Today, we travel to the country of Ecuador. More specifically, to the coastal region. I have one child here:
Compassion works in several cities and villages along the Pacific ocean. My Allison is from a community outside of Manta.
Communities in this region are known for their fabulous ocean views, beautiful sunsets, and warm, sandy beaches. Creation here is truly breathtaking.
Life here, though, for poor families can be very difficult. Neighborhoods outside of these coastal cities are typically made up of shanty-style homes, made of planks for wood. Homes are small and close together, which lead to cramped conditions and the easy spread of illness. In areas that are prone to flooding, homes are built on stilts. When an area is flooded, travel is nearly impossible, leaving families isolated, without access to healthcare or schooling.
Many families in these areas are single-parent homes, usually lead by a mother, who is left to care for children. Fathers often abandon families because of the financial hardship of caring for them. Other fathers are away from their families as they travel to find work in other cities and send money home to their families. This leaves a lot of pressure on mothers to meet the needs of her children, which is often difficult as poor communities in Ecuador often have distorted gender roles. This makes it hard for women to find work.
Because their mothers aren't able to work and earn money for their families, it's not uncommon to see children out earning a living. Some children can find work doing odd jobs while others visit a local dump, in search of anything that can be sold, on the streets, for money.
Children in coastal Ecuador are often malnourished, only receiving one or two meals a day at home. To help combat hungry tummies, Compassion projects feed the children a large, healthy meal every time the children attend the project.
Compassion also works to supplement each child's education with lessons on various school subjects, as well as biblical lessons, art lessons, and music time. The children are taught to be well-rounded and to have knowledge of many topics.
Most importantly, children are taught that Jesus is their Savior and that He has a wonderful plan for their future and for their lives. Project workers pray for the children everyday and encourage the children to pray for their families, communities, and country. Compassion coastal Ecuador has the following prayer requests:
- Pray for God's protection over assisted children and families living in areas that are prone to flooding.
- Pray that project workers will have God's wisdom to help assisted children avoid the temptation to use illegal drugs.
- Pray that project workers will also be effective in identifying and assisting children who are victims of domestic violence, neglect, or abuse.