Special Needs Assistant Volunteer

Foundation for Individualized Education - Quito, Ecuador
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-29 Location: Quito, Ecuador Sector: Social Services Category: Personal Support Work Min Duration: 4 weeks Lodging: BaseCamp or Host Family Language: Basic
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Volunteer Job Description

E.I.N.A.’s sole project is at El Parvulario, a school in Quito for students ranging in age from 5 to 30 years old with learning disabilities and/or Down Syndrome. Each student is taught at their own intellectual level.

The school offers various forms of therapy and activities including psychological treatment, speech therapy, music therapy, creative therapy and gymnastics.

Besides the basic academic education at El Parvulario, there is a wood shop where products are made for sale and a vegetable garden for their own use. During the year there are plenty of holidays where much attention is given in preparation towards each occasion: Christmas, Carnival, Easter, Halloween and other celebrations.

El Parvulario relies on volunteers to help them create a warm and educational environment for children with disabilities. Volunteers are needed to help with the daily routine and create and facilitate new activities and initiatives. A special needs assistant volunteer would also be expected to help with cooking lessons, computer lessons, sports and physical activity classes and other creative activities.

No specialized educational requirements are needed for a special needs assistant volunteer at this placement. However, experience working with people that have learning disabilities and/or Down Syndrome would be a plus. Volunteers must be mature and patient individuals who understand that sometimes repetitive lessons may be required.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Cooking Lessons

A special needs assistant volunteer would be expected to participate in cooking lessons with the students. Volunteers would be responsible for the students safety, making sure they don't burn or cut themselves while cooking. Most of the time you won't have to worry about students cooking with sharp utensils or hot food. If you have recipes from your native country to share they would be most welcome.

Computer Lessons

A special needs assistant volunteer may be asked to teach basic computer knowledge to some of the students, which would enhance their abilities when seeking a job in the future. The volunteer would develop these lessons with the consultation of the teachers at the school so a schedule could be arranged.

Sports and Other Physical Activities

Sports and other physical activities are one of the most important tasks that a special needs assistant volunteer would prepare and participate in each day. These kind of activities help the students work more with there bodies and for them this usually is a hard feat to accomplish.

Basic English Language Lessons

To be able to understand English would be a big plus for some of the students when they are seeking jobs in the future. A special needs assistant volunteer would be in charge of teaching some of the students basic English language lessons such as the names of different animals, colours, numbers, objects etc. Volunteers would be working with the oldest students in the school for these lessons.

Host Organization Details

Foundation for Individualized Education

EINA Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was created by the Ministry of Education and Culture. For over 30 years, the organization has devoted its attention to children and young people with intellectual disabilities and/or Down Syndrome.

Young people, approximately 18 to 24 years of age from the Catholic University, as well as, all over Quito collaborate their efforts towards teaching values, rights and group therapy sessions to these young people with intellectual disabilities and/or Down Syndrome. EINA also employs 14 professional staff who specialize in psychology, pedagogy and nursing.

EINA provides various forms of therapy and activities such as: psychological treatment, speech therapy, music therapy, creative therapy and gymnastics. At least 92 children and young people, ranging in age from 5 years to 30 years old, attend EINA, per year. Each student studies at their own level of learning ability.

Several companies locate EINA students in various jobs. A popular specialization is, "Office Assistant" and many students have obtained employment after completing this course.

EINA also created a, "Sewing Workshop". The machines are adapted to a slower rate than usual and the students make: bath sets, aprons, eco bags and cloth bags. These products are showcased at, "A Ecuador for all", an exhibition held from the 11th to 14th of November each year, in the Quito Exhibition Centre.

Does this organization have any religious affiliations?

EINA is affiliated with the Catholic Church, however, volunteers do not need to be of any religious faith.

When They Were Founded

The EINA organization was founded in Quito in 1980 by the Ministry of Education and Culture and since then has been helping to provide care, education and training to people with intellectual disabilities. It is also affiliated with the Catholic Church, who's members raise money every year to help the students and provide them with food, materials and clothing.

Who They Work With

There are approximately 60 children and teenagers from the Quito area enrolled in the school who are struggling with learning disabilities and Down Syndrome.

E.I.N.A. has been a solid support network for disabled children and children with Down Syndrome.

How Are They Funded

EINA was funded through the efforts of the Ministry of Education and Culture who raised money in fundraising projects all over Quito with the goal of opening a new facility in which they could educate children and youth with intellectual disabilities and/or Down Syndrome. The Ministry still supports the school, as well as, the Catholic Church.

Donation Requests


Placement Location Information

Quito, Ecuador

El Parvulario is a school in Quito for children with learning disabilities and Down Syndrome. The school is surrounded by beautiful eucalyptus trees and has a nice backyard with equipment for the children to play, learn and have fun. In the house you can find classrooms really nicely furnished for students to be able to learn a comfortable environment.

