Foundation Bolivar Education (FBE, Ecuador Volunteers) is a Quito-based organization that facilitates volunteer opportunities all across Ecuador. FBE markets itself, and a selection of its volunteer opportunities, as particularly senior friendly.Placements include working with children, the elderly, or women facing domestic violence in Quito; rescuing abused domestic pets, or assisting nurses and patients at a public hospital, in Cuenca; supporting a community association’s efforts to provide agricultural and tourism training to local families in a small town in central Ecuador; rehabilitating injured and trafficked wild animals in the Sierra or Amazon; and helping with reforestation and habitat preservation on the Galapagos Islands.
A 10 percent discount at the organization’s affiliated Spanish school (in Quito) is offered to volunteers who stay and study for two weeks or more. Volunteers in Cuenca can also look for a local Spanish school. Other placements may be more remote, and formal lessons may not be available nearby. Likewise, free time activities vary widely according to the placement, ranging from exploring colonial cities and indigenous villages to hiking in the jungle or cloud forest and swimming in the sea.
FBE markets itself, and a selection of its volunteer opportunities, as particularly senior friendly.
Foundation Bolivar Education
Application Process: There is an online application form, and a US$25 application fee is required when your application is accepted.
Cost: None, other than the application fee; volunteers pay for their own housing and food.
Placement Length: Anything from one week to one year, depending on the volunteer’s interests and availability.
Language Requirements: Most volunteer opportunities through FBE require Spanish, but the organization is affiliated with a Spanish school in Quito. (They recommend six weeks’ study prior to volunteering for beginners.) There are a few opportunities volunteering with kids in day care centers and teaching English that do not require Spanish.
Housing: A homestay, hostels, hotels, or even apartments are available for volunteers who stay a month or more.
Operating Since: 2008
Number of Volunteers: 482 in 2012