The Refugio de Los Suenos in Quito, Ecuador, is a safe haven for the children of alcoholics, prostitutes, drug addicts, severely abusive parents, and the extremely poor. The Refugio gives these children a place to run to and feel safe, but most of all; it gives them a place where grown-ups and other friends their age love and care about them.
As a result of St. Mark members’ concern and love for the children, the Ecuadorian Children’s Mission provides each sponsored child with a school uniform so they can attend school, medical, dental, and psychological care, and a daily healthy meal.
These children have learned that they are never alone. All they have to do is close their eyes and remember that those at St. Mark are always with them and above all, God is with them.
About our Mission in Ecuador
It is a wonder that we have a presence in Ecuador. But we happened to have a member of St. Mark with a bit of history in South America and fluency in Spanish, who pursued an opportunity that arose from a trip to Ecuador. Now we have a lot of members at St. Mark with a vested interest in helping a lot of children and young adults and their families rise above the ignorance and poverty and despair that would have been their lot in life.
The needs of the Ecuadorians are so great that it would be easy to spend all of our time just identifying them. Consequently, our efforts are focused on a few activities. Though our mission is to alleviate the misery of some of the poorest of the poor in Ecuador, the joy of our mission is in the development of relationships between our members at St. Mark and those who we are called to assist.
The city of Quito Ecuador lies in a lovely setting, for it is surrounded by mountains. However, it is quite inconvenient to live in those mountains, so the poorer you are, the farther up the mountain you live. Within the Bario of Toctooco, which is about as far up the mountain as you can get, resides the Refugio De Los Suenos. This is a place where 120 of the poorest children in the region come (after attending school) to find a safe haven from the streets, eat a meal, which in some cases is their only meal of the day, learn some vocational and life skills, and receive lots of encouragement and hugs. Referred to simply as “The Refugio”, this institute for children ranging in age from 5 to 17 years old is where we are trying to make a difference in the world through two of our Ecuadorian Children Ministry programs.
The first program, and by far our largest, is “Adopt-A-Child”. As the name indicates, this is a program where you adopt a child, becoming his or her Padrino (God Parent) and he or she becoming your Ahijados (God Child). Sponsorships of $120/year are used to cover the many expenses imposed upon poor children who would like to attend school, including the purchase of school uniforms, shoes, and school supplies, along with the medical care necessary for the children to attend school. A breakdown of how Adopt-A-Child funds were spent in 2010 is shown in the nearby pie-chart.
Our second program addresses special needs. Unlike Adopt-A-Child, where all of the children need all of the things funded in the program, the Special Needs program covers unique expenses. These funds cover anything from buying books for Catechism study, additional medical care for certain children, eye exams and eye glasses, repairs to the Refugio roof, and assistance with the salary for an additional part time worker. You may choose a specific special needs area to support. Donations of any amount, large or small, will be much appreciated and put to good use.
We ask you to prayerfully consider how you can help with this ministry. If you have any questions, please contact Susette Goff or Steve Krist.