Fr. Martin realised that the only way out of the abject poverty in a shanty town was through education. However, he saw that many families could not afford to send their children to school.
“During that first year I was growing to love my involvement with the school, its pupils and its teachers. As I did in Scotland before, I loved going to the school and simply spending time going from class to class. Of course, there were duties to perform – I had two weekly Masses at the school along with Music and Religious Education classes to teach – but mainly I loved spending time speaking to everyone and sharing their stories. As far as my involvement with the teachers went, I gave them an in-service day once a month covering teaching and spiritual topics. I was always impressed with the way that Adela, the head teacher, galvanised the teachers in the midst of adverse circumstances. How the teachers managed to teach anything in those early days amidst dust and bamboo, I will never know. Adela had stipulated that anyone wanting to teach in our school had to go to university and it also impressed me that the teachers would teach all morning – finishing the school day at 1pm – and then head off to university where they would study until evening. In terms of school building, by Easter time in my first year, the first three brick classrooms had been built with donations from the States. For the children and teachers who were assigned to the new classrooms, the difference between the bamboo huts and the brick classrooms was night and day. It encouraged me a great deal to see the importance of donations from back home: a little money could go a long way and could certainly change lives.” Fr Martin Chambers Walking with the Poor
The Ecuador Trust therefore supports the poorest families to be educated at Sagrada Familia School in Nueva Prosperina, Guayaquil.