ECUADOR: Volunteer from Uruguay spends time teaching at-risk youth at Salesian Foundation Chicos de la Calle
(MissionNewswire) Giuliano Maggi, a volunteer from Uruguay, spent time as a volunteer missionary at the Salesian Foundation Chicos de la Calle location in Esmeraldas, a coastal city in northwestern Ecuador. At the close of his volunteer time, Maggi said, “My experience in Esmeraldas was unique and unparalleled.”
Maggi added, “I believe that the experience in Esmeraldas goes beyond surprise. One starts with an expectation, but this then ends up being surpassed. You are surprised at every moment of volunteering, from the first meetings until you feel that people welcome you and make you part of their daily life, as an extra member of their family. All the work ends up being wonderful. I had the opportunity to restart a group of percussionists, and my objective was that they learn and improve their skills.”
Maggi is returning to Uruguay after his time volunteering to finish his education. He plans to start training in psychology and in physical education. One of his most enjoyable volunteer experiences was playing soccer with the young street children who take part in the Chicos de la Calle program.
Chicos de la Calle offers a diverse array of programs and services for local youth both living on the streets and those living in poverty with their families. The aim is always to support youth to stay in school and gain an education.
Salesian programs in Ecuador focus on education, social programs and workforce development to help the country’s most vulnerable citizens. Technical and vocational education is also provided to help youth gain the skills needed to find and retain long-term stable employment.
Ecuador’s poverty rate was 36.7 percent in 2007 and dropped to 22.9 percent in 2016. These results show that 1.4 million Ecuadorians escaped poverty within nine years. However, many Ecuadorians still live in impoverished conditions. Ecuador is one of the most inequitable societies in the world, according to UNICEF. The richest 20 percent of the population receives almost 50 percent of the national income, while the poorest 20 percent receive only 5 percent.
According to the World Food Program, almost 26 percent of all children under age 5 have stunted growth, increasing to 31 percent in rural areas and 47 percent in indigenous communities.
Close to 20 percent of Ecuador’s population is people of indigenous heritage. For poor, rural and indigenous youth, education provides the best opportunity for finding employment, reducing inequities and breaking the cycle of poverty. Salesian missionaries have been providing education and other social programs for disadvantaged youth across Ecuador for more than 125 years.
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Salesian Missions – Ecuador
UNICEF – Ecuador