Latest update

Ecuador confirmed 194,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and more than 13,500 related deaths on 29 November, with the epicentre of the virus in Quito. Testing remains extremely limited, however, and death tolls indicate that the number of positive cases is higher than reported. Ecuador’s commerce, industry, tourism, transport and health sectors have been badly affected by the economic slowdown, and experts believe a surge in lost jobs will push many families into extreme poverty. Indigenous groups have been hit hard by the virus; many who live in remote areas have little access to testing or hospitals.

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COVID-19 in Ecuador

How is Compassion currently operating in Ecuador?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    All of Compassion's local church partners and child development centres are closed to group activities.

    Church staff members continue to provide emotional and spiritual support by making regular phone calls to families and visiting homes where it is possible. The Compassion Ecuador national office has helped to provide more than 2500 pastors and more than 2200 local church partner staff with counselling and emotional care.

    Centre workers have been able to deliver over 441,000 food packs and 130,400 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to more than 16,000 individuals since the pandemic began, including helping families access telehealth services. Some local church partners have been able to hold online worship services, prayer meetings and training in child protection.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Ecuador, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your sponsored child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Ecuador. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver, if necessary. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Ecuador who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • God would protect Martin and guide the doctors’ hands as they plan and perform his operation.
  • The bone marrow transplant would be effective, and Jordan would be healed from his Leukemia.
  • Wisdom for the doctors as they seek to keep a staff member as comfortable as possible until she can safely have her operation for her gallstones.
  • God would give the doctors wisdom as they seek to help Violeta manage her pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
  • God would keep Daniela and her baby safe and allow her to carry her baby to full term.
  • God would provide the jobs that people need to provide economic stability.
Baby Luan born in quarantine in Ecuador

Baby Luan born in quarantine in Ecuador

Having a baby can be a daunting experience for mothers living in poverty with limited access to healthcare. During a global pandemic, delivery has become even more difficult.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in Ecuador are temporarily closed. Our local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Ecuador

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 11 visit the child development centre for six hours a week.
  • Children aged 12 and older attend the centre for four hours a week.
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Compassion Program Activities in Ecuador

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Compassion assisted children in Ecuador typically attend program activities at their local child development centre before or after school. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Ecuador.

Devotional time - Children are taught to pray.

Spiritual lessons - Children sing songs and learn Bible stories.

Break and snack time - Children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

Social-emotional lessons - Children learn conflict resolution skills and how to develop healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

Lunch and social time - Children usually receive lunch each day they visit the Compassion centre at the local church. A typical lunch generally consists of soup or vegetables and meat, and a main dish containing carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables. Some centres offer snacks to the children before they go home—it is common to provide additional food to children under the age of five.

Health lessons - Children are taught practical health and hygiene tips.

Letter writing and career planning - Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests, setting realistic goals for their future.

In addition to Compassion’s curriculum, children have opportunities to participate in activities including football, art, music and dance. Some centres also organise trips and camps. Compassion Ecuador has an additional certified curriculum for teenagers called ‘More Than Conquerors’ which covers vocational training, including 17 different workshop topics. Parents and caregivers are offered parenting classes once a month.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Ecuador

21.5%

of people live below the poverty line

59

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 benefitted. 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.

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