and from the UK. In 2013 I came as a backpacker to Ecuador for the first time and fell in love with the place - the people, the culture, the biodiversity and of course, with my Ecuadorian partner, Karina - who we are pleased to say is pregnant!

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

I have a love for nature and creativity, and a background in creative facilitation, community living and small-business enterprise. Karina is a kind soul, and recently qualified as a national tour guide (specialising in bird watching). We’re easy-going people and are excited to share with you what hidden treasures this undiscovered province has to offer!

WHAT YOU WILL GET OUT OF VOLUNTEERING

New Experience
As a volunteer here, you will get the chance to be a part of a diverse 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.

Furthermore, 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 we can give you the run-down of the best things to do in the area with your days off.

OUTLINE
  • Work Days: Monday to Thursday
  • Project Priorities: 8am-11am
  • Personal Project: 11.30am
Having volunteered and supported volunteers for many over the years, we understand that you want to find meaningful work, whilst utilising your skills and learning new ones.

Therefore, for those who are responsible and self-motivated, we can work with you to design your own personal project during your stay (40% of work time). The rest of the time will be spent on project priorities.

PROJECT PRIORITIES

  • Work with local craftsmen using bio-construction techniques to restore a 150 year-old adobe farmhouse
  • Harvesting, tree planting, landscaping etc. (depending on the season)
  • Decoration of the casa comunal (volunteer accommodation)
  • Cooking & cleaning
IDEA FOR PERSONAL PROJECTS
  • Design and deliver cultural exchange activities for the local indigenous population, young and old
  • Help develop sustainable tourism activities/catalogue local trails for future tourists and visitors
  • Learn about permaculture design and help implement the vision of our gardens, forests & water harvesting/treatment systems
  • Be our resident marketing manager - develop our website, create content and share it on social media (we have a camera & computer available as required)
If these sound interesting, but you don’t think you have the skills, don’t worry - your commitment, self-responsibility and enthusiasm are most important of all; you can use your stay as an opportunity to learn new skills.

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!).

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
Most important for us is your enthusiasm and self-responsibility!

However, those hwo have skills in community engagement, gardening, construction & maintanence, cooking and teaching are always welcome.
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 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 are flexible on start dates and can often work around you.

ARRIVAL DETAILS
Travel time from the two main cities with airports (Guayaquil and Quito) are about 4 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
2 - 50 weeks

Why book with Volunteer World

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Cultural Exchange Creation

Make an lasting impact in indigenous communities: help build a vibrant cultural exchange centre & deliver your own personal project using your unique skills & interests!

Free of charge

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