Education is really insufficient in this area so World Vision has established after-school programs to assist students in improving their grades so they can progress in their education and hopefully go to high school. Unfortunately most kids have to work so they do not continue their education however, in partnership with the Ecuadorian government, high school age students can participate in six-month technical training classes on evenings and weekends to learn skills such as carpentry, auto mechanics, baking, accounting, etc. with volunteer teachers who come in from the city. The entire cost of the schooling is paid for by the ADP via child sponsorship money, allowing kids who otherwise couldn´t afford to pay for education a spark of hope for their future.
Those who wish to go on to university or college have an enormous mountain to climb as the cost is prohibitive for almost everyone in these rural communities. The costs may seem low by Canadian standards, but at $600 per semester (plus accomodation and transportation) it is beyond the reach of almost every family who lives here.
A really sad part of our visit here was hearing different students talk about their dreams for the future and what they would like to do with their lives. It breaks my heart to know that these bright, hard working, inquisitive kids with big bold dreams will likely never achieve their goals simply becuase of a lack of money.
One young guy named Alex shared his dream of becoming a doctor but has had to quit school and return to help with his brother´s shoe-making business. I had to hold back the tears as I considered how realistic Alex´s chances are without receiving some help. I realize that $600 is not exactly a small amount, even in Canada, but if we could just pool some money together it would be so easy to help Alex reach his goal. More and more I´m coming to realize that supporting a kid like Alex is not about giving him a handout but is about coming alongside him to change the direction of his life, thereby changing the direction of God only knows how many other lives. Just think about how many diseases might be treated, how many infections might be prevented, how many lives might be saved, simply by joining Alex on his journey. A simple gift given to the one has the potential to save the lives of the many. It´s the butterfly effect in action. Dios te bendiga Alex.
For complete photos from the journey click here.
To sponsor a child in Ecuador visit WorldVision.ca