Last Updated: 03/23/2021 

Ecuador is reporting at least 24,328 active cases of COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, the country has had over 278,700 cases, from which over 238,800 people have recovered and 15,634 have died. A national vaccination campaign began in January but the rollout has been slow as the country struggles to obtain sufficient supplies. The commerce, industry, tourism, transport and health sectors have been badly affected by the economic slowdown, and experts believe a surge in lost jobs will push many families into extreme poverty. Indigenous groups have been hit hard by the virus; many who live in remote areas have little access to testing or hospitals. 

Nearly all Compassion centers are closed to on-site activities, though a few are able to welcome small groups of children and youths. Church staff members continue to provide emotional and spiritual support by making regular phone calls to families and visiting homes where it is possible. Centre workers have been able to deliver over 639,000 food packs and 208,000 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to more than 19,000 individuals since the pandemic began. 

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Ecuador?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Ecuador, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

At this point, all centers in Ecuador are closed in order to abide by local guidelines. Depending on the region, staff members are either making home visits to families and children or connecting through phone and video calls. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute 639,000 food packs and 208,000 hygiene kits to children and their families!

Are Children Receiving Letters?

The majority of letters are delayed in Ecuador, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

Are Gifts Being Delivered?

Gifts continue to be distributed in Ecuador, although they are currently delayed. In some communities, staff members have needed to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will be notified whether a gift has been designated as a child gift or family gift. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognizing that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

Story From the Field

The quarantine has brought months of uncertainty and hunger for families living in poverty in Ecuador. Social distancing and prevention measures imposed by the government continue as thousands of people struggle to find work to provide food for their families. One of the hard-hit communities is the town of Echeandia, located at the base of the Andes Mountains.

Little Darlin and Daira live here. The siblings, ages 2 and 10, are beneficiaries of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program. Their parents work the fields, growing and planting vegetables. However, since the roads and highways are closed due to the pandemic, they have not been able to sell their harvest to other cities. For more than a month, they have not received income.

“The situation of the families is sad. Without work and without money, the children go hungry in their homes,” says Anita, a tutor at the child development center.

Despite the mobility restrictions and curfew, Compassion's local church partner has mobilized to deliver food and groceries to all of the families of registered children, regardless of the distance from their center. Volunteers gather to distribute the food, keeping six feet apart from one another and using masks and disinfectants.

“When the food arrived at Darlin's home, he immediately opened the grocery bag in the doorway of his house and started eating. It was a very nice and moving thing to see,” says Anita. The grocery delivery mostly includes nonperishable items, including rice, sugar, noodles, tuna, beans and grains. However, it also includes goodies such as cookies and jelly for children, to bless them during this challenging time.

“What I liked most about the food they gave us was the chicken, because rice with chicken is the food I like the most,” says Daira. “I pray every day for my pastor, for my sponsors and for my tutors, because thanks to them, there is food in my house.”

How can I pray for Ecuador?

Pray that God will provide the jobs for families so they can have economic stability.

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