ECUADOR UPDATE 2017
Thank you to everyone who reads this letter and for your ongoing support. We appreciate it very much indeed. I returned from Ecuador at the beginning of April after a most exciting and full two-month trip. There was hardly a dull moment and it seems incredible to me that so much has been achieved since the starting of Vida en Abundancia.
As the charity is not registered as a school, the education side has had to be reinvented as a “Skills for Life Programme”, in order to comply with current Ecuadorian law. I was keen to see how the actual workings of the ministry had changed as a result of this re naming and restructuring. There were four classes, teaching children with disabilities from the ages of four to twenty in two cycles, with four teachers, four assistants, a speech therapist and an art teacher. It was great seeing the children show off their skills in the end of year closure ceremony at the end of February.
With great regret I had to announce to the Director, Luzcelli, and the President, Danny Espinoza, that we could no longer fund the Skills for Life Programme at the same level, as Brexit and the fall of the pound seriously affected our finances here in the UK. Such a shame as the forty plus children and adolescents showed that they were gaining skills and developing self-esteem and a sense of purpose in their lives.
However, all was and is not lost. Danny Espinoza and William Solórzano, co-founder, committed to do everything possible to fundraise for the charity, beginning different initiatives to help make the education side self-funding. There are plans to cultivate yucca, a root vegetable often eaten with barbecues. There are also plans to use a substance called abaca, a bi product of another plant, and recycle it to profitable purpose.
Another outcome of the changes in funding was that there was a general restructuring of the education side of the charity’s work, and in the process Sharon Wilcox, from CMS, decided to move on, and is now, sadly, no longer working with Vida en Abundancia. We are grateful for her pioneering work with adolescents, which we hope can continue and develop.
The charity works in Santo Domingo’s outlying areas with groups of women who receive handicraft and dressmaking classes. The underlying aim is to identify and help those suffering from, or at risk of Domestic Abuse(DA). It is estimated that 70% of women in Ecuador experience DA at some time in their lives.[i]Blanca and Rodrigo pour God’s love into these women. Many become Christians; they are able to sell the goods they have learnt to make and construct a better future for themselves and their children. When I visited they were working in two districts, and the women showed great commitment to the programme, which always includes a Bible reflexion. Together with larger church conferences that Luzcelli undertakes, we estimate that we reach over 500 women a year. It was great to see how Blanca and Rodrigo also engage with the children in the areas they work in, and we had the privilege of giving out Bible Study certificates and Samaritan’s purse boxes to over 100 children.
 The Economic Burden of Intimate Partner Violence in Ecuador: West J Emerg. Med.2013 Aug:14(4):347-353
One of my jobs was to visit the sight of last year’s earthquake, Pedernales, and to see how the money raised by LIAT [Life in Abundance (Ecuador)Trust] in the UK had been spent. By early March I was joined by Heather Lucy, a new member of the Board of Trustees in the UK and long -standing friend. With Katy Griggs, Head of Latin Link Ecuador and our Administrator, and William, we drove to the sights of the earthquake. We visited a house in Pedernales which we had helped finance. It was moving to see the happiness on the faces of the family who had lost their home, and were now rebuilding their lives, reopening their business and moving forward. Lamentably, although the government has built a few houses, general progress of rebuilding is slow
We were so happy that we could help Eliana get the funding from overseas she needed to enable her to travel to Argentina to get a liver transplant. The father is hoping to be the donor.
A New Ministry
In the final week of our stay in Ecuador we welcomed Susie Hart from CMS who has come out to set up a craft ministry with Disabled Adults and Mark and Lydia Tresize, also with CMS who will be developing the crafts under her direction. They will use our land in San Pablo de Chilla, where there is already a house for them to occupy, which needs some finishing touches. They will build a workshop to train adults with disabilities to make paper products from recycled materials. Initially the hope is to sell the goods within the country, but later to prepare products for export.
Later this year, in July Bishop Henry Scriven will visit the charity to see the progress.
1. That the education side of the charity’s work will continue. That the fund raising taking place on both sides of the Atlantic will be sufficient to save this wonderful work.
2. For Sharon Wilcox as she embarks on a new ministry
3. That in Ecuador there will be a real sense of ownership of this work, so there can be long term sustainability.
Thanks be to God for all He has done.
“Teach us dear Lord, to number our days
That we may apply our hearts unto wisdom
Oh, satisfy us early with Thy mercy
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us
And establish Thou the work of our hands
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us
And establish thou the work of our hands
Dear Lord” (Celtic Prayer)
Jill Ball 7/6/17