Ecuador Cares is a new non-profit organization recognized by the Ecuadorian government, founded by a group of North American and Ecuadorians with a clear mission: to provide help and hope for orphans, the aged and the terminally ill. The group came together in 2014 to help an orphanage in dire straits, lacking clean water, plumbing, and adequate food. When that project was completed with many man-hours of volunteer labor and a cash donation of just over $28,000 for a year’s worth of food, Ecuador Cares began a new project in Cuenca at Hogar Miquel Leon.
Hogar Miquel Leon is both a girl’s orphanage and a refuge for abandoned seniors. Managed by a small staff of dedicated Sisters, over 100 people reside at Hogar Miquel Leon, close to San Sebas Plaza. The girls must leave the orphanage on their 18th birthday. With no family support, home, or job, they are prey for the unscrupulous.
Ecuador Cares instituted a robust program of support for both the youth and the senior residents. Each Saturday close to 30 volunteers arrive to teach cooking classes, English, sewing, computer skills, CPR/First Aid, and job interviewing skills to the teens. Other volunteers read to the younger children. The seniors enjoy music, dancing, and crafts. The afternoon culminates with a delicious meal prepared by the volunteers and youth, mentored by a local chef or a volunteer. Ecuador Cares also provides funding for school supplies and uniforms for the children and personal care items for the elders.
In December they started a 4-week sex education/personal safety program taught by Dra. Sonia Nivel of Corporacion Mujer a Mujer. Plans are underway for a halfway house to provide adult supervision, housing, and support for those who are 18 and want to finish their education, and a job placement program.
Ecuador Cares welcomes volunteers to help in any of these programs as well as those who have skills in repairs and plumbing. There are a few boys at the orphanage who would love to learn carpentry. You don’t need to be fluent in Spanish, just have a heart open to helping others.
For more information or to volunteer, contact President Diane Lenz Shanley at Diane@EcuadorCares.org