Breaking the Barriers of "Voluntourism"

For over 10 years, The Quito Project has collaborated with communities in Ecuador to meet the ever-changing needs of Quito’s urban poor.  Despite the successes of our program, we recognized that very few of our tutors possess formal backgrounds in education and felt that our organization would benefit from the guidance of faculty with more experience in international education.

In February of 2017, we bridged this gap in our tutors formal background by collaborating with the UM Library, through a Library Mini Grant, to host our first workshop, "Breaking the Barriers of Voluntourism:  Respectfully Teaching and Interacting with Communities Abroad".  This workshop was faculty led by experts in the topics of effective ESL teaching practices and cultural humility and Gabriel Dunque from the UM Library served as our mentor for this project. 

Ever since, our workshops have been well-attended by The Quito Project members and by University of Michigan students, faculty and staff participating in other volunteer abroad programs across the globe. In order to accommodate for the high demand of our workshop, we have expanded it into a series of two separate workshops. 


The positive impact, that our workshops have had on those who attend is truly immeasurable.  We have seen within our own TQP members how our workshop has not only improved the quality of our summer program by having their lessons be more interactive and engaging for the kids but it has also forced them to think and act critically on how they can positive and more impactful global leaders. 

Other organizations that have attended have reached out after their experience abroad saying how much it helped their program and community abroad. This is because it caused them to think about how to ensure that their initiatives are sustainable, collaborative, and value community input to avoid harming and decaying the existing relationships they have abroad.

Moving forward, The Quito Project will be partnering with the University of Michigan School of Education and the Language Resource Center to host these workshops along with other academic departments on campus. This will allow our workshops to reach a greater audience while improving the content and breadth of information shared. 

want to learn more about our workshop?

Check out the resources distributed during our 2018 workshop:

To collaborate with us on our upcoming workshops in Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 please contact:

This workshop was an opportunity to delve deeper into the personal concerns and perspectives of the people there (abroad).
— Elizabeth Reeck, STAMPS

Check out this video to learn more about our program!