04/28/09 - Ecuador's incumbent president, Rafael Correa, won 51 percent of the vote in that country's April 26 election. He held a 20-point lead over his strongest rival, Lucio Gutierrez, a former colonel forced out of the presidency in 2005. Correa, a U.S.-trained economist and 46-year-old socialist, is poised to start his second, four-year term.
Since taking office in 2007, Correa has brought stability to a country where public demonstrations ousted three predecessors from power. He is especially popular among the nation's poor for funneling many millions of dollars from foreign companies toward domestic pensions, health, and education.
Even with the re-election of a president whose policies aim to lift people out of poverty, life for vulnerable children and families in Ecuador can be very grim. Fortunately, SOS Children’s Villages, the world's largest charity devoted to providing warm homes to orphaned and abandoned children, has been on the ground for many decades.
SOS Children's Villages Is On Site to Help in Ecuador
Smiling children at the SOS Children's Village Ibarra in Ecuador
SOS operates five Children's Villages in Ecuador. The organization offers needy children a warm home, an SOS mother and siblings, and a stable community. SOS also runs youth facilities where teenagers can prepare to live and work on their own.
Beyond raising children, SOS serves vulnerable local populations by providing daycare centers and emergency relief such as food, medicine, and school equipment during political disturbances and natural disasters. SOS created family strengthening programs in the early 2000s to help Ecuadorian families protect and care for their children.
Ecuadorian Children and Families Feel the Pinch
A girl at the SOS Children's Village Quito in Ecuador
SOS's aid to children and communities is an important complement to President Correa's increased spending on social services. SOS work will be especially valued in the near future. Ecuador's falling oil revenue, plunging foreign reserves, and growing unemployment could stem government spending on children and families. Poor populations already are feeling the drop in remittances sent from relatives working in Spain and the United States, where jobs are now scarce. Many Ecuadorians rely on remittances for basic necessities like food and clothing.
During these uncertain times, if you would like to help a child in Ecuador secure a warm home, a full stomach, and a bright future, consider sponsoring an SOS child.