Sponsor a child in Ecuador
The country of Ecuador is progressing economically, but unequal distribution of wealth has resulted in structural and chronic poverty in some regions. SOS Children's Villages has provided both short-term emergency relief and also long-term support and aid for those living in poverty in Ecuador.
Families in Ecuador face a lack of housing and resources
Over a quarter of the people in Ecuador live in shacks, with limited access to basic sanitation, electricity or food. Poverty is particularly prevalent in rural areas, and as urban migration has risen, it has become more widespread across Ecuador. Many people move abroad in search of work, only to suffer a life of poverty elsewhere.
Young children forced to work or live on the streets
- Thousands of Ecuadorian children are forced to put food on the table for their entire families, and one out of ten is malnourished.
- Children under 12 years old work for family businesses, polishing shoes and reselling unwanted goods.
- Abuse and neglect often drives children to try their luck on the streets, turning to begging or petty crime.
- Often, young girls are forced into commercial sex work, leading to escalating HIV/AIDS rates among street children.
Our Work in Ecuador
SOS Children's Villages began work in Ecuador in 1963, and there are now six SOS Children's Village in the country. We provided vital emergency relief following a border dispute in 1995 and flooding in 1998.
Our first Children’s Village in Ecuador opened in the capital city Quito in 1963. Wealth here is unequally distributed, and in some areas, 99% of people live in poverty. A lack of education means over half the people have no formal employment, instead engaging in informal work such street-selling. SOS Children's Villages supports parents so that children can attend school.
Esmeraldas is a town of racial discrimination, poverty and a growing HIV/AIDS problem. Around half the people here have no clean drinking water and insufficient food. The lure of easy money drives families into drugs trafficking in Colombia. SOS Children's Villages has run a Village here since 1979, providing a stable and caring home for children suffering from discrimination and poverty.
Precarious living conditions are severely affecting the psychological and physical development of children in Ibarra. As in Esmeraldas, racial discrimination puts some children at a serious disadvantage in education, job prospects and self-esteem. SOS Children's Villages began work in Ibarra in 1979 to strengthen families and provide homes and education to children with no parents.
Traditional trades such as hat-making are not lucrative enough for people in Cuenca. With parents struggling to support themselves, the situation for children is worryingly desperate. Single mothers often have no choice but to travel abroad in search of work, leaving young children in the care of relatives. SOS Children's Villages focus particularly on providing care for children like these.
Families in the province of Manabi depend on subsistence farming to support themselves, often relying on their children to work 10-hour days in the fields, with dangerous machinery and pesticides. SOS Children's Villages opened a Village in the city of Portoviejo in 1999, and has focused since on providing essential food and resources to the people here to tackle the severe problems of malnutrition.
Family life in Guayaquil is difficult, with a lack of food and services pushing parents towards alcohol and violence. Often children are forced to work for money, and some are abandoned by parents who cannot afford to look after them. Children often wander the streets, and substance abuse such as glue-sniffing is especially common. SOS Children's Villages has been working in Guayaquil since 2007 and concentrates its efforts on supporting families as they struggle to provide the best upbringing for their children.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Ecuador: A new family, a new opportunity
This is the life story of a courageous woman who decided to dedicate her life to social care over a year ago. She started training as an SOS mother, passing through all the training stages required to obtain an SOS mother's diploma, and today she is responsible for a new SOS family.
Last May, this goal became real when Elsy received her first five children in her new SOS family. As most children do at the village, the kids came from quite a difficult social environment. The kids looked afraid and rather aggressive. The new SOS mother, though, had been well prepared to confront this type of situation, so she did not find it difficult to welcome new children into her home.
Today, with the support of the other SOS mothers in the village, Elsy ensures that her children lack nothing: their daily food, clothing and personal cleanliness is guaranteed. She teaches them the basic chores of the house but emphasizes that the children relax and little by little gain the necessary trust to begin a mother/child relationship. "This is not something which is granted overnight but with the day to day living, with the experiences lived as a family... the coexistence, the solution of problems together when they come up, the moments of illnesses and sorrow, and the moments of great happiness," says Elsy with conviction.
These children had been hurt, so, needing affection, support, care, and love, they found in Elsy much of what they needed to appease their fears. Although they are in the process of adapting to their new SOS family, they feel well and cared for. "The village is very beautiful, my room has everything, and I have my toys... Mummy Elsy cooks well... and I like my new toothbrush," says one of the children.
"It is a wonderful sensation," comments Elsy. "I always dreamt of this moment. Before, I could only figure out the children, their reactions, their emotions, etc., so I was fearful at the beginning, because it was going to be a new experience for me… but reality was quite different. Meeting my new children was very moving... I am happy with my children. I want a lot for them, I want to do more for them, I want them to be well and, with the support of everyone in the village, I know I will be able to make it. I have a lot of faith in this."
The community of SOS Children's Village Portoviejo knows that Elsy will gradually learn from her new family, like so many other mothers did for decades in the organization. They have raised and educated generations of children who gradually became mature, responsible adults.
Aldeas Infantiles SOS Ecuador
Casilla Postal 17-17-1852
Tel: +593/2/33 16583, +593/2/33 17561
Fax: +593/2/225 57 60