Many of you know me, and have supported Pan del Cielo Soup kitchen for the elderly, as well as Morales Chupa Indigenous pre-school over the last few years.
I will be updating these 2 projects.
On March 21st I visited Amigos de la Vida (AMI), which was a very heartwarming experience. They deal with children under the age of 4 who have been abandoned or abused in various ways, sometimes sexually. Please check their website: www.fundacionami.org.ec
Etienne Moine and his spouse Maria de Carmen founded this organization. AMI survives through donations from friends in Switzerland and France. The foundation was located near the new Quito airport for nine years but moved to Cotacachi two years ago when the noise from the airport worsened.
The grounds of AMI are beautiful with a large organic garden for some of the food supply. Living quarters are impeccable and geared to the age of the child. The outside play area is also for the benefit of the child depending upon age and capability.
At this time they are caring for 11 children, with a maximum of 15 that they can care for properly. The caretakers who have been trained in handling abused or abandoned children are very loving. Two Social Workers are in charge of getting information about each baby and of visiting the families.
When I visited, there were 11 children; the youngest is a 3-week-old infant who had been abandoned. There were twins of approximately 10 months – with no verbal skills and very fearful. There was a 26 month old who is blind. I was amazed how she gets around to play and can even pour juice into her cup. I was told that doctors are trying to determine if there is any hope for her sight.
Another young child, still on a bottle, has a disfigured face and she needs several expensive treatments. These children could not take surgery at this time because of the terrible circumstances that they were in until rescued and brought to AMI either by police or hospital personnel or other authorities. They need time to heal their young minds and bodies and to grow and learn to trust other people.
This facility is not exactly an orphanage; however, some children have been adopted by Ecuadorians and two adopted are living in the States, one in Italy and another one in Thailand.
From the AMI website, following is a quote: “La casa de los niños is a carefully equipped home, accommodating children ages 0 to 4 who have been abandoned or abused, who are orphans, and who have different abilities. This is a calm, safe environment where they are respected, accepted, and loved.”
The main objective of AMI is to return the child to his/her home and enhance the family skills in raising their children. Follow-up is constantly done by specially trained Social Workers. Most of these children come from impoverished homes but the parents are capable of becoming skilled. In most situations this is successful – if not, the child is removed.
AMI has had a reunion once a year for the past 11 years – and last March over 40 children showed up who had lived in AMI. They come with their families and siblings and their lives are greatly improved.
**NOTE: I will be in Florida for 3 weeks in May. The following items are needed for these children and I will bring them to Ecuador in a suitcase. Shipping is expensive and you have to deal with customs and pay fees.
The children are of very small build and we need the following items. We have infants that need pajamas with feet, sizes 1 month and up to 1 year. We need 2 and 3 year old girls’ and boys’ pajamas with feet – sizes 2 and 3. The children need socks, long pants and shirts, sizes 2, 3 and 4. It is a little cool here in Ecuador most of the time so long sleeves are needed.
We ask that the clothes be quite new, as it is needed for their self-image. Used clothes in excellent condition with no stains or tears would be acceptable. If you would like to send parcels, please email me and I will give you my daughter’s address in Florida.
Also needed are soft toys that do not make noise, and wooden puzzles for the 2, 3 and 4 year olds. Please email me if you have any other ideas for these children.
From the bottom of my heart I appreciate all the help I have received in the past. This is a new journey and I hope that your heart will be open to help these little ones.
Founder of Ecuador Project Hope
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
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