Ecuador Update: Serving Vulnerable Children in Dangerous Places

Through a partnership in Ecuador, Unity 4 Orphans provides a safe place for children living amidst poverty and rampant crime in their neighborhoods.

Sociopolitical conditions are making life difficult in Ecuador for children and their families who live in the urban neighborhoods where we serve. Violence is a daily occurrence as the government and drug lords clash, and children are growing up feeling that instability is a normal part of life.

Children in Ecuador Are Susceptible to Violence Every Day


Our hardworking partners at Dame Tu Mano are serving vulnerable children in dangerous places, working with kids to give them a safe space to belong and learn. While the government battles a drug epidemic, the streets are often filled with violence between criminals and the military, as well as within families.

What we know to be true in any reshuffling of power is the most vulnerable kids and their families are the ones who suffer most.
–Caitlin Snyder, Engagement Director

Children in Ecuador often witness unthinkable scenarios and most of them know an adult who has been killed or imprisoned. Kids as young as five years old see this violence as a normal part of life and casually share disturbing details with the caring women of Dame Tu Mano.

Sociopolitical Factors Keep Children Stuck in Fight or Flight Mode


Saturday programs in five locations throughout Ecuador give children a place to feel cared for and seen, but two areas have become so unsafe that their programs are on hold. When Dame Tu Mano Partner Karen spends time with children, they’ll naturally mention the recent murder of a relative, incarceration of a neighbor, or assault within someone’s home. This normalization of violence shapes their worldview and endangers their ability to form stable relationships.

The violence is completely normal to the children we serve; it’s shocking. When some of the kids tell me about things they’ve seen, it’s painful to think that this is the world they’re living in.
–Karen, Partner at Dame Tu Mano

The need is great for the children we serve in Ecuador to receive counseling to help them process what they’ve seen and build their belief that they can achieve more. We’ve witnessed tremendous progress with kids through Healing 4 Change in Mexico and Nicaragua, and are looking to provide that same support to those in Ecuador.

Teenage Pregnancy Creates Unstable Families and Derails Girls’ Futures


The dedicated women of Dame Tu Mano see the same heartbreaking story all too often where about half of the girls between the ages of 12-18 will become pregnant before they turn 20. This begins a cycle where many of them stop pursuing their education and end up raising multiple children by different fathers.

Girls start having babies at 15 years old, but sometimes as young as 12. They don’t understand the consequences, don’t understand sex education, and they are truly surprised when they get pregnant.
–Karen, Partner at Dame Tu Mano

Karen, Amy, and the volunteers continue to guide the young people in their care, praying that some will succeed in school and adulthood. Recently two high school students, ages 14 and 15, both became pregnant. Although they can still choose to pursue their education, it will be much more difficult for them in a society that normalizes teenage pregnancy.

Help Vulnerable Children in Ecuador Stay in School and Believe in Their Futures


Pouring into the children who come through their program is a constant labor of love for our partners in Ecuador. They are occasionally blessed to see one of their students stay in school, grow up healthy, and thrive in their education and young adult lives.

I connected with a former student who was into drugs and in danger of failing school when we helped him. Nine years later he’s sober, married, has two children, and is completing his last semester at architecture school. He hugged me and said, “I didn’t forget the promise I made you [to become an architect].” I was crying happy tears all weekend.
–Karen, Partner at Dame Tu Mano

Success stories like these encourage our in-country partners and inspire us to keep doing the work to help vulnerable children experience transformation in all areas of life. We’re thankful for the big hearts at Dame Tu Mano and pray for the children and teenagers enrolled in their programs to reach for brighter futures. We invite you to join us!

Help Vulnerable Children in Ecuador

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