Mensaje enviado a Tom Nicolson
Edito de www.ecuadorreporter.com Quito
Ambato, Febrero 14 del 2008

Hola Tom,

As promised I want to write you about our actual situation and goals.

We are an small volunteer organization ten years old. We are independent, grassroot, non-political, non-religious, non-bureucratic. We started with the volunteers helping in poor rural school teaching English, Computers, Sports and making Summer vacational courses. In one of these courses worked Andrew Finch. After Andrew we started the Computers Centre in his memory and today there are three computers centres. Passing the time we knew better children and families and we impressed children did not nourrish well so we started the Sponsorship program with the poorest families. Also working in schools we were also impressed childre has few vocabulary, limited imagination because they do not read. So we started the Childrenīs Library with nthe aim of motivate reading lending them fair tales books. The Library has an annual reading contest.

These are or main four project: Volunteer Help, Computers Centres, Sponsorship program and Childrenīs Library. In the three last projects we are receiving the generous help of the Finch family. The money from the Finch funch goes direct to the projects and we cover also a part with our own resources. In the Computers centres the Finch fund cover 60-70%, in the childrenīs Library 50%. In the sponsorship program all resources come from sponsors.

Our main source of funding for the projects and running our organization (office, administration, transports) is the program fees from voluneers. Each volunteer pay a monthly fee of around US$240 - 260 that includes their accomodation and meals, supervision and an small portion for the program. When volunteers come from overseas and we give all support and airport pick up an additional fee is charged. Before 2007 we received an average of 30 volunteers each year and each volunteer stayed with us an average of 1,6 months. We have had more than 200 volunteers from five continents, mainly from England, US and Europe continental.

The only external help we have is from the Andrew Finch fund. We do not receive any money from anay person or any other organization or the gouvernment. Our only support is from volunteers.

In 2007 the participation of volunteers drop to a half or lesser, we really do not know why. For that reason our main goal for this year is to recover the participation of volunteers. We need volunteers in all projects, not only in the schools and the Computers centres. In the sponsorship program we need voluneers to help in the social work and for the contruction of bathrooms and house improvement. In the Library we need voluneers with a good Spanish level for motivation and reading in groups.

Our office and apartment is located in Ambato and the projects in the rural area in the nearby. We are near the Tungurahua volcano and the communities where the projects are located has been severe affected by ash. So we are always thinking in how to get extra help. After the eruption in August 2006 we started a local workshop where to knitting sweters that some former volunteers sold in Canada. In this year we want to improve this and any other initiative that can help people to survive the volcano in better conditions.

Finally, our main need is voluneers participation and we are really grateful with any help we can receive on this. Our voluneer has lived before in the countryside, sometimes in difficult conditions. Thinking on this, we have rented a new apartment in Ambato with two bedrooms for volunteers. In this way voluneers can live with us in the apartment in good conditions and can go to work in the communities each day.

Well, this is all for the moment. Do not hesitate to write with any question you may have.

Best wishes,

Maria Teresa and Gonzalo Alarcon