More on Camp Hope

Trip Start Oct 06, 2007
Trip End Oct 22, 2007

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I wanted to explain more about Campamento Esperanza (Camp Hope) now that I have a better understanding of it.  I´ll first start with the school.  In Ecuador, the government provides public education through the sixth grade.  Officially, it is mandatory to attend through this age.  However, the kids must have uniforms and school supplies or they are not able to attend.  If the family cannot afford these, the children cannot go to school.  Camp Hope operates a school for children from these circumstances, so they can obtain an education.

Camp Hope also has many children with significant physical and mental disabilities.  Many of these challenges could have been avoided if the mothers had access to medical care during their pregnancies.  The Camp operates a medical aid center to help with these needs and the ongoing medical and dental care of all the children.  When possibile, surgeries are performed (often by visiting volunteer physicians) to help with serious problems.

The Camp is the only organization in Ecuador that works with severly disabled children who are in extreme poverty.  There are private schools and centers that also address these needs, but the fees are prohibitive for most families.  As often as possible, these kids are integrated into the general classes at the school.  Children who are not able to integrate are taught vocations skills.  In some cases, even this is not possible, and the kids are just cared for physically and given caring attention.

Casa Hogar is the orphanage for children with disabilites that have no parents, have been abandoned, or can no longer be cared for at home.  These are the 17 kids I mentioned in my last entry.  A married couple with 3 of their own kids lives in the house with the disabled children.  They all live as one big family, having all meals, activites, etc. together.  I loved hearing that one of the couples´ biological children always introduces everyone at the park to his 17 other brothers and sisters!

Have to go for now, but will keep sending entries when I can.
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