volunteer ecuador vdo curvi
volunteer ecuador vdo 				logo
volunteer ecuador vdo curvd
Helping poor children in rural communities of the Andes
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VDO Childrens' Library
General information
in English

Biblioteca Infantil VDO
Información general
en Español

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Taitakuna Sponsorship
General information
in English

Apadrinamiento Taitakuna
Información general
en Español

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General information
in English

Información general
en Español

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Detailed information for confirmed volunteers

vdo 10 years

a complete review of the work and activities during the second semester 2008

Christmas party
at the school

vdo christmas

Andrew Finch
Computers Centres

vdo childrens library
Children's Library


Volcano Emergency

Clothes Store

vdo school

Ecology project


Bathroom Construction

vdo volunteers

  • You can help poor children, their families, the community or the local schools. A challenging short term, low cost, volunteer experience in the Andes. Volunteer work opportunities in teaching, improving works at schools, painting murals, construction of bathrooms and house improvement works, social work, reading promotion.
    Volunteer in Ecuador
  • You can do important volunteer work helping with translations English-Spanish or promoting the programs in your community. There is a wide variety of volunteer needs you can do from your home.
    Volunteer at home
  • We are a non profit organisation. Our philosophy is to do our work with the least possible money. We do not receive funds from Government, just from friends and the AFET Charity. But money is always necessary. You can help with donations and almost 100% of your help will go direct to the projects.


    knaphill school logo
    Knaphill Lower School in England

    happygringo john
    A travel agency in Ecuador that really likes to help poor children

    We are recommended by
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    Penfriends project with knaphgill School Report 03

    Penfriends project with knaphgill School Report 02

    A challenging celebration of our ten anniversary climbing Carihuairazo Volcano

    alumnos 2 Ten years ago, in June 2008, Maria Teresa and Gonzalo Alarcon started VOLUNTARIOS DE OCCIDENTE as a volunteer program, a local grassroot, not for profit, non political and non religious organisation. They began in Colombia but very soon moved to Ecuador where they established permanent residency. They found many shortfalls in the rural schools and lovely kids anxious for an opportunity to learn. In the past nine years VDO has helped more than 30 rural schools in the Ecuadorian Andes with around 200 volunteers from five continents. When VDO started to work in a rural area near 90% of the primary schools they visited did not have any computers and children never had an English language class, something necessary to enter secondary school. In 2001 the founders registered a Charity in Ecuador in order to look for resources to increase the help of volunteers, give computers and to improve the conditions of the schools...
    alumnos 5At the End of 2002 VDO donated the first computers centre (with three computers) to a rural school thanks to the support of Adrienne Finch and Ros Earl (nee Finch). The Centre was dedicated to the memory of Andrew Finch. The support of the Finch family has continued without interruption making possible today three computers centres in rural schools of Ecuador (with five computers each), and one in the office in Ambato. At the end of 2007, five years later, the "Andrew Finch Education Trust, AFET" gained charitable status in the UK. It is entirely dedicated to supporting VDO projects, especially the four computers centres. Also, AFET members and friends are keen supporters of the childrens’ library, the medical fund, the housing fund and the volcano emergency fund. The main fundraising event of the AFET is the selling of Christmas cards designed by school children in Ecuador...

    logo taitakunaVDO members and volunteers immerse in rural communities having the opportunity to learn about the true living conditions of the children and their families, making it possible to establish their more urgent needs, especially for the poorest. In 2004 Maria Teresa started the Sponsorship program called TAITAKUNA (Godparents in Quechua) with the aim of helping to improve the living condition of the poorest children and to encourage them (and their parents) to continue studying after the primary school. With the help of volunteers and the support of friends a house has been constructed and six other families has now have an adequate bathroom in their homes. In response to the emergencies caused by the eruptions of Tungurahua volcano, small family projects has been promoted. Some years ago five of these children didn´t have any possibility to continue studying after primary and their future was only to be poor land workers. Today, after four years in the program, they are studying in the secondary school and are dreaming to be doctors, nurses or computers engineers. Next school year they will be nine...

    Working with children in poor rural schools VDO found that they had poor vocabulary and imagination. This is possibly caused by the limited conditions of the education system and because children read almost nothing apart from school books. At home parents do not have books so they do not read to their children. In 2005 in order to try to improve the situation, with the help of a large donation from an AFET friend, VDO created the CHILDRENS' LIBRARY. The Library volunteers take the children’s storybooks to the schools and let children take it to their home for reading. The Library also organize reading sessions at the office or family homes. Reading contests and other activities are developed by volunteers. This project is specially loved by children because they understand that is only for them. On the other hand, friends and supporters has become very good partners as they were also good readers when young and they want to give children the same opportunity they had...
    vdo 10 years

    christmas card
    YEAR 2009 (this is our christmas card)
    It is rewarding to see what has been done in these ten years. But do not think that VDO is a large Charity. VOLUNTARIOS DE OCCIDENTE is still a small project. Maria Teresa and Gonzalo Alarcon are still the only staff members in charge of the projects, giving direct and permanent assistance to volunteers. VDO has no bureaucracy making possible a low budget projects and programmes. The effort of volunteers is the only way to do the work and friendly donations are the only way to obtain the necessary resources. The future of VDO depends on the participation and support of former volunteers and friends. In June 2008, A volunteer from USA, Jackie Bird, celebrated the tenth anniversary in Ecuador. When she returned home she registered VOLUNTARIOS DE OCCIDENTE, Inc. as a non profit Corporation in California. Thanks to this in 2009 VDO will improve the service to children and communities. In VDO we are all volunteers. Nobody has a salary. That is the way VDO goes ahead. There are still too many things to do and your help is necessary. You also can help to break the poverty circle of many children that are waiting for just one opportunity. Join Us.
    Apartado Postal 1801-1400
    Ambato, ECUADOR
    E-MAIL: voccidente@hotmail.com
    designed and produced by MATYGA
    Update December 2008