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ECUADOR: Student aims for new life goals

Don Bosco Farm in Ambato, Ecuador, provides a safe space for youth

Youth faced with violence and abuse find second chance at Don Bosco Farm


(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Farm in Ambato, Ecuador, provides a safe space for youth who have experienced traumatic and violent situations. The farm, which has been in operation for more than 30 years, gives youth the opportunity to recover, exercise their rights, learn to live together and respect each other while discovering their abilities through skills training.

The goal is for youth to be reintegrated back with their family or to be adopted into another family. In addition to working directly with youth, Salesians work with families to help make this transition easier and ensure youth have the safety and support they need.

Henri Tendetza is one of the youth at the school. He said, “I don’t know anything about my past and I have almost no memory. I only know that I am from the city of Macas thanks to my identity card and the names of my father and mother, but I do not know them. My last name is a mixture of Spanish and Achuar. I have many friends here and I like what I do and what I learn.”

Tendetza’s right hand still bears the marks of some burns that happened to him when he was younger. “I don’t even remember this. Sometimes I dream about it, but I don’t know when or what happened,” he said. While he may not recall his childhood, he added, “I would like to meet my family, even if they have not been close to me. I have a distant memory, when they paid me a visit, I was 5 or 6 years old and I recognized them instinctively.”

Tendetza is a year away from starting his baccalaureate studies and would like to be adopted before he turns 18. “When I was little, I wanted to be a soccer goalkeeper, but now that I attend a technical school I want to go to university and have a military career.”

Playing sports is a fundamental part of the Salesian education and something Tendetza enjoys, but it is no longer his life purpose. He wants to get married, have children and leave his mark on the world. Tendetza is already showing leadership skills at the school.

He explained, “Here they teach us to be self-sufficient for tomorrow. We do what we call citizenship schools. I applied to be a leader and took a two-year course. I am also a mediator between young people and educators, and I try to find solutions to the problems that arise on a daily basis.”

Two days a week Tendetza studies in a technical school. He enjoys helping in the kitchen and also helps clean the rooms. On weekends, the school is focused on life skills. Tendetza said, “We go for walks, have catechism and oratory. They talk to us about our rights and we put into practice what we have learned so that we can provide for ourselves in the future.”

At Don Bosco Farm youth are given a second chance in life. After arriving following a court ruling, they receive medical and psychological care and are able to make up for their lost schooling in order to continue studying

Ecuador is one of the most inequitable societies in the world, according to UNICEF. The richest 20% of the population receives almost 50% of the national income, while the poorest 20% receives only 5%. According to the World Food Program, almost 26% of all children under age 5 have stunted growth, increasing to 31% in rural areas and 47% in Indigenous communities.

Salesians provide social development and educational programs across Ecuador to help poor youth gain an education and the skills for later employment. The skills they learn ensure they are able to care for themselves and their families while being contributing members of their communities.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Ecuador – Henri Tendetza, a young person taken in by the Salesians in Ambato, who wants “to be someone in life and leave his mark”

Salesian Missions – Ecuador

UNICEF – Ecuador

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