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Rotary Homes of Hope
Doug Merritt, Chair
Intercity Dinner and Building Partner Awards
Another wonderfully successful year at the Homes of Hope Village at Guayaquil, Ecuador, as reported by Aleida de Mejia and others at the annual dinner on October 1, 2014.
A very special treat was a video from village children who are graduating from high school this spring. It is heartwarming to hear the young men and women speak of their sponsors here who have supported them over the years.
You can see this video yourself at the following URL:
Homes of Hope Village
Members of New Jersey Rotary District 7510 have banded together to help the impoverished villagers of Ciudadela Rotario Rio Guayas, our village outside San Pablo in Ecuador. To date, project volunteers and villagers have built 44 homes, a community center, and a day care center. Working in partnership with a number of organizations in Ecuador such as the Rotary Club of Rio Guayas and Hogar de Cristo, volunteers have accomplished many projects that have brought hope for a better future to some of the world’s poorest people.
In addition to construction projects, healthcare services are also provided during the annual mission. Under the leadership of Bridgewater, New Jersey physician Glenn Friedman, more than 1000 men, women, and children from the village and surrounding communities were first provided health and medical care during a 10-day visit in 2006.
Since then, other providers continue to help the children in the village as well as in nearby San Pablo. A 21-person team from Healing the Children NJ visited in September, 2012, focusing on dental and eye care for children in San Pablo. The dental team performed 750 procedures on almost 200 children; the eye team treated 104 children, including performing surgeries to correct cross-eye in a number of children.
In late June 2007, the Rotary Homes of Hope volunteers returned to the village and concentrated their efforts on providing the village with clean water. Before this visit, there was no running water—2 large garbage pails were filled weekly with water for each of the village’s 44 homes. Additionally, the volunteers erected a fence around the village so that inhabitants can keep wild animals from destroying their crops.
Sponsor Me Program
Another major project is called Sponsor Me, a program that allows the children of San Pablo to eat and be healthy and educated. Coordinator Karen Brotea of the South Amboy-Sayreville Rotary Club works closely with Aleida and Gonzalo Mejia of the Ark of Hope Foundation. Aleida and Gonzalo mentor the children and parents on a daily basis, helping shepherd them toward achieving their goals.
Prior to instituting the Sponsor Me program in 2006, the children’s morning meal consisted of brown sugar and water. The Sponsor Me program ensures that every one of the 59 children in the village are given a healthy breakfast during the school year. The program also provides regulation shoes, sneakers, material for school uniforms, and school supplies. The children receive two medical check-ups and two dental check-ups each year, along with any medical/dental attention needed during the year.
The families pay a small fee for everything they receive in the Sponsor Me Program. This helps them maintain their dignity and appreciate the value of what they receive. Fees collected from the families are immediately put to use for village needs.
Another component of the Sponsor Me Program is the emphasis on learning. Older children are asked to tutor the younger ones. All of the children must review their report cards each year with our project coordinator, Karen Brotea, when she visits the village. They are expected to show good attendance and to do theri best and achieve good grades. They must show up for breakfast each school day so they will have the best opportunity for daily learning.
The Sponsor Me Program has been a huge success. In 2012, the program experiences its first college graduate, a young woman who will have a degree in marine biology. Another village young adult is also in college. There are also five high school seniors graduating with plans to attend college.
The Homes of Hope Committee is investigating the start-up of a trade school to help those children who do not go on to college. Look for more about this initiative in the coming months.
Of the 59 children in the village, there are six who do not yet have a sponsor (as of October 2012). To sponsor one of these children for only $420 per year, contact Karen Brotea of the South Amboy-Sayreville Club.
For a history of the Homes of Hope Project, click here to go to the Homes of Hope website - http://www.rotaryhomesofhope.org/History.html..