The programme in the original villages of El Porvenir, Quinchicoto and Yanayaku has now been terminated after 7 years of support. The sponsorship of individual children from the area continues. Teaching centres and libraries have now been set up in Techo Propio, a cooperative about 15 minutes from Ambato and in Sangolqui near Quito. The population in Techo Propio are primarily the poor of Ambato and in much need of help. VDO has a five year plan of development Children are now being sponsored there as well. Adrienne visited the centre in September, 2009. Do have a look at the web site of VDO (www.voluntariosdeoccidente.org) to see photographs and a description of all the activities which are going on.
The library goes on from strength to strength. There are 20 reading groups in seven schools with 409 members. There are 8 family groups with 62 members and one group with 6 secondary school children. 20 teachers and 7 mothers are involved. It may be that despite the distance, reading groups will be set up in Puyo in the Amazon region.
There are 688 books in Spanish with 88 new books bought, 58 educational DVDs, CDs and cassettes for borrowing and making copies. 54 books for adults as well as a small collection of maps were donated, and magazines were bought for adults. 44 copies of an English course were edited in the VDO office.
In 2006 a house for a very poor family was built. In 2007 the construction of bathrooms was started with the families providing labour and usually the water connection. Three years ago only three families of the group had an adequate lavatory (usually it is just a hole in the ground). There are now ten families with one. Six more are needed. We hope to complete this challenge in 2009. AFET, an English ex volunteer and VDO provide support for this programme
There are 17 sponsored children with 16 sponsors. Nine of these are supported by associates of AFET. Siblings of godchildren of school age are included in the support and activities. The total numbers of children supported, including siblings, is 31. There are five first grade children, six in the last year of primary school and six in secondary school
There are monthly meeting with the children and at least one of their parents. At these meeting we may discuss problems if the parents wish and we give out the food parcels. In December there was a Christmas party.
When the Tungurahua volcano erupts, crops and animal suffer severe damage and families have serious economic difficulties. Fortunately, so far no one has died. This semester the fund helped 2 families to start keeping chickens, and one to keep rabbits. Another family received help to improve their farming conditions and another to produce fast growing crops. It is hoped that this sort of activity will help the families to gain income at a time of economic hardship. This was started with sponsorship money.
Initially this fund was set up to help any child on the Taitakuna sponsorship progamme in urgent of medical help. Fortunately during this semester there was no need though the children continued to suffer with normal childhood health problems and those caused by the volcano ash. One child needed glasses, two children were ill and a second opinion needed. The fund is much appreciated by the parents who could not otherwise afford treatment.