AVSI is monitoring the continued development of the coronavirus pandemic in countries where we operate. We are aware of risks that local populations will face, especially having limited access to precarious health systems and already struggling with poverty, hunger, and conflict. AVSI staff continues to accompany our beneficiaries, following safety regulations implemented in each country. We are doing everything we can to ensure minimal interruption of our initiatives, which many people need even more right now. Below are some testimonials we have received from colleagues, who like all of us, have to adapt, be creative, and remain hopeful during these difficult times.
“This work was a great help. With the income, we paid part of the rent, and I sent some money to my mother in Venezuela so she can buy medicine and food.”
Marilú, a beneficiary of the “Activados” project, implemented by AVSI in the province of Manabí with funding from UNHCR.
Equipped with a mask, protective clothing, and a great desire to help, Ernesto Luque hugs his loved ones early in the morning and heads to work. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador, Ernesto has been delivering food rations and basic kits of protection and personal hygiene to Venezuelan refugee families. Streets are quiet and almost empty, but anxiety and uncertainty fill the air and leave a strong impression on anyone passing through the towns.
There is a saying, supposedly Ecuadorian, which goes, “When one is helping another, both gain in strength.” It is a fitting description of the life I witnessed among AVSI staff, partners and program participants during my visit to the “Republic of the Equator” at the end of 2019. Though one of the smaller South American states, roughly the size of Texas, Ecuador boasts a wide variety of landscapes and climes. It borders the Pacific Ocean to the West, and encompasses the wildlife rich Galapagos Islands, made famous by the legendary explorations of Charles Darwin; while snow-capped Andes Mountains run down the country’s center and are host to one of the world’s highest active volcanos, Cotopaxi.
AVSI’s distance support program sponsors some 24,000 children around the world in educational activities. While children are the first to receive personalized support as they grow, programs also help the whole family. At Fundación Sembrar, mothers like María Elvia, who could hardly read when she first took her son to the educational center, are growing too!