Welcome to the summer Newsletter which keeps you up to date with everything that has been going on lately in the Martin Chambers Ecuador Trust charity. This summer marks 10 years of our charitable link to the community of Nueva Prosperina and, in particular, to the people at Sagrada Familia School. To that end, this edition of restoring dignity is dedicated to the people of Guayaquil: to Adela Villacres who has led Sagrada Familia since the start; to Anny Ferrin and Miguel Angel Gonzalez Lino who have recently graduated from the school despite setbacks. These are people who have inspired us to realise that, in spite of various setbacks in life, it still can be a life of dignity and hope. They are our inspiration in charitable giving.
We also have two articles which highlight how people from Scotland continue to be inspired to travel to Ecuador and share the life of our poorest sisters and brothers.
10 Years of Sagrada Familia
From Adela Villacres, Headteacher of Sagrada Familia from the start…
For me it has been a great pleasure to work at Sagrada Familia School from its beginning in 2003 and, since then, to offer a quality education that shows warmth towards the children and young people we serve. This beautiful project was the brainchild of Fr. Con Keily, a missionary priest of the St. James Society and, in the spring of 2003, we started with seven bamboo huts for classrooms and around 300 pupils. Since then we have continued to grow so that now we have around 550 pupils.
In 2004 we were blessed with the arrival of Fr. Martin Chambers who brought enthusiasm to our project and helped pupils and staff to realise they could have inner dignity even in the face of great poverty. The ECUADOR TRUST has been a great friend to us over the years and allowed us to offer quality education; when we only had bamboo huts, it wasn’t easy to be a teacher and I’m sure it wasn’t easy to be a pupil either. The Ecuador Trust has also helped us with EDUCATION GRANTS that has meant our school is open to the poorest within our own poor community; time and again, we have seen that the poorest people have, through your help, been given the chance to study at Sagrada Familia and dream that one day they could also get the qualifications they need for a better future.
A further project that has been running for ten years with the help of your Charity is the SOUP KITCHEN. In the early days of the school we realised that most of the children were coming to school without any breakfast and were returning home without the hope of a decent meal. We set up the Soup Kitchen and, for the last ten years, it has provided 120 of the poorest children with a nutritious meal each day – a cup of home-made fruit juice, a plate of soup and a bowl of rice. We get no other financial help for the Soup Kitchen and, if it wasn’t for the Ecuador Trust, it would have to shut down.
During these years, the bonds of friendship and solidarity between our two countries have been strengthened. Many of you have travelled to live with us here in Ecuador and, on two occasions, a group of young people has made the trip of a lifetime to spend ten days in Scotland. Together we have learned to appreciate and love one another’s culture and people. Therefore I want to take this opportunity to thank every one of you who has helped both economically and spiritually in these last ten years to build up the community of Sagrada Familia School – may God continue to bless you all.
“ECUADOR Y ESOCIA POR SIEMPRE AMIGOS”