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SOCIAL AND PSYCHOLOGY WORK IN ECUADOR

Ambato is located in the Andean mountains south of Quito at an altitude of about 5,577 meters above sea level, about 8,454 feet and has about 330,000 inhabitants including the urban areas which makes it one of the biggest cities in Ecuador.

The city is a big transportation hub and also it has big industries within for example vehicles, textiles, glass, shoes and food but due to its big production of flowers and fruits it is also famous as the “City of Fruits and Flowers” and has a big festival each year in February in memory of the big earthquake that destroyed the city in 1949.

THE PROJECT

The project is run and organized by the church and its nuns that have seen the huge problems that can be found in Ambato. The city is one of the biggest in Ecuador and famous not only for its fruit and flower production but sadly also for its number of street children and child labor.

The nuns here have been working with the children for a long time and in the center of the city they have a street children center that takes care over 200 children on a daily basis and just outside the city they also have a center for adolescents where they try to teach them different trades like carpeting, tailoring, metalwork etc so they have a chance to work and make their future better.

The social workers and psychologists normally work very close as they both have an active role in the work with the children and their families. It is very common that these families and children have problems with abuse, alcoholism, drugs etc and at the same time they are low income workers that lack of high education which means that they have no possibility to seek help of private doctors or hospitals and at the same time the security net in Ecuador is often non existing and here is where this project and similar comes in to help.

Even though some families might have big problems that split them up the goal is always to reunite them and to help them solve whatever problem they have. This can often take a long time as whatever the problem is it has often been there a long time.

INTERN´S ROLE

Interns will work side by side with the social workers or psychologists depending on what field they are studying within. They will take part of their daily work with the children and their families to do evaluations in each case, look for and in best care make sure that they can find a solution, follow up on cases.

Work can take place in different locations as they sometimes work at one of the centers and sometimes they might travel around in the city to investigate and do follow ups on the cases, talk to family and friends etc.

What volunteers might do:

• Visit families that need to be evaluated due to domestic problems.
• Write reports about the families and their situation.
• Attend sessions for the family members together with psychologists and/or social workers.
• Help to evaluate solutions that the family need for their problems.
• Cooperate with other organizations and institutions to help the families in the best way.

REQUIREMENTS

Application with passport scan.
Resume/CV.
Intermediate Spanish.
Interest in working with people.
Some education within the field.
Open-mindedness to work and live in a different culture.

RECOMMENDED

High intermediate Spanish.
Some experience within the field.
At least 8 weeks is recommended.

WORKING HOURS

Monday to Friday from about 08:00 to 17:00 with a break for lunch. Work hours may vary from day to day.

WHAT TO BRING

Semi-formal clothing’s might be needed so bring this. It might also be easier to work if interns bring their own laptop or at least a USB memory as the projects don’t often have a computer just for them to use.

HOME STAY

Interns will stay with a family, normally within 20 to 30 minutes away from work.
They have 3 meals with the family but sometimes participants have a hard time to get home for lunch due to work so the family can either help them with a simple lunch box, not the same as a lunch, or they need to eat close where the work at their own expense.

Interns will have a private room with shared bathroom.

TO GET THERE

Interns have to arrive to Quito for at least the first day when we have the orientation. If they want Spanish classes they will of course stay for a while before heading to the location of their work. When it’s time to leave Quito they will take a cab for about $10 to the bus station where they take a bus to Ambato for about $4. At arrival after about 3 hours the family will meet them in the bus terminal to take them home.

The family will also take them to work the first working day to introduce them and also so they know how to get there and home again.

Calculate about $0.25 for transportation to work one way and possible some money for transportation in work if they would need this.

PLACEMENT FOR

This is a good project for University students within the fields of social work and psychology.

THINK ABOUT

It is very important with Spanish and an open personality as well as being forward and drifty at this project. Work phase vary many times and interns needs to be a bit independent to integrate, help and learn in the project.