Ecuador Women’s Program: Explore Ecuador‘s Women’s Culture While Giving Back

Request a program catalog here or by calling 800-487-1074.

Take a Deep Dive into the Culture and History of Ecuador Through Service

Surrounded by the majestic Andes and steeped in rich cultural history and traditions, Quito, Ecuador is home to 2.7 million people. Women, their roles, their history, and their deep traditions are the heart and soul of this city. This offering gives the traveler a unique cultural immersion that brings each into a community, working, learning, and living side-by-side with local women and their children. You’ll volunteer in a cheerful childhood development center each day, with time in the late afternoons, evenings, and a full day exploring the role of women through the years, with experts, local leaders, and women working to make Quito a better place for all. Sit in circle, visit relevant sites, and engage in meaningful conversations about the past and future roles of women in Ecuador.

Volunteer and Work Hand-in-Hand:

In Quito in general, Childhood Development Centers are safe havens for children who might otherwise be left to the streets or an empty house. Global Volunteers’ short-term volunteers support the only low-income childcare facilities in Calderón.

Global Volunteers supports efforts laid out in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by offering nutritious meals, learning opportunities, and continuous access to positive role models through a steady stream of short-term volunteers.  Volunteers do only what is asked, work under the direction of the local leaders, and work hand-in-hand with local people so tasks will vary based on the current needs. Service projects include childcare, light labor, assisting with arts and crafts, and psychosocial support.

Spend late afternoons, evenings, and one full day engaged in a variety of activities that will help paint the picture of the women of Ecuador. Share a meal and evening with the mothers of the children in the Centers and learn about their lives, challenges, and joys. Engage in a conversation with local leaders about the current efforts to keep women safe in Quito. Visit historic sites and learn about revolutionary women in Ecuador’s history including the tomb of Tránsito Amaguaña and Manuela Sáenz Museum. Attend a talk and participate in a round table discussion about domestic violence. Explore the deep roots of the arts including music and dance.

Work and Live:

Travelers stay at the Hotel Sandmelis located in the center of Quito. The hotel rooms have private baths with hot water, telephones, cable TV, and Wi-Fi. Meals are at local restaurants or the hotel (three nutritious meals per day plus bottled water are included).

The volunteer site is in Calderón, an area within the city limits at the northernmost point. This is the fastest-growing area of the country due to migration into the city of those seeking employment.


February 8 – February 16, 2020

Price:  $2,850

2020 Women’s Service Program

Community Partner

The Fundación de Damas Calderonenses or the Ladies of Calderón Foundation (FUNDAC) is a nonprofit, non-governmental foundation started by a compassionate group of local women who wanted to help provide childcare for impoverished working women in their community. Their mission is to offer social services – food, education, vaccinations, etc. – to children from twelve months to three years of age who are in vulnerable economic situations. FUNDAC runs two centers which receive very modest government support. The majority of the 140 children they care for are from poor families. Without these affordable facilities, many of these children’s parents would be unable to work, and these children would be in even more vulnerable economic situations. Global Volunteers was invited by FUNDAC in 2001 to help keep these centers running, provide needed attention to the children, and update the facilities. FUNDAC Leader María de Lourdes Erazo and Treasurer Pilar Guzmán are the key local officials who work closely with Global Volunteers staff to facilitate the volunteer experience.

Team Leader

Global Volunteers’ Ecuador Country Manager, Maggie Bjorklund, leads all teams in Ecuador. Maggie studied grassroots international development at the University of Minnesota and her studies included nine months in Ecuador. She has lived in Ecuador since 2003 and has become part of the community and embraced the culture. Maggie’s commitment to helping Global Volunteers, the women of FUNDAC, and the children and families this program serves extends beyond her day-to-day work. Maggie has a deep passion for both helping women thrive and the deep feminist geo-political and cultural feminist roots in Ecuador. As a member of the community, Maggie introduces volunteers to the community, helps them acclimate and attune to the local culture, invites them to community events, and engages them in the day-to-day life of the community.

Global Volunteers

Global Volunteers is an internationally respected non-profit development organization engaging short-term volunteers on long-term community service projects. Global Volunteers’ work is rooted in a 35+ year commitment to our philosophy of service: only serving where invited; only working under the direction of local leaders, only doing what is asked, and only working hand-in-hand with local people. Over the past 35 years we have facilitated:

  • genuine human and economic development to hundreds of communities in 35 countries on 6 continents.
  • short-term assignments on long-term community-defined projects.
  • long-term community-based partnerships

Travel With Passion and Purpose

“This was without question the most rewarding experience of my life – helping people with important projects, feeling the warmth and appreciation of children and teens, and living the life of a villager. It was authentic, and unparalleled.”


TomTanzania Volunteer

“It made me a kinder person, a warmer person, and even a less-judgmental person. But really, it gave me tremendous perspective.” 

Gila Cohen-ShawSt. Lucia and Tanzania Volunteer

Almost everyone I met in one way or another thanked me just for coming there.” 

Stephen BeckCook Islands Volunteer

You realize you have something in common with the people you’re working with. It really is waging peace through justice worldwide.”

Joan McInnis10-time Volunteer Worldwide

“These have been among the most meaningful and beneficial experiences in my life.” 

Gary SandefurMontana Volunteer