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Ecuador has a proud history extending back to the Incan empire. It is also a country still facing poverty, which has resulted in broken families and limited education opportunities. Compassion-assisted children experience these realities daily. But at the Compassion center, there is hope.
45YEARS SERVING ECUADOR
Children laugh as they throw confetti into the air.
Children wear traditional Ecuadorian clothes as they dance on a festive occasion.
Boys play soccer on the beach.
Children pray before their meal.
Children hang on the playground equipment at their child development center.
A boy who faces a rare bone disease smiles with hope.
Children learn about the love of God with Bibles of their very own.
A boy stands in a chicken coop.
A young girl slides on her stomach on the playground at her child development center.
A girl stands and smiles outside her child development center.
When do children visit the Compassion center?
Issue: While education has been improving in recent years – 94% of adults are literate – this isn’t always the case in rural areas. There, impoverished children may lack access to decent education. Only 1% of youth in these areas will attend a university.
Response: At Compassion centers, young children receive supplemental tutoring to help them excel in school. Older children participate in vocational skills workshops to help them succeed in self-supporting careers as adults.
Prayer Point: Pray that students will be motivated to study and will find hope and purpose through a relationship with God.
Children receive tutoring and vocational skills training at their Compassion child development centers.
Visit the Compassion blog to learn more about our work in Ecuador.
Ecuador is home to the world-famous Galapagos Islands. The islands are known for their unique biodiversity and array of animals, including the world’s only warm-water penguins!
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Official Name: Republic of Ecuador
Form of Government: Presidential republic
Official Languages: Spanish, Quechua
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Area: 109,483 square miles (283,560 square kilometers)
Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro invaded Ecuador, original site of the Inca Empire, in 1532, and gained dominion over it in two years. In 1822, the colonists revolted and Ecuador became a free territory and part of Gran Colombia. Eight years later, this territory became independent from Gran Colombia under the name of Ecuador.
Since its independence, Ecuador has been governed by a mixture of civil and military regimes; however, civil governments have predominated in recent years.
Ecuador exports several products, such as shrimp, tuna, roses, bananas and coconut. Nevertheless, Ecuador bases its economy on oil exportation. The economic growth of the country depends on oil prices in the International Market.
In 1972, Ecuador began to export oil from fields exploited by North American and European companies. Oil production has helped the economy. However, only 10 percent of revenue is used for social investments, such as education or medical care. The majority goes to pay for the country's external debt.
Even though the constitutional presidents are elected for a four-year term, corruption scandals, political negotiations, juridical insecurity, and social unrest have caused disturbance in Ecuador. Although Ecuador marked 30 years of civilian governance in 2004, the period was marred by political instability. In late 2008, voters approved a new constitution (amended in 2011), Ecuador's 20th since gaining independence.
Source: The World Factbook, 2014.
Ecuador’s art includes sculptures and indigenous handicrafts.
Ecuador is known for a style of music called “Andean Blues,” which is melancholic, beautiful, and talks about the hardships of the poor and protests social injustice.
Even though the principle language in Ecuador is Spanish, Quechua is the native language of Ecuador's indigenous people who live in the highlands, the jungle and some parts of the coast.
Spanish: Bienvenidos (Welcome), ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?), Chao/ Hasta luego (Goodbye)
Quichua: Alli shamushca kapaichi (Welcome), Imanalla? (How are you?), Kayacama (Goodbye)
Sports & Games
Ecuadorians enjoy soccer, volleyball, tennis and swimming. They also enjoy chess, weight lifting and athletics.
In Ecuador, dishes are generally bland and seasoned only with salt and pepper. Llapingachos are mashed potatoes stuffed with cheese, fritada is fried pork with avocado and corn, and cuy is guinea pig, eaten by the Indians of Ecuador.
The school year typically runs from September through July in Ecuador’s sierra region and from May to February in the coastal region. Even though students are required to attend first through 12th grades, public education is not available for many poor children, especially for those in remote rural areas.
There are various universities in the main cities of Ecuador, including the Catholic University of Quito, the State University of Guayaquil, and the State University of Cuenca. In recent years, more educational centers and universities have been opened in other cities across the country. But only 1 percent of those in rural areas can access the universities and only 5 percent of those in urban areas attend universities.
The constitution guarantees to all citizens and foreigners their right to practice the faith freely chosen by them publicly or privately. Catholicism is practiced extensively throughout Ecuador. The Roman Catholic Church has significant influence in Ecuadorian society, even in political decisions. However, the Ecuadorian government allows missionary activities and public religious expressions held by all the religions.
The government does not permit religious education in the public schools. The private schools have complete freedom to provide any kind of religious education; so do parents at home. There are no restrictions for publishing religious materials in any language.
Source: International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2012 by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
New Year’s Day: Jan. 1
Carnaval: February or March: celebrated two days before Ash Wednesday
Holy Thursday: March or April
Labor Day: May 1
The Battle of Pichincha: May 24: Simon Bolívar’s birthday
Independence Day: Aug. 10
Memorial Day: Nov. 2
Christmas: Dec. 25: Processions wind through the streets of Ecuador in the days before Christmas. On the last Sunday of Advent, Ecuadorians deliver gifts to the sick and elderly.
Compassion has been working in Ecuador since 1974. These Ecuador facts and statistics provide a good picture of the reality of poverty and how child sponsorship through Compassion is making a difference.
Poverty is a problem in the country of Ecuador but with your support, Compassion is working to change this. The Ecuador facts tell a difficult story, but Compassion is bringing hope in the midst of the difficulties. Our programs are changing the statistics one child at a time.
Don't let the hopelessness of poverty overwhelm you. You can make a difference to a child in Ecuador today!