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Teaching life skills in Ecuador

Teaching children in Ecuador skills for life

Mary’s Meals are running a specialist programme where we are working to improve children’s futures through access to food and education.

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Basic education is free in Ecuador. However, uniforms, books and other essential school materials are not. As a result, learning is beyond the reach of many children, like those supported by Mary’s Meals through a specialist programme where we are working to improve children’s futures through access to food and education.

Ecuador is home to a population divided by stark contrast. While many people are affluent and have a high standard of living, the opposite extreme is true for as much as 40% of the population who live below the international poverty line of $1.90 USD per day.

Together with our local partner organisation, Fundación Cristo Misionero Orante, Mary’s Meals is delivering a small but vitally important school feeding programme in one boarding school in an indigenous town near the capital of Quito.

Our partner Sr Lenka tells us that many of the children in her care have experienced trauma or were abandoned at an early age.

"One little girl, Samantha, came to our institution four years ago,” she“ says. “We noticed unhealthy behaviours in her. In the house where she was living, they were poor, and the child was malnourished.”

Sr Lenka’s team gave Samantha a warm and stable home in their residential school with clean clothes and guaranteed food from Mary’s Meals. In addition to having the vital opportunity to learn and grow through education, Samantha was also able to make friends with children of her own age and similar backgrounds.

All the children in the school where we serve Mary’s Meals are from low-income households where neglect and malnutrition are common.

Sr Lenka says: “Many of them come from dysfunctional families and from the Ecuadorian jungle where there is no access to education. Many lack basic life skills because their parents or guardians don’t provide the necessary guidance and support. As a result, many turn to addiction.”

Our partner in Ecuador is stepping in to fill the gaps, where children are not getting the care and support they need at home and are in danger of succumbing to a dangerous lifestyle. By serving Mary’s Meals the children feel nourished, energised and ready for learning.

Sr Lenka says: “Life for these children is so challenging because their families don’t provide them with stability or security. Often in the houses there is nothing to eat. Our project prepares them by giving them life lessons so that tomorrow, they can pass on what they have learned to others.

“The feeding programme has a positive impact on the community because those we help live the values that we share with them, values which are necessary for life.”

Sr Lenka adds: “As for Samantha, with a balanced diet, she began to improve, and we have noted an improvement in her physical and intellectual state, although the effects of her trauma remain with her.”

Samantha continues to work hard at school and learn from the school community that cares for her. In time, her wounds will heal and the food and care she receives will help her to rebuild her life.

Our partnership with the Fundación Cristo Misionero Orante in Ecuador provides meals for 360 children in this one school. The children’s ages range from one to 16. This small programme is providing vital support in a community where it is desperately needed.

Find out more about the countries where we work here.