Over the last few weeks, the Ecuador site has expanded our work to
support several local partner organizations. When looking at
international development, many of us felt that we could be used best as a
resource to sustain existing Ecuadorian institutions in addition to continuing our own Manna initiatives. When looking around our community
we found several organizations that could use our support.
United Nations Peacekeepers Several
of us are holding twice weekly classes with a group of UN Peacekeepers
to help them practice English with native speakers. Since the focus of
the class is speaking and listening, it is a great opportunity for
us to both expand our English program and learn more about the
Peacekeepers' work. Since teaching English is definitely one of our
group's favorite programs, it's been the perfect opportunity to offer
more English classes.
Antorcha de Vida is a local
organization providing activities and therapy for mentally and
physically disabled children - an amazing organization
attempting to meet a great need with a small staff. We are now helping with their weekly
horse therapy and water therapy to provide more support for the children.
Working with water therapy to increase the mobility and flexibility of
the children is both rewarding an enjoyable. It is great to
connect with this group of children. For example, I frequently work with
a young girl named Bonnie who loves to swim - using me for support.
as both a school and home for about 30 at-risk youth. Children of
all ages, many who have been orphaned or removed from their family, all live, play and learn at Aliñambi. They grow all of their food on site and
are definitely in need of help on their farm. In addition to assisting with their
agricultural program, we hope to start more programs with the children
such as nutrition programs or English classes.
Hogar de la Madre
is a home for young teen mothers, run by two nurses in the local
community and sustained through donations. We aim to provide donations
of both food and clothing in addition to working one-on-one with these
women in our weekly tutoring program. In the next few months, we hope to
begin a child sponsorship program between donors in the states and
these young women. While we constantly want to do more, it has been
rewarding to work with an organization that is so in need of support.
Gotitas de Saber is a local preschool where one of our PD's, Catherine Althaus, teaches
English to about 60 three year olds each week. While that may sound
terrifying to some (me), she loves working with the kids who are always
ecstatic to see her and excited to demonstrate their ever-growing
main goal over the next few weeks is to continue to establish and foster
these new relationships while serving as an asset where these
organizations need us most. Personally, I feel that working with other
organizations can be transformational to how our organization functions
in these communities. Working with everything from horse therapy to
advanced English classes, our new expansions help us to embody Manna's holistic mission while strengthening these local institutions. Although
we've got our hands full, this is just the beginning!