Although Ecuador’s poverty rate has been steadily decreasing over the past two decades, children still suffer from malnutrition, lack of education, lack of healthcare and other deprivations. Cyclical poverty not only reduces the opportunities to become successful later in life, but it also makes children vulnerable to other domestic and social abuses like physical punishment and bullying. Fortunately, these three organizations are helping to support children in Ecuador, who often face neglect.
3 Organizations Helping Children in Ecuador
- United to Benefit Ecuadorian Children International: United to Benefit Ecuadorian Children International (UBECI) is a non-profit organization based in the capital of Ecuador. The organization has been working to support children in the markets of southern Quito since 1999. They create opportunities for children to develop their emotional, physical and social needs through recreational and educational engagements. UBECI fights for reduced working hours for children in the markets and helps them in school from primary enrollment to university. During this educative period, UBECI teaches social skills to the children to better integrate within society and spreads health education that will lead to a safer lifestyle. They emphasize “children’s rights to an education, right to lead a healthy life, and the right to an identity.” Through working directly with children living on the streets, UBECI touches the lives of more than 350 students, every school year and more than 600 during the summer. Therefore, the amount of youth the organization reaches per calendar year totals 1,770.
- Consortium for Street Children: Consortium for Street Children is a global charity that unites organizations dedicated to helping “street children,” through an international alliance. The alliance raises the voices of neglected children to the United Nations and engages directly with children on the streets. They currently have two projects protecting children in Ecuador. The Keeping Street-Connected Children Safe project, in collaboration with Red Nose Day USA, funds “innovative direct-service delivery projects” to support children in Africa, Asia and South America (including Ecuador). Their 2020–2021 grant will be tailored specifically to the new needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, Building with Bamboo, was an explorative initiative whose goal was to learn how to implement a “resilience-based approach” to support street children, victims of sexual abuse and exploitation in Ecuador, Uganda and Nepal. The experience was shared within the Consortium for Street Children community to further the success of future projects.
- Children International: Children International is a charity that works to raise children out of poverty in 10 countries around the world. They have individualized four distinct problems regarding children in Ecuador. One, fight malnutrition; the organization started a Family Vegetable Gardens program to teach children and families about healthy diets. Also, this initiative helps to provide a steady income for their work within the garden. Two, tackle generational poverty; the organization teaches participants valuable skills to prepare for a more successful future. For instance, how to save money and be a responsible citizen. Three, lower the unemployment rate; the organization provides job training and hiring opportunities for teenagers. Four, make education more accessible; the charity community organized a tutoring system in which older students help younger children in Ecuador with math and language skills. Children International can do this through donations from the public and connecting needy children with willing sponsors abroad.
Efforts Must Continue
More than 40% of children in Ecuador live in poverty. Organizations like United to Benefit Ecuadorian Children International, Consortium for Street Children and Children International, however — ensure that future generations will have the tools to improve such statistics. Through breaking free from the cycle of poverty, children in Ecuador can capture a better life for themselves and future generations.
– Margherita Bassi