The students range in age from 5 to 30 years old, and are all studying at their own level. The school offers a variety of activities including psychological treatment, speaking therapy, music therapy, creative therapy and gymnastics. The children are brought to school by school bus.

Transfer From BaseCamp

From the BaseCamp House, walk down Gaspar de Villaroel to 6 de diciembre Main Road. Get on the Ecovia bus heading to the South of Quito. Get off on Jardin Stationa and take the bus on Avenida America called Calderon or Carapungo which will take you directly to this placement.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 15 km
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 1:0

Weather in the Area

Because Ecuador is located on the Equator line, Quito's weather is very unique. Due to the Equator, Ecuador has no seasons; there is summer and winter. The year has six months winter and six months summer but the number of months for each changes from time to time.

Because Quito is so high up in the mountains, the sun is very strong and the wind blows really hard; it can get pretty cold at night. Quito always has a temperate climate with temperatures ranging from 10 to 27 ° C.

City/Village Description

Quito or also called "Luz de America", is the capital of Ecuador; a country located in South America, on the Equator line. Quito is considered one of the most beautiful cities in South America because of its amazing colonial architecture, historical sites, fantastic landscapes and panoramic views all surrounded by incredible mountains, rivers, parks and volcanoes.

Quito was founded in the 16th century by the Incas Tribe and is located at an altitude of 2,850 meters above sea level.

Centro de Quito, (colonial city) is the largest and best conserved colonial city in South America; this is why the UNESCO named it a "World Cultural Heritage Site" in 1978. The city's structure on the 320 hectare compound is an outstanding example of superb architecture from the sixteenth to the twentieth century; surrounded by volcanic stone with very narrow streets within, (built stone by stone), there is much to see.

The historic centre of Quito has ancient colonial homes, priceless churches, chapels, monasteries, convents, as well as plazas, museums and republican buildings with interesting architecture.

Once outside of the historical centre of the city, Quito takes on a completely different personality in the “new town” where many high rise and government buildings are found.

Though Quito is old and historic, the public transportation is fairly efficient and the city is served by a network of buses that travel throughout most of the areas; it is a cheap way of getting around. Since the city is very long and narrow, it is divided into three zones and many buses run in each zone of the city.

Currently, the heart of the capital is full of vigour and culture, such as "Heritage Nights" where citizens and visitors can enjoy the unique attractions in the, "jewel in the crown of Ecuador", through images and videos.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Centro de Salud Carcelèn
TEL 1: (593) (2) 2479397

Placement Address

Foundation for Individualized Education
Panamerica Norte 9 1/2 Via De Calderon

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Ecuador at our BaseCamp Center in Quito. Given that this placement is less than a 1 hour and 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers working here will have the option of living with us at BaseCamp or living with a host family.

The following information outlines a brief description of life at BaseCamp and also what someone can expect living with a host family in Ecuador. Once you have completed our application, you can let our staff know if you would prefer to live with a host family. Otherwise, your application will default to having you live with us at BaseCamp.

If you have any questions about the difference between life at BaseCamp or life with a host family in Ecuador you can always give us a call or send us an email. Our contact details are listed in the footer of every page of the site.

BaseCamp Ecuador

BaseCamp Ecuador
BaseCamp Ecuador Address

Juan Rodriguez E8 - 72 Y
6 De Diciembre
Quito, Ecuador

BaseCamp Ecuador Contact Details

Tel: 593 2-254-7737 (Guest House Jazmines)
Mobile: 593-0-998-221-438

BaseCamp Ecuador is located in the trendy Mariscal district of Quito. Within easy walking distance of banks, restaurants, internet cafes and more; BaseCamp in Quito is perfectly situated for any need. Whether you are taking advantage of the rich and vibrant night life of La Mariscal or visiting a local market, BaseCamp Ecuador is always just a few minutes away.

There are six dormitory style guest rooms and five wash-rooms. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. There are two common areas on the main floor, including a small resource centre, containing books, magazines, games and other Ecuadorian publications. As well there is a large selection of local movies and documentaries which are available for guest viewing. In addition to the two common areas, BaseCamp Quito has a rooftop terrace, the perfect spot to watch the street come awake with a morning cup of coffee, or spend an afternoon relaxing in the sun.

BaseCamp Quito is also the orientation and training centre for international volunteers visiting Ecuador. In addition to accommodation and meals, BaseCamp Quito also provides volunteers with orientation, Spanish Language training (1 - 8 weeks), placement consultation and work plan seminars, as well as follow up and continued support while volunteers are at their placements. All of these services are available to guests who are interested.

Living With a Host Family in Ecuador

Living with a host family in Ecuador is a fantastic way to gain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the people and customs of the country. Each home-stay will provide a bed and three meals per day for our volunteers. The majority of host families offer private rooms with only one or two volunteers living with the family.

