A Volunteer in action
By volunteering with the Genesis Organization, you can have a direct impact on the lives of Manabí’s children, as well as experience Ecuadorian culture in the safe, small-town environment of Bahía de Caráquez.
Surrounded by jutting mountains with beaches, restaurants and nature reserves within walking distance or a short drive away, Bahía de Caráquez is the perfect place to become a part of a new community, and the perfect starting point from which to explore Ecuador.
The schools of Manabí welcome caring, committed volunteers of all interests, in groups or individually, and for flexible time periods. Interested applicants under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
- Housing and home-cooked meals
- Tours of local points of interest: Heart Island tour $15 ticket entrance.
- Community Involvement Project (at least 15 hours/week)
Community Involvement Tracks
The Community Involvement Project, through which volunteers work with children or members of the community at one of the Genesis Foundation’s schools, is the most important aspect of the GECEP experience.
We choose each participant’s Community Involvement Track based on his or her interest, experience and skills, as well as the schools’ areas of greatest need.
1. Teacher’s Apprenticeship Track
Work alongside one of our teachers at La Primero and La Modelo Schools in the center in Bahía de Caráquez.
Learn effective teaching strategies, lesson planning and classroom management skills for teaching English as a foreign language in a real-world classroom setting.
Participants in this track can take on different levels responsibility depending on their individual comfort levels, with roles ranging from active classroom observation and assistance to tutoring small groups to teaching a whole class throughout the course of the program.
2. English Teaching Track
More experienced teachers may choose to complete their Community Involvement Projects at one of our partner schools. These participants work with the Program Coordinator to design and teach English classes to low-income children at schools that cannot afford full-time English teachers.
3. After-School Workshop Track
Some participants choose to focus their Community Involvement Projects on a specific skill or area of expertise by designing and teaching workshops for the community.
Volunteers can create after-school workshops for children, teens, and/or adults, covering almost any topic. Past programs have included: sports and fitness, visual/performing/martial arts, web design, first aid, environmental preservation, urban gardening, quilting/embroidery and hospitality.
We look forward to implementing new workshop ideas, provided you have sufficient knowledge of your proposed field and we are able to generate interest in the community.
Please note that because the focus of this track is not English, we require at least a basic communicative proficiency in Spanish for workshop teachers.
4. Facilities Improvement Project Track
Facilities Improvement is an ideal track for groups of participants who are interested making a physical contribution to the community.
Depending on our current needs and available resources, this track could involve building or improving classrooms, basketball/soccer courts, playgrounds, lunch facilities or educational gardens.
Participants in this track create a lasting contribution to the landscape of local schools and the community as a whole.
5. Propose Your Own Track
Do you have a great idea for a Community Involvement Project that we haven’t mentioned? We’d love to hear about it.
Please give us a detailed outline of your idea in your application, and we’ll see if we can make it work. Just in case, please also provide your second choice.
Our volunteer house, centrally located in Bahía de Caráquez, is walking distance from our office, the beach and virtually all areas of town. We can accommodate up to seven participants in the house at a time, and we can make other arrangements if the house is full.
View of the estuary from the volunteer house
The GECEP program costs for 2015-2016 is 950 USD for 4 weeks of participation, allocated as follows:
Housing, meals (1/weekday)
Scholarship Contribution >>> $950
*To stay longer than one month, the cost is 200 USD per extra week.
We expect payment upon arrival in Bahía de Caráquez. Unfortunately, the banks in Bahía de Caráquez do not cash traveler’s checks, but there are ATMs that accept Visa and Mastercard.
If you would like to become a volunteer for the Genesis of Ecuador Program, please fill out an application and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you!
“I started the Genesis Volunteer Program in 1999, when I saw that there were backpackers coming to Bahía de Caráquez looking for volunteer work to do. We have received wonderful, caring volunteers from all over the world, including New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Australia, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, South Africa, Canada and the United States. The following are some of their comments on the experience.”-Vladir Villagran, Founder of the GEP
Chelsea M. Williams, Usa, 2013
"My experiences that I had this summer in Bahia de Caraquez were life changing.
I learned so much about myself that I would not have learned if I did not embark on this journey. I went into this trip thinking I was going to be teaching English and physical activity to students in Ecuador, but they taught me so much more.
The students at Corazon taught me patience with only being able to communicate to one another by a few words, as well as appreciating everything that I have back home in the United States.
Each and every activity that we had planned was phenomenal. The activities were educational plus breath taking. I am so happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone and studied abroad for the summer.
If I could do it again, I would in a heartbeat. Studying abroad helped me to realize the bigger picture in life: that there is so much more out there in the world, and people do not know about it unless they travel and experience it.
Thank you Vladir for welcoming us into your home and family, I enjoyed every minute of it and hope to see you guys in the future sometime"
Tracey, Canada, 2010
“I certainly would recommend any involvement in this program to anyone who is considering donating to the school or sponsoring a child. The looks on the children's faces when they received a Christmas gift were precious and it is a day that I will remember forever.”
Megan, USA, 2011
“Volunteering through the Genesis volunteer program was a joyous experience all around. Working with the kids was incredibly rewarding. The program is run flawlessly and I feel so fortunate to have found the organization. It is easy to see why Vladir receives repeat volunteers year after year. Truly, it is the perfect opportunity to embrace a different culture, learn Spanish and teach English. Nothing will ever compare to my experience volunteering in Bahía de Caráquez.
All aspects of the program surpassed my expectations. Living with my host family, teaching the children, acquainting myself with the city, meeting new friends and learning Spanish, I did not want my time there to come to an end. The city is beautiful, safe, clean and charming, and the people could not be more welcoming and friendly. I feel lucky to have fallen upon such a pleasant place in the world inhabited with extraordinary people. The schools and children, who are delightful and eager to learn, will inspire you. I highly recommend volunteering through Genesis.”
Kevin Bloss, London, England.
“I spent five memorable weeks as a Genesis volunteer in the wonderful Ecuadorian 'city' of Bahía de Caráquez. I hadn't had any previous teaching experience but had done a weekend 'TEFL' course in London, which I found very rewarding and extremely useful for this programme. The Genesis school has a very happy and friendly atmosphere, and I was made to feel welcome and part of it from day one. I stayed with Leo, Gulnara and Paul; Vladirs' parents and brother, in their spacious house right next to the school. There is a strong community spirit that is very apparent, not only at the Genesis School but in Bahía as a whole, and I felt very privileged to be part of that.”
Shawn McDonough, Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA
“The Genesis volunteer program was a very rewarding experience. I spoke a little Spanish when I arrived in Bahía and have learned a good deal more from being thrown into the culture. I am not a teacher, but I was able to accomplish my goal of helping the kids learn English. There are many genuine and good people in this area, and the city of Bahia de Caraquez is very safe. This was a vacation for me. I guarantee, if you give this program a shot, you will come away with lifelong memories and a feeling that you have accomplished something good.”
Matthew N, Canada
“I will never forget the 6 weeks I spent volunteering with GECEP. I could try and sum up my experience with words like inspiring, humbling and liberating. But, it is impossible to explain the emotions and feelings that manifest themselves when helping a community that is so appreciative of your work. The relationships I formed with the students, the Villagran family and the other volunteers will be a part of me forever. Living with the host family was awesome. Paul taught me a thing or two about Spanish and FIFA soccer. Leo is great to speak with about South America and Gulnara cooks some great food - her empanadas are out of control. I will never forget my experience in Bahía nor all the realizations and ideas resulting from living in a such a different culture.”