Host Organization Details
Caritas de esperanza
The Faces of Hope -- Caritas de Esperanza is a private non-profit community based organization "Hope Azama " in Otavalo, Imbabura Province in Ecuador.
Caritas de Esperanza promotes alternative solutions to the problems of marginalization, extreme poverty, malnutrition, poor health, lack of educational facilities, poor mental health and bad environmental conditions caused primarily by unequal distribution of economic resources in Ecuador to rural and urban communities.
The lack of employment opportunities have forced parents to emigrate to countries offering better opportunities, leaving their children to fend for themselves, which often means they are left in the care of a brother or sister no older than 10 years old. If parents do get jobs in the immediate area such as the "flower farms" they are forced to leave their children locked in their rooms all day, (due to lack of child care facilities), while they work from 7a.m. to 4p.m.
Another factor contributing to extreme poverty in rural communities is the lack of educational programs that teach family planning, which has led to unwanted pregnancies and the number of family members increasing. Today, families in these communities are composed of 7 to 10 members who live in humble houses without sanitation or basic services and have a monthly salary of 176 USD for support.
One of the most pressing concerns is the minimal opportunities for the children to access a public education, especially after completing their primary education. Due to lack of money it is impossible for them to continue on to their secondary education, which forces them to work in servitude or move to neighbouring countries such as Colombia or Venezuela, where they work in sweatshops or beg in illegal groups.
Malnutrition caused by poor diets, ( daily diet : bread in the morning, soup with a lot of grain that is grown on their farms at lunch and a cup of tea at night, with little access to fruits or vegetables), hinders physical and mental development plus learning ability and thus causes a high number of drop outs each year. Illiteracy in the adult population is 78%, which contributes to the fact that many parents do not support an education for their children, nor understand the fundamental value of educating them.
Moreover, the parasitic disease caused by the absence of a proper water systems contributes to the deterioration of the health of the population. Lack of economic resources also prevents them from accessing scientific medicine to prevent diseases. "Quedándoles" is their only recourse --- "witches" who cheat them and worsen their health.
Domestic violence and alcohol have destroyed many homes, causing imprisonment and other problems that makes their situations even more difficult.
Finally, (despite living in a beautiful landscape surrounded by nature), due to lack of knowledge the people do not respect or feel the responsibility to protect their environment which causes erosion and infertility of their land.
Caritas de Esperanza was founded October 1st 2009 by Katerine Vinueza , David De La Torre and Margot Cifuentes. They thought it was necessary to create a foundation that sought to improve the living conditions of people in rural communities of Otavalo. They started by fundraising some money so they could open institutions to take in kids and people who needed help.
Caritas de Esperanza receives funding mainly from two companies : Iam Formacion and Gabinete de Empresas Garbem. The rest of the funding comes from volunteers and individuals who want to help the people in Otavalo.
Clothing for children from ages new born to twelve years of age, paper, crayons, coloring pencils, coloring books, pencils, unfolded boxes, toys, mattresses, cabinets and games would all be greatly appreciated.