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Snapshot of Ecuador

76

years is the average life expectancy

13%

lack access to safe water

64

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

Ecuador made big economic gains in the second half of the 20th century and many people benefited. Yet millions still live in extreme poverty, with indigenous and minority groups the most disadvantaged.

In recent times, this progress has come under threat and even been reversed. In fact, the country’s National Institute of Statistics and Census reported that Ecuador saw an increase in poverty from 21.5 per cent to 24.5 per cent—and extreme poverty increased from 7.9 per cent to 9 per cent—in the first six months of 2018.

Since 2015, Ecuador has received more than 1.2 million refugees from Venezuela, as well as some from neighbouring Colombia. The UNHCR estimates that up to 5000 people arrive at the border daily, most hungry, vulnerable and desperate. Many of them pass through the country on their way to Peru, but a rising proportion are choosing to stay. Despite its reputation as Latin America’s top recipient of refugees, Ecuador is struggling to cope and new entry restrictions imposed this year have effectively closed the border to many.

President Lenin Moreno took office in 2017 after winning a run-off election in controversial circumstances. He campaigned on a platform of financial accountability in government and proposed new programs to provide better housing for the poorest sections of the community. Despite some key reforms (such as limiting the number of terms an individual may serve as President) many citizens say their country has gone backwards.

For children, access to education and medical treatment continue to be major hurdles, particularly in rural areas where incomes are lowest and services are not available. The public education system provides free schooling for all children, but the practical problems of covering the costs associated with education—providing books and other learning materials, transport, food, etc—are such that many miss out.

This problem gets worse as the children get older, with many high school students dropping out of school to look for work instead. While this decision can increase their family’s income in the short-term, it can limit the children’s opportunities for higher-paid work later—and even put them in situations where they can be vulnerable to exploitation.

Hunger and malnutrition still affect many children, particularly in rural areas, where ongoing drought and soil degradation are resulting in smaller harvests. Farmers are finding it more difficult to feed their families. The past year has also been especially bad for bushfires in the mountains.

Through all these challenges, the local church is a pillar of strength. Families find strong support to meet their practical, emotional and spiritual needs and look to the future with hope for their children.

Jose Carrasco

Letter from Compassion Ecuador Director Jose Carrasco

Dear Sponsor, Greetings in Jesus’ name! My name is Jose Carrasco. I’ve been privileged to serve as Country Director of Compassion Ecuador since 2016. I was born in Peru. I am married to Laura, and we have two wonderful children, Jose Alonso and Natalia. Thank you for being our partner in this endeavour by loving and supporting your sponsored child.

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Emilia’s Chance For Life

One day while playing with her active child Emilia Llugsha, Liliana noticed some strange bumps on eight-year-old daughter’s neck. Seeking an answer, Liliana took her from doctor to doctor. Although many doctors said it was normal, Liliana’s mothers’ intuition told her something wasn’t right. After some time, Emilia was finally diagnosed with leukaemia.

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Prayer requests for Ecuador

  • Pray for Compassion Ecuador’s expansion to help communities that are remote and living in rainforest areas that are difficult to access. In these areas, multiple languages are spoken and the gospel only arrived a few years ago. Local staff ask you to pray for protection over this region and for its people. Pray that the Holy Spirit would open hearts to receive God’s love and use the gospel to help the people’s circumstances.

  • Pray for Thiago, a registered child in Echeandia. Thiago is facing a severe heart disfunction. He has had one heart surgery in Quito but needs two more surgeries. Doctors said his situation is critical, but local staff believe God is bigger than any disease. Please pray that Thiago will be restored to health very soon and able to return home to his family.

  • Please pray for Emily, a baby registered with a survival project. She is scheduled for heart surgery in the city of Guayaquil. Please pray that Jesus will be with the doctors and little Emily will be victorious in the surgery.

  • Please pray for the Fullness of God Beaches Church (EC0570) on the nation’s west coast. They are working to teach skills to the children’s parents. The pastor recognised high levels of unemployment and hopelessness in the community, so the church committed to help educate parents. The church’s desires are to grow and for the community to grow in their knowledge of Christ.

  • Pray for regions affected by drought, particularly those families who have also been forced to evacuate and devastated by fire. Pray that the churches will be able to support them; pray for rain where it’s needed and for resilience in adapting to changing circumstances.

  • Praise God for an amazing turnout at the Leadership Congress for Pastors of Compassion Ecuador in August. More than 400 pastors from all over the country gathered in the city of Quito. They reaffirmed their commitment with Compassion International and learned more about child protection. The entire staff of Compassion Ecuador and 93 per cent of all pastors and leaders of the partner churches attended.