Sinsoluka is a non-profit organization for children who live or have lived on the streets of Quito. The name Sinsoluka means ´without glue´, derived from the fact that a lot of people living on the streets of Quito are addicted to drugs and/or sniff glue because it is the cheapest drug they can afford.
The project was created by two psychologists whose aim is not only to help the children but also their parents. This project has helped a lot of families get off the streets, find somewhere to live and when possible a job. And most importantly the project is now in its second phase of working with the children of the original street dwellers.
Today the center helps over 250 children and their families, although they do not all come to the center at the same time. In the morning around 30 children in the ages 10 till 15 come to Sinsoluka and in the afternoon another 70 children in the ages 4 till 12 come to the center. All children receive a nutritious lunch at the center and they have to brush their teeth afterwards. Many of these children have had a bad start to life such as being born to drug addicted parents, living on the streets, subjected to violence, abuse or neglect, made to work selling sweets in the street etc. The aim is to stress the importance of education as a way of breaking the circle and ensuring that these children do not fall for the same way of life and temptations that their parents did before them. With the help of funding and sponsors, the project pays to send the children to school and help out with any costs that the family may not be able to cover like school uniforms, books, materials etc.
It also provides help and support to the children’s family who come from poor, vulnerable and often broken backgrounds. One of the main problems facing those who have left behind their addictions and life on the street is finding employment due to their lack of education and skills. As a result the project has created a carpentry work shop as well as a bakery that young people and adults can come and receive training and various courses.
The volunteers work in the center with the children who either go to school in the morning or in the afternoon. The volunteers are mainly assistants and educators; apart from giving the children many hugs and much attention, these are some of the tasks:
- Help children with their homework (children are often behind at school and do not have a quiet space to do their homework or have parents who are not capable of helping them at home so volunteers are a great help in this area).
- Help in the kitchen, especially during lunchtime which can be very chaotic and busy and the staff need help to assist the youngest children and make sure they clean up after themselves.
- Help in the carpentry workshop (when necessary)
- School visits (the center needs to keep a check on the children enrolled at school and regularly visit the local schools to ask about a certain child’s attendance, grades, ability etc.)
- Prepare educational activities
- Prepare recreational activities to be carried out when the children finish their homework or during their breaks
- Assist in hygiene education such as hand washing and brushing teeth
- Supervise and assist children when they are allowed to use the I.T. room for their homework
- Anything that may arise, e.g. taking someone to a doctor’s appointment or dentist
You working week is Monday to Friday. You can work from 09.00am until 4.30pm. Discuss with your volunteer coordinator and the staff if you will work full days or half days and what the possibilities are. You will have your weekends free to explore Quito and the surrounding areas.
The project is located in the historic center of Quito. You will have to catch a bus to the project – it will take you approximately 30 minutes to reach the center.