Would you like to volunteer with Ayuda Directa?

We are a small organisation with a few full-time active members. Moreover our members are drawn from all over the world who work in a voluntary manner with our Ecuadorian members for the benefit of the less well off in the country.

As a volunteer you will most likely be located in one of our projects. Although we have some in Quito, most are located elsewhere, often in the countryside.

We welcome anyone who wishes to help us as a volunteer. However for both the volunteer and the organisation, it is very important to be aware of mutual needs and capacities.

Below is a summary of the possible ways in which your might work as a volunteer as well as some of the things you will need to be aware of.

In the area of medicine and general health, for placements and various medical brigades, we are looking for:
• general doctors
• paediatrics
• dentists
• gynaecologists
• ophthalmologists
• nurses

For our projects in agriculture and production, we are specifically interested in people with qualifications in:
• Agricultural Science
• Veterinary
• Production and sales of cheese

Finally, for our work in the area of education, we are currently looking for qualified people in:
• Education - Primary (4-12) and Secondary (12-17) levels
• Psychology - Particularly with children and/or cases of abuse would be a preference

From time to time, we need specialists in other fields. If you are interested, just contact us.

We ask that all the volunteers provide the following themselves:
• Return Air ticket
• Travel insurance to cover as a minimum their period working for the Fundación and as a recommendation cover for the entire length of their time outside their home country
• Adequate documentation to allow them stay in Ecuador. As well as a up-to-date passport, there is a range of visa requirements, depending on your nationality. Check with the nearest Ecuadorian embassy / consulate for more information.
• Sufficient funds to support themselves while in Ecuador. Most living, transportation and meal costs will have to be borne by the volunteer as the main part of the Fundación’s funds are for those in need in Ecuador.

Furthermore, the following information is valuable both for volunteer and the organisation:
• The volunteer should be of good medical health. The combination of work and location can be strenuous. Even being based in the relative comfort of Quito is not so easy. At 2800m above sea level and noted as the city with the second highest levels of air pollution in the world (after Mexico city), many people have had difficulty acclimatising, especially in the first few weeks. It would be wise to have a check-up before departure and to inform the organisation of any pre-existing medical issues.
• The volunteer’s level of Spanish should be adequate for the role he or she will play, working for the organisation. As all of our projects are people based, conversational ability is valued more than any academic qualification. Bear in mind that Ecuador is a bilingual country of many contrasts. Even native Spanish speakers can have problems in the beginning with regional dialects. If you are planning to combine volunteer work with lessons in Spanish, we would ask you to be as realistic as possible in the time you will need to learn the language well. As a guide, you should take into account whether your native language is similar to Spanish, such as Portuguese, Italian or French and/or whether you already a good command of 2 or more languages. Both factors considerably reduce the time needed to adequately learn Spanish.
• The volunteer should be proactive and dynamic. As the organisation is small and as Ecuador is a country where things could be better - the ability to react, adapt and maintain control & focus are invaluable characteristics. Many of the projects are visited on a regular basis, but sometimes a month can pass between one contact and the next, so it is important the volunteer can be a self-starter / motivator.

A lot of the above is basic common sense. If you have any doubt, question or query whatsoever, don’t hesitate to contact us.

For everyone preparing to stay for a period of time in Ecuador, here is a list of helpful suggestions:

- Before leaving, contact a health services office to see if you need to schedule a particular vaccination (indicating that you can visit the Amazon or Coastal regions). Our projects are primarily located in the Sierra region.

- We suggest you to protect yourself with a travel insurance. Ayuda Directa is not responsable for any accidents that can happen during the period of volunteering in Ecuador.

- In reference to what to pack, we remind you that Ecuador is a country with diverse climatic regions, from the coast up to the 3500 meters in the Andes. We advise you bring light clothing for the coast, and heavier clothing for the Sierra. We remind you that the period from December to April, there are heavy rains.

- For those taking specific medications, we ask that you not forget to bring them with you. In whatever case, there is no problem finding general medications here in Ecuador. Please bring sunblock (solar radiation is very strong, both on the coast and in the sierra).

- Ecuador uses the US Dollar. We advise that you bring and convert your money before you leave, usually in smaller bills (it’s difficult to get change for bills larger than $20).

- The major credit cards (American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Diners) are accepted in urban areas, often with extra charges.

- The official language of Ecuador is Spanish. It is preferable that you know a little bit of the language so that you can become better involved.

- For stays of three months or shorter, a valid passport is sufficient. However, for longer than three months, a visa is necessary. For driving, a foreign license is sufficient, but only valid for one month in Ecuador.

Referring to your stay in Ecuador, if there is room in Esperanza we offer free accommadation in a small lodge where it's important to share and respect common spaces.

» Download "Manual_Voluntarios_2012_2.pdf"

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