In the case of a volunteer lodge or ranger station (which is often the only option for placements within a National Park), volunteers will be living in dormitory type accommodation and meals will be provided in a mess hall or dining area.

Living with a host family can greatly enhance your performance at your placement. For one, it will have a huge influence on the speed with which you gain familiarity with the local language. This, along with your deeper understanding of cultural practices and beliefs that you are likely to gain in this environment, can go a long way to improving or strengthening your relationships with your team mates at work. Furthermore, a significant percentage of our host families are closely affiliated with the organizations with which our volunteers work. As such, even the evening meal or hanging out around the house can become valuable time during which volunteers can share their ideas and continue their support of their host organization.

All of this being said, living with a host family is not for everyone. It is very important for volunteers to honor the house rules in their host family and to be punctual. Also, depending on how remote your placement location, host families can be very rustic. Our staff in country can give you a better idea of what exactly you can expect from a host family in any particular community. However, in general, if these things sound like they might pose a challenge for you, we strongly suggest that you look at a placement within commuting distance from BaseCamp Ecuador.

How the Program Works

Our program structure and costing is completely flexible which lets our volunteers ensure that they only pay for exactly the degree of support that they want.

Option 1 - Free Services

Some volunteers prefer to coordinate their own accommodation, meals and other support while overseas.

Anyone is welcome to use our volunteer placement search tool to help in finding a placement that is well suited to their interests. Once someone finds a placement that they wish to work with, they are welcome to make all the rest of their arrangmeents on their own.

As well, our team of staff overseas are often able to offer a few helpful pointers for volunteers 'doing it on their own'. Just send us an email with your questions and we will put you in touch with our team abroad. We only ask that you keep your requests fairly general, as this type of advice is exactly how our team earn their living. :)

Option 2 - Placement Support - 250 USD

Other volunteers would like assistance in selecting and confirming their placement, but they plan to manage their own accommodation and other expenses on their own.

These volunteers have the option of choosing to only have our assistance with selecting and confirming their placement. This option also includes ongoing placement support while abroad, so a volunteer would be able to ask our team for help if things at their placement were not working out.

In providing Placement Support, our team works with each volunteer through email, telephone and either Skype or Google Hangouts, to ensure that each volunteer has a clear understanding of their placement options. Our in-country staff will put together a custom list of placement options for each volunteer that they believe are the most appropriate matches with the volunteer's background, skills and interests. Then each volunteer can work with our team both in Canada and abroad to go through each of the options and narrow-down their selection.

Option 3 - Full Program Support

For most volunteers who are volunteering for less than a year, they are looking for an option that includes their accommodation, meals, airport reception, country and program orientation and placement support. This is what our Program Fees are designed for.

We are proud of how over the years we have ensured that our program fees are amoungst the most reasonable of any program in the world while we continue to provide exceptional volunteer support both at home and abroad.

Our Program Fees and listings of what these do and do not include are listed below:

Program Fees

Program Fees - Ecuador

  Registration Fee
  1 Week
  2 Weeks
  3 Weeks
  4 Weeks
  5 Weeks
  6 Weeks
  7 Weeks
  8 Weeks
  Additional Weeks

Ecuador wildlife and conservation placements require an additional $7 USD per day fee to cover park fees and accommodation. All program fees are listed in US Dollars.

What is Included
  • Pre-Departure support
  • Placement consulation
  • Airport reception & transfer
  • 2 Day orientation
  • Accommodation (BaseCamp or host family)
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Emergency & placement support

What is Not Included
    Before Departure
  • International flight
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Visa costs where required
  • Work permits where required
    While Overseas
  • Daily transportation to and from placement
  • Transport to airport on departure
  • Placement fees if requried

Program Dates


The following is a list of all months during which this placement is not available.

  • July
  • August

Our regularly scheduled program start dates are the first Friday of each month, every month of the year. We strongly recommend beginning your program on one of these dates as this will allow you to go through our orientation alongside other international volunteers.

If you would prefer, our application will also allow you to select a custom start date for your program. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee for a custom start date which ranges from 50 to 75 USD.

Feb 04, 2022 Mar 04, 2022 Apr 01, 2022
May 06, 2022 Jun 03, 2022 Jul 01, 2022
Aug 05, 2022 Sep 02, 2022 Oct 07, 2022
Nov 04, 2022 Dec 02, 2022 Jan 06, 2023
Feb 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023 Apr 07, 2023
May 05, 2023 Jun 02, 2023 Jul 07, 2023
Aug 04, 2023 Sep 01, 2023 Oct 06, 2023
Nov 03, 2023 Dec 01, 2023 Jan 05, 2024


These dates are the day that volunteers should plan to arrive on the ground in country. We can accommodate arrivals in-country at any time day or night on these dates.

Give us a Call
Canada / USA 866-646-4693 (toll free)
UK 866-646-4693 (toll free)
Australia 866-646-4693 (toll free)
International 613-353-3000
Send us a